First Things -- 3635 East Paces Circle, Unit 1414, Atlanta, GA 30326
An Illustration: Imagine what it would be like to be in a raft with several other people somewhere in the middle of the ocean. Maybe you were on a ship that sank or maybe you were on a plane that crashed. In any case, you have a limited amount of food and water which means you have a limited amount of time to get to safety.
What is the most critical is to have as many facts available as possible. How long will the food and water last for the number of people on the raft? Where are you in relation to the closest friendly land? Which way is the current taking you? Is it better to go with the current, even if the distance is greater, than to fight the current? What will the temperatures be? What equipment is on board to help navigate? Can anyone on board navigate by the stars? What route do ships take in relation to where you are?
For each of these questions, there is a factual answer. Knowing as many facts as possible is critical. It could mean the difference between life and death. This is not a time to insist on having your way unless you are sure you have the facts. Winning, by enforcing your will on others, is not helpful if you are mistaken about the facts – particularly if there is someone on board who knows the facts.
World Views: While there are variations, there are only two world views. One is that everything came into existence by chance with no overriding purpose. The other is that our world and our universe were created which suggests there is a purpose related to the existence of our world and of our universe. If everything came about by chance, we have roughly eighty years to live on this earth and then it’s all over. We die, we’re buried, and that’s all. Our bones may remain in the grave, but we cease to exist as a person. Our loved ones who are already dead are gone and we will never see them again.
The second world view is that an eternal God created our world and our universe. Most supporters of this view in America believe, at least to some degree, that we learn about the creator in the Bible. According to the Bible, our life in this world is just a prelude to eternity – at least if we please the creator. What happens to us if we don’t is bad news. Just how bad can be debated, but it is bad news to a significant degree.
The Choice: The illustration above is applicable to our situation in picking a world view. In a sense, planet earth is the sea. In this case, in the sea there are multiple rafts. Leaders in the rafts have different ideas of how to get their boat to safety. We must decide which leader has the facts that will enable him to get his raft and his people to safety. If the Bible is right, this is more critical than a matter of life and death. Our decision could mean the difference between eternal life and eternal death. On the other hand, if there is no God and everything came about naturally, nothing we can do will change anything. No matter what we think or how we live, we will die some day and that will be the end of us.
Those who believe in God say we should be willing to give up our freedom to do whatever we want to do in this world and submit to God. Those who do not believe in God say that is a waste of time and could negatively impact our chance for happiness in this life. These are our choices. If we believe in a nonexistent God, we will die one day and never know we were wrong. If we believe in a God who does exist and who is the creator of all that exists, we will die one day and, if we have pleased God, will live eternally in a better place where there is no sickness, sorrow, or death. If we deny the existence of God and we are right, we will die one day without ever knowing for sure that we were right. If we deny the existence of God and live however we want to live in this world, we will (according to the Bible) be in big trouble and we will know it.
How do we know what to believe? Who has the facts? An important truth is that both of the world views have fantastic elements related to origins that are hard for us to believe. The choice is not between a view that is based solely on verifiable facts and one that is too fantastic for words. The choice is between one world view that has fantastic elements hard for us to accept and an alternative view that has fantastic elements hard for us to accept. The Christian world view says an eternal God exists who is the creator of all that is. For us as human beings, eternal anything is impossible for us to grasp. It is too fantastic for words.
The view of origins accepted by most proponents of “natural causes” is no less fantastic. That view says that all of the matter in all of the universe exists as the result of a “singularity” which is a one time event that is inexplicable (it makes no sense). In this case, the event that is inexplicable is that all of the matter in all of the universe popped into existence at some time in the far distant past with no outside assistance from any source real or imagined. It is the “something from nothing” view of origins. As fantastic as the concept of eternal anything is to us, the idea that all of the matter in all of the universe popped into existence from nothing at all with no assistance from any source is, to most humans, even more fantastic.
In addition to the “eternal God created” and the “something from nothing” origins views, there is a third view that was widely accepted at one time, but has fallen into disrepute and has few followers today. That view is that something is eternal, but that is eternal matter – not an eternal creator God. It should be pointed out here that one of the reasons the eternal matter view has been rejected is because it does not fit well with the big bang theory that is a primary tenet for the natural causes view of origins.
The Point: There is a very real sense in which we are all in this together. We all need to know the facts so we can make intelligent decisions about how to live our lives. Knowing the facts (truth) is the only real “win” for anyone. If we fail to identify the truth, we face consequences that could range from serious to calamitous – at a degree unknown in this world. Since this is such a serious matter and since we all have a critical choice to make, we should be working together to identify which raft is headed in the right direction so that we can be on it. If the leader of the “natural causes” raft has the truth, then we should all get on it. If the leader of the “creation” raft has the truth, then we should all get on it and listen to the leader so that we get where we need to be.
|Purpose or Chance|