Is there really a God?
The God question just won't go away. Some, like hard core atheist Richard Dawkins, proudly and unashamedly assert that there is no God. In his book The God Delusion he employs fierce intellect to show the supposed irrationality and faulty logic of any belief in God.
Dawkins is in a minority. Human beings are incurably religious. Some would argue that even atheists exercise faith! The brilliant mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, "There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of man that only God can fill".
This echoes what the Bible itself says.
The Bible never sets out to prove the existence of God. Its opening verse asserts, "In the beginning God ..." (Genesis 1:1). In another place it tells us quite plainly:
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)
This means that God does not believe in atheists! Human beings have an inbuilt knowledge of God. So, how come some do claim to be atheists?
This inbuilt knowledge of God can be suppressed. The idea of a holy God who holds us accountable for all our thoughts, words and deeds is knowledge which people do not like to retain. They try to push God out of their thinking, even replacing Him with something else. So, while outwardly they try to deny God, inwardly they still possess the knowledge of God and this knowledge keeps breaking out. An example of this is seen in the desire for morality.
Human beings are moral. We know that some things ought to be done, and other things ought not to be done and we suffer pangs of conscience when we violate this sense. Where does this sense of "oughtness" come from? Some argue that it comes from nature. But how could this be in a merely material and chance universe? Even Richard Dawkins admits that as a basis for morality "nature is not on our side."
Another alternative is that put forward by the postmodernist philosopher Richard Rorty. He tells us that "That there is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves, no criterion that we have not created." Hence, morality is just the expression of our personal judgement. This is a very flimsy approach to morality. With this reasoning could we ever say that anyone else was wrong?
Could social convention or public opinion be the determining factor for our morality? We might well ask what happens when one convention disagrees with another convention. Consider the example in history of public opinion agreeing to the idea of exterminating one ethnic group (Jews) for the benefit of the nation (Germany)?
We are forced to conclude that personal judgment and social convention do not offer a solid foundation for morality. It seems that the best atheism can offer is moral relativism, that is, that morality is relative to our culture or to the particular chunk of history we occupy. But we cry out for more than this. We want to be able to say that paedophilia is always and in every place wrong. We want to protest whenever one nation invades another and mistreats and abuses the people of that country. We have a deep need for absolutes. Society needs absolutes.
But then we have to wonder if moral absolutes are possible without God? Modern atheist Richard Taylor is forced to conclude: "The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God."
Only a transcendent, perfect, unchanging and personal God can give us what our nature cries out for – unchanging and absolute values which enable us to make wise moral judgements. This God is only found in the Bible. He has given us those absolutes and unchanging values which exalt a nation and its people. Many of the Bible's absolutes have been enshrined in our legal statutes, "Do not murder", "Do not steal", etc. The God who made us knows the laws we need. Without these we fail to function as we should.
These laws also reveal our deepest need – the need of a Saviour. The truth is that God's absolutes show us how far we have fallen. We break his rules again and again - we are sinners and we need the Saviour, Jesus who came to rescue us from our sins. The God who gives us absolutes also gives a remedy for when we break them. There is mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Our desire for morality, and our inability to provide one from within ourselves, points to our inbuilt knowledge of, and need for, God. We are without excuse!
Article copied, with permission, from the 4you.ie web site.