As always with the Bible, but the modus operandi is valid on all occasions, everything we read must be considered in relation to its context. In this passage, the apostle is talking about the house of God. This house is composed of the
"holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling".
"was faithful as a son over God’s house".
As in the case of a building we honour the builder and not the house itself, similarly in this case the honour does not belong to those who make up the house but to its creator, God.
Does this mean that we cannot take Paul's illustration as a basis for reasoning? Of course not, the idea itself is valuable. We must simply be careful not to attribute to the apostle anything other than what he intended to say, so that we cannot be accused of distorting God's Word.
Although the denial of divine existence has been a particularly striking phenomenon since the second half of the nineteenth century, history tells us that atheism has always existed. Cicero had already pointed out that most philosophers said that the gods existed, but that Protagoras was in doubt while Theodore of Cyrene and Diagoras of Melos maintained that there was none. Heraclitus
claims that the world was not made by any of the gods or men, but was and is and ever shall be ever-living fire. All this ends up giving birth to epicureanism, the search for individual happiness on earth in a human world without
The psalmist tells us that the foolish one says in his heart:
"There is no Jehovah".
The rejection of God finds its roots in the immediately post-diluvian world where, to protect themselves from a new flood, men began to build a tower whose summit would reach the
It is not so much the existence of God that men have rejected, but the submission that he deserves. So, the origin is in the rejection of the authority. And how to justify this desire for freedom other than by denying the existence of the one to whom we are accountable? From the rejection of Jehovah (the Pharaoh himself to say: who is
it was easy to proceed with the complete negation of a creator.
It was from the first half of the sixteenth century that the idea emerged that all religion is an invention of the powerful who take advantage of the ignorance of the humble (De tribus
Religious practice suffered a sharp decline, especially in the nobility and the bourgeoisie. In this case, it is centuries of tyranny on the part of religious leaders that generates this state. God was rebuffed, but in reality it was those who claimed to be his representatives that were rejected.
While philosophy is generally seen as the antithesis of the belief in God, as we have seen above the greatest Greek philosophers were theists. Voltaire himself questioned himself:
the universe embarrasses me, and I cannot think that this clock exists and has no watchmaker.
Chancellor Francis Bacon said:
a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion.
How can we convince ourselves and defend the existence of a Creator?
First of all, atheism is not as widespread as one might think. For example, according to a study, more than seventy percent of the Americans would be believers. It is a fact that some of those who pretend to be atheists never really thought about it. A simple discussion will reveal that most have not given serious consideration to the issue. People often reject God because they reject organised religion. The reason may also be that the person grew up in an atheistic family, just as children often continue to believe in God once adults because that is what they taught them. For example, the sons of members of a religious community generally become members of this community; in this case too a simple discussion will often reveal that there is not a sincere reflection
This is just the perpetuation of a family tradition. We will make the same observation in various organisations, such as political
Charles Darwin is often presented as the father of modern atheism. But his own writings show that he believed in the existence of a creator, an initial force at the root of everything, even if he rejected the Christian faith. If he wondered why life was full of pain, he did not see this as an argument against the existence of God. Towards the end of his life, he wrote that he has never been an atheist nor he denied the existence of God. This does not preclude Richard Dawkins, the high priest of twentieth-century atheism, from writing that he could never have been an atheist before Charles Darwin. In fact, it suits unbelievers to present Darwin as the one who opened the way to atheism, exposing his theory as a fact that put God at the forefront of the fables of dark times. By claiming that life has a chance origin, one think he can escape accountability.
