The big Truth

In The Big Lie I tried to demonstrate that much of what we believe in and take into practice is based on a very big lie.  What I did not say is that the biggest of all lies is the opposite of the Big Truth.  The Big Truth is that as Francis Schaeffer argued, “God is, and He is not silent.”  God is before all things, the creator of all things, and the sustainer of all things, and in Him all things have their purpose.  Many seemingly wise people argue against that, believing the Big lie that God is a construct of the human mind.  Such arguments and such beliefs are simply not coherent.  What I mean by that is that the arguments may be good in part, even for the most part, but they are not coherent from beginning to end.

It starts with what happened in the beginning.  The Bible says that God spoke the universe into existence “ex-nihilo” or out of nothing.  And we have confirmation of that today from astronomers and physicists, who call the event “the big bang”.  Yet many attribute no cause of the event.  How can that be?  Has anything, big or small, come to be without a cause?  Not that we know of for sure.  So, like it or not, there must have been abig.bang cause.  God – the God of the Bible – is the most likely entity to have been that cause, since He is self-existent.  In other words, He was, He is, and He will be, God without beginning or end.

Some have argued in the past that the universe is eternal and self existent.  That seems no longer open to us.  Science has proved it wrong.  So if God created the universe, some argue, who created God?  But the question of who created God is a secondary question – we can be certain when we look at stonehenge  that what we see was designed, yet the question of who designed it remains a mystery.  Nobody seriously suspects that it came about by random forces.  The real question is who or what is the ultimate first cause?  Who or what caused the universe to start to exist?  We see in the universe incredible indicators of design – design so intricate and complex and ordered that the only really serious challenge is from those physicists who speculate that there are billions upon billions of universes, and that ours just happens to have been randomly spun or made or evolved or somehow came to be with the appearance of design.  How they say these universes came into existence seems never to be addressed.  They simply use the ‘multiverse’ as an explanation of why our universe, which seems to be so intricately designed, was really just the result of random forces, and that life therefore probably exists in some of the other universes that have laws of physics and mathematics and chemistry, etc., that are completely different than ours.  Seriously?  They find that cockamamie idea more believable than that the God of the Bible is the explanation?  On what basis?  Where is the scientific evidence to support the theory?  Where is the testable hypothesis on which can be built scientific proof of its validity?

The real question is who or what is the best candidate for the ultimate explanation of origin?  If the universe had a beginning, then it can’t be the first cause.  The multiverse seems a stretch of the imagination, to say the least.  And it comes often from those who invoke Occam’s Razor in other matters.  Why not invoke it here?

So if you have no rational concept of the origin of the universe on which to build your worldview, it is incoherent.  See?  What they have been feeding you all your life is based on a monumentally big lie.  And it just does not have to be that way.

There are so many ways in which the Christian worldview is coherent and cohesive.  Yet God chooses to make Himself known to only a few chosen people – the ones He calls “The Elect”.  Why?  Shouldn’t He make himself known to all?  The answer is that that is His desire.  He wants all to come to Him, but love cannot be coerced.  Those who seek, find! In other words, only the seeker, the person who desires with a pure heart to know God is given the gift of sight that comes from the third person of the Trinity:  The Holy Spirit.  Seeking and finding are not the same thing.  And not all who seek find.  God is sovereign.  He alone knows the heart.  And what we come to understand about God is that we can no more come to a complete understanding of who God is than a man blind from birth can understand the concept of sight.  In both cases, we can understand in part, because others tell us it or He is “like” this or or “similar to” that.  We understand in part because we were designed with the ability to understand complex thought.  Yet sight absolutely must be experienced in order to truly understand it.  Same with God.  We cannot fully know Him in this life, because we have only the five senses and their related sense organs.  What we need is another sense – an organ that enables us to  see,hear, taste, smell, and touch Him – and more.  All five senses together can’t do that.  And even with the power of our God-given ability to think, we still can’t quite get there.

