Is There A God
Does God Exist
This is the most important question you will ask in your life . Does God Exist? Is God Real? Its answer has the great power to change and shape your life.
I have researched this question a good part of my life and after 26 years here is my conclusion. If you read the full account carefully and objectively you will most likely come to the same conclusion.
Here is a quick and easy experiment for you to try. Take a look at a distant object or one close by. A tree. A car. A computer monitor. This object is a few inches to many feet away from your eyes. Now put your right index finger on your lower eye lid while it’s open, and push up slightly. You will see ‘double vision’ and the object seems to split in half. How did you split an object that is outside your body? If what you see is a real physical object, it would not have split or become a double image. How did you manipulate the tree or monitor when it lies many feet outside your body? The tree, the car or the computer monitor you see is an image of the actual object. Not the actual object. But what is this image? It certainly isn’t the object itself because when you shut your eyes the object is still there. And you can’t split a distant object by just pushing on your eye!
Light travels into your eyes and is focused onto the retina in the back of your eyes. Here the rod and cone photoreceptor cells convert the light into nerve signals that are sent to the back of your brains (visual cortex). The right eye sends signals to the left back hemisphere of your brain and the left eye sends it to the right back. Then what happens to the nerve signals ? Is it a dead end? How do we get this beautiful three dimensional scene that lies outside of our bodies? It has to be part of us because we can manipulate it when we push upwards on one eye. Sight is a feeling, a sensation that lies outside of our physical bodies. Therefore logically speaking if it lies outside our physical body, then it is not part of our physical bodies! Sight and visual images are a part of your soul. They are a part of your spirit. The soul is 100% metaphysical. I advise you not to pay attention to “scientists” who do not believe in the soul. They blindly follow false theories that are immediately debunked and derailed by the existence of the soul.
So where did your soul and sight come from ? How are the two visual fields (left and right) lined up so perfectly on top of each other ? The slightest push gave you double vision. Left Pixel is right on top of right pixel. And who made the cameras, the wires, the brain and the soul and made them communicate together so perfectly? Who mapped the sensor cells exactly to the image in perfect positioning? Is God Real? The one who created this amazing system is your Creator. Also known as God.
What is color anyways: green, blue, purple? Can you describe them to a person borne blind. What you are seeing around you is not the real physical object because there is a central focused detailed area of the visual field (fovea), and then vision becomes less detailed at the periphery. Do real objects have detailed and less focused areas? All what you see is your soul, made by your Creator. God. God is real.
I am sitting in a room and there are a few sounds. My fingers are tapping on a keyboard. The fan sound of the computer. The air conditioner blowing through the vent. Sound begins as a vibration or a wave of pressure that moves through air, water or solid. It is picked up by the ear drum, that pushes a small stirrup bone against a fluid filled, spiral part of our ear called the cochlea. The cochlea is lined up by thousands of tiny hair cells that move in response the fluid vibration and convert the sound into nerve signals. The motion of these hair cells (organ of Corti) can even be changed by the brain to pre-amplify the sound. The nerve signals are sent to two small areas in the sides of our brain’s temporal lobes. Then what happens to the nerve signals? Is it a dead end ?
How do we hear the sound of music ? How is sound projected outside our bodies and positioned spatially into three dimensional space? Again if it is outside your body, then it is not part of your physical body. It is part of your soul, your spirit. This logic cannot and should not be denied.
And if you have two ears why don’t you hear two different sounds for each vibration. Why is there one sound of a water drop in a kitchen sink? Is God Real ? Sound is part of your soul. From the tiniest drop to the sound of thunder. And the one who made your ear, ear drum, cochlea, brains auditory cortexes and wired them perfectly together with your soul, is your Creator. It is none other than God. Yes God is real.
As you sit you feel pressure against your body, and you feel your clothing’s texture against your skin. And when you type on your computer’s keyboard, you feel the plastic keys or the glass screen if its a tablet. All these sensations of touch are outside your physical body. The sensations are just outside your skin. The sense of touch is picked up by a vast network of receptor nerve cells in your skin. Some specialize in pressure and texture (mechanoreceptors like the Merkel cell that senses texture). Others tell you about temperature, pain and position of different parts of the body. This somatosensory system converts the feeling of touch into nerve signals that are sent to the brain’s somatosensory cortex. Then what happens to the nerve signals? Is it a dead end? The soul picks up the signal from the brain and maps the touch feeling out in three dimensional space correctly right outside of your skin at the exact position of touch.
No matter what texture or feeling it is: silk, carpet, wood, steel, water, cold, pain. These are all parts of your soul. Who aligned the soul with your brain and your skin? And even when you grow, gain or lose weight, your soul expands or contracts with your body to correctly match the exact location of your skin sensors. Is God Real? Absolutely. God is real. My advise to you is not listen to anyone. Follow your own reasoning and logic.
Taste & Smell
As you eat chocolate or your favorite meal you taste the food using taste buds in your tongue and the flavor is sensed by the smell in your nose (the olfactory bulb). The signals are sent to the brain and processed further along the way by intermediary parts of your brain. Invariably the tastes of sweetness, saltiness, sourness and bitterness combined with the flavors (e.g. flavor of pizza, coffee, meat) end up in the brain’s cortex. The taste we feel is then projected back and positioned onto the food that is being chewed or the beverage being drank. Even though these senses are within the boundaries of our physical body, the food itself is not part of our body and the same question returns. Flavors, taste and smell are not part of our physical body. They are again part of the soul. Is God Real? Who coded the shape of molecules to be sensed by 50 to 150 receptor cells that make up your taste buds. And combined this taste with the smell in your nose to give you a flavor. When you eat something that is healthy, it tastes delicious and when a food has gone foul it has a noxious smell and a bad taste. This is the work of your great and kind Creator God. God is real.
What Are You?
Ask yourself the question what am I ? Look inwards and ask again. Beyond the physical body, you are made of mainly two parts: the mind and the heart. They are parts of the soul. Like two spheres one on top of the other, separated by a space. The body is merely a vehicle with sensors to sense, interact and move your soul in the physical world. Anytime you make a decision there is tug of war between your heart and mind. Your mind can lead you to success and the heart will either help you or ask for what is bad, depending on previous decisions and acts. The heart has no intelligence and should never be trusted. It can be a cruel master inflicting harmless pain when it doesn’t get its way. Patience is needed to overcome it.
Love is not a chemical. Nor an electrical pulse. Neither is the color blue. Happiness is not found inside neurons. Theses are sensations of the soul. But where did your soul come from ? And how did your soul get matched up and aligned so perfectly to your body? Why is it when you move, that your soul moves along with the very different physical body? Why is it not left behind or fall down through the earth? The more you think, the more you will draw the same conclusion. This cannot be anything other than the work of a superior, genius being. This great scientist, engineer and artist is our Creator. Is God Real ? Absolutely 100% God is real.
Imagination & Memory
Imagine you are on a beach, with white sand and waves breaking on the shore line. Behind you is a line of coconut palm trees. The picture you just drew in your mind is your imagination. How do you draw an inner or outward photo of anything you wish? You can imagine a miniature car with a miniature person in it, moving along your desk or furniture. What is this projection you just made outside your body? How do we remember facts, what happened yesterday and important events in our life in less than a second?
Memory and imagination are both parts of the mind, which is part of the soul. They are not part of the physical brain. Memory is not stored in the nerve cells, but in the soul’s vast storage system. Memories may be accessed by the physical brain, which acts like a wire or USB cable to the soul’s external storage device. Some scientists nowadays do not approach, nor believe in the soul nor its existence because it is beyond what they can measure or detect with their instruments. It also conflicts with the fallacious and secular education they had received. The recognition of the soul is a personal and logical process. If one follows logic and reason, one can arrive at the right answer. Is God Real ? Yes and He is the maker of your physical brain and metaphysical mind that is part of your soul. Your physical brain has approximately 100 billion neurons. Who wired your brain and developed it from a single egg cell? Indeed God is real.
Meaning & Thinking
What is the meaning of the word ‘meaning’? What is the meaning of ‘success and achievement’? How do we understand a written or spoken sentence? How do we understand the sentences written on this site ? What is meaning? What is thinking ? How am I able to plan my day tomorrow ? How can humans decide what to do to increase their income or learn a new skill ? Meaning, understanding and thought are all complex operations of the brain and the mind. They are so complicated and obviously miraculous that any objective thought will only lead you in one direction. The mind is part of our soul and the one who lined up billions of neurons with billions of receptors in the soul’s mind is a great scientist and creator. Is God Real? It is enough just to look at thought and meaning to conclude that God is indeed alive and is responsible for our design and existence.
What is time? Time is a measure of change and is useful for our minds’ well being. Does time really exist? Within this universe time does exist because there is change. We need it to function. With respect to our Great Creator, God the aspect of time is different. The evidence above and below will make you conclude (if you are objective) that God is alive and does exist but we cannot fully comprehend Him. God has always existed and will always exist. He is in a permanent state of existence and He created space, change and time. But God himself does not change. Understanding God is beyond the limits of our intelligene.
Every protein that makes up your body and cells is transcribed and made from the stored genetic information in our chromosomes. The information is stored in strands made of just four nucleotide molecules: Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine. Every three (codon) code for an amino acid. Amino acids are the buidling blocks of polypeptides which are the proteins.
To translate a genes’ information into functional proteins and hormones, first a copy is made of the DNA and stored in a single strand called the messenger RNA. Then parts of this mRNA (introns) are removed that do not code for protein. This is then shuttled to the cell and picked up by a large complex structure called the ribosome that is responsible for the final translation into the protein.
If all the proteins of your body are translated from DNA, and proteins are needed to translate DNA into proteins, then who put those translating proteins in our cells in the first place? If a ribosome was not already present in the cell, not one single protein would have ever been made. The one who put the ribosomes and encoded all the proteins of all living creatures into 3 nucleotide codes is a highly intelligent being. Clearly He has the ability to manipulate atoms and molecules on a very microscopic level and does not forget any formulation. This intelligent being is your creator. God.
Every human being is made of about fifty trillion cells. All these cells in their difference and complexity were derived from one single cell. Cells divide and give perfect copies of their DNA (genes) to the next set of cells. DNA copies are proof read and any errors are corrected in the new cells. Different cells express different parts of the genome and have different functions. Each cell is like a tiny supercomputer that has to work in perfect tandem with neighboring cells and within itself to serve its purpose. If the cell malfunctions and becomes cancerous, it no longer recognizes its neighbors and divides indefinitely which can lead to death. Any mutation or change in the DNA can deform transcribed proteins losing their shape and ability to function. This can lead to the death of the cell. There are no constructive mutations. The fruit fly which was studied for the function of the genes is irradiated with gamma radiation to mutate the genome and find out the function of the genes by studying the dead larvae or pupa and finding out what proteins are missing or deformed and resulted in the death.
Each cell is made up of organelles such as the nucleus which contains the DNA, the mitchondrion which gives it energy to function, the golgi body which acts as a packaging center for proteins, a complex membrane that allows only certain molecules in, and other complex structures. Who designed the cell out of which a 50-trillion-cell creature is made ? Is God Real? Yes. God is the one who designed the cell and engineered all the creatures and made the male and female versions of every living being. The correct tree of life is one line from every single species to this masterful engineer who is our creator God.
The Atom & Nuclear Energy
We’ve all watched nuclear explosions and the formation of mushroom clouds. These massive explosions can be derived from as little as 52 kilogram weight of matter. How were these atoms put together in the first place? Where did this huge amount of energy come from that made the stars which are giant atom and element factories? Even the structure of a tiny atom shows organization and complexity that requires an intelligent scientist to engineer and design. The energy needed to make the stars came from an intelligent being who has an infinite source of energy and total control over matter. Mass is made out of energy. Mass and atoms were all put together by our creator God. Directly or indirectly.
The Big Bang &
Arguments Why God Exists
Note from Editor of The Conversation US: This is a revised version of the original piece. We have done so to make explicit the author’s expertise with regard to the subject of this article. We have also incorporated important context that was missing in the original version.
The question of whether a god exists is heating up in the 21st century. According to a Pew survey, the percent of Americans having no religious affiliation reached 23 percent in 2014. Among such “nones,” 33 percent said that they do not believe in God – an 11 percent increase since only 2007.
Such trends have ironically been taking place even as, I would argue, the probability for the existence of a supernatural god have been rising. In my 2015 book, “God? Very Probably: Five Rational Ways to Think about the Question of a God,” I look at physics, the philosophy of human consciousness, evolutionary biology, mathematics, the history of religion and theology to explore whether such a god exists. I should say that I am trained originally as an economist, but have been working at the intersection of economics, environmentalism and theology since the 1990s.
Laws of math
As argued by scholars such as Philip Davis and Reuben Hersh, mathematics existsindependent of physical reality. It is the job of mathematicians to discover the realities of this separate world of mathematical laws and concepts. Physicists then put the mathematics to use according to the rules of prediction and confirmed observation of the scientific method.
But modern mathematics generally is formulated before any natural observations are made, and many mathematical laws today have no known existing physical analogues.
Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity, for example, was based on theoretical mathematics developed 50 years earlier by the great German mathematician Bernhard Riemann that did not have any known practical applications at the time of its intellectual creation.
In some cases the physicist also discovers the mathematics. Isaac Newton was considered among the greatest mathematicians as well as physicists of the 17th century. Other physicists sought his help in finding a mathematics that would predict the workings of the solar system. He found it in the mathematical law of gravity, based in part on his discovery of calculus.
At the time, however, many people initially resisted Newton’s conclusions because they seemed to be “occult.” How could two distant objects in the solar system be drawn toward one another, acting according to a precise mathematical law? Indeed, Newton made strenuous efforts over his lifetime to find a natural explanation, but in the end he could say only that it is the will of God.
Despite the many other enormous advances of modern physics, little has changed in this regard. As Wigner wrote, “the enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious and there is no rational explanation for it.”
In other words, as I argue in my book, it takes the existence of some kind of a god to make the mathematical underpinnings of the universe comprehensible.
Math and other worlds
In 2004 the great British physicist Roger Penrose put forward a vision of a universe composed of three independently existing worlds – mathematics, the material world and human consciousness. As Penrose acknowledged, it was a complete puzzle to him how the three interacted with one another outside the ability of any scientific or other conventionally rational model.
How can physical atoms and molecules, for example, create something that exists in a separate domain that has no physical existence: human consciousness?
It is a mystery that lies beyond science.
This mystery is the same one that existed in the Greek worldview of Plato, who believed that abstract ideas (above all mathematical) first existed outside any physical reality. The material world that we experience as part of our human existence is an imperfect reflection of these prior formal ideals. As the scholar of ancient Greek philosophy, Ian Mueller, writes in “Mathematics And The Divine,” the realm of such ideals is that of God.
Indeed, in 2014 the MIT physicist Max Tegmark argues in “Our Mathematical Universe” that mathematics is the fundamental world reality that drives the universe. As I would say, mathematics is operating in a god-like fashion.
The mystery of human consciousness
The workings of human consciousness are similarly miraculous. Like the laws of mathematics, consciousness has no physical presence in the world; the images and thoughts in our consciousness have no measurable dimensions.
Yet, our nonphysical thoughts somehow mysteriously guide the actions of our physical human bodies. This is no more scientifically explicable than the mysterious ability of nonphysical mathematical constructions to determine the workings of a separate physical world.
Until recently, the scientifically unfathomable quality of human consciousness inhibited the very scholarly discussion of the subject. Since the 1970s, however, it has become a leading area of inquiry among philosophers.
Recognizing that he could not reconcile his own scientific materialism with the existence of a nonphysical world of human consciousness, a leading atheist, Daniel Dennett, in 1991 took the radical step of denying that consciousness even exists.
Finding this altogether implausible, as most people do, another leading philosopher, Thomas Nagel, wrote in 2012 that, given the scientifically inexplicable – the “intractable” – character of human consciousness, “we will have to leave [scientific] materialism behind” as a complete basis for understanding the world of human existence.
As an atheist, Nagel does not offer religious belief as an alternative, but I would argue that the supernatural character of the workings of human consciousness adds grounds for raising the probability of the existence of a supernatural god.
Evolution and faith
Evolution is a contentious subject in American public life. According to Pew, 98 percent of scientists connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science “believe humans evolved over time” while only a minority of Americans “fully accept evolution through natural selection.”
As I say in my book, I should emphasize that I am not questioning the reality of natural biological evolution. What is interesting to me, however, are the fierce arguments that have taken place between professional evolutionary biologists. A number of developments in evolutionary theory have challenged traditional Darwinist – and later neo-Darwinist – views that emphasize random genetic mutations and gradual evolutionary selection by the process of survival of the fittest.