It should not be understood that atheists have a less developed moral sense than theists; it is the kind of affirmations we've read in the Watchtower's
One could even say that sometimes it is the opposite: abuse in the name of religion have led to the rejection of God by people who have had their moral feelings shocked. However, refusing to be held accountable to God could lead a person to think that he is free from certain constraints. Now, these constraints are usually those imposed by men and not by God himself. It is undeniable that believe in God entails obligations, if only by the duty to bear witness. But if we look closely, Christianity as preached by Jesus has only two commandments: you must love your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind, and you must love your neighbour as yourself. This is not a heavy yoke, to paraphrase Christ. – Matthew 11:29, 30
So, is science necessarily in opposition to religious faith? This is what many publications on the subject would like to lead us to believe. Even if the rate of believers is lower among scientists than in the rest of the population, we should not think that all are
One can try to prove the non-existence of God by giving a rational explanation of the origin of the universe without intervention of anyone. If they did, it would not necessarily establish that God does not exist, but in any case it could be a serious blow to his defenders. However, despite decades or more of studies on the subject, we are still at the stage of hypotheses, which sometimes contradict each other and do not find consensus within the scientific community. The Big Bang, for example, still encounters oppositions (although weak, it must be recognised). It is nevertheless interesting to know that one of the initial promoters of this theory was a Belgian Catholic priest, Georges Lemaître. For him, there did not seem to be any conflict between the two parties, the religious party and the scientific party. Above all, the Big Bang does not explain the origin of the universe, but only the state where it would have been at a given moment. Nothing is said about what was before or what is the origin of this universe. We must admit either that it always existed, or that time did not exist, that it was initialised by this original explosion. It seems that this last explanation gains the most approval
If God is at the origin of everything, then who created God?
In either case, whether the universe is the result of an initial explosion, whether it comes from another previous universe, or that it was created by an intelligent being, one must always admit that something had always existed. Each of the assertions only moves us one step backwards. Is it more scientific, or reasonable, to believe that for ages there existed matter, or some other substance, which a fine day gave birth to our universe, by some unknown force resulting from the most complete chance, rather to admit a designer living from eternity to eternity having intentionally done all that surrounds us? In all instances, it is a question of faith, if we want to give the word a meaning that is not its
own10. – Psalm 90:2
We can read in some popular science book that with the "Big Bang" the time has come to existence. And so, that would solve the problem of what was before. Let us admit that before the beginning, time did not exist; and in this case it is wrong to say "before the beginning", since it is precisely the beginning of time, so there was no 'before'. This is exactly what the first book of the Bible tells us in his first chapter and his first verse:
in the beginning God created…
Yes, the Bible begins with a scientific assertion: there was a beginning, a beginning of time. God started by creating time as one of the dimensions in which we live. Does this contradict what the researchers tell us? It seems like no, since they claim that with the beginning of the universe time came to existence.
If, then, our knowledge of the origin of the universe does not allow us to invalidate or confirm the existence of a creator, will we have more chances with the other fields of science?
The theory of evolution may seem to have sounded the death knell for believers. Now, as we have seen previously, the father of the theory, Charles Darwin, believed in a god. Moreover, some religious denominations accept the idea of a world that has evolved under the guidance of an initial
Even if one managed to prove the origin of life according to evolutionary theories, it would not call into question his existence.
Even today, about one hundred and sixty years after Darwin's book
"On the Origin of Species",
we still use the word theory when we talk about evolution. Why? Because there is no fixed explanation of this doctrine. According to its supporters, this is the most consistent interpretation found, yet the definitive proof is yet to come.
What does evolution mean? This is the transformation of living species over generations. That is to say, the fact that a form of life is modified to adapt to its living environment. Everyone may still remember the pictures posted on the walls of the science classes representing a large fish coming out of the water, which undergoes various transformations until becoming a man. And to explain to us that, one day, this fish decided to leave its aquatic environment to go on earth; and magically, legs sprouted. Later, he decided to fly, to jump in the trees, to walk on two legs, etc. We do not know why he wanted to get out of the water. We are told that this is adaptation to its environment. But what about the other fish that stayed in the water? Why did not they adapt too? If really it was a means of survival, why do we still see fish in the
If we admit that man is the most accomplished species, why in this case are there still other species that populate the earth? Why are not all individuals of one species transformed themselves? Man is certainly the species able to adapt to all terrestrial conditions. But he is still a human, whether he is an Inuit living in the extreme conditions of the north, or a Berber daily facing the heat of the desert. Everyone adapted to their environment, that is all.
Take the case of the Peppered moth (biston betularia). This moth has a colour that starts from gray to go to black. For proof of the evolution, evolutionists use this example:
in England, before 1850 gray individuals were preponderant. But things changed in the years that followed: there was a proliferation of black individuals. At the same time, it was observed that the bark of the birches was blackened by the soot deposited there due to the smoke of the surrounding factories. In the sixties, the gray moth revived, while at the time campaign was conducted to improve the quality of the air. It seemed to be the proof of the transformation and adaptation of a species to its environment. However, the explanation is simple, and moreover it is the one provided by the evolutionists themselves: when the bark is clear, the light moths merge with the colour of the tree and therefore the predators feed mainly on dark individuals. When the bark is black, the clear population is more visible and therefore more likely to fall into the hands, or rather into the beaks of the birds that feed on them. In one case or the other, one colour develops since less subject to pressure while the other collapses. But are these moths no longer moths? Did they turn into another species to escape their predators?
No, they were moths, moths they remained.
No doubt there has been natural selection but no evolution in another species. That individuals experience some variation from their environment is a proof of divine wisdom. Imagine that all men are cut out for arctic life, we would all be crammed into the far north while the tropics would be empty.
Years of genetic mutation experiments, especially on the fly, have only led to failures. No mutation has proved beneficial, on the contrary. Virtually all individuals are either dead, disabled or infertile. Really, there are no profitable mutations. Each one modifies an existing structure, but in a disorderly way. Each disorganisation causes the death of the
The mutations found among the victims of Nagasaki or Hiroshima, as well as their descendants, or to be closer to us, among the victims of Chernobyl, generated only handicap, malformation and death. And in no case the creation of a new and viable species distinct from the human species.
The vapourware of paleontologists is obviously the famous missing link thought to be intermediate between the anthropoid apes and man. It has been missing for so long, despite regular announcements, that it is doubtful that it will ever appear. To this day, no evidence has been provided of a link between an apelike fossil and man. The proof is the controversy surrounding the discovery in Chad by Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye of Toumaï who, having all the characteristics of a chimpanzee, is undoubtedly a ... chimpanzee. Despite this, his discoverers insist to see in him the ancestor of the
Note that we rely on a skull, five fragments of jaw, a few teeth and a diaphysis of left femur probably having belonged to nine different individuals! With this, they reconstruct a skeleton, they give it a face (similar in any point to that of a monkey) and they decide that it is one of our ancestors.
But the goal is not to denigrate the work of scientists. It is not reprehensible to dismiss God from the field of hypotheses when we seek the explanation of a natural event. For millennia men have attributed to God actions that today have quite grounded explanations. If we had persisted to think that way, we would still believe that lightning is the expression of divine wrath. It is normal to ask questions or to be curious. Otherwise, God would not have created us with the desire to learn and understand.
Please do not get me wrong: there is no question of asking unbelievers to prove that God does not exist. So, I can very well argue that the laughing chicken exists. When I am asked for evidence, I can affirm that it is not up to me to provide it but up to those who refute my
Would it be honest on my part? Surely not! It is therefore our duty, as believers, to demonstrate the existence of God. On the other hand, what is valid in one direction must be valid in the other: when we are told that man is the result of an evolution from fish to all other forms of life, there so they have to be able to prove it. Otherwise, it is necessary to say that this is a hypothesis having the same validity as that of theism.
Evolutionists regularly accuse
of credulity. But what should we conclude when we are told that no competent person is questioning the evolution, that all reputable biologists admit that it is an established fact, or that anyone who is free from old illusions and prejudices has no need for additional evidence? Is it not the same kind of reasoning as saying that we believe in God because the church says it, all the great religious names admit that his existence is an established fact or that belief is a matter of faith and does not require additional proof? Out of a thousand evolutionists, how many have seriously studied the subject? Out of a thousand creationists, how many have seriously studied the subject? In either camp, it is important to know what we are talking about when we support something.
Is there more credulity in the assertion that God is at the origin of all than there is in the allegation that the universe appeared one day from nothing? Besides, how can it come from nothing? If I take a blackboard and ask a mathematician to write a series of zeros, multiply, add or divide them, from what point will he succeed in extracting a single unit? And yet, this is what we are asked to accept by some proponents of a universe that comes from nothing and who accuse us of believing in fairy
Others will call us sweet dreamers if we maintain that God has always existed while they will have no trouble accepting that the universe, or what preceded it, had no beginning.
What is the evidence about God?
The fact is that atheists cannot prove that there is no God (but that is not what we ask them), and above all, they cannot prove the theories they put forward. Moreover, these theories do not necessarily demonstrate the absence of God, as we can see by observing that some religious feel that we can very well reconcile these hypotheses with a
But can we prove the existence of God?
Paul tells us that
"his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable".
What does nature reveal to us? Nothing but intelligent design, perfect harmony. To deny the existence of God is to say that mere chance is at the origin of our environment and of mankind. That this remarkable chance has happened millions and millions of times. Is it reasonable?
Let us imagine that I am on a height on a rainy day and that I haphazardly throw a million bricks and bags of cement down that mountain. Let us say that two bricks fall perfectly on each other and that the cement is impregnated with rainwater and joins in between. Let us go so far as to say that this occurrence repeats a second time. Let us be generous and go up to three! Will it ever result in a habitable house? Even recommencing the operation with a second million bricks, it is doubtful whether we could build a mere doghouse. In the meantime, two million bricks will have been reduced to nothing. If there were anything below, nothing will be left now, crushed under the pile. I could throw as many millions of bricks as I want and nothing good will come out. And would that be the case, I would have prove that it took someone to throw the bricks, they will not have thrown themselves alone!
Clearly, chance never produced anything good in a sustainable way. To repeat the example above, if I ever managed to mount an embryo of wall by throwing bricks and cement, it would be immediately destroyed by the following bricks. How can one seriously argue that a causality of events spanning billions of years can engender a functioning universe and an earth capable of harbouring millions of species? For one lucky event, how many billions of disaster?
It is therefore the order in the world that surrounds us that demonstrates the existence of a Creator. It is not even credible that this author simply started the process and then let chance do the rest. What kind of industrialist, wanting to manufacture a product, would rely on luck? Our environment and the way we, humans, are made denote wisdom, harmony and love. While evolutionists, on the basis of a conclusion, search for the facts that can prove it, believers take the facts and draw the only possible conclusion:
there is a benevolent God who created our space.
A God who loves us and proves it every day, while the majority of humans do not want to take him into account in everyday life. One is interested in him when misfortune occurs, but forget him when everything is fine. And yet,
even the hairs of our head are all numbered;
no sparrow will fall to the ground without his knowledge.
– Matthew 10:29, 30; Psalm 52:1; Titus 3:4-7
Someone will argue that wars, diseases, famines, pollution, etc., give the lie to the statement that love rules our world. We cannot answer this objection in two words, but the Bible gives satisfactory explanations that we will have the opportunity to examine later. It is enough to take the time to read and study it seriously, while asking God to give us his spirit. If we are sincere, everything will become clear. – Romans 5:5; Psalm 52:8
Of course, with this essay I do not pretend to have convinced a single atheist. This belief is too deeply rooted for this to be done just by reading a few pages. I also did not want to do a scientific thesis, and it may be that some errors have crept into this text (I thank those who will report them). I only hope that the logic of the words strengthens the reader's faith, giving him some keys to defend his beliefs.