Yet we can begin a new life with Him while still in this one.  The Greeks had several words for life:  “psyche” is the biological life we know of.  But the  “zoe” kind of life is the one that starts on the day we are born again, and that never ends!  It is life lived in the body for now, but life that continues on in an eternal state – a state not limited by time after the body dies. The life we live here and now is like life in the womb in a sense.  We have no idea what life will be like after birth.  We are not even fully aware that birth is coming.  Yet there is much that needs to be done to prepare for that event.  But unlike the life in the womb, we have to use the gift of free thought to decide to seek God and His Kingdom while we are still here.  If we do not prepare, we will find ourselves fully able to see and hear and experience heaven, but only from afar.  We will be forever locked on the outside, where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Yet only one thing is needed.  Only one simple change of heart is required.  All that is necessary is to come to God in prayer with a sincere desire to know Him, and to live your life in His care.  Say and mean with complete conviction  something like the following:

Lord, I have lived in rebellion toward You and rejected your teachings and your commands.  I have made many wrong choices in my life, and I’m sorry.  I want to turn a new page in my life.  I want to becomhishandse your disciple.  I want to live according to your teachings and commands from this day forward.  I want to dwell in your house and in your favor forever.  Lord, today I give you my life.

When you say those words, then follow through by changing the priorities of your life from seeking whatever you have before (pleasure, wealth, power, etc.) to that of seeking the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, you will become a child of God, and your new life will begin.  And when you do, you will have a new sense of direction.  You will see and understand that everything you do in this life is preparation for life in your true home, Heaven, and that you don’t have much time left.

I love the way A. W. Tozer put this:

The days of the years of our lives are few, and swifter than a weaver’s shuttle. Life is a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give. Just when we appear to have attained some proficiency we are forced to lay our instruments down. There is simply not time enough to think, to become, to perform what the constitution of our natures indicates we are capable of. How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. Eternal years lie in His heart. For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years. God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. For those out of Christ, time is a devouring beast; before the sons of the new creation time crouches and purrs and licks their hands. The foe of the old human race becomes the friend of the new, and the stars in their courses fight for the man God delights to honor.

So stop living life incoherently.  Question what you have been taught.  Trust that there is something more.  Trust that Jesus did live life on Earth as a man, that He did say that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that there are amazing things that we can never fully know in this life, but that will be revealed in spectacular speldor in the next.  Believe me, I have tried living life both ways.  There is absolutely no comparison.  The most profound paradox in life is this:  that whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for Christ’s sake will find it.

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13 thoughts on “The big Truth

  1. rhiesa

    You say arguments against gods are not coherent, do your own arguments even closely pass this standard?

    “Even if we don’t have a precise idea of exactly what took place at the beginning, we can at least see that the origin of the universe from nothing need not be unlawful or unnatural or unscientific”

    Argument 1: Because we can’t explain how the universe began, god did it.

    ARgument 2: You can know god did it because… god is awesome. Read the bible.

    Stonehenge was built by pagan celtic druids. Even if I didn’t have an answer there your argument is flawed.

    Argument 3: God created the universe, but don’t worry about who created god. Because I’m right about the universe thing we can ignore that part.

    Argument 4: People who use ochams razor to disprove god, don’t use it to destroy their own very complex beliefs (ones that I doubt you fully understand). I agree wholeheartdly.

    Ohkams razor reductio ad absurdum! There is no universe because that’s simpler. Now we don’t need any answers. No one and nothing exists.

    Argument 5: “So if you have no rational concept of the origin of the universe on which to build your worldview, it is incoherent. See?”

    Excellent! So now lets adopt your nonsensical beliefs because ours are gibberish.

    Argument 6: Only the people who want to believe in god, will experience him.

    Wow, that’s very deep. It’s like, the only people who can truly experiance bliss, are those on a morphine drip. Duh?

    “Not all those who seek, find.” Amazing! So really, I should stop trying to rationally observe the universe to find some sort of fundamental pattern that explains even a little bit about how we exist, and instead worship god, on complete faith. With no guarantee of the results. Who goes for this?

    *shivers* I had to stop there. Reading this was making me want to vomit. I’m glad I denounced the holy trinity with my heart and soul so no matter what I do I’ll go to hell.

    1. No, I said your worldview is incoherent. It starts with the universe starting itself. That gives the universe godlike qualities, wouldn’t you say?

      We can’t know some things. You can’t know that there is no God any more than I can know He is. The question is which leap of faith is the more reasonable? My contention is that mine is. Your argument # 3 is incoherent, for example. You don’t refute the scientific community’s conclusion that the universe had a beginning, yet dismiss it as unexplainable. You don’t have a plausible alternative scenario.

      And yes, God is truly awesome, and yes, you should read the Bible.

      But tell me, what actually is your worldview? Or are you just into trashing mine? If you had even a smidgen of an idea of how much God knows you, sees you, understands you, and loves you, you would put aside your sarcasm, your belligerence, take that chip off your shoulder, and actually listen with an open mind. Want to go to Hell? That’s your choice. But God is offering you a treasure of incomprehensible value, and it costs you nothing to seriously check it out.

      1. Havok

        John: No, I said your worldview is incoherent. It starts with the universe starting itself.

        What part of “We don’t know” eludes your understanding?

        John: That gives the universe godlike qualities, wouldn’t you say?

        I can say the universe posses 1 quality which the Christian God lacks – existence

  2. Havok

    Andrew: And we have confirmation of that today from astronomers and physicists, who call the event “the big bang”

    Our theories break down at so called “Planck Time”, when the visible universe was Planck length in size. Prior to that we simply don’t know.

    Andrew: Some have argued in the past that the universe is eternal and self existent. That seems no longer open to us. Science has proved it wrong.

    Only as regards the visible universe, and again, prior to Planck time we simply don’t know.

    Andrew: from those physicists who speculate that there are billions upon billions of universes,

    The “multiverse” tends to drop out of hypothesis and theories which seek to explain phenomena of the visible universe.

    Andrew: How they say these universes came into existence seems never to be addressed.

    There are speculative hypothesis which attempt to explain this.

    Andrew: They simply use the ‘multiverse’ as an explanation of why our universe, which seems to be so intricately designed, was really just the result of random forces, and that life therefore probably exists in some of the other universes that have laws of physics and mathematics and chemistry, etc., that are completely different than ours.

    Physicist didn’t come up with the idea of a “multiverse” to address concerns over design. As I said, they’ve tended to come out as a result of investigation into theories which seek to explain the visible universe.

    Andrew: They find that cockamamie idea more believable than that the God of the Bible is the explanation?

    As it is a result of applying existing scientific knowledge, it is neither cockamamie, not less believable than the existence of an incredibly complex and powerful mind with no physical substrate to use, which, while being completely outside of out space-time framework, is somehow able to influence events within it, even though mechanism for such interaction never seems to be forthcoming (sound familiar?) 🙂

    Andrew: Where is the testable hypothesis on which can be built scientific proof of its validity?

    You’re putting yourself in a difficult situation now. Where is you testable hypothesis for Yahweh creating the universe ex nihilo?

    Andrew: The real question is who or what is the best candidate for the ultimate explanation of origin?

    Why do we have to have an explanation NOW? What is wrong with waiting until our ignorance is less?

    Andrew: If the universe had a beginning, then it can’t be the first cause.

    The universe having a beginning is still an open question. AS I mentioned above, prior to the Planck time, we really can’t say anything, as our theories break down. General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics don’t play so nicely together.

    Andrew: The multiverse seems a stretch of the imagination, to say the least. And it comes often from those who invoke Occam’s Razor in other matters. Why not invoke it here?

    Multiverses are parsimonious. They drop out of hypothesis which are based upon existsing knowledge of physics. To postulate an entirely different substance, especially one which is an incredibly complex and powerful immaterial mind seems entirely without merit given what it actually entails – dualism, some mechanism for these 2 “substances” to interact, some mechanism for matter to come from absolutely nothingness.

    Andrew: So if you have no rational concept of the origin of the universe on which to build your worldview, it is incoherent. See?

    Are you suggesting that it is irrational to accept that we have gaps in our knowledge, and yet rational to fill those gaps with the incredible, without support?

    Andrew: Yet God chooses to make Himself known to only a few chosen people – the ones He calls “The Elect”.

    Are you a Calvanist? It certainly sounds like you’re espousing Calvanist theology.

    1. We do have gaps in our knowledge. We always will. I am suggesting that there are essentially two alternatives from which to choose; creation by God or billions of parallel universes, and this one just happens to have all of the ingredients for life. Planck time has absolutely nothing to do with it. Either choice involves the acceptance of wildly implausible, even supernatural ideas. To avoid making a choice is irrational. To choose the multiverse is irrational because it is not a simple explanation. It is not parsimonious. It is implausible in the extreme. Yet even if we can somehow get past the near-impossibility, we are left with the question: Where did all the universes come from? You must, at the end of the day, take a stand as to what the first cause was. Whatever it was, it had to be self-existent, and it had to exist outside of space and time. You got another alternative than God?

      Now, it certainly is possible to live life with an irrational worldview. But is that rational?

      1. Havok

        John: We do have gaps in our knowledge. We always will.

        John: I am suggesting that there are essentially two alternatives from which to choose; creation by God or billions of parallel universes, and this one just happens to have all of the ingredients for life.

        John, you’re offering a false dichotomy. Agnosticism is a valid position. There may be many, many others we don’t know about.

        John: Planck time has absolutely nothing to do with it.

        That we are ignorant of what may have gone on prior, it has everything to do with it.

        John: Either choice involves the acceptance of wildly implausible, even supernatural ideas.

        Even if I accept the dichotomy (and I don’t), you’re still mistaken. One involves building upon existing knowledge of physics. The other involves postulating an entirely different substance in a manner which is completely unfalsifiable.

        John: To avoid making a choice is irrational.

        To withold judgment until we have further information is the rational choice, in the absence of further evidence.

        John: To choose the multiverse is irrational because it is not a simple explanation. It is not parsimonious.

        Which just goes to show you don’t understand the nature of the theories and hypothesis from which a multiverse falls out.

        John: Yet even if we can somehow get past the near-impossibility, we are left with the question: Where did all the universes come from?

        “WE DON’T KNOW” (ps. Neither do you).

        John: You must, at the end of the day, take a stand as to what the first cause was. Whatever it was, it had to be self-existent, and it had to exist outside of space and time. You got another alternative than God?

        Why do I have to take a stand?
        The Christian God is ludicrously improbable, and so any threat from hell is not worth consideration. All evidence points to a cesation of mental activity at death.

        John: Now, it certainly is possible to live life with an irrational worldview. But is that rational?

        You certainly seem to think so, though given that comment, I’d have to say no.
        How exactly is postulating dualism simpler than extending existing physics?

      2. For those unfamiliar, Havoc and I are long-time blogging adversaries. It’s probably fair to say that both of us would be more civil if we did not have such a history…

        So now you’re an agnostic? I thought you were an igtheist? Oh, wait, you’re an atheist? Maybe you’re really a chameleon! 😀

        So, we do know that up until Planck time things seem to adhere to the natural physical laws. But before Planck time, they do not. But again, what does it matter in terms of the question of the temporality of the universe? If the universe was ordered and almost infinitesimally small in a fraction of a second, the question of whether it had a beginning seems pretty settled. All that is left to determine is the mechanisms that were at work to make it happen. And I might point out that if the universe was not behaving according to the natural physical laws, wouldn’t you say it was behaving supernaturally? 😀

        Even if I accept the dichotomy (and I don’t), you’re still mistaken. One involves building upon existing knowledge of physics. The other involves postulating an entirely different substance in a manner which is completely unfalsifiable.

        I could ask you what part of the dichotomy you question? But what I would prefer to focus on here is your assertion that your preferred alternative involves building upon existing knowledge of physics. I would say that that claim is manifestly bogus. Instead, what you are doing is abjectly refusing to consider what millions of people consider to be the most reasonable alternative. And since we don’t know what happened before Planck time, neither assumption is falsifiable!

        To withold judgment until we have further information is the rational choice, in the absence of further evidence.

        Yet to live your life the way you do is to choose in the meantime, to live as if the atheist position is the right one.

        Why do I have to take a stand?
        The Christian God is ludicrously improbable, and so any threat from hell is not worth consideration. All evidence points to a cesation of mental activity at death.

        You have to take a stand because not doing so is irrational. You live as if God is a myth, but try to leave open the question of His existence like kind of a back door. You delude yourself into thinking that if He does show up, you’ll excuse your failure to accept Him by saying you never really rejected Him. It won’t work. He’ll simply say ‘Away from me. I never knew you’.

        The ironic thing about your attitude is that you have absolutely no interest in seeking or finding the truth. You are one of those rare birds who simply live for the debate. Any resolution to any of the important questions about life would be disheartening to you at best, because you would no longer be able to enjoy the debate. And the dabete is your raison de’tere.

        Yet one part of this debate you seem incapable of engaging is the question of heart or soul or mind. (You seem to deny their existence.) I would assert something slightly different from Descarte’s famous line. I would say “I think, therefore the immaterial is part of reality”. Our ability to think is, after all, not material. Where is the proof of mathematics? Where does it exist other than in the mind? So if part of reality is not material, what to we call it? How about spiritual?

        Why is it such a ‘ludicrous improbability’ to postulate the existence of a being who is the ultimate first cause? Is it more improbible than infinite parallel universes? Wouldn’t all of the physical laws go out the window in every one of those alternate realities? And aren’t you troubled by the difficulty you end up with that we still don’t know what the origin of even one of them is?

        Really dude. What is coherent about that?

  3. Havok

    Rhiesa: Wow, that’s very deep. It’s like, the only people who can truly experiance bliss, are those on a morphine drip. Duh?

    Or perhaps “Only those who seek delusion can truly achieve it!” 🙂

  4. pubdef

    >>Our ability to think is, after all, not material.

    Nonsense. If the material that makes up your brain were destroyed, you would lose the ability to think. If you mean to say that “thought” is immaterial, that at least begins to have basis in reality.

    >>Where is the proof of mathematics? Where does it exist other than in the mind? So if part of reality is not material, what to we call it? How about spiritual?

    What happens to “sixty miles an hour” when your car crashes into a tree? Does it go to heaven?

    1. Welcome, pubdef. Now we can see what happens when one tries to defend an irrational worldview. The one doing the defending becomes incoherent as well! 😀

      It’s not his fault folks. It’s ultimately completely impossible to stay both rational and coherent when defending views that at their core are irrational.

      But thanks for your contribution, pubdef. I’ll keep praying that God will clear up your confusion.

  5. Havok

    John: So now you’re an agnostic? I thought you were an igtheist? Oh, wait, you’re an atheist? Maybe you’re really a chameleon! 😀

    I’m agnostic, in that I’m not sure there isn’t some kind of deity/god.
    I’m ignostic as the concepts of deities which man has come up with are incoherent.
    I’m atheist as I don’t have positive belief in a deity.
    Pretty simple really 😀

    John: So, we do know that up until Planck time things seem to adhere to the natural physical laws.

    Incorrect. After the visible universe was no longer that size and density, the models we have developed do an excellent job of explaining.

    John: But before Planck time, they do not.

    Our models fail. This doesn’t mean the universe was not following the “natural physical laws”.

    John: But again, what does it matter in terms of the question of the temporality of the universe? If the universe was ordered and almost infinitesimally small in a fraction of a second, the question of whether it had a beginning seems pretty settled.

    Well, the Hawking-Hartle boundary model, which attempts to meld GR and QM together, indicates that there was no beginning, though the visible universe is finite in time. It has it’s own difficulties, but it is an indication of what we’re attempting to explain.

    John: All that is left to determine is the mechanisms that were at work to make it happen. And I might point out that if the universe was not behaving according to the natural physical laws, wouldn’t you say it was behaving supernaturally? 😀

    Wow John. You sure showed me 😛
    The models we have break down. That in no way indicates something supernatural. Actually the concept of “suprenatural” seems pretty incoherent. We don’t know the extent of “natural” so to say something is “supernatural” seems a little silly 😀

    John: I could ask you what part of the dichotomy you question?

    Your choices are not exhaustive, hence it’s a false dichotomy.

    John: But what I would prefer to focus on here is your assertion that your preferred alternative involves building upon existing knowledge of physics. I would say that that claim is manifestly bogus. Instead, what you are doing is abjectly refusing to consider what millions of people consider to be the most reasonable alternative.

    So building upon knowledge we have confidence in is more of a stretch than going with the beliefs of people. Argument ad populum anyone?

    John: And since we don’t know what happened before Planck time, neither assumption is falsifiable!

    Things like eternal chaotic inflation, cosmological natural selection, string theory, the Hawking-Hartle boundary model are, in principle, falsifiable. Is the God hypothesis falsifiable?
    The “phsyical” hypothesis are based upon sound objective/intersubjective methodologies. What objective/intersubjective processes/methodologies do claims of the supernatural come from?

    John: Yet to live your life the way you do is to choose in the meantime, to live as if the atheist position is the right one.

    To suspend judgment is a choice. So called “weak atheism”, or simply lacking a positive belief in a god or gods seems to be the rational null hypothesis. To make a claim either way (there is a god/there is not a god) is to make a claim without supporting argument and evidence, and is irrational as a result.

    John: You have to take a stand because not doing so is irrational. You live as if God is a myth, but try to leave open the question of His existence like kind of a back door.

    I don’t bother with your concept of god, as it is manifestly bogus. I leave the door open for the possibility of some being/god.

    John: You delude yourself into thinking that if He does show up, you’ll excuse your failure to accept Him by saying you never really rejected Him. It won’t work. He’ll simply say ‘Away from me. I never knew you’.

    So you know the mind of God now? How convenient. As far as I can tell, a rational assesment of the arguments and evidence in favour of the Christian god, leads one to the conclusion that it is a myth. I have no fear of your deity judging me – fictional characters don’t have too much authority 🙂

    John: Any resolution to any of the important questions about life would be disheartening to you at best, because you would no longer be able to enjoy the debate. And the dabete is your raison de’tere.

    John, You’re a fool. I ask questions because I’m not certain. I’m confident, but I’d like to know if and where I’m wrong.

    John: Yet one part of this debate you seem incapable of engaging is the question of heart or soul or mind. (You seem to deny their existence.)

    The mind exists. The “soul” as some supernatural thing, doesn’t. Current scientific research strongly indicates that the mind is what the brain does – the mind is wholly physical, and there doesn’t seem to be any room nor reason for a soul (nor evidence).
    Claims that the soul exist are without support 🙂

    John: I would assert something slightly different from Descarte’s famous line. I would say “I think, therefore the immaterial is part of reality”. Our ability to think is, after all, not material. Where is the proof of mathematics? Where does it exist other than in the mind? So if part of reality is not material, what to we call it? How about spiritual?

    Thoughts are the interactions of neurons.
    Mathematics exists as a set of rules, and abtractions (which exist as thoughts).
    My claims only require a physical brain, and are supported by findings from neuroscience.
    If you want to claim that maths is something tracendent, or there is some other “substance” or “reality”, then I’d like some evidence please. Else you’re simply indulging in wishful thinking.

    John: Why is it such a ‘ludicrous improbability’ to postulate the existence of a being who is the ultimate first cause?

    It’s not. To postulate that the Christian god exists is ludicrously improbable.

    John: Is it more improbible than infinite parallel universes? Wouldn’t all of the physical laws go out the window in every one of those alternate realities? And aren’t you troubled by the difficulty you end up with that we still don’t know what the origin of even one of them is?

    Multiverse’s pop out of hypothesis to explain this universe. It’s my understanding that should there be multiverses, then there would be some for every possible reality. That would probably mean there is a “universe” for every setting of the phsyical constants.
    That we don’t know the origin of our universe leads me to say “We don’t know, but we’re working on it” when asked about it (as I’ve done numerous times to you). For you to claim you do know, is wishful thinking as we simply do not know. We don’t have the tools, currently (perhaps we never will). Do you see why your claim is simply fanciful?

    John: Really dude. What is coherent about that?

    What is incoherent about it?

    1. Rian – I don’t bother with your concept of god, as it is manifestly bogus. I leave the door open for the possibility of some being/god.

      Pray tell me, kind sir. What concept of God DO you bother with? I ask rhetorically, since it seems the only concepts of god that make it into the realm of your mind, do so as objects of ridicule and scorn. But while I wait for you to explain to me what being/god you are open to, let me tell you what my God offers that none other do. My God provides a means of justification and salvation that I do not have to earn. In fact, my God is so perfectly Holy, that by His definition, “there is no one righteous – not even one.” So salvation for everyone is impossible on his or her own. It is a gift. No one earns it. No one deserves it. That is the uniqueness of Christianity. Every other god has a plan of some kind that defines the way to salvation. And the criteria are always subjective. No one in any other religion really knows the way to salvation. With Christianity, we do. It’s called grace.

      We have all sinned. We have all succomed to the allure of Satan’s original temptation – to be like God. And the truth is that anyone who exalts himself above every other being is condemmed already. Your sin, my dear friend, is that you refuse to submit to any higher authority. You know of no mind superior to your own. You exalt no one above yourself. To be a Christian would require you to humble yourself, and seek a relationship with God not as one who judges, but as one who submits to judgement.

      Rian – So you know the mind of God now?

      Actually, no. But it’s pretty clear from scripture that God looks at the heart. What does He see when He looks at yours? Jesus heaped his most harsh criticism on the Pharisees, who were every bit as full of themselves as most atheists are. He said in Matthew 23 “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” In fact, all of that chapter is worth reading and re-reading.

      Rian – John, You’re a fool. I ask questions because I’m not certain. I’m confident, but I’d like to know if and where I’m wrong.

      I’m a fool? This from a man who worships at the altar of the infinite regress? Or the altar of his own superior wisdom? The Bible says “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” (Psalm 14:1) It also says “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22.)

      Yes, I would be considered a fool in the eyes of many people. But I am a fool who has been forgiven and redeemed. Barak Obama said in his inagural speech to the people in power in the Muslim world “…we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” That’s basically the offer God is making to you – indeed to all of mankind. It will not be open forever, but it is open today. All that’s necessary is to humble yourself and invite God into your heart. There is no one righteous. Yet there is no one beyond redemption until his last heartbeat.

      Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

      1. Havok

        John: But again, what does it matter in terms of the question of the temporality of the universe?

        As the Hawking-Hartle boundary model shows, time can and probably does get all “smeared” past Planck time. So, no, we can’t actually say too much about the initial temporality of the tiny universe.

        John: And I might point out that if the universe was not behaving according to the natural physical laws, wouldn’t you say it was behaving supernaturally? 😀

        How do you know the early universe wasn’t following natural law? Just because our models break down doesn’t mean “God did it”. Remember, our models are not nature, they’re models 😀

        John: But what I would prefer to focus on here is your assertion that your preferred alternative involves building upon existing knowledge of physics. I would say that that claim is manifestly bogus. Instead, what you are doing is abjectly refusing to consider what millions of people consider to be the most reasonable alternative.

        An ad populum fallacy John. You (and billions of others) prefer to put your own (and often vastly different) forms of wishful thinking into various gaps in scientific knowledge, without reasonable evidentiary justification.

        John: And since we don’t know what happened before Planck time, neither assumption is falsifiable!

        You’re confusing something which has not been subject to falsification (various cosmological hypothesis) with something which seems to be unfalsifiable in principle (the “God Hypothesis”). Hypothesis like eternal chaotic inflation and cosmological natural selection (and even string theory, to a degree) make predictions which are falsifiable, simply not at present.
        How would you go about falsifying the “hypothesis” that “The Christian God created the universe”?

        John: Yet to live your life the way you do is to choose in the meantime, to live as if the atheist position is the right one.

        Perhaps I should become a Buddhist, a Hindu, Muslim or Zoroastrian?

        John: You have to take a stand because not doing so is irrational. You live as if God is a myth, but try to leave open the question of His existence like kind of a back door.

        John, the evidence strongly indicates that your particular concept of God, based upon the Christian bible is a myth. It’s why I have no fear of the Christian hell.

        John: You delude yourself into thinking that if He does show up, you’ll excuse your failure to accept Him by saying you never really rejected Him. It won’t work. He’ll simply say ‘Away from me. I never knew you’.

        And how do you know this being, should it exist, wouldn’t value rational enquiry over blind faith? It seems a much more reasonable position, doesn’t it?
        Besides, after brain death there is not going to be a “me” for this hypothetical being to judge 😉

        The ironic thing about your attitude is that you have absolutely no interest in seeking or finding the truth. You are one of those rare birds who simply live for the debate. Any resolution to any of the important questions about life would be disheartening to you at best, because you would no longer be able to enjoy the debate. And the dabete is your raison de’tere.

        Yet one part of this debate you seem incapable of engaging is the question of heart or soul or mind. (You seem to deny their existence.) I would assert something slightly different from Descarte’s famous line. I would say “I think, therefore the immaterial is part of reality”. Our ability to think is, after all, not material. Where is the proof of mathematics? Where does it exist other than in the mind? So if part of reality is not material, what to we call it? How about spiritual?

        Why is it such a ‘ludicrous improbability’ to postulate the existence of a being who is the ultimate first cause? Is it more improbible than infinite parallel universes? Wouldn’t all of the physical laws go out the window in every one of those alternate realities? And aren’t you troubled by the difficulty you end up with that we still don’t know what the origin of even one of them is?

        Really dude. What is coherent about that?

        John: Pray tell me, kind sir. What concept of God DO you bother with? I ask rhetorically, since it seems the only concepts of god that make it into the realm of your mind, do so as objects of ridicule and scorn.

        Simply because the god concepts I’m presented with are only worthy of ridicule and scorn.

        John: My God provides a means of justification and salvation that I do not have to earn.

        Why do I need to justify myself?
        Why would am I in need of salvation?

        John: In fact, my God is so perfectly Holy, that by His definition, “there is no one righteous – not even one.”

        Sounds like a person who isn’t forgiving, nor loving 🙂

        John: So salvation for everyone is impossible on his or her own.

        Salvation for what purpose? I’m not aware of any need for salvation 🙂

        John: It is a gift. No one earns it.

        You need to believe in specific beliefs, which sounds a lot like “earning” it to me. Of course, the Universalists don’t have this problem 😉

        John: That is the uniqueness of Christianity.

        Every religion is unique in some ways, and shares similarities in others. Not a great test for the “truth” of that religion.

        John: Every other god has a plan of some kind that defines the way to salvation. And the criteria are always subjective. No one in any other religion really knows the way to salvation. With Christianity, we do. It’s called grace.

        I think the Calvanists would disagree with you here. Under Calvanism, if I’m not one of the elect there can be no possibility of my salvation.
        The Buddhist have enlightenment, which seems to be a state of mind (much like belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour is a state of mind). Perhaps Christianity isn’t as “unique” as you’re making out 😉

        John: We have all sinned.

        Sin seems to require a deity to sin against.
        Since I’m not aware of the existence of any, I conclude that I’ve never sinned.

        John: We have all succomed to the allure of Satan’s original temptation – to be like God.

        John, Satan is a myth too. The tale of Adam and Eve in Genesis shares similarities with other older creation myths.
        Oh, and the snake in the garden – it’s just a snake 😀

        John: And the truth is that anyone who exalts himself above every other being is condemmed already.

        Your God, should it exist, exalts itself above every other being. By your logic, the Christian deity is condemned.

        John: Your sin, my dear friend, is that you refuse to submit to any higher authority.

        Wrong – I submit to the rules of society and the rule of law – two “higher authorities” I have good reason to accept the existence of.

        John: You know of no mind superior to your own.

        I know of plenty of minds superior to my own and have no problem admitting it. Stephen Hawking’s brain is far better than mine.
        I know of no way in which a mind can exist without a physical substrate to “run” on, so the “superior mind” you’re alluding to here is in serious trouble 🙂

        John: You exalt no one above yourself.

        I also don’t exalt myself above others. It seems the reasonable position to take given others are just like me 🙂

        John: To be a Christian would require you to humble yourself, and seek a relationship with God not as one who judges, but as one who submits to judgement.

        Some indication that this God existed, and required me to humble myself would be great John. If you provided that I could get on with being humbled 😛

        John: Actually, no. But it’s pretty clear from scripture that God looks at the heart.

        Why do you equate scripture with the mind of God?
        Why not accept the Koran as direct dictation from God?
        How about the Zoroastrian Gathis or the Hindu Vedas?

        John: Jesus heaped his most harsh criticism on the Pharisees, who were every bit as full of themselves as most atheists are. He said in Matthew 23…

        incorrect, I’m afraid. The author of the work we call “The Gospel according to Matthew”, about whom we know basically nothing wrote those words some 40+ years after the supposed events and put those words in the mouth of his main character.
        It would be more correct to say the anonymous author heaped his most harsh criticism on the Pharisees (who came to “power” after the first Jewish war, not during the early first century).
        You do know authors often attributed to famous people things they thought, hoped of would have liked them to have said and done, right?

        John: The Bible says …

        And why should I take heed from the Christian bible?
        Should I start quoting from the Koran?

        John: It also says …

        More of the same. Bible quotes don’t buy you a whole lot with someone who doesn’t accept it as a source of authority.

        John: That’s basically the offer God is making to you – indeed to all of mankind. It will not be open forever, but it is open today. All that’s necessary is to humble yourself and invite God into your heart.

        And still I’d need to be convinced of the existence of this being you claim is making an offer to me and all mankind.

        John: Yet there is no one beyond redemption until his last heartbeat.

        If (and it is an enormous if) we have souls, and will live for eternity, why would physical death be an important milestone?
        Why, under your beliefs, is someone unable to change their mind after physical death?
        Surely, when brought into the presence of your deity (for judgement I suppose), it would be irrational not to accept it’s existence and dominion.

        Perhaps you could provide some supporting evidence for your claims that the Christian deity exists and created the universe? Perhaps some falsifiable predictions which flow from that hypothesis?

        Thanks

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