From the 1970s onwards, the Harvard evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould created controversy by positing a different view, “punctuated equilibrium,” to the slow and gradual evolution of species as theorized by Darwin.
In 2011, the University of Chicago evolutionary biologist James Shapiro argued that, remarkably enough, many micro-evolutionary processes worked as though guided by a purposeful “sentience” of the evolving plant and animal organisms themselves. “The capacity of living organisms to alter their own heredity is undeniable,” he wrote. “Our current ideas about evolution have to incorporate this basic fact of life.”
A number of scientists, such as Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “see no conflict between believing in God and accepting the contemporary theory of evolution,” as the American Association for the Advancement of Science points out.
For my part, the most recent developments in evolutionary biology have increased the probability of a god.
Miraculous ideas at the same time?
For the past 10,000 years at a minimum, the most important changes in human existence have been driven by cultural developments occurring in the realm of human ideas.
In the Axial Age (commonly dated from 800 to 200 B.C.), world-transforming ideas such as Buddhism, Confucianism, the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and the Hebrew Old Testament almost miraculously appeared at about the same time in India, China, ancient Greece and among the Jews in the Middle East, groups having little interaction with one another.
The development of the scientific method in the 17th century in Europe and its modern further advances have had at least as great a set of world-transforming consequences. There have been many historical theories, but none capable, I would argue, of explaining as fundamentally transformational a set of events as the rise of the modern world. It was a revolution in human thought, operating outside any explanations grounded in scientific materialism, that drove the process.
That all these astonishing things happened within the conscious workings of human minds, functioning outside physical reality, offers further rational evidence, in my view, for the conclusion that human beings may well be made “in the image of [a] God.”
Different forms of worship
In his commencement address to Kenyon College in 2005, the American novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace said that: “Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”
Even though Karl Marx, for example, condemned the illusion of religion, his followers, ironically, worshiped Marxism. The American philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre thus wrote that for much of the 20th century, Marxism was the “historical successor of Christianity,”claiming to show the faithful the one correct path to a new heaven on Earth.
In several of my books, I have explored how Marxism and other such “economic religions” were characteristic of much of the modern age. So Christianity, I would argue, did not disappear as much as it reappeared in many such disguised forms of “secular religion.”
That the Christian essence, as arose out of Judaism, showed such great staying power amidst the extraordinary political, economic, intellectual and other radical changes of the modern age is another reason I offer for thinking that the existence of a god is very probable.
Can Science Prove The Existence Of God
Can Science Prove The Existence Of God?
There’s an argument that many people make: that the natural world, and humanity’s existence in the Universe, point towards a divine creator that brought forth all of this into existence. To the best of our knowledge, Earth exists with a plethora of conditions that allowed for our existence, and does so in a way that no other world can match.
We live in a particularly privileged place. We live on a planet that has all the right ingredients for life, including:
- We’re at the right distance from our Sun so that temperatures are conducive to life.
- We have the right atmospheric pressure for liquid water at our surface.
- We have the right ingredients — the right balance of heavy elements and organic molecules — for life to arise.
- We have the right amount of water so that our world has both oceans and continents.
- And life started on our world very early, sustained itself for our planet’s entire history, and gave rise to us: sentient, self-aware creatures.
If you look at the other worlds we know of, the difference is striking.
The claim that’s often made isn’t merely that Earth is unlikely; it’s that our planet, with the confluence of circumstances that gave rise to us, is statistically impossible, even given all the stars and galaxies in the Universe. The emergence of intelligent life is so outlandishly unexpected, given all the factors that needed to occur in just the right particular order, that our Universe must have been designed specifically to give rise to us. Otherwise, the argument goes, the odds of us coming to be would be so infinitesimally small that it’s unreasonable to believe it could have happened by chance.
This is a very compelling argument for many people, but it’s important to ask ourselves three questions to make sure we’re approaching this honestly. We’ll go through them one at a time, but here are the three, so we know what we’re getting into.
- What are, scientifically, the conditions that we need for life to arise?
- How rare or common are these conditions elsewhere in the Universe?
- And finally, if we don’t find life in the places and under the conditions where we expect it, can that prove the existence of God?
These are all big questions, so let’s give them the care they deserve.
1.) What are, scientifically, the conditions that we need for life to arise?
In other words, things did occur in a very specific way here on Earth, but how many of them does life-as-we-know-it require, versus how many of them happened in a particular way here, but could have easily happened under different conditions elsewhere?
The things I listed earlier are based on the assumption that any life that’s out there is going to be like us in the sense that it will be based on the chemistry of atoms and molecules, occur with liquid water as a basic requirement of its functioning, and won’t be in an environment that we know to be toxic to all terrestrial life. For those criteria alone, we already know there are billions of planets in our galaxy alone that fit the bill.
Our studies of exoplanets — of worlds around stars beyond our own — have shown us that there’s a huge variety of rocky planets orbiting at the right distance from their central stars to have liquid water on their surfaces if they have anything akin to atmospheres like our own. We are starting to approach the technological capabilities of detecting exo-atmospheres and their compositions around worlds as small as our own; currently, we can get down to about Neptune-sized worlds, although the James Webb Space Telescope will advance that further in under a decade.
But aren’t there other things we need to worry about? What if we were too close to the galactic center; wouldn’t the high rate of supernovae fry us, and sterilize life? What if we didn’t have a planet like Jupiter to clear out the asteroid belt; wouldn’t the sheer number of asteroids flying our way wipe any life that manages to form out? And what about the fact that we’re here now, when the Universe is relatively young? Many stars will live for trillions of years, but we’ve only got about another billion or two before our Sun gets hot enough to boil our oceans. When the Universe was too young, there weren’t enough heavy elements. Did we come along at just the right time, to not only make it in our Universe, but to witness all the galaxies before dark energy pushes them away?
Probably not, to all of these questions! If we were closer to the galactic center, yes: the star formation rate is higher and the rate of supernovae is higher. But the main thing that means is that large numbers of heavy elements are created faster there, giving complex life an opportunity starting from earlier times. Here in the outskirts, we have to wait longer! And as for sterilizing a planet, you’d have to be very close to a supernova for that to happen — far closer than stars typically are to one another near the galactic center — or else in the direct path of a hypernova beam. But even in this latter case, which would still be incredibly rare, you’re likely to only sterilize half your world at once, because these beams are short-lived!
Their atmospheres wouldn’t be blown off entirely, deep-ocean life should still survive, and there’s every reason to believe that no matter how bad it got, the conditions would be ripe for complex life to make a comeback. Once life takes hold on a world, or gets “under its skin” as some biologists say, it’s very hard to annihilate it entirely. And this simply won’t do.
Same deal for asteroids. Yes, a solar system without a Jupiter-like planet would have many more asteroids, but without a Jupiter-like planet, would their orbits ever get perturbed to fling them into the inner solar system? Would it make extinction events more common, or rarer? Moreover, even if there were increased impacts, would that even make complex/intelligent life less likely, or would the larger number of extinction events accelerate the differentiation of life, making intelligence more likely? The evidence that we need a Jupiter for life is specious at best, just like the evidence that we need to be at this location in our galaxy is also sparse. But even if those things were true, we’d still have huge numbers of worlds — literally tens-to-hundreds of millions — that met those criteria in our galaxy alone.
And finally, we did come along relatively early, but the ingredients for stars and solar systems like our own were present in large abundances in galaxies many billions of years before our own star system formed. We’re even finding potentially habitable worlds where life may be 7-to-9-billion-years-old! So no, we’re probably not first. The conditions that we need for life to arise, to the best we can measure, seem to exist all over the galaxy, and hence probably all over the Universe as well.
2.) How rare or common are these conditions elsewhere in the Universe?
Scientists didn’t help themselves with overly optimistic estimates of the Drake equation: the equation that is most commonly used to estimate the number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy. Of all the science presented in Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos series, his estimates of the Drake equation represented possibly the worst science in the series. So let’s run through the actual numbers to the best that science knows — complete with realistic uncertainties — and see what we come up with.
As best as we can tell — extrapolating what we’ve discovered to what we haven’t yet looked at or been able to see — there ought to be around 1-to-10 trillion planets in our galaxy that orbit stars, and somewhere around 40-to-80 billion of them are candidates for having all three of the following properties:
- being rocky planets,
- located where they’ll consistently have Earth-like temperatures,
- and that ought to support and sustain liquid water on their surfaces!
So the worlds are there, around stars, in the right places! In addition to that, we need them to have the right ingredients to bring about complex life. What about those building blocks; how likely are they to be there?
Believe it or not, these heavy elements — assembled into complex molecules — are unavoidable by this point in the Universe. Enough stars have lived and died that all the elements of the periodic table exist in fairly high abundances all throughout the galaxy. But are they assembled correctly? Taking a look towards the heart of our own galaxy is molecular cloud Sagittarius B, shown at the top of this page. In addition to water, sugars, benzene rings and other organic molecules that just “exist” in interstellar space, we find surprisingly complex ones.
Like ethyl formate (left) and n-propyl cyanide (right), the former of which is responsible for the smell of raspberries! Molecules just as complex as these are literally in every molecular cloud, protoplanetary disk and stellar outflow that we’ve measured. So with tens of billions of chances in our galaxy alone, and the building blocks already in place, you might think — as Fermi did — that the odds of intelligent life arising many times in our own galaxy is inevitable.
But first, we need to make life from non-life. This is no small feat, and is one of the greatest puzzles around for natural scientists in all disciplines: the problem of abiogenesis. At some point, this happened for us, whether it happened in space, in the oceans, or in the atmosphere, it happened, as evidenced by our very planet, and its distinctive diversity of life. But thus far, we’ve been unable to create life from non-life in the lab. So it’s not yet possible to say how likely it is, although we’ve taken some amazing steps in recent decades. It could be something that happens on as many as 10–25% of the possible worlds, which means up to 20 billion planets in our galaxy could have life on them. (Including — past or present — others in our own Solar System, like Mars, Europa, Titan or Enceladus.) That’s our optimistic estimate.
But it could be far fewer than that as well. Was life on Earth likely? In other words, if we performed the chemistry experiment of forming our Solar System over and over again, would it take hundreds, thousands or even millions of chances to get life out once? Conservatively, let’s say it’s only one-in-a-million, which still means, given the pessimistic end of 40 billion planets with the right temperature, there are still at least 40,000 planets out there in our galaxy alone with life on them.
But we want something even more than that; we’re looking for large, specialized, multicellular, tool-using creatures. So while, by many measures, there are plenty of intelligent animals, we are interested in a very particular type of intelligence. Specifically, a type of intelligence that can communicate with us, despite the vast distances between the stars! So how common is that? From the first, self-replicating organic molecule to something as specialized and differentiated as a human being, we know we need billions of years of (roughly) constant temperatures, the right evolutionary steps, and a whole lot of luck. What are the odds that such a thing would have happened? One-in-a-hundred? Well, optimistically, maybe. That might be how many of these planets stay at constant temperatures, avoid 100% extinction catastrophes, evolve multicellularity, gender, become differentiated and encephalized enough to eventually learn to use tools.
But it could be far fewer; we are not an inevitable consequence of evolution so much as a happy accident of it. Even one-in-a-million seems like it might be too optimistic for the odds of human-like animals evolving on an Earth-like world with the right ingredients for life; I could easily imagine that it would take a billion Earths (or more) to get something like human beings out just once.
If we take the optimistic estimate of the optimistic estimate above, perhaps 200 million worlds are out there capable of communicating with us, in our galaxy alone. But if we take the pessimistic estimate about both life arising and the odds of it achieving intelligence, there’s only a one-in-25,000 chance that our galaxy would have even one such civilization. In other words, life is a fantastic bet, but intelligent life may not be. And that’s according to reasonable scientific estimates, but it assumes we’re being honest about our uncertainties here, too. So the conditions for life are definitely everywhere, but life itself could be common or rare, and what we consider intelligent life could be common, rare or practically non-existent in our galaxy. As science finds out more, we’ll learn more about that.
3.) If we don’t find life in the places and under the conditions where we expect it, can that prove the existence of God? Certainly, there are people that will argue that it does. But to me, that’s a terrible way to place your faith. Consider this:
Do you want or need your belief in a divine or supernatural origin to the Universe to be based in something that could be scientifically disproven?
I am very open about not being a man of faith myself, but of having tremendous respect for those who are believers. The wonderful thing about science is that it is for everybody who’s willing to look to the Universe itself to find out more information about it. Why would your belief in God require that science give a specific answer to this question that we don’t yet know the answer to? Will your faith be shaken if we find that, hey, guess what, chemistry works to form life on other worlds the same way it worked in the past on this one? Will you feel like you’ve achieved some sort of spiritual victory if we scour the galaxy and find that human beings are the most intelligent species on all the worlds of the Milky Way?
Or, can your beliefs — whatever they are — stand up to whatever scientific truths the Universe reveals about itself, regardless of what they are? In the professional opinion of practically all scientists who study the Universe, it is very likely that there is life on other worlds, and that there’s a very good chance — if we invest in looking for it — that we’ll be able to find the first biological signatures on other worlds within a single generation. Whether there’s intelligent life beyond Earth, or more specifically, intelligent life beyond Earth in our galaxy that’s still alive right now, is a more dubious proposition, but the outcome of this scientific question in no way favors or disfavors the existence of God, any more than the order of whether fish or birds evolved first on Earth favors or disfavors a deity’s existence.
The truths of the Universe are written out there, on the Universe itself, and are accessible to us all through the process of inquiry. To allow an uncertain faith to stand in as an answer where scientific knowledge is required does us all a disservice; the illusion of knowledge — or reaching a conclusion before obtaining the evidence — is a poor substitute for what we might actually come to learn, if only we ask the right questions. Science can never prove or disprove the existence of God, but if we use our beliefs as an excuse to draw conclusions that scientifically, we’re not ready for, we run the grave risk of depriving ourselves of what we might have come to truly learn.
So as Obama’s presidency draws to a close and a Trump presidency begins, I implore you: don’t let your faith, whatever it may be, close you off to the joys and wonders of the natural world. The joys of knowing — of figuring out the answers to questions for ourselves — is one that none of us should be cheated out of. May your faith, if you have one, only serve to enhance and enrich you, not take the wonder of science away!
Six Reasons Why God Exsists
Does God exist? Here are six straightforward reasons to believe that God is really there.
By Marilyn Adamson IsThereaGod2018.mp3 Listen
Just once wouldn’t you love for someone to simply show you the evidence for God’s existence? No arm-twisting. No statements of, “You just have to believe.” Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer some of the reasons which suggest that God exists.
But first consider this. When it comes to the possibility of God’s existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God.1 On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.”2Before you look at the facts surrounding his existence, ask yourself, If God does exist, would I want to know him? Here then, are some reasons to consider…
1. The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.
Many examples showing God’s design could be given, possibly with no end. But here are a few:
The Earth…its size is perfect. The Earth’s size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.3 Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.
The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.
And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.4
Water…colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You’ll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:
It has wide margin between its boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.
Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.5
Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.
Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.
Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.
Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.6
The human brain…simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard. Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands.
The human brain processes more than a million messages a second.7 Your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. The brain functions differently than other organs. There is an intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people.
The eye…can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages — simultaneously.8 Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain — the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.
2. The universe had a start – what caused it?
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.
Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, “The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion…The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen.”9
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, “the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade…and the universe was filled with light.”10
The universe has not always existed. It had a start…what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.
3. The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn’t change — on earth or in galaxies far from us.
How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?
“The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn’t have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence.”11
Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, “Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.”12
4. The DNA code informs, programs a cell’s behavior.
All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It’s made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!!
Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.13
Why is this so amazing? One has to ask….how did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person’s body should develop.
Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
5. We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.
I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people…to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded. To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.
I didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, “Ok, you win…” It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.
I am not the only one who has experienced this. Malcolm Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, “I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued.” C.S. Lewis said he remembered, “…night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”
Lewis went on to write a book titled, “Surprised by Joy” as a result of knowing God. I too had no expectations other than rightfully admitting God’s existence. Yet over the following several months, I became amazed by his love for me.
6. Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and you’ll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you’re looking at him. Though he talked about his Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father.
He said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”14 He claimed attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sin, free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them eternal life in heaven. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words, Jesus pointed people to himself. He did not say, “follow my words and you will find truth.” He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”15
What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He did what people can’t do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people…blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects…created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature…walked on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because he constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I’m telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you’re seeing.16
Jesus Christ showed God to be gentle, loving, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply wanting a relationship with us. Jesus revealed that although he views us as sinners, worthy of his punishment, his love for us ruled and he came up with a different plan. God himself took on the form of man and accepted the punishment for our sin on our behalf. Sounds ludicrous? Perhaps, but many loving fathers would gladly trade places with their child in a cancer ward if they could. The Bible says that the reason we would love God is because he first loved us.
Jesus died in our place so we could be forgiven. Of all the religions known to humanity, only through Jesus will you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to himself. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he offers us a new life today. We can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”17 This is God, in action.
Does God exist? If you want to know, investigate Jesus Christ. We’re told that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”18
God does not force us to believe in him, though he could. Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence for us to willingly respond to him. The earth’s perfect distance from the sun, the unique chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God is there, the willingness for God to be known through Jesus Christ. If you need to know more about Jesus and reasons to believe in him, please see: Beyond Blind Faith.
If you want to begin a relationship with God now, you can.
This is your decision, no coercion here. But if you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with him, you can do so right now by asking him to forgive you and come into your life. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [or her].”19 If you want to do this, but aren’t sure how to put it into words, this may help: “Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. You know my life and that I need to be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me right now and come into my life. I want to know you in a real way. Come into my life now. Thank you that you wanted a relationship with me. Amen.”
God views your relationship with him as permanent. Referring to all those who believe in him, Jesus Christ said of us, “I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”20
Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way.
|►||I just asked Jesus into my life (some helpful information follows)…|
|►||I may want to ask Jesus into my life, please explain this more fully…|
|►||I have a question or comment…|
Footnotes: (1) Romans 1:19-21 (2) Jeremiah 29:13-14 (3) R.E.D. Clark, Creation (London: Tyndale Press, 1946), p. 20 (4) The Wonders of God’s Creation, Moody Institute of Science (Chicago, IL) (5) Ibid. (6) Ibid. (7) Ibid. (8) Hugh Davson, Physiology of the Eye, 5th ed (New York: McGraw Hill, 1991) (9) Robert Jastrow; “Message from Professor Robert Jastrow”; LeaderU.com; 2002. (10) Steven Weinberg; The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe; (Basic Books,1988); p 5. (11) Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity; (Regnery Publishing, Inc, 2007, chapter 11). (12) Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist (New York: BasicBooks, 1998), 43. (13) Francis S. Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, and author of The Language of God, (Free Press, New York, NY), 2006 (14) John 8:12 (15) John 14:6 (16) John 14:11 (17) Jeremiah 31:3 (18) John 3:16 (10) Revelation 3:20 (20) John 10:27-29
The Existence Of God
The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture. A wide variety of arguments for and against the existence of God can be categorized as metaphysical, logical, empirical, or subjective. In philosophical terms, the question of the existence of God involves the disciplines of epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) and ontology (study of the nature of being, existence, or reality) and the theory of value (since some definitions of God include “perfection”). The Western tradition of philosophical discussion of the existence of God began with Plato and Aristotle, who made arguments that would now be categorized as cosmological. Other arguments for the existence of God have been proposed by St. Anselm, who formulated the first ontological argument; Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Thomas Aquinas, who presented their own versions of the cosmological argument (the kalam argument and the first way, respectively); René Descartes, who said that the existence of a benevolent God is logically necessary for the evidence of the senses to be meaningful. John Calvin argued for a sensus divinitatis, which gives each human a knowledge of God’s existence. Philosophers who have provided arguments against the existence of God include Immanuel Kant, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell. In modern culture, the question of God’s existence has been discussed by scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Francis Collins, Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson and John Lennox, as well as philosophers including Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Rebecca Goldstein, A. C. Grayling, Daniel Dennett, Edward Feser, David Bentley Hart, Reza Aslan and Sam Harris. Scientists follow the scientific method, within which theories must be verifiable by physical experiment. The majority of prominent conceptions of God explicitly or effectively posit a being which is not testable either by proof or disproof. On these bases, the question regarding the existence of God, one for which evidence cannot be tested, may lie outside the purview of modern science by definition. The Catholic Church maintains that knowledge of the existence of God is the “natural light of human reason”. Fideists maintain that belief in the existence of God may not be amenable to demonstration or refutation, but rests on faith alone. Atheists view arguments for the existence of God as insufficient, mistaken or weighing less in comparison to arguments against whereas some religions, such as Buddhism, are not concerned with the existence of gods at all and yet other religions, such as Jainism, reject the possibility of a creator deity.
- 2Philosophical issues
- 3Arguments for the existence of God
- 3.1Empirical arguments
- 3.2Deductive arguments
- 3.3Inductive arguments
- 3.4Subjective arguments
- 3.5Hindu arguments
- 4Arguments against the existence of God
- 5Psychological aspects
- 6See also
- 8Further reading
- 9External links
Positions on the existence of God can be divided along numerous axes, producing a variety of orthogonal classifications. Theism and atheism are positions of belief (or lack of it), while gnosticism and agnosticism are positions of knowledge (or the lack of it). Ignosticism concerns belief regarding God’s conceptual coherence. Apatheism concerns belief regarding the practical importance of whether God exists.
- Strong theist. 100% probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: “I do not believe, I know.”
- De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100%. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.”
- Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50% but not very high. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.”
- Completely impartial. Exactly 50%. “God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.”
- Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50% but not very low. “I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.”
- De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. “I don’t know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
- Strong atheist. “I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one.”
In classical theism, God is characterized as the metaphysically ultimate being (the first, timeless, absolutely simple and sovereign being, who is devoid of any anthropomorphic qualities), in distinction to other conceptions such as theistic personalism, open theism, and process theism. Classical theists do not believe that God can be completely defined. They believe it would contradict the transcendent nature of God for mere humans to define him. Robert Barron explains by analogy that it seems impossible for a two-dimensional object to conceive of three-dimensional humans.
In modern Western societies, the concepts of God typically entail a monotheistic, supreme, ultimate, and personal being, as found in the Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions. In monotheistic religions outside the Abrahamic traditions, the existence of God is discussed in similar terms. In these traditions, God is also identified as the author (either directly or by inspiration) of certain texts, or that certain texts describe specific historical events caused by the God in question or communications from God (whether in direct speech or via dreams or omens). Some traditions also believe that God is the entity which is currently answering prayers for intervention or information or opinions.
Many Islamic scholars have used philosophical and rational arguments to prove the existence of God. For example, Ibn Rushd, a 12th-century Islamic scholar, philosopher, and physician, states there are only two arguments worthy of adherence, both of which are found in what he calls the “Precious Book” (The Qur’an). Rushd cites “providence” and “invention” in using the Qur’an’s parables to claim the existence of God. Rushd argues that the Earth’s weather patterns are conditioned to support human life; thus, if the planet is so finely-tuned to maintain life, then it suggests a fine tuner – God. The Sun and the Moon are not just random objects floating in the Milky Way, rather they serve us day and night, and the way nature works and how life is formed, humankind benefits from it. Rushd essentially comes to a conclusion that there has to be a higher being who has made everything perfectly to serve the needs of human beings.
Moses ben Maimon, widely known as Maimonides, was a Jewish scholar who tried to logically prove the existence of God. Maimonides offered proofs for the existence of God, but he did not begin with defining God first, like many others do. Rather, he used the description of the earth and the universe to prove the existence of God. He talked about the Heavenly bodies and how they are committed to eternal motion. Maimonides argued that because every physical object is finite, it can only contain a finite amount of power. If everything in the universe, which includes all the planets and the stars, is finite, then there has to be an infinite power to push forth the motion of everything in the universe. Narrowing down to an infinite being, the only thing that can explain the motion is an infinite being (meaning God) which is neither a body nor a force in the body. Maimonides believed that this argument gives us a ground to believe that God is, not an idea of what God is. He believed that God cannot be understood or be compared.
Non-personal definitions of God
In pantheism, God and the universe are considered to be the same thing. In this view, the natural sciences are essentially studying the nature of God. This definition of God creates the philosophical problem that a universe with God and one without God are the same, other than the words used to describe it.
Deism and panentheism assert that there is a God distinct from, or which extends beyond (either in time or in space or in some other way) the universe. These positions deny that God intervenes in the operation of the universe, including communicating with humans personally. The notion that God never intervenes or communicates with the universe, or may have evolved into the universe, makes it difficult, if not by definition impossible, to distinguish between a universe with God and one without.
Debate about how theism should be argued
In Christian faith, theologians and philosophers make a distinction between: (a) preambles of faith and (b) articles of faith. The preambles include alleged truths contained in revelation which are nevertheless demonstrable by reason, e.g., the immortality of the soul, the existence of God. The articles of faith, on the other hand, contain truths that cannot be proven or reached by reason alone and presuppose the truths of the preambles, e.g., the Holy Trinity, is not demonstrable and presupposes the existence of God.
The argument that the existence of God can be known to all, even prior to exposure to any divine revelation, predates Christianity. St. Paul made this argument when he said that pagans were without excuse because “since the creation of the world God’s invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made”. In this Paul alludes to the proofs for a creator, later enunciated by St. Thomas and others, but that had also been explored by the Greek philosophers.
Another apologetical school of thought, including Dutch and American Reformed thinkers (such as Abraham Kuyper, Benjamin Warfield, Herman Dooyeweerd), emerged in the late 1920s. This school was instituted by Cornelius Van Til, and came to be popularly called Presuppositional apologetics (though Van Til himself felt “transcendental” would be a more accurate title). The main distinction between this approach and the more classical evidentialist approach is that the presuppositionalist denies any common ground between the believer and the non-believer, except that which the non-believer denies, namely, the assumption of the truth of the theistic worldview. In other words, presuppositionalists do not believe that the existence of God can be proven by appeal to raw, uninterpreted, or “brute” facts, which have the same (theoretical) meaning to people with fundamentally different worldviews, because they deny that such a condition is even possible. They claim that the only possible proof for the existence of God is that the very same belief is the necessary condition to the intelligibility of all other human experience and action. They attempt to prove the existence of God by means of appeal to the transcendental necessity of the belief—indirectly (by appeal to the unavowed presuppositions of the non-believer’s worldview) rather than directly (by appeal to some form of common factuality). In practice this school utilizes what have come to be known as transcendental arguments. In these arguments they claim to demonstrate that all human experience and action (even the condition of unbelief, itself) is a proof for the existence of God, because God’s existence is the necessary condition of their intelligibility.
Alvin Plantinga presents an argument for the existence of God using modal logic. Others have said that the logical and philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God miss the point. The word God has a meaning in human culture and history that does not correspond to the beings whose existence is supported by such arguments, assuming they are valid. The real question is not whether a “most perfect being” or an “uncaused first cause” exist. The real question is whether Jehovah, Zeus, Ra, Krishna, or any gods of any religion exist, and if so, which gods? On the other hand, many theists equate all monotheistic or henotheistic “most perfect Beings”, no matter what name is assigned to them/him, as the one monotheistic God (one example would be understanding the Muslim Allah, Christian Yhwh, and Chinese Shangdi as different names for the same Being). Most of these arguments do not resolve the issue of which of these figures is more likely to exist. These arguments fail to make the distinction between immanent gods and a Transcendent God.
Some[who?] Christians note that the Christian faith teaches “salvation is by faith”, and that faith is reliance upon the faithfulness of God. The most extreme example of this position is called fideism, which holds that faith is simply the will to believe, and argues that if God’s existence were rationally demonstrable, faith in its existence would become superfluous. Søren Kierkegaard argued that objective knowledge, such as 1+1=2, is unimportant to existence. If God could rationally be proven, his existence would be unimportant to humans. It is because God cannot rationally be proven that his existence is important to us. In The Justification of Knowledge, the Calvinist theologian Robert L. Reymond argues that believers should not attempt to prove the existence of God. Since he believes all such proofs are fundamentally unsound, believers should not place their confidence in them, much less resort to them in discussions with non-believers; rather, they should accept the content of revelation by faith. Reymond’s position is similar to that of his mentor Gordon Clark, which holds that all worldviews are based on certain unprovable first premises (or, axioms), and therefore are ultimately unprovable. The Christian theist therefore must simply choose to start with Christianity rather than anything else, by a “leap of faith“. This position is also sometimes called presuppositional apologetics, but should not be confused with the Van Tillian variety.
The atheistic conclusion is that the arguments and evidence both indicate there is insufficient reason to believe that any gods exist, and that personal subjective religious experiences say something about the human experience rather than the nature of reality itself; therefore, one has no reason to believe that a god exists.
Positive atheism (also called “strong atheism” and “hard atheism”) is a form of atheism that asserts that no deities exist. The strong atheist explicitly asserts the non-existence of gods. Some[who?] strong atheists further assert that the existence of gods is logically impossible, stating that the combination of attributes which God may be asserted to have (omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, transcendence, omnibenevolence) are logically contradictory, incomprehensible, or absurd, and therefore the existence of such a god is a priori false. Metaphysical naturalism is a common worldview associated with strong atheism.
Negative atheism (also called “weak atheism” and “soft atheism”) is any type of atheism other than positive, wherein a person does not believe in the existence of any deities, but does not explicitly assert there to be none.
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable. Agnosticism as a broad umbrella term does not define one’s belief or disbelief in gods; agnostics may still identify themselves as theists or atheists.
Strong agnosticism is the belief that it is impossible for humans to know whether or not any deities exist.
Weak agnosticism is the belief that the existence or nonexistence of deities is unknown but not necessarily unknowable.
Agnostic theism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a god or God, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. Agnostic theists may also insist on ignorance regarding the properties of the gods they believe in.
Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.
The theologian Robert Flint explains:
If a man have failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist, although he assume no superhuman knowledge, but merely the ordinary human power of judging of evidence. If he go farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist, an agnostic-atheist—an atheist because an agnostic.”
An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that gods exist or do not exist. An apatheist lives as if there are no gods and explains natural phenomena without reference to any deities. The existence of gods is not rejected, but may be designated unnecessary or useless; gods neither provide purpose to life, nor influence everyday life, according to this view.
The ignostic (or igtheist) usually concludes that the question of God’s existence or nonexistence is usually not worth discussing because concepts like “God” are usually not sufficiently clearly defined. Ignosticism or igtheism is the theological position that every other theological position (including agnosticism and atheism) assume too much about the concept of God and many other theological concepts. It can be defined as encompassing two related views about the existence of God. The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed. Furthermore, if that definition is unfalsifiable, the ignostic takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of God (per that definition) is meaningless. In this case, the concept of God is not considered meaningless; the term “God” is considered meaningless. The second view is synonymous with theological noncognitivism, and skips the step of first asking “What is meant by ‘God’?” before proclaiming the original question “Does God exist?” as meaningless.
Some philosophers have seen ignosticism as a variation of agnosticism or atheism, while others[who?] have considered it to be distinct. An ignostic maintains that he cannot even say whether he is a theist or an atheist until a sufficient definition of theism is put forth.
The term “ignosticism” was coined in the 1960s by Sherwin Wine, a rabbi and a founding figure of Humanistic Judaism. The term “igtheism” was coined by the secular humanist Paul Kurtz in his 1992 book The New Skepticism.
The problem of the supernatural
One problem posed by the question of the existence of God is that traditional beliefs usually ascribe to God various supernatural powers. Supernatural beings may be able to conceal and reveal themselves for their own purposes, as for example in the tale of Baucis and Philemon. In addition, according to concepts of God, God is not part of the natural order, but the ultimate creator of nature and of the scientific laws. Thus in Aristotelian philosophy, God is viewed as part of the explanatory structure needed to support scientific conclusions and any powers God possesses are—strictly speaking—of the natural order that is derived from God’s place as originator of nature (see also Monadology).
In Karl Popper‘s philosophy of science, belief in a supernatural God is outside the natural domain of scientific investigation because all scientific hypotheses must be falsifiable in the natural world. The non-overlapping magisteria view proposed by Stephen Jay Gould also holds that the existence (or otherwise) of God is irrelevant to and beyond the domain of science.
Logical positivists such as Rudolf Carnap and A. J. Ayer viewed any talk of gods as literal nonsense. For the logical positivists and adherents of similar schools of thought, statements about religious or other transcendent experiences can not have a truth value, and are deemed to be without meaning, because such statements do not have any clear verification criteria. As the Christian biologist Scott C. Todd put it “Even if all the data pointed to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.” This argument limits the domain of science to the empirically observable and limits the domain of God to the unprovable.
Nature of relevant proofs and arguments
John Polkinghorne suggests that the nearest analogy to the existence of God in physics is the ideas of quantum mechanics which are seemingly paradoxical but make sense of a great deal of disparate data.
One approach, suggested by writers such as Stephen D. Unwin, is to treat (particular versions of) theism and naturalism as though they were two hypotheses in the Bayesian sense, to list certain data (or alleged data), about the world, and to suggest that the likelihoods of these data are significantly higher under one hypothesis than the other. Most of the arguments for, or against, the existence of God can be seen as pointing to particular aspects of the universe in this way. In almost all cases it is not seriously suggested by proponents of the arguments that they are irrefutable, merely that they make one worldview seem significantly more likely than the other. However, since an assessment of the weight of evidence depends on the prior probability that is assigned to each worldview, arguments that a theist finds convincing may seem thin to an atheist and vice versa.
Philosophers, such as Wittgenstein, take a view that is considered anti-realist and oppose philosophical arguments related to God’s existence. For instance, Charles Taylor contends that the real is whatever will not go away. If we cannot reduce talk about God to anything else, or replace it, or prove it false, then perhaps God is as real as anything else.
In George Berkeley‘s A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge of 1710, he argued that a “naked thought” cannot exist, and that a perception is a thought; therefore only minds can be proven to exist, since all else is merely an idea conveyed by a perception. From this Berkeley argued that the universe is based upon observation and is non-objective. However, he noted that the universe includes “ideas” not perceptible to humankind, and that there must, therefore, exist an omniscient superobserver, which perceives such things. Berkeley considered this proof of the existence of the Christian god.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity and elsewhere, raised the argument from desire. He posed that all natural desires have a natural object. One thirsts, and there exists water to quench this thirst; One hungers, and there exists food to satisfy this hunger. He then argued that the human desire for perfect justice, perfect peace, perfect happiness, and other intangibles strongly implies the existence of such things, though they seem unobtainable on earth. He further posed that the unquenchable desires of this life strongly imply that we are intended for a different life, necessarily governed by a God who can provide the desired intangibles.
Outside of Western thought
Existence in absolute truth is central to Vedanta epistemology. Traditional sense perception based approaches were put into question as possibly misleading due to preconceived or superimposed ideas. But though all object-cognition can be doubted, the existence of the doubter remains a fact even in nastika traditions of mayavada schools following Adi Shankara. The five eternal principles to be discussed under ontology, beginning with God or Isvara, the Ultimate Reality cannot be established by the means of logic alone, and often require superior proof. In Vaisnavism Vishnu, or his intimate ontological form of Krishna, is equated to personal absolute God of the Western traditions. Aspects of Krishna as svayam bhagavan in original Absolute Truth, sat chit ananda, are understood originating from three essential attributes of Krishna’s form, i.e., “eternal existence” or sat, related to the brahman aspect; “knowledge” or chit, to the paramatman; and “bliss” or ananda in Sanskrit, to bhagavan.
Arguments for the existence of God
Argument from beauty
One form of the argument from beauty is that the elegance of the laws of physics, which have been empirically discovered, or the elegant laws of mathematics, which are abstract but which have empirically proven to be useful, is evidence of a creator deity who has arranged these things to be beautiful and not ugly.
Argument from consciousness
The argument from consciousness claims that human consciousness cannot be explained by the physical mechanisms of the human body and brain, therefore, asserting that there must be non-physical aspects to human consciousness. This is held as indirect evidence of God, given that notions about souls and the afterlife in Christianity and Islam would be consistent with such a claim. Critics point out that non-physical aspects of consciousness could exist in a universe without any gods; for example, some religions that believe in reincarnation are compatible with atheism, monotheism, and polytheism.
The notion of the soul was created before modern understanding of neural networks and the physiology of the brain. After decades of detailed experimentation and testing how the mind works, cognitive science has yet to find any aspects of human thought or emotion that require non-physical explanations, though many aspects of both mental illness and healthy functioning of the brain have yet to be explained in detail. It could be said[by whom?] that the modern research program of cognitive science both assumes physicalism and provides empirical support for that assumption. The hard problem of consciousness remains as to whether different people subjectively experience the world in the same way — for example, that the color blue looks the same inside the minds of different people, though this is a philosophical problem with both physical and non-physical explanations.
Aquinas’ Five Ways
In article 3, question 2, first part of his Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas developed his five arguments for God’s existence. These arguments are grounded in an Aristotelian ontology and make use of the infinite regression argument. Aquinas did not intend to fully prove the existence of God as he is orthodoxly conceived (with all of his traditional attributes), but proposed his Five Ways as a first stage, which he built upon later in his work. Aquinas’ Five Ways argued from the unmoved mover, first cause, necessary being, argument from degree, and the teleological argument.
- The unmoved mover argument asserts that, from our experience of motion in the universe (motion being the transition from potentiality to actuality) we can see that there must have been an initial mover. Aquinas argued that whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another thing, so there must be an unmoved mover.
- Aquinas’ argument from first cause started with the premise that it is impossible for a being to cause itself (because it would have to exist before it caused itself) and that it is impossible for there to be an infinite chain of causes, which would result in infinite regress. Therefore, there must be a first cause, itself uncaused.
- The argument from necessary being asserts that all beings are contingent, meaning that it is possible for them not to exist. Aquinas argued that if everything can possibly not exist, there must have been a time when nothing existed; as things exist now, there must exist a being with necessary existence, regarded as God.
- Aquinas argued from degree, considering the occurrence of degrees of goodness. He believed that things which are called good, must be called good in relation to a standard of good—a maximum. There must be a maximum goodness that which causes all goodness.
- The teleological argument asserts the view that things without intelligence are ordered towards a purpose. Aquinas argued that unintelligent objects cannot be ordered unless they are done so by an intelligent being, which means that there must be an intelligent being to move objects to their ends: God.
Philosopher Georg Hegel signed a publishing contract in 1831 for his final book, Lectures on the Proofs of the Existence of God (1831). Sadly, Hegel died that year, before completing his first draft of that work. What we know about this planned work we find in the pages of his Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (1818-1831). There we find that Hegel proposed a dialectical reworking of the three classical proofs of the existence of God, namely: (1) the cosmological argument; (2) the teleological argument; and (3) the ontological argument. Hegel recognized that Immanuel Kant‘s Critique of Pure Reason had sharply criticized the three three classical proofs, and as a veteran critic of Kantian epistemology, Hegel chose to show where Kant, Schleiermacher and Jacobi had been mistaken in their negative positions over the three classical proofs. Thus, Hegel went about reworking these classical arguments by using his own dialectical logic.
Joseph Hinman applied Toulmin’s approach in his argument for the existence of God, particularly in his book The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant for Belief. Instead of attempting to prove the existence of God, Hinman argues you can “demonstrate the rationally-warranted nature of belief”.
Hinman uses a wide range of studies, including ones by Robert Wuthnow, Andrew Greeley, Mathes and Kathleen Nobel to establish that mystical experiences are life-transformative in a way that is significant, positive and lasting. He draws on additional work to add several additional major points to his argument. First, the people who have these experiences not only do not exhibit traditional signs of mental illness but, often, are in better mental and physical health than the general population due to the experience. Second, the experiences work. In other words, they provide a framework for navigating life that is useful and effective. All of the evidence of the positive effects of the experience upon people’s lives he, adapting a term from Derrida, terms “the trace of God”: the footprints left behind that point to the impact.
Finally, he discusses how both religious experience and belief in God is, and has always been, normative among humans: people do not need to prove the existence of God. If there is no need to prove, Hinman argues, and the Trace of God (for instance, the impact of mystical experiences on them), belief in God is rationally warranted.[clarification needed]
The ontological argument has been formulated by philosophers including St. Anselm and René Descartes. The argument proposes that God’s existence is self-evident. The logic, depending on the formulation, reads roughly as follows:
Whatever is contained in a clear and distinct idea of a thing must be predicated of that thing; but a clear and distinct idea of an absolutely perfect Being contains the idea of actual existence; therefore since we have the idea of an absolutely perfect Being such a Being must really exist.
Thomas Aquinas criticized the argument for proposing a definition of God which, if God is transcendent, should be impossible for humans. Immanuel Kant criticized the proof from a logical standpoint: he stated that the term “God” really signifies two different terms: both idea of God, and God. Kant concluded that the proof is equivocation, based on the ambiguity of the word God. Kant also challenged the argument’s assumption that existence is a predicate (of perfection) because it does not add anything to the essence of a being. If existence is not a predicate, then it is not necessarily true that the greatest possible being exists. A common rebuttal to Kant’s critique is that, although “existence” does add something to both the concept and the reality of God, the concept would be vastly different if its referent is an unreal Being. Another response to Kant is attributed to Alvin Plantinga who explains that even if one were to grant Kant that “existence” is not a real predicate, “Necessary Existence”, which is the correct formulation of an understanding of God, is a real predicate, thus according to Plantinga Kant’s argument is refuted.
Inductive arguments argue their conclusions through inductive reasoning.
- Another class of philosophers asserts that the proofs for the existence of God present a fairly large probability though not absolute certainty. A number of obscure points, they say, always remain; an act of faith is required to dismiss these difficulties. This view is maintained, among others, by the Scottish statesman Arthur Balfour in his book The Foundations of Belief (1895). The opinions set forth in this work were adopted in France by Ferdinand Brunetière, the editor of the Revue des deux Mondes. Many orthodox Protestants express themselves in the same manner, as, for instance, Dr. E. Dennert, President of the Kepler Society, in his work Ist Gott tot?
- The hypothesis of well design proposes that certain features of the universe and of living things are the product of an intelligent cause. Its proponents are mainly Christians.
- Argument from belief in God being properly basic as presented by Alvin Plantinga.
- Argument from the confluence of proper function and reliability and the evolutionary argument against naturalism, concluding that naturalism is incapable of providing humans with the cognitive apparatus necessary for their knowledge to have positive epistemic status.
- Argument from Personal Identity.
- Argument from the “divine attributes of scientific law”.
Arguments from historical events or personages
- The sincere seeker’s argument, espoused by Muslim Sufis of the Tasawwuf tradition, posits that every individual who follows a formulaic path towards guidance, arrives at the same destination of conviction in the existence of God and specifically in the monotheistic tenets and laws of Islam. This could only be true if the formula and supplication were being answered by the same Divine entity being addressed, as claimed in Islamic revelations. This was formally organized by Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali in such notable works as “Deliverance from Error” and “The Alchemy of Happiness,” in Arabic “Kimiya-yi sa’adat“. The path includes following the golden rule of no harm to others and treating others with compassion, silence or minimal speech, seclusion, daily fasting or minimalist diet of water and basic nourishment, honest wages, and daily supplication towards “the Creator of the Universe” for guidance.
- Christianity and Judaism assert that God intervened in key specific moments in history, especially at the Exodus and the giving of the Ten Commandments in front of all the tribes of Israel, positing an argument from empirical evidence stemming from sheer number of witnesses, thus demonstrating his existence.
- Christological arguments assert that certain events of the Christian New Testament are historically accurate, and prove God’s existence, namely:
- Islam asserts that the revelation of its holy book, the Qur’an, and its unique literary attributes, vindicate its divine authorship, and thus the existence of God.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormonism, similarly asserts that the miraculous appearance of God, Jesus Christ, and angels to Joseph Smith and others and subsequent finding and translation of the Book of Mormon establishes the existence of God. The whole Latter Day Saint movement makes the same claim for example Community of Christ, Church of Christ (Temple Lot), Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite), etc.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), similarly asserts that the finding and translation of the Plates of Laban, also known as the Brass Plates, into the Book of the Law of the Lord and Voree plates by James Strang, One Mighty and Strong, establishes the existence of God.
- Various sects that have broken from the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) (such as Church of Christ “With the Elijah Message” and Church of Christ (Assured Way)) claim that the message brought by John the Baptist, One Mighty and Strong, to Otto Fetting and W. A. Draves in The Word of the Lord Brought to Mankind by an Angel establishes the existence of God.
Arguments from testimony
Arguments from testimony rely on the testimony or experience of witnesses, possibly embodying the propositions of a specific revealed religion. Swinburne argues that it is a principle of rationality that one should accept testimony unless there are strong reasons for not doing so.
- The witness argument gives credibility to personal witnesses, contemporary and throughout the ages. A variation of this is the argument from miracles (also referred to as “the priest stories”) which relies on testimony of supernatural events to establish the existence of God.
- The majority argument argues that the theism of people throughout most of recorded history and in many different places provides prima facie demonstration of God’s existence.
Arguments grounded in personal experiences
- The sincere seeker’s argument, espoused by Muslim Sufis of the Tasawwuf tradition, posits that every individual who follows a formulaic path towards guidance, arrives at the same destination of conviction in the existence of God and specifically in the monotheistic tenets and laws of Islam. This apparent natural law for guidance and belief could only be consistent if the formula and supplication were being answered by the same Divine entity being addressed, as claimed in Islamic revelations. This was formally organized by Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali in such notable works as “Deliverance from Error” and “The Alchemy of Happiness,” in Arabic “Kimiya-yi sa’ādat“. The path includes following the golden rule of no harm to others and treating others with compassion, silence or minimal speech, seclusion, daily fasting or minimalist diet of water and basic nourishment, honest wages, and daily supplication towards “the Creator of the Universe” for guidance.
- The Argument from a proper basis argues that belief in God is “properly basic”; that it is similar to statements like “I see a chair” or “I feel pain”. Such beliefs are non-falsifiable and, thus, neither provable nor disprovable; they concern perceptual beliefs or indisputable mental states.
- In Germany, the School of Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi taught that human reason is able to perceive the suprasensible. Jacobi distinguished three faculties: sense, reason, and understanding. Just as sense has immediate perception of the material so has reason immediate perception of the immaterial, while the understanding brings these perceptions to a person’s consciousness and unites them to one another. God’s existence, then, cannot be proven (Jacobi, like Immanuel Kant, rejected the absolute value of the principle of causality), it must be felt by the mind.
- The same theory was advocated in Germany by Friedrich Schleiermacher, who assumed an inner religious sense by means of which people feel religious truths. According to Schleiermacher, religion consists solely in this inner perception, and dogmatic doctrines are inessential.
- Brahma Kumaris religion was established in 1936, when God was said to enter the body of diamond merchant Lekhraj Kripalani (1876–1969) in Hyderabad, Sindh and started to speak through him.
The school of Vedanta argues that one of the proofs of the existence of God is the law of karma. In a commentary to Brahma Sutras (III, 2, 38, and 41), Adi Sankara argues that the original karmic actions themselves cannot bring about the proper results at some future time; neither can super sensuous, non-intelligent qualities like adrsta by themselves mediate the appropriate, justly deserved pleasure and pain. The fruits, according to him must be administered through the action of a conscious agent, namely, a supreme being (Ishvara). The Nyaya school make similar arguments.
Arguments against the existence of God
The following empirical arguments rely on observations or experimentation to yield their conclusions.
- The argument from inconsistent revelations contests the existence of the deity called God as described in scriptures—such as the Hindu Vedas, the Jewish Tanakh, the Christian Bible, the Muslim Qur’an, the Book of Mormon or the Baha’i Aqdas—by identifying apparent contradictions between different scriptures, within a single scripture, or between scripture and known facts.
- The problem of evil contests the existence of a god who is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent by arguing that such a god should not permit the existence of evil or suffering. The theist responses are called theodicies.
- The destiny of the unevangelized, by which persons who have never even heard of a particular revelation might be harshly punished for not following its dictates.
- The argument from poor design contests the idea that God created life on the basis that lifeforms, including humans, seem to exhibit poor design.
- The argument from nonbelief contests the existence of an omnipotent God who wants humans to believe in him by arguing that such a god would do a better job of gathering believers.
- The argument from parsimony (using Occam’s razor) contends that since natural (non-supernatural) theories adequately explain the development of religion and belief in gods, the actual existence of such supernatural agents is superfluous and may be dismissed unless otherwise proven to be required to explain the phenomenon.
- The analogy of Russell’s teapot argues that the burden of proof for the existence of God lies with the theist rather than the atheist; it can be considered an extension of Occam’s Razor.
The following arguments deduce, mostly through self-contradiction, the existence of a God as “the Creator”.
- Stephen Hawking and co-author Leonard Mlodinow state in their book The Grand Design that it is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God. Both authors claim that it is possible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings. Christian mathematicians and scientists, most notably Leonhard Euler, Bernard d’Espagnat and John Lennox, disagree with that kind of skeptical argument.
- A counter-argument against God as the Creator tasks the assumption of the Cosmological argument (“chicken or the egg”), that things cannot exist without creators, and applies it to God, setting up an infinite regress.
- Dawkin’s Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit analogizes the above. Some theists argue that evolution is akin to a hurricane assembling a Boeing 747 — that the universe (or life) is too complex not to have been designed by someone, who theists call God. Dawkin’s counter-argument is that such a God would himself be complex — the “Ultimate” Boeing 747 — and therefore require a designer.
- Theological noncognitivism is the argument that religious language – specifically, words such as “God” – are not cognitively meaningful and that irreducible definitions of God are circular.
Some arguments focus on the existence of specific conceptions of God as being omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect.
- The omnipotence paradox suggests that the concept of an omnipotent entity is logically contradictory by considering questions such as “Can God create a rock so big that He cannot move it?” or “If God is all powerful, could God create a being more powerful than Himself?”
- Similarly, the omniscience paradox argues that God cannot be omniscient because he would not know how to create something unknown to himself.
- Another argument points to the contradiction of omniscience and omnipotence arguing that God is bound to follow whatever God foreknows himself doing.
- Argument from free will contends that omniscience and the free will of humanity are incompatible and that any conception of God that incorporates both properties is therefore inherently contradictory: if God is omniscient, then God already knows humanity’s future, contradicting the claim of free will.
- The anthropic argument states that if God is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect, he would have created other morally perfect beings instead of imperfect ones, such as humans.
- The problem of hell is the idea that eternal damnation contradicts God’s omnibenevolence and omnipresence.
Inductive arguments argue their conclusions through inductive reasoning.
- The atheist-existential argument for the non-existence of a perfect sentient being states that if existence precedes essence, it follows from the meaning of the term sentient that a sentient being cannot be complete or perfect. It is touched upon by Jean-Paul Sartre in Being and Nothingness. Sartre’s phrasing is that God would be a pour-soi [a being-for-itself; a consciousness] who is also an en-soi [a being-in-itself; a thing]: which is a contradiction in terms. The argument is echoed thus in Salman Rushdie‘s novel Grimus: “That which is complete is also dead.”
- The “no reason” argument tries to show that an omnipotent and omniscient being would not have any reason to act in any way, specifically by creating the universe, because it would have no needs, wants, or desires since these very concepts are subjectively human. Since the universe exists, there is a contradiction, and therefore, an omnipotent god cannot exist. This argument is expounded upon by Scott Adams in the book God’s Debris, which puts forward a form of Pandeism as its fundamental theological model. A similar argument is put forward in Ludwig von Mises‘s “Human Action”. He referred to it as the “praxeological argument” and claimed that a perfect being would have long ago satisfied all its wants and desires and would no longer be able to take action in the present without proving that it had been unable to achieve its wants faster—showing it imperfect.
- The “historical induction” argument concludes that since most theistic religions throughout history (e.g. ancient Egyptian religion, ancient Greek religion) and their gods ultimately come to be regarded as untrue or incorrect, all theistic religions, including contemporary ones, are therefore most likely untrue/incorrect by induction. It is implied as part of Stephen F. Roberts’ popular quotation:
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
Similar to the subjective arguments for the existence of God, subjective arguments against the supernatural mainly rely on the testimony or experience of witnesses, or the propositions of a revealed religion in general.
- The witness argument gives credibility to personal witnesses, contemporary and from the past, who disbelieve or strongly doubt the existence of God.
- The conflicted religions argument notes that many religions give differing accounts as to what God is and what God wants; since all the contradictory accounts cannot be correct, many if not all religions must be incorrect.
- The disappointment argument claims that if, when asked for, there is no visible help from God, there is no reason to believe that there is a God.
Atheistic Hindu doctrines cite various arguments for rejecting a creator God or Ishvara. The Sāṁkhyapravacana Sūtra of the Samkhya school states that there is no philosophical place for a creator God in this system. It is also argued in this text that the existence of Ishvara (God) cannot be proved and hence cannot be admitted to exist. Classical Samkhya argues against the existence of God on metaphysical grounds. For instance, it argues that an unchanging God cannot be the source of an ever-changing world. It says God is a necessary metaphysical assumption demanded by circumstances. The Sutras of Samkhya endeavor to prove that the idea of God is inconceivable and self-contradictory, and some[which?] commentaries speak plainly on this subject. The Sankhya- tattva-kaumudi, commenting on Karika 57, argues that a perfect God can have no need to create a world, and if God’s motive is kindness, Samkhya questions whether it is reasonable to call into existence beings who while non-existent had no suffering. Samkhya postulates that a benevolent deity ought to create only happy creatures, not an imperfect world like the real world.
Charvaka, originally known as Lokāyata, a heterodox Hindu philosophy states that there is “no God, no samsara (rebirth), no karma, no duty, no fruits of merit, no sin.” Proponents of the school of Mimamsa, which is based on rituals and orthopraxy, decided that the evidence allegedly proving the existence of God is insufficient. They argue that there is no need to postulate a maker for the world, just as there is no need for an author to compose the Vedas or a god to validate the rituals. Mimamsa argues that the gods named in the Vedas have no existence apart from the mantras that speak their names. In that regard, the power of the mantras is what is seen as the power of gods.
Several authors have offered psychological or sociological explanations for belief in the existence of God.
Psychologists observe that the majority of humans often ask existential questions such as “why we are here” and whether life has purpose. Some psychologists[weasel words] have posited that religious beliefs may recruit cognitive mechanisms in order to satisfy these questions. William James emphasized the inner religious struggle between melancholy and happiness, and pointed to trance as a cognitive mechanism. Sigmund Freud stressed fear and pain, the need for a powerful parental figure, the obsessional nature of ritual, and the hypnotic state a community can induce as contributing factors to the psychology of religion.
Pascal Boyer‘s Religion Explained (2002), based in part on his anthropological field work, treats belief in God as the result of the brain’s tendency towards agency detection. Boyer suggests that, because of evolutionary pressures, humans err on the side of attributing agency where there isn’t any. In Boyer’s view, belief in supernatural entities spreads and becomes culturally fixed because of their memorability. The concept of “minimally counterintuitive” beings that differ from the ordinary in a small number of ways (such as being invisible, able to fly, or having access to strategic and otherwise secret information) leave a lasting impression that spreads through word-of-mouth.
Scott Atran‘s In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (2002) makes a similar argument and adds examination of the socially coordinating aspects of shared belief. In Minds and Gods: The Cognitive Foundations of Religion, Todd Tremlin follows Boyer in arguing that universal human cognitive process naturally produces the concept of the supernatural. Tremlin contends that an agency detection device (ADD) and a theory of mind module (ToMM) lead humans to suspect an agent behind every event. Natural events for which there is no obvious agent may be attributed to God (c.f. Act of God).
Arguments Why God Doesn’t Exsist
WHY THERE ALMOST CERTAINLY IS NO GOD
Either Jesus had a father or he didn’t. The question is a scientific one, and scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it. The same is true of any miracle — and the deliberate and intentional creation of the universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles. Either it happened or it didn’t. It is a fact, one way or the other, and in our state of uncertainty we can put a probability on it — an estimate that may change as more information comes in. Humanity’s best estimate of the probability of divine creation dropped steeply in 1859 when The Origin of Species was published, and it has declined steadily during the subsequent decades, as evolution consolidated itself from plausible theory in the nineteenth century to established fact today.
The Chamberlain tactic of snuggling up to ‘sensible’ religion, in order to present a united front against (‘intelligent design’) creationists, is fine if your central concern is the battle for evolution. That is a valid central concern, and I salute those who press it, such as Eugenie Scott in Evolution versus Creationism. But if you are concerned with the stupendous scientific question of whether the universe was created by a supernatural intelligence or not, the lines are drawn completely differently. On this larger issue, fundamentalists are united with ‘moderate’ religion on one side, and I find myself on the other.
RICHARD DAWKINS is an evolutionary biologist and the former Charles Simonyi Professor For The Understanding Of Science at Oxford University; Fellow of New College; author of The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River out of Eden (ScienceMasters Series), Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Devil’s Chaplain, The Ancestor’s Tale, The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth, and The Magic of Reality.
WHY THERE ALMOST CERTAINLY IS NO GOD
America, founded in secularism as a beacon of eighteenth century enlightenment, is becoming the victim of religious politics, a circumstance that would have horrified the Founding Fathers. The political ascendancy today values embryonic cells over adult people. It obsesses about gay marriage, ahead of genuinely important issues that actually make a difference to the world. It gains crucial electoral support from a religious constituency whose grip on reality is so tenuous that they expect to be ‘raptured’ up to heaven, leaving their clothes as empty as their minds. More extreme specimens actually long for a world war, which they identify as the ‘Armageddon’ that is to presage the Second Coming. Sam Harris, in his new short book, Letter to a Christian Nation, hits the bull’s-eye as usual:
It is, therefore, not an exaggeration to say that if the city of New York were suddenly replaced by a ball of fire, some significant percentage of the American population would see a silver-lining in the subsequent mushroom cloud, as it would suggest to them that the best thing that is ever going to happen was about to happen: the return of Christ . . .Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this, purely on the basis of religious dogma, should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.
Does Bush check the Rapture Index daily, as Reagan did his stars? We don’t know, but would anyone be surprised?
My scientific colleagues have additional reasons to declare emergency. Ignorant and absolutist attacks on stem cell research are just the tip of an iceberg. What we have here is nothing less than a global assault on rationality, and the Enlightenment values that inspired the founding of this first and greatest of secular republics. Science education — and hence the whole future of science in this country — is under threat. Temporarily beaten back in a Pennsylvania court, the ‘breathtaking inanity’ (Judge John Jones’s immortal phrase) of ‘intelligent design’ continually flares up in local bush-fires. Dowsing them is a time-consuming but important responsibility, and scientists are finally being jolted out of their complacency. For years they quietly got on with their science, lamentably underestimating the creationists who, being neither competent nor interested in science, attended to the serious political business of subverting local school boards. Scientists, and intellectuals generally, are now waking up to the threat from the American Taliban.
Scientists divide into two schools of thought over the best tactics with which to face the threat. The Neville Chamberlain ‘appeasement’ school focuses on the battle for evolution. Consequently, its members identify fundamentalism as the enemy, and they bend over backwards to appease ‘moderate’ or ‘sensible’ religion (not a difficult task, for bishops and theologians despise fundamentalists as much as scientists do). Scientists of the Winston Churchill school, by contrast, see the fight for evolution as only one battle in a larger war: a looming war between supernaturalism on the one side and rationality on the other. For them, bishops and theologians belong with creationists in the supernatural camp, and are not to be appeased.
The Chamberlain school accuses Churchillians of rocking the boat to the point of muddying the waters. The philosopher of science Michael Ruse wrote:
We who love science must realize that the enemy of our enemies is our friend. Too often evolutionists spend time insulting would-be allies. This is especially true of secular evolutionists. Atheists spend more time running down sympathetic Christians than they do countering creationists. When John Paul II wrote a letter endorsing Darwinism, Richard Dawkins’s response was simply that the pope was a hypocrite, that he could not be genuine about science and that Dawkins himself simply preferred an honest fundamentalist.
A recent article in the New York Times by Cornelia Dean quotes the astronomer Owen Gingerich as saying that, by simultaneously advocating evolution and atheism, ‘Dr Dawkins “probably single-handedly makes more converts to intelligent design than any of the leading intelligent design theorists”.’ This is not the first, not the second, not even the third time this plonkingly witless point has been made (and more than one reply has aptly cited Uncle Remus: “Oh please please Brer Fox, don’t throw me in that awful briar patch”).
Chamberlainites are apt to quote the late Stephen Jay Gould’s ‘NOMA’ — ‘non-overlapping magisteria’. Gould claimed that science and true religion never come into conflict because they exist in completely separate dimensions of discourse:
To say it for all my colleagues and for the umpteenth millionth time (from college bull sessions to learned treatises): science simply cannot (by its legitimate methods) adjudicate the issue of God’s possible superintendence of nature. We neither affirm nor deny it; we simply can’t comment on it as scientists.
This sounds terrific, right up until you give it a moment’s thought. You then realize that the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science. A universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference. God could clinch the matter in his favour at any moment by staging a spectacular demonstration of his powers, one that would satisfy the exacting standards of science. Even the infamous Templeton Foundation recognized that God is a scientific hypothesis — by funding double-blind trials to test whether remote prayer would speed the recovery of heart patients. It didn’t, of course, although a control group who knew they had been prayed for tended to get worse (how about a class action suit against the Templeton Foundation?) Despite such well-financed efforts, no evidence for God’s existence has yet appeared.
To see the disingenuous hypocrisy of religious people who embrace NOMA, imagine that forensic archeologists, by some unlikely set of circumstances, discovered DNA evidence demonstrating that Jesus was born of a virgin mother and had no father. If NOMA enthusiasts were sincere, they should dismiss the archeologists’ DNA out of hand: “Irrelevant. Scientific evidence has no bearing on theological questions. Wrong magisterium.” Does anyone seriously imagine that they would say anything remotely like that? You can bet your boots that not just the fundamentalists but every professor of theology and every bishop in the land would trumpet the archeological evidence to the skies.
Either Jesus had a father or he didn’t. The question is a scientific one, and scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it. The same is true of any miracle — and the deliberate and intentional creation of the universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles. Either it happened or it didn’t. It is a fact, one way or the other, and in our state of uncertainty we can put a probability on it — an estimate that may change as more information comes in. Humanity’s best estimate of the probability of divine creation dropped steeply in 1859 when The Origin of Species was published, and it has declined steadily during the subsequent decades, as evolution consolidated itself from plausible theory in the nineteenth century to established fact today.
The Chamberlain tactic of snuggling up to ‘sensible’ religion, in order to present a united front against (‘intelligent design’) creationists, is fine if your central concern is the battle for evolution. That is a valid central concern, and I salute those who press it, such as Eugenie Scott in Evolution versus Creationism. But if you are concerned with the stupendous scientific question of whether the universe was created by a supernatural intelligence or not, the lines are drawn completely differently. On this larger issue, fundamentalists are united with ‘moderate’ religion on one side, and I find myself on the other.
Of course, this all presupposes that the God we are talking about is a personal intelligence such as Yahweh, Allah, Baal, Wotan, Zeus or Lord Krishna. If, by ‘God’, you mean love, nature, goodness, the universe, the laws of physics, the spirit of humanity, or Planck’s constant, none of the above applies. An American student asked her professor whether he had a view about me. ‘Sure,’ he replied. ‘He’s positive science is incompatible with religion, but he waxes ecstatic about nature and the universe. To me, thatis ¬religion!’ Well, if that’s what you choose to mean by religion, fine, that makes me a religious man. But if your God is a being who designs universes, listens to prayers, forgives sins, wreaks miracles, reads your thoughts, cares about your welfare and raises you from the dead, you are unlikely to be satisfied. As the distinguished American physicist Steven Weinberg said, “If you want to say that ‘God is energy,’ then you can find God in a lump of coal.” But don’t expect congregations to flock to your church.
When Einstein said ‘Did God have a choice in creating the Universe?’ he meant ‘Could the universe have begun in more than one way?’ ‘God does not play dice’ was Einstein’s poetic way of doubting Heisenberg’s indeterminacy principle. Einstein was famously irritated when theists misunderstood him to mean a personal God. But what did he expect? The hunger to misunderstand should have been palpable to him. ‘Religious’ physicists usually turn out to be so only in the Einsteinian sense: they are atheists of a poetic disposition. So am I. But, given the widespread yearning for that great misunderstanding, deliberately to confuse Einsteinian pantheism with supernatural religion is an act of intellectual high treason.
Accepting, then, that the God Hypothesis is a proper scientific hypothesis whose truth or falsehood is hidden from us only by lack of evidence, what should be our best estimate of the probability that God exists, given the evidence now available? Pretty low I think, and here’s why.
First, most of the traditional arguments for God’s existence, from Aquinas on, are easily demolished. Several of them, such as the First Cause argument, work by setting up an infinite regress which God is wheeled out to terminate. But we are never told why God is magically able to terminate regresses while needing no explanation himself. To be sure, we do need some kind of explanation for the origin of all things. Physicists and cosmologists are hard at work on the problem. But whatever the answer — a random quantum fluctuation or a Hawking/Penrose singularity or whatever we end up calling it — it will be simple. Complex, statistically improbable things, by definition, don’t just happen; they demand an explanation in their own right. They are impotent to terminate regresses, in a way that simple things are not. The first cause cannot have been an intelligence — let alone an intelligence that answers prayers and enjoys being worshipped. Intelligent, creative, complex, statistically improbable things come late into the universe, as the product of evolution or some other process of gradual escalation from simple beginnings. They come late into the universe and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.
Another of Aquinas’ efforts, the Argument from Degree, is worth spelling out, for it epitomises the characteristic flabbiness of theological reasoning. We notice degrees of, say, goodness or temperature, and we measure them, Aquinas said, by reference to a maximum:
Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus, as fire, which is the maximum of heat, is the cause of all hot things . . . Therefore, there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.
That’s an argument? You might as well say that people vary in smelliness but we can make the judgment only by reference to a perfect maximum of conceivable smelliness. Therefore there must exist a pre-eminently peerless stinker, and we call him God. Or substitute any dimension of comparison you like, and derive an equivalently fatuous conclusion. That’s theology.
The only one of the traditional arguments for God that is widely used today is the teleological argument, sometimes called the Argument from Design although — since the name begs the question of its validity — it should better be called the Argument for Design. It is the familiar ‘watchmaker’ argument, which is surely one of the most superficially plausible bad arguments ever discovered — and it is rediscovered by just about everybody until they are taught the logical fallacy and Darwin’s brilliant alternative.
In the familiar world of human artifacts, complicated things that look designed are designed. To naïve observers, it seems to follow that similarly complicated things in the natural world that look designed — things like eyes and hearts — are designed too. It isn’t just an argument by analogy. There is a semblance of statistical reasoning here too — fallacious, but carrying an illusion of plausibility. If you randomly scramble the fragments of an eye or a leg or a heart a million times, you’d be lucky to hit even one combination that could see, walk or pump. This demonstrates that such devices could not have been put together by chance. And of course, no sensible scientist ever said they could. Lamentably, the scientific education of most British and American students omits all mention of Darwinism, and therefore the only alternative to chance that most people can imagine is design.
Even before Darwin’s time, the illogicality was glaring: how could it ever have been a good idea to postulate, in explanation for the existence of improbable things, a designer who would have to be even more improbable? The entire argument is a logical non-starter, as David Hume realized before Darwin was born. What Hume didn’t know was the supremely elegant alternative to both chance and design that Darwin was to give us. Natural selection is so stunningly powerful and elegant, it not only explains the whole of life, it raises our consciousness and boosts our confidence in science’s future ability to explain everything else.
Natural selection is not just an alternative to chance. It is the only ultimate alternative ever suggested. Design is a workable explanation for organized complexity only in the short term. It is not an ultimate explanation, because designers themselves demand an explanation. If, as Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel once playfully speculated, life on this planet was deliberately seeded by a payload of bacteria in the nose cone of a rocket, we still need an explanation for the intelligent aliens who dispatched the rocket. Ultimately they must have evolved by gradual degrees from simpler beginnings. Only evolution, or some kind of gradualistic ‘crane’ (to use Daniel Dennett’s neat term), is capable of terminating the regress. Natural selection is an anti-chance process, which gradually builds up complexity, step by tiny step. The end product of this ratcheting process is an eye, or a heart, or a brain — a device whose improbable complexity is utterly baffling until you spot the gentle ramp that leads up to it.
Whether my conjecture is right that evolution is the only explanation for life in the universe, there is no doubt that it is the explanation for life on this planet. Evolution is a fact, and it is among the more secure facts known to science. But it had to get started somehow. Natural selection cannot work its wonders until certain minimal conditions are in place, of which the most important is an accurate system of replication — DNA, or something that works like DNA.
The origin of life on this planet — which means the origin of the first self-replicating molecule — is hard to study, because it (probably) only happened once, 4 billion years ago and under very different conditions from those with which we are familiar. We may never know how it happened. Unlike the ordinary evolutionary events that followed, it must have been a genuinely very improbable — in the sense of unpredictable — event: too improbable, perhaps, for chemists to reproduce it in the laboratory or even devise a plausible theory for what happened. This weirdly paradoxical conclusion — that a chemical account of the origin of life, in order to be plausible, has to be implausible — would follow if it were the case that life is extremely rare in the universe. And indeed we have never encountered any hint of extraterrestrial life, not even by radio — the circumstance that prompted Enrico Fermi’s cry: “Where is everybody?”
Suppose life’s origin on a planet took place through a hugely improbable stroke of luck, so improbable that it happens on only one in a billion planets. The National Science Foundation would laugh at any chemist whose proposed research had only a one in a hundred chance of succeeding, let alone one in a billion. Yet, given that there are at least a billion billion planets in the universe, even such absurdly low odds as these will yield life on a billion planets. And — this is where the famous anthropic principle comes in — Earth has to be one of them, because here we are.
If you set out in a spaceship to find the one planet in the galaxy that has life, the odds against your finding it would be so great that the task would be indistinguishable, in practice, from impossible. But if you are alive (as you manifestly are if you are about to step into a spaceship) you needn’t bother to go looking for that one planet because, by definition, you are already standing on it. The anthropic principle really is rather elegant. By the way, I don’t actually think the origin of life was as improbable as all that. I think the galaxy has plenty of islands of life dotted about, even if the islands are too spaced out for any one to hope for a meeting with any other. My point is only that, given the number of planets in the universe, the origin of life could in theory be as lucky as a blindfolded golfer scoring a hole in one. The beauty of the anthropic principle is that, even in the teeth of such stupefying odds against, it still gives us a perfectly satisfying explanation for life’s presence on our own planet.
The anthropic principle is usually applied not to planets but to universes. Physicists have suggested that the laws and constants of physics are too good — as if the universe were set up to favour our eventual evolution. It is as though there were, say, half a dozen dials representing the major constants of physics. Each of the dials could in principle be tuned to any of a wide range of values. Almost all of these knob-twiddlings would yield a universe in which life would be impossible. Some universes would fizzle out within the first picosecond. Others would contain no elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. In yet others, matter would never condense into stars (and you need stars in order to forge the elements of chemistry and hence life). You can estimate the very low odds against the six knobs all just happening to be correctly tuned, and conclude that a divine knob-twiddler must have been at work. But, as we have already seen, that explanation is vacuous because it begs the biggest question of all. The divine knob twiddler would himself have to have been at least as improbable as the settings of his knobs.
Again, the anthropic principle delivers its devastatingly neat solution. Physicists already have reason to suspect that our universe — everything we can see — is only one universe among perhaps billions. Some theorists postulate a multiverse of foam, where the universe we know is just one bubble. Each bubble has its own laws and constants. Our familiar laws of physics are parochial bylaws. Of all the universes in the foam, only a minority has what it takes to generate life. And, with anthropic hindsight, we obviously have to be sitting in a member of that minority, because, well, here we are, aren’t we? As physicists have said, it is no accident that we see stars in our sky, for a universe without stars would also lack the chemical elements necessary for life. There may be universes whose skies have no stars: but they also have no inhabitants to notice the lack. Similarly, it is no accident that we see a rich diversity of living species: for an evolutionary process that is capable of yielding a species that can see things and reflect on them cannot help producing lots of other species at the same time. The reflective species must be surrounded by an ecosystem, as it must be surrounded by stars.
The anthropic principle entitles us to postulate a massive dose of luck in accounting for the existence of life on our planet. But there are limits. We are allowed one stroke of luck for the origin of evolution, and perhaps for a couple of other unique events like the origin of the eukaryotic cell and the origin of consciousness. But that’s the end of our entitlement to large-scale luck. We emphatically cannot invoke major strokes of luck to account for the illusion of design that glows from each of the billion species of living creature that have ever lived on Earth. The evolution of life is a general and continuing process, producing essentially the same result in all species, however different the details.
Contrary to what is sometimes alleged, evolution is a predictive science. If you pick any hitherto unstudied species and subject it to minute scrutiny, any evolutionist will confidently predict that each individual will be observed to do everything in its power, in the particular way of the species — plant, herbivore, carnivore, nectivore or whatever it is — to survive and propagate the DNA that rides inside it. We won’t be around long enough to test the prediction but we can say, with great confidence, that if a comet strikes Earth and wipes out the mammals, a new fauna will rise to fill their shoes, just as the mammals filled those of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. And the range of parts played by the new cast of life’s drama will be similar in broad outline, though not in detail, to the roles played by the mammals, and the dinosaurs before them, and the mammal-like reptiles before the dinosaurs. The same rules are predictably being followed, in millions of species all over the globe, and for hundreds of millions of years. Such a general observation requires an entirely different explanatory principle from the anthropic principle that explains one-off events like the origin of life, or the origin of the universe, by luck. That entirely different principle is natural selection.
We explain our existence by a combination of the anthropic principle and Darwin’s principle of natural selection. That combination provides a complete and deeply satisfying explanation for everything that we see and know. Not only is the god hypothesis unnecessary. It is spectacularly unparsimonious. Not only do we need no God to explain the universe and life. God stands out in the universe as the most glaring of all superfluous sore thumbs. We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can’t disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can’t disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable.
Proof That God Exists
Proof That God Exists
QUESTION: Is there any proof that God exists?
Is there any proof that God exists? Whenever this question comes up, I am always reminded of Thomas in the Bible who would not believe that Jesus was alive until he could touch Him. That is the same analogy many people use today when it comes to answering the question “Is there any proof that God exists?” They want physical proof for something that must be taken on faith value.
It takes greater faith to believe that an unseen God exists than it does to just dismiss Him because you cannot physically confirm that He is there. For those who deal in evidence there is proof all around you and inside of you that God does exist.
Is there any proof that God exists? Take a good look around. When most people look at the world around them, they see only the trees; they do not see the forest that is there. It should be obvious that God exists because of His creation, not only us humans, but the world we live in, the galaxy that world is in, and the universe that the galaxy is in.
Our universe contains too much order for our existence to have been created out of chaos. We are complex beyond our imaginations and when you look at such a complexity, you see God and His creation.
Is there any proof that God exists? Take a good look inside yourself. Most people fail to look inside themselves for God. Instead, they look to their surroundings and conclude that since the world is such a mess, God must not be there, if He ever existed at all. They forget that since God created us, we bear His fingerprints and those fingerprints point to His existence.
First, we are all born with an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong. Even a young child knows that when they misbehave they are doing something that goes against their parents’ wishes. The knowledge of good and evil comes from God. It was put there to keep us in balance and to allow us to understand why we need to come to God for forgiveness.
Second, we have a desire to seek love. Our whole life is spent trying to fill a gap that exists in our souls; a gap that only be filled by the love of God. No matter what we do to try and fill this gap — money drugs, alcohol, sex, possessions — the hole will never be filled until we turn back to God and accept His Son as our Savior and Lord.
These are only two of the inward feelings that should tell us that we are more than just some random mistake of nature; that we are created, that a real God that created us, and that He is still there watching over us.
Is there any proof that God exists? Take a good look at His Son, Jesus Christ. All we need to do is take a good look at the life of Jesus to see that He was a man, but more than a man, He was God. When was the last time you saw a man walk on water, calm a storm, or make a man rise from the dead? Even Jesus Himself conquered death and rose again to ascend to Heaven.
Think about the impact that Jesus has had on this world from the very moment of His birth; the way His life, death and resurrection have shaped world history, changed lives, and healed souls. No mere man could do this so we must say as the Roman soldier did at His crucifixion, “Surely this is the Son of God.”
Philosophy says that our existence is based on that which we perceive existence to be. It is even suggested that maybe we do not exist as we think we do here, but on a different plane of reasoning not yet known to us. As God’s creation, we know God is real; all we have to do is take a good look.
Has Science Proven The Existence Of God
Has Science Proven the Existence of God?
Could This Change How We Think About God and The Universe?
Recent scientific discoveries have physicists and philosophers alike radically revising their ideas on the nature of the universe, and indeed the existence of God. Countless years and hours of calculations and mind-bending theories continue to reach the conclusion that the universe has a beginning, and did not occur by chance. In 2004 notorious atheist, Andrew Fleet, announced his retirement from the stringent rhetoric of atheism, based on these conclusions. He changed his mind.
Research into DNA has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved. – Andrew Fleet
Many Scientists now believe the existence of God is not only possible but probable. From their perspective, an intelligent force predating our universe initiated creation. And what’s more, scientific minds have drawn clear links between this force of intelligence and the spiritual realm.
Renowned Nuclear Physicist, Gerald Schroeder, discusses this at length in the book titled God According to God.
The study of nature, even with all its intellectual rigor, is filled with spiritual wonder….Every physical object in this vast universe, including our human bodies, is built of the light of creation.
But while these developments have generated a burst of discussion around the topic of spirituality, it would be a mistake to misinterpret them as religious events. The God at the heart of this debate is not the personal God found in organized religions. Rather, this God represents the laws of nature and is no stranger to the world of science.
Einstein believed in a God represented by order, harmony, beauty, simplicity and elegance, the God of Spinoza. – Michio Kaku
So What Exactly is Science Saying That it Hasn’t Said Before? How Are Things Different?
What is changing in this debate, is the capacity of the rational human mind to accept the possibility of alternative realities, even other universes. Many people have long felt that things which cannot be proven, cannot be said to exist. And yet, these views are evolving as our relationship with information advances. The breadth of the human knowledge base is increasing exponentially. Our minds, like the universe, are expanding.
From Nothing to Something
In 1927, Georges Lemaitre gave us the Big Bang theory. This is the theory that the universe was created out of an explosion, or more correctly an expansion of energy, and thus has a beginning.
Science has since been concerned with discovering what, if anything, existed before the Big Bang. Echoes of the Big Bang can be found and investigated. Vast realms of information about the size and age of our universe have been gleaned from the aftermath of this explosion. So, we can conclude that our known universe had a beginning. It didn’t exist and then it did.
But What Came Before It?
Scientific attempts to establish what came before have concluded that nothing came before. How can this be? In the human mind, ‘nothing’ does not register. This ‘nothing’ that does not register is the central character in many philosophical theses and the cause of much existential angst. But theoretical physicists argue that ‘nothing’ need not be the empty vacuum we imagine and that has haunted us thus far. Nothing is what gives confirmation that something created us. Something else other than that which we know. Something which predates our universe. And thus, we find we have just been placed gently back in the palm of something.
String Theory and Multiverse
String theory, developed by renowned Theoretical Physicist, Michio Kaku, suggests that this something is not a man in the sky but another universe; a parent universe, that has split in two, or perhaps two universes that have fused. These other universes are part of a multiverse, and this is string theory. Well, part of it at least. String theory leads theoretical physicists to ask the question: can we, one day, leave this universe and travel to another one? And while the answers, Kaku concurs, place us in the “realms of science fiction” at this point, they are being explored nonetheless.
In recognizing the limitations of the human mind to understand something as transcendent as a God-like force, modern science concedes that such force is actually a much more likely explanation for our beginnings than our minds would have us believe. And in doing so, echoes the sentiments of metaphysical inquiry across the ages.
So, What Does it All Mean for Us?
For many years, the debate has essentially been a tussle between believers and non-believers. Was this act of creation, this Big Bang intentional? Does divine energy exist as a metaphysical force in the world today?
These questions remain open. And for many, this is a problem. But as we evolve and relax our grip on the need to belong to either camp, the debate deepens. Taking place in a context of greater intellectual freedom, the conundrum of divine existence has morphed into an unsurprisingly less divisive, and more holistic one.
As theoretical physicists and philosophers further question the nature of thought, we can now understand that it makes perfect sense that this thing makes no sense to us. Our human mind can only grasp so much; our understanding is limited by our own three-dimensional capacity for thought. And this is quite enlightening.
Are There More Than 3 Dimensions?
Michio Kaku explains multi-dimensions using an analogy from his childhood. He describes his encounter with this philosophical quandary of perception at the age of eight. While observing a fish he noticed that the fish lives in 2-dimensional space. The fish can go backward and forwards, but that’s all. If a hand were to reach in and pluck the fish out of the water, none of the other fish would understand where it had gone, as fish have no concept of the third dimension. If the fish were returned, it would not be able to explain its experience, other than perhaps to say it was moved by ‘the hand of god’. This fish would be laughed at. Kaku uses this example to help us to understand that which we cannot understand.
That Which the Human Mind Cannot Understand
This is a dynamic that has been creating anxiety in the human mind for a very long time. It has driven some to the extremes of human behavior and is the force behind the spectacular application of human ability. But it is also that which drives us to our greatest place of darkness.
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking weused when we created them. – Albert Einstein
In the days before cars had in-house entertainment units, children dealt with long road trips by staring out the window. This was an ideal time to contemplate the concept of infinity and other big life questions. And to begin to struggle with them. Existential angst can begin early in life and be quite persistent. Perhaps it goes away for a few busy, self-focused adolescent years but then it returns. And we tackle it with out!
Many of us spend the first stages of our adult life trying on various philosophies and attachments to ideology, born from our choices of lifestyle, friends, and hair styles. And just when we think we have outrun the big nothing, it returns. Only this time it has us waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, concluding that there is indeed no meaning to life. We have backed ourselves into a dark corner through our way of thinking. And as we only ever have our mind to work with – and this very equipment is often hardwired for self-doubt – we may have reached a point where believing in love, in good, and in purpose seems childish and ungrounded. The universe has no point and we are just random specks of dust.
But this is just another thought. And things need not be this way. If we were to let go of our attachment to understanding definitively; to hold hard evidence, our minds would expand.
How Asking These Questions Can Help Us
Using Michio Kaku’s fish analogy, we can reflect on our thinking. If nothing else, this concept opens our eyes to the limitations of the human mind and the possibilities that may exist, if we could only perceive them. We might then contemplate the things in our own lives which continue to elude us. Things we don’t understand or have stopped questioning. Recognizing the limitations we place on our own minds can help us to see how these thoughts might be holding us back. And how our reality might change if our perception could change.
Not understanding something does not need to lead us to nihilism. Not proving divinity does not disprove divinity. But even if we can prove that a divine force created the universe, does this give our lives more meaning? This one still lies with you. For many who seek evidence, the universe is still one with spirit and immense beauty. And we must each create our own meaning. Live with purpose and with love. And yes, continue to strive to understand. By embracing the debates of our time, we can become part of them.
In string theory, all particles are vibrations on a tiny rubber band; physics is the harmonies on the string; chemistry is the melodies we play on vibrating strings; the universe is a symphony of strings, and the ‘Mind of God’ is cosmic music resonating in 11-dimensional hyperspace. – Michio Kaku
The questions we ask today are ones we have been asking for many hundreds of years. We ask them because we are human and in our need to understand, we strive for closure. But rather than providing us with a final resolution to end this discussion, the evidence that Scientists have challenges us to broaden our minds and keep thinking. So while we are waiting for eleven-dimensional hyperspace to come into focus, let’s enjoy asking the big questions, stretching our minds and celebrating the unique human quality that is deep inquiry. After all, isn’t trying to solve the puzzle the best part?
Five Reasons Why I Don’t Believe In God
5 Reasons Why I Don’t Believe In God
(Path to Atheism)
1. I Can Be Good Without God
I was once a devoted Catholic. From when I was a little kid playing Lego to when I was a young adult stressed out about the future, I was a proud believer.
I still remember how it was to study in a Catholic school. Every class starts and ends with a prayer. Every day at twelve noon everyone recites the Angelus. Every first Friday of the month there was a campus-wide mass. Apparently, praying was a casual habit for me back then.
In addition to the regular prayer and mass is the teaching of Religion. If my recollections are clear, it was during our Religion class that we were told that…
“If you believe in the Lord Jesus, you will be saved”,
“If you disobey the will of God, you will perish in Hell”,
“Remember that Christ died for our sins”, and more.
There were many lessons taught in my Religion class. In retrospect, I think that the purpose of my Religion class is to teach the values of the Catholic Church and to foster a good individual. I am in full support to that end, which is to be a good individual. However, I don’t like the idea that the motivational force behind it is the reward of salvation or the punishment of eternal suffering; mainly because it means that the only thing keeping a person decent is the promise of a divine reward. For me, being a good person is a choice anyone can make, regardless of belief.
“Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”
— Kurt Vonnegut
2. The Bible Is Not Enough Evidence
The most influential book in history is undoubtedly the Bible. It has been the foundation of different religions and belief systems. While I agree that there are archaeological pieces of evidence that the places in the Bible really existed, I don’t agree that it means the Bible is a hundred percent accurate. There is no way to prove that the miracles in Bible are true. The gospels may just be the writers’ interpretation of what God wants to say but not necessarily what He means. I won’t bet my life on that. Also, some ideas in the Bible may not be applicable in the world that we live in today. Is there anything about Artificial Intelligence or Extraterrestrial Civilization in the Bible?
Though there are a lot of lessons in the Bible that teaches us how to be a good individual and a caring steward for others, lessons which I agree on, it still doesn’t prove that God exists.
“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
3. I Have Unanswered Questions
The planet we call home, Earth, is just a speck in the entire Universe. If God exists, why do we think that we are his precious creation? For all we know, our existence might just be a random event in the Universe. Then why do we think we are the only one important to God? The answer is probably because of the things mentioned in the Bible. Since I don’t totally believe in the Bible, I don’t think we are important. We are just an insignificant dot in the vast sea of stars and clouds of dust.
One more question I have is this: Let’s say that yes, there is God, all knowing, omniscient, and superiorly powerful and He was able to bring forth the existence of the Universe, why do we associate human characteristics to such superior being?
What I noticed is that God’s characteristics are mostly derived from human traits. Humans have emotions; God has emotions. Humans have a strong sense of justice; so as God. Humans communicate; God communicates. Humans love; God loves. See, what I’m trying to say here is that if God really exists, I firmly believe that he is someone beyond our comprehension. We can never tell what God wants or don’t want. Just like ants can never understand we don’t want them to bite us.
“Our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.”
— Carl Sagan
4. I Went Too Far In The Religious Spectrum
Like what I’ve mentioned earlier, I believe in God before. Back then, I pray to God most of the time. I confess my sins, tell my wishes and dreams, and give thanks for the blessings. Then suddenly I started questioning the existence of God. My line of thinking when I first had doubts was similar to what I explained in the previous section, that God doesn’t care about us and God is beyond our comprehension. As you can see, I didn’t reject the existence of God in that argument, but there’s a question in the definition of God. Later, I learned that my new belief was called Deism. Unlike Atheists who are non-believers, Deists believe that God exists but denies His interference in the laws of the Universe. To put it simply, Deists believe that there is God but He didn’t save you from that accident; He did not help you pass the exam; He didn’t put food on the table. God is just the Creator.
Think of this, Scientists say the ‘Big Bang’ started it all. In the beginning, there was a tiny but super dense particle that exploded and expanded which lead to what we now call Universe. But where did that particle came from? If it came from ‘X’, where did ‘X’ came from, ‘Y’? And ‘Y’ came from ‘Z’. Well, that’s going to be an endless cycle. That paradox is what convinced me, back then, that there is a God. But the role of God is simply the solution to the paradox I presented. He doesn’t necessarily have to be a superior being if a being at all. He may be an event, an equation, a law in the Universe, or anything else that will solve the paradox and the mysteries of the Universe. I need not pray to such God. So after months of threading the religious spectrum, I reached the doors of Atheism. When I entered, I knew there was no going back.
“So after months of threading the religious spectrum, I reached the doors of Atheism. When I entered, I knew there was no going back.”
5. It’s Simply A Choice
In the end, it all comes down to making a choice. There is no evidence that proves or disproves the existence of God. Probably it’ll take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to finally figure things out. So until that day of enlightenment, we are left to speculate and choose what we believe in. As for me, I choose not to believe in God.
Whatever choice anyone makes, it deserves to be respected. Imposing our beliefs on other people is a disrespectful thing to do. We shouldn’t force anyone to join us in what we believe. We shouldn’t judge and discriminate because of differences in beliefs neither. Let’s embrace our differences and focus on making the world a better place. Because even if you believe in God and I don’t, I think we can live peacefully together, and that’s what truly matters.
I just want to make it clear that I did not write this to convince anyone that God does not exist, for it is against my principles to impose my beliefs on other people. Many of the things I’ve mentioned in this article may be debatable and disagreeable, and I acknowledge that. Just to let you know, the main reason why I wrote this is to make sure that I truly understand what I believe in. Because when I am able to write down my thoughts, it makes me feel I fully comprehend them.
What do you believe in?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks!
Is there A God
Is There A God?
Is There a God? – The Question
“Is there a God?” This question is answered by asking another, “how did we get here?” 20th century science has demonstrated, with certainty, that the universe is not eternal; the universe had a beginning. Actually, mankind has contemplated this issue for millennia, long before science proved a beginning. In all that time, man has conceived of only two possible solutions — either Someone made the world, or the world made itself.
Is There a God? – Creation
“Is there a God?” Unless we can demonstrate the world is capable of creating itself, God is the default. The incredible design that permeates all things implies a Designer. Natural laws (cause and effect, thermodynamics, gravity, etc.) imply a Lawgiver. Personal creatures imply a Personal Creator. Since everything we observe in the universe is an effect, there must have been a First Cause. Unless we are able to explain satisfactorily how each of these things exist, without resorting to a supernatural force, and find empirical evidence to support our conclusion, a Creator is default. Furthermore, any derived conclusion must be within the bounds of natural law, as natural law is a part of the universe and remains unbroken within the universe.
Is There a God? – Atheism
Is there a God, or isn’t there a God, depends on our ability to disprove God. The burden of proof rests upon atheism to validate its position. Currently, the common alternative to Special Creation via a Personal Creator is the Big Bang Model of Origins. This is the accepted theory today. It is a wonder how this theory came to be accepted, as it violates two of the three Laws of Thermodynamics, and the Law of Cause and Effect. Furthermore, as retrograde motion is observed throughout the universe, even within our own solar system, the Big Bang violates the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum. Beyond these violations of natural law, the Big Bang is unable to explain uneven “voids” and “clumps” throughout the universe. Plus, there remains the question, “where did the Big Bang come from?” This question remains unsolved, even in the minds of atheists. A few atheists hypothesize that the universe is eternal and only appears to have had a beginning. This contradicts quite a few empirical evidences and observations, as well as violating natural law.
Is There a God? – The Implications
“Is there a God?” is not a difficult question. The question that seems most perplexing is, “why are we determined to explain away God?” Let’s give credit where credit is due. It seems that if there is a God, then we would be His creatures, and therefore, accountable to Him. Of course, this is not acceptable to a determined portion of mankind’s intelligentsia. These “scholars” have a good control of the majority through arenas such as the public school system and the broadcast media. We are not exposed to both alternatives. We’re not taught the problems with evolution, naturalism and materialism. We are simply taught the Big Bang is fact. The result is that we are not educated, we are indoctrinated. Unfortunately, the ultimate result is that we and our children are taught that there is no Divine Lawmaker, and therefore, there is no absolute law or morality. Everything in today’s society, including moral codes and civil laws, are merely relative. “Survival of the fittest!” is the rally cry. No one stops to consider why or how morality developed, or that it seems to only function as a means for the survival of the weakest. Because we are taught there is no God, what would cause us to consider that perhaps there is a God and He instituted morality? Evolution is unable to account for the development of the moral code inherent in all of us. We simply ignore this truth, just as we seem to be ignoring God altogether. Society suffers tremendously as a result of our children being taught we share a common heritage with rocks and plants. Individuality, meaning and purpose no longer mean anything. And we wonder why our kids act like animals today.
- 1Etymology and usage
- 2General conceptions
- 3Non-theistic views
- 5Specific attributes
- 7Theological approaches
- 8See also
- 10Further reading
- 11External links
Etymology and usage
The earliest written form of the Germanic word God (always, in this usage, capitalized) comes from the 6th-century ChristianCodex Argenteus. The English word itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic * ǥuđan. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form * ǵhu-tó-m was likely based on the root * ǵhau(ə)-, which meant either “to call” or “to invoke”. The Germanic words for God were originally neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples from their indigenous Germanic paganism, the words became a masculine syntactic form.
In the English language, capitalization is used for names by which a god is known, including ‘God’. Consequently, the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods (polytheism) or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity. The English word God and its counterparts in other languages are normally used for any and all conceptions and, in spite of significant differences between religions, the term remains an English translation common to all. The same holds for Hebrew El, but in Judaism, God is also given a proper name, the tetragrammaton YHWH, in origin possibly the name of an Edomite or Midianite deity, Yahweh. In many translations of the Bible, when the word LORD is in all capitals, it signifies that the word represents the tetragrammaton.
Allāh (Arabic: الله) is the Arabic term with no plural used by Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians and Jews meaning “The God” (with a capital G), while “ʾilāh” (Arabic: إله) is the term used for a deity or a god in general.God may also be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism which emphasize the personal nature of God, with early references to his name as Krishna–Vasudeva in Bhagavata or later Vishnu and Hari.
Ahura Mazda is the name for God used in Zoroastrianism. “Mazda”, or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh (female). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means “intelligence” or “wisdom“. Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian*mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1, literally meaning “placing (dʰeh1) one’s mind (*mn̩-s)”, hence “wise”.
Waheguru (Punjabi: vāhigurū) is a term most often used in Sikhism to refer to God. It means “Wonderful Teacher” in the Punjabi language. Vāhi (a Middle Persian borrowing) means “wonderful” and guru (Sanskrit: guru) is a term denoting “teacher”. Waheguru is also described by some as an experience of ecstasy which is beyond all descriptions. The most common usage of the word “Waheguru” is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other:
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
Wonderful Lord’s Khalsa, Victory is to the Wonderful Lord.
Baha, the “greatest” name for God in the Baha’i faith, is Arabic for “All-Glorious”.
There is no clear consensus on the nature or even the existence of God. The Abrahamic conceptions of God include the monotheistic definition of God in Judaism, the trinitarian view of Christians, and the Islamic concept of God. The dharmic religions differ in their view of the divine: views of God in Hinduism vary by region, sect, and caste, ranging from monotheistic to polytheistic. Many polytheistic religions share the idea of a creator deity, though having a name other than “God” and without all of the other roles attributed to a singular God by monotheistic religions. Jainism is polytheistic and non-creationist. Depending on one’s interpretation and tradition, Buddhism can be conceived as being either atheistic, non-theistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, or polytheistic.
Monotheists hold that there is only one god, and may claim that the one true god is worshiped in different religions under different names. The view that all theists actually worship the same god, whether they know it or not, is especially emphasized in the Bahá’í Faith, Hinduism and Sikhism. In Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity describes God as one God in three persons. The Trinity comprises God the Father, God the Son (embodied metaphysically by Jesus), and The Holy Spirit.Islam‘s most fundamental concept is tawhid (meaning “oneness” or “uniqueness”). God is described in the Quran as: “Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.” Muslims repudiate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension or equal and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims are not iconodules, and are not expected to visualize God.
Theism, deism, and pantheism
Theism generally holds that God exists realistically, objectively, and independently of human thought; that God created and sustains everything; that God is omnipotent and eternal; and that God is personal and interacting with the universe through, for example, religious experience and the prayers of humans. Theism holds that God is both transcendent and immanent; thus, God is simultaneously infinite and, in some way, present in the affairs of the world. Not all theists subscribe to all of these propositions, but each usually subscribes to some of them (see, by way of comparison, family resemblance). Catholic theology holds that God is infinitely simple and is not involuntarily subject to time. Most theists hold that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, although this belief raises questions about God’s responsibility for evil and suffering in the world. Some theists ascribe to God a self-conscious or purposeful limiting of omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence. Open Theism, by contrast, contends that, due to the nature of time, God’s omniscience does not mean the deity can predict the future. Theism is sometimes used to refer in general to any belief in a god or gods, i.e., monotheism or polytheism.
Deism holds that God is wholly transcendent: God exists, but does not intervene in the world beyond what was necessary to create it. In this view, God is not anthropomorphic, and neither answers prayers nor produces miracles. Common in Deism is a belief that God has no interest in humanity and may not even be aware of humanity. Pandeism combines Deism with Pantheistic beliefs. Pandeism is proposed to explain as to Deism why God would create a universe and then abandon it, and as to Pantheism, the origin and purpose of the universe.
Pantheism holds that God is the universe and the universe is God, whereas Panentheism holds that God contains, but is not identical to, the Universe. It is also the view of the Liberal Catholic Church; Theosophy; some views of Hinduism except Vaishnavism, which believes in panentheism; Sikhism; some divisions of Neopaganism and Taoism, along with many varying denominations and individuals within denominations. Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, paints a pantheistic/panentheistic view of God—which has wide acceptance in Hasidic Judaism, particularly from their founder The Baal Shem Tov—but only as an addition to the Jewish view of a personal god, not in the original pantheistic sense that denies or limits persona to God.
Dystheism, which is related to theodicy, is a form of theism which holds that God is either not wholly good or is fully malevolent as a consequence of the problem of evil. One such example comes from Dostoevsky‘s The Brothers Karamazov, in which Ivan Karamazov rejects God on the grounds that he allows children to suffer.
In modern times, some more abstract concepts have been developed, such as process theology and open theism. The contemporaneous French philosopher Michel Henry has however proposed a phenomenological approach and definition of God as phenomenological essence of Life.
God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the “greatest conceivable existent”. These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers, including Maimonides, Augustine of Hippo, and Al-Ghazali, respectively.
Non-theist views about God also vary. Some non-theists avoid the concept of God, whilst accepting that it is significant to many; other non-theists understand God as a symbol of human values and aspirations. The nineteenth-century English atheist Charles Bradlaughdeclared that he refused to say “There is no God”, because “the word ‘God’ is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation”; he said more specifically that he disbelieved in the Christian god. Stephen Jay Gould proposed an approach dividing the world of philosophy into what he called “non-overlapping magisteria” (NOMA). In this view, questions of the supernatural, such as those relating to the existence and nature of God, are non–empirical and are the proper domain of theology. The methods of science should then be used to answer any empirical question about the natural world, and theology should be used to answer questions about ultimate meaning and moral value. In this view, the perceived lack of any empirical footprint from the magisterium of the supernatural onto natural events makes science the sole player in the natural world.
Another view, advanced by Richard Dawkins, is that the existence of God is an empirical question, on the grounds that “a universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference.” Carl Sagan argued that the doctrine of a Creator of the Universe was difficult to prove or disprove and that the only conceivable scientific discovery that could disprove the existence of a Creator (not necessarily a God) would be the discovery that the universe is infinitely old.
Stephen Hawking and co-author Leonard Mlodinow state in their book, The Grand Design, that it is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God. Both authors claim however, that it is possible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings.
Agnosticism and atheism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable.
Pascal Boyer argues that while there is a wide array of supernatural concepts found around the world, in general, supernatural beings tend to behave much like people. The construction of gods and spirits like persons is one of the best known traits of religion. He cites examples from Greek mythology, which is, in his opinion, more like a modern soap opera than other religious systems. Bertrand du Castel and Timothy Jurgensen demonstrate through formalization that Boyer’s explanatory model matches physics’ epistemology in positing not directly observable entities as intermediaries. Anthropologist Stewart Guthrie contends that people project human features onto non-human aspects of the world because it makes those aspects more familiar. Sigmund Freud also suggested that god concepts are projections of one’s father.
Likewise, Émile Durkheim was one of the earliest to suggest that gods represent an extension of human social life to include supernatural beings. In line with this reasoning, psychologist Matt Rossano contends that when humans began living in larger groups, they may have created gods as a means of enforcing morality. In small groups, morality can be enforced by social forces such as gossip or reputation. However, it is much harder to enforce morality using social forces in much larger groups. Rossano indicates that by including ever-watchful gods and spirits, humans discovered an effective strategy for restraining selfishness and building more cooperative groups.
Arguments about the existence of God typically include empirical, deductive, and inductive types. Different views include that: “God does not exist” (strong atheism); “God almost certainly does not exist” (de facto atheism); “no one knows whether God exists” (agnosticism); “God exists, but this cannot be proven or disproven” (de facto theism); and that “God exists and this can be proven” (strong theism).
Countless arguments have been proposed to prove the existence of God. Some of the most notable arguments are the Five Ways of Aquinas, the Argument from desire proposed by C.S. Lewis, and the Ontological Argumentformulated both by St. Anselm and René Descartes.
St. Anselm’s approach was to define God as, “that than which nothing greater can be conceived”. Famed pantheist philosopher Baruch Spinoza would later carry this idea to its extreme: “By God I understand a being absolutely infinite, i.e., a substance consisting of infinite attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence.” For Spinoza, the whole of the natural universe is made of one substance, God, or its equivalent, Nature. His proof for the existence of God was a variation of the Ontological argument.
Scientist Isaac Newton saw the nontrinitarian God as the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation. Nevertheless, he rejected polymath Leibniz‘ thesis that God would necessarily make a perfect world which requires no intervention from the creator. In Query 31 of the Opticks, Newton simultaneously made an argument from design and for the necessity of intervention:
For while comets move in very eccentric orbs in all manner of positions, blind fate could never make all the planets move one and the same way in orbs concentric, some inconsiderable irregularities excepted which may have arisen from the mutual actions of comets and planets on one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this system wants a reformation.
St. Thomas believed that the existence of God is self-evident in itself, but not to us. “Therefore I say that this proposition, “God exists”, of itself is self-evident, for the predicate is the same as the subject…. Now because we do not know the essence of God, the proposition is not self-evident to us; but needs to be demonstrated by things that are more known to us, though less known in their nature—namely, by effects.” St. Thomas believed that the existence of God can be demonstrated. Briefly in the Summa theologiae and more extensively in the Summa contra Gentiles, he considered in great detail five arguments for the existence of God, widely known as the quinque viae (Five Ways).
- Motion: Some things undoubtedly move, though cannot cause their own motion. Since there can be no infinite chain of causes of motion, there must be a First Mover not moved by anything else, and this is what everyone understands by God.
- Causation: As in the case of motion, nothing can cause itself, and an infinite chain of causation is impossible, so there must be a First Cause, called God.
- Existence of necessary and the unnecessary: Our experience includes things certainly existing but apparently unnecessary. Not everything can be unnecessary, for then once there was nothing and there would still be nothing. Therefore, we are compelled to suppose something that exists necessarily, having this necessity only from itself; in fact itself the cause for other things to exist.
- Gradation: If we can notice a gradation in things in the sense that some things are more hot, good, etc., there must be a superlative that is the truest and noblest thing, and so most fully existing. This then, we call God (Note: Thomas does not ascribe actual qualities to God Himself).
- Ordered tendencies of nature: A direction of actions to an end is noticed in all bodies following natural laws. Anything without awareness tends to a goal under the guidance of one who is aware. This we call God (Note that even when we guide objects, in Thomas’s view, the source of all our knowledge comes from God as well).
Some theologians, such as the scientist and theologian A.E. McGrath, argue that the existence of God is not a question that can be answered using the scientific method. Agnostic Stephen Jay Gould argues that science and religion are not in conflict and do not overlap.
Some findings in the fields of cosmology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience are interpreted by some atheists (including Lawrence M. Krauss and Sam Harris) as evidence that God is an imaginary entity only, with no basis in reality.These atheists claim that a single, omniscient God who is imagined to have created the universe and is particularly attentive to the lives of humans has been imagined, embellished and promulgated in a trans-generational manner. Richard Dawkins interprets such findings not only as a lack of evidence for the material existence of such a God, but as extensive evidence to the contrary. However, his views are opposed by some theologians and scientists including Alister McGrath, who argues that existence of God is compatible with science.
Different religious traditions assign differing (though often similar) attributes and characteristics to God, including expansive powers and abilities, psychological characteristics, gender characteristics, and preferred nomenclature. The assignment of these attributes often differs according to the conceptions of God in the culture from which they arise. For example, attributes of God in Christianity, attributes of God in Islam, and the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in Judaism share certain similarities arising from their common roots.
The word God is “one of the most complex and difficult in the English language.” In the Judeo-Christian tradition, “the Bible has been the principal source of the conceptions of God”. That the Bible “includes many different images, concepts, and ways of thinking about” God has resulted in perpetual “disagreements about how God is to be conceived and understood”.
Throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bibles there are many names for God. One of them is Elohim. Another one is El Shaddai, translated “God Almighty”. A third notable name is El Elyon, which means “The High God”.
God is described and referred in the Quran and hadith by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahman, meaning “Most Compassionate” and Al-Rahim, meaning “Most Merciful” (See Names of God in Islam).
Many of these names are also used in the scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith.
The Brahma Kumaris use the term “Supreme Soul” to refer to God. They see God as incorporeal and eternal, and regard him as a point of living light like human souls, but without a physical body, as he does not enter the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. God is seen as the perfect and constant embodiment of all virtues, powers and values and that he is the unconditionally loving Father of all souls, irrespective of their religion, gender, or culture.
The gender of God may be viewed as either a literal or an allegorical aspect of a deity who, in classical western philosophy, transcends bodily form. Polytheistic religions commonly attribute to each of the gods a gender, allowing each to interact with any of the others, and perhaps with humans, sexually. In most monotheistic religions, God has no counterpart with which to relate sexually. Thus, in classical western philosophy the gender of this one-and-only deity is most likely to be an analogical statement of how humans and God address, and relate to, each other. Namely, God is seen as begetter of the world and revelation which corresponds to the active (as opposed to the receptive) role in sexual intercourse.
Biblical sources usually refer to God using male words, except Genesis 1:26–27, Psalm 123:2–3, and Luke 15:8–10 (female); Hosea 11:3–4, Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 66:13, Isaiah 49:15, Isaiah 42:14, Psalm 131:2 (a mother); Deuteronomy 32:11–12 (a mother eagle); and Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 (a mother hen).
Relationship with creation
Prayer plays a significant role among many believers. Muslims believe that the purpose of existence is to worship God. He is viewed as a personal God and there are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God. Prayer often also includes supplication and asking forgiveness. God is often believed to be forgiving. For example, a hadith states God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance. Christian theologian Alister McGrath writes that there are good reasons to suggest that a “personal god” is integral to the Christian outlook, but that one has to understand it is an analogy. “To say that God is like a person is to affirm the divine ability and willingness to relate to others. This does not imply that God is human, or located at a specific point in the universe.”
Adherents of different religions generally disagree as to how to best worship God and what is God’s plan for mankind, if there is one. There are different approaches to reconciling the contradictory claims of monotheistic religions. One view is taken by exclusivists, who believe they are the chosen people or have exclusive access to absolute truth, generally through revelation or encounter with the Divine, which adherents of other religions do not. Another view is religious pluralism. A pluralist typically believes that his religion is the right one, but does not deny the partial truth of other religions. An example of a pluralist view in Christianity is supersessionism, i.e., the belief that one’s religion is the fulfillment of previous religions. A third approach is relativistic inclusivism, where everybody is seen as equally right; an example being universalism: the doctrine that salvation is eventually available for everyone. A fourth approach is syncretism, mixing different elements from different religions. An example of syncretism is the New Age movement.
Jews and Christians believe that humans are created in the likeness of God, and are the center, crown and key to God’s creation, stewards for God, supreme over everything else God had made (Gen 1:26); for this reason, humans are in Christianity called the “Children of God”.
During the early Parthian Empire, Ahura Mazda was visually represented for worship. This practice ended during the beginning of the Sassanid empire. Zoroastrian iconoclasm, which can be traced to the end of the Parthian period and the beginning of the Sassanid, eventually put an end to the use of all images of Ahura Mazda in worship. However, Ahura Mazda continued to be symbolized by a dignified male figure, standing or on horseback which is found in Sassanian investiture.
At least some Jews do not use any image for God, since God is the unimaginable Being who cannot be represented in material forms. In some samples of Jewish Art, however, sometimes God, or at least his intervention, is indicated by a Hand Of God symbol, which represents the bath Kol (literally “daughter of a voice”) or Voice of God.
Early Christians believed that the words of the Gospel of John 1:18: “No man has seen God at any time” and numerous other statements were meant to apply not only to God, but to all attempts at the depiction of God.
However, later depictions of God are found. Some, like the Hand of God, are depiction borrowed from Jewish art.
The beginning of the 8th century witnessed the suppression and destruction of religious icons as the period of Byzantine iconoclasm (literally image-breaking) started. The Second Council of Nicaea in 787 effectively ended the first period of Byzantine iconoclasm and restored the honouring of icons and holy images in general. However, this did not immediately translate into large scale depictions of God the Father. Even supporters of the use of icons in the 8th century, such as Saint John of Damascus, drew a distinction between images of God the Father and those of Christ.
Prior to the 10th century no attempt was made to use a human to symbolize God the Father in Western art. Yet, Western art eventually required some way to illustrate the presence of the Father, so through successive representations a set of artistic styles for symbolizing the Father using a man gradually emerged around the 10th century AD. A rationale for the use of a human is the belief that God created the soul of Man in the image of his own (thus allowing Human to transcend the other animals).
It appears that when early artists designed to represent God the Father, fear and awe restrained them from a usage of the whole human figure. Typically only a small part would be used as the image, usually the hand, or sometimes the face, but rarely a whole human. In many images, the figure of the Son supplants the Father, so a smaller portion of the person of the Father is depicted.
By the 12th century depictions of God the Father had started to appear in French illuminated manuscripts, which as a less public form could often be more adventurous in their iconography, and in stained glass church windows in England. Initially the head or bust was usually shown in some form of frame of clouds in the top of the picture space, where the Hand of God had formerly appeared; the Baptism of Christ on the famous baptismal font in Liège of Rainer of Huy is an example from 1118 (a Hand of God is used in another scene). Gradually the amount of the human symbol shown can increase to a half-length figure, then a full-length, usually enthroned, as in Giotto‘s fresco of c. 1305 in Padua. In the 14th century the Naples Bible carried a depiction of God the Father in the Burning bush. By the early 15th century, the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry has a considerable number of symbols, including an elderly but tall and elegant full-length figure walking in the Garden of Eden, which show a considerable diversity of apparent ages and dress. The “Gates of Paradise” of the Florence Baptistry by Lorenzo Ghiberti, begun in 1425 use a similar tall full-length symbol for the Father. The Rohan Book of Hours of about 1430 also included depictions of God the Father in half-length human form, which were now becoming standard, and the Hand of God becoming rarer. At the same period other works, like the large Genesis altarpiece by the Hamburg painter Meister Bertram, continued to use the old depiction of Christ as Logos in Genesis scenes. In the 15th century there was a brief fashion for depicting all three persons of the Trinity as similar or identical figures with the usual appearance of Christ.
In an early Venetian school Coronation of the Virgin by Giovanni d’Alemagna and Antonio Vivarini, (c. 1443) The Father is depicted using the symbol consistently used by other artists later, namely a patriarch, with benign, yet powerful countenance and with long white hair and a beard, a depiction largely derived from, and justified by, the near-physical, but still figurative, description of the Ancient of Days.
. …the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (Daniel 7:9)
In the Annunciation by Benvenuto di Giovanni in 1470, God the Father is portrayed in the red robe and a hat that resembles that of a Cardinal. However, even in the later part of the 15th century, the symbolic representation of the Father and the Holy Spirit as “hands and dove” continued, e.g. in Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ in 1472.
In Renaissance paintings of the adoration of the Trinity, God may be depicted in two ways, either with emphasis on The Father, or the three elements of the Trinity. The most usual depiction of the Trinity in Renaissance art depicts God the Father using an old man, usually with a long beard and patriarchal in appearance, sometimes with a triangular halo (as a reference to the Trinity), or with a papal crown, specially in Northern Renaissance painting. In these depictions The Father may hold a globe or book (to symbolize God’s knowledge and as a reference to how knowledge is deemed divine). He is behind and above Christ on the Cross in the Throne of Mercy iconography. A dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit may hover above. Various people from different classes of society, e.g. kings, popes or martyrs may be present in the picture. In a Trinitarian Pietà, God the Father is often symbolized using a man wearing a papal dress and a papal crown, supporting the dead Christ in his arms. They are depicted as floating in heaven with angels who carry the instruments of the Passion.
Representations of God the Father and the Trinity were attacked both by Protestants and within Catholicism, by the Jansenist and Baianist movements as well as more orthodox theologians. As with other attacks on Catholic imagery, this had the effect both of reducing Church support for the less central depictions, and strengthening it for the core ones. In the Western Church, the pressure to restrain religious imagery resulted in the highly influential decrees of the final session of the Council of Trent in 1563. The Council of Trent decrees confirmed the traditional Catholic doctrine that images only represented the person depicted, and that veneration to them was paid to the person, not the image.
Artistic depictions of God the Father were uncontroversial in Catholic art thereafter, but less common depictions of the Trinity were condemned. In 1745 Pope Benedict XIV explicitly supported the Throne of Mercy depiction, referring to the “Ancient of Days”, but in 1786 it was still necessary for Pope Pius VI to issue a papal bull condemning the decision of an Italian church council to remove all images of the Trinity from churches.
God the Father is symbolized in several Genesis scenes in Michelangelo‘s Sistine Chapel ceiling, most famously The Creation of Adam (whose image of near touching hands of God and Adam is iconic of humanity, being a reminder that Man is created in the Image and Likeness of God (Gen 1:26)).God the Father is depicted as a powerful figure, floating in the clouds in Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin in the Frari of Venice, long admired as a masterpiece of High Renaissance art. The Church of the Gesùin Rome includes a number of 16th century depictions of God the Father. In some of these paintings the Trinity is still alluded to in terms of three angels, but Giovanni Battista Fiammerialso depicted God the Father as a man riding on a cloud, above the scenes.
In both the Last Judgment and the Coronation of the Virgin paintings by Rubens he depicted God the Father using the image that by then had become widely accepted, a bearded patriarchal figure above the fray. In the 17th century, the two Spanish artists Diego Velázquez (whose father-in-law Francisco Pacheco was in charge of the approval of new images for the Inquisition) and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo both depicted God the Father using a patriarchal figure with a white beard in a purple robe.
While representations of God the Father were growing in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Low Countries, there was resistance elsewhere in Europe, even during the 17th century. In 1632 most members of the Star Chamber court in England (except the Archbishop of York) condemned the use of the images of the Trinity in church windows, and some considered them illegal. Later in the 17th century Sir Thomas Browne wrote that he considered the representation of God the Father using an old man “a dangerous act” that might lead to Egyptian symbolism. In 1847, Charles Winston was still critical of such images as a “Romish trend” (a term used to refer to Roman Catholics) that he considered best avoided in England.
In 1667 the 43rd chapter of the Great Moscow Council specifically included a ban on a number of symbolic depictions of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, which then also resulted in a whole range of other icons being placed on the forbidden list, mostly affecting Western-style depictions which had been gaining ground in Orthodox icons. The Council also declared that the person of the Trinity who was the “Ancient of Days” was Christ, as Logos, not God the Father. However some icons continued to be produced in Russia, as well as Greece, Romania, and other Orthodox countries.
Bahá’u’lláh taught that God is directly unknowable to common mortals, but that his attributes and qualities can be indirectly known by learning from and imitating his divine Manifestations, which in Bahá’í theology are somewhat comparable to Hