Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Futility of Atheistic “Challenges”

“all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35)

Time and again we are inundated with so-called “challenges” to the existence of God by unbelievers of all stripes. Usually these challenges take the form of “If God exists, why doesn’t He do ……..” However, these challenges have absolutely nothing to do with the existence of God. In fact, such challenges presuppose some knowledge of God’s power, as rebellious humans seek to mold Him into our image.

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This is proven by the fact believers throughout history have asked similar questions. These questions, from believers and unbelievers, are understandable, but the attempt by atheists to present these as “challenges” are merely humanistic revolts against the way God runs His universe, irrespective of His existence. The great Charles Spurgeon observed this rebellion among believers as well.

“Men will allow God to be everywhere except on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and to make stars. They will allow him to be in his almonry to dispense his alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends his throne, his creatures then gnash their teeth; and when we proclaim an enthroned God, and his right to do as he wills with his own, to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well, without consulting them in the matter, then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on his throne is not the God they love. They love him anywhere better than they do when he sits with his scepter in his hand and his crown upon his head. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon his throne whom we trust.”1

It is one thing to ask why God allows certain things to happen, as I have been guilty of myself. It is completely different matter to question His existence. Trying to create a god from our own vain imaginations who will bow to every request of His own creation does not disprove His existence.

Why doesn’t God heal amputees? Why won’t He change the past if we pray for it (assuming we could even know if he did)? Why does He allow evil to exist? These are all tough questions that minds more acute than my own have asked. However, they are completely unrelated to the question, “Does God Exist?” Challenging that question will require more than a few atheistic presumptions about how God should run things.

Footnotes:

1 Charles H. Spurgeon –
Divine Sovereignty

4 comments:

  1. Thanks dagoods.

    You bring up some good points. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about God, even among Christians. I believe that these misconceptions are the root cause of these challenges. Perhaps these challenges will help Christians rethink their idea of God by uisng the Holy Scriptures.

    The God of the Bible has but one purpose, and that is to bring glory to Himself. He even uses evil to do this. God gets glory out of the salvation of His people, and He gets glory out of the destruction of the wicked.

    Two points I'd like to present.

    1.) I hold that the "problem of evil" is a bigger obstacle to the non-theist than the theist. The "naturalist" must somehow explain how good and evil can arise from a natural world of atoms and molecules (not to mention things like justice, free will, love, hate, etc.) The problem of evil presupposes the existence of evil, and I hold that an objective definition of evil must come from God Himself. Otherwise, the very concept of evil becomes nothing more than a personal opinion, stemming from a bunch of human neurons. Without God, evil really doesn't exist. Rather, we have a bunch of behavioral issues triggered by certain stimili and controlled by genetic makeup.

    2.) Regarding your comment on Romans 1:18-25 and suffering, I would say that Paul was referring more to the wonderful design of nature (the original watchmaker argument, referred to today as the Strong Anthropic Principle). Even non-theists have to marvel at this design, though many choose to ignore it by pointing out some perceived design flaws (thus acknowledging the very design they see as flawed.) As for suffering, you have pointed out one of the most obvious and objectively evident Doctrines of Christianity, the Fall of Man.

    Thanks for your input. You got me thinking. May God reveal to you the same "Divine and Supernatural Light" that He has revealed to us, and to the Apostle Peter (Matthew 16:17)

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  2. Shiloh,

    I checked out your profile to see who you were. Looks like you've got a good background, a great education, and some mighty fine cohorts!

    Blessings,
    Swordbearer

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  3. "That is not to say that God does NOT exist - but as far as I see it if people wish to preach the teachings of God from the stand point that he does exist then they must be in a position to prove that claim (whether or not they feel that is the 'point' of religion or not)."


    Interesting point, Tom - you do understand that from the standpoint of the CS team, (Calvinistic, Reformed) that God's existance has been sufficiently "proven" by the fact that our sinful hearts have been turned and our eyes have been opened to the reality of God by God Himself through Jesus Christ? I don't know if you do or can understand this, but our perception of reality and God is primarily caused by God, not by our senses, although we now can attribute cause and effect to the all-knowing Creator vs what seems to the non-regenerate eye - capricious chance.

    Thus when we "preach the teachings of God", as you say, we can comfortably presuppose the truth of His Word and reliably attribute the Truth that is revealed as objective and concrete vs the subjective ethereal conjecture of the unregenerate. The Cause drives and validates the effect, not vice versa.

    Thus all knowledge or evidence gained and presented MUST be put into a divine perspective. The purpose of the debate is then merely to cast the light of Truth on the ultimate futility of the alternative perspective.

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  4. Tom,

    Thanks for your comments. The gist of my article was to show the weaknesses (and irrelevency) of the arguments I listed. These "challenges" (and many like it) have absolutely no relation to the question, "Does God Exist?" That question must be answered independent of how we assume God should run things.

    There are plenty of empirical evidences for God's existence, but you will reject those based on your own unproven presuppositions.

    God has been proven to exist by the fact that He gives the human mind the ability to understand anything. You may reject the Christian "theory of knowledge", but I have yet to hear a decent alternative from an atheistic worldview.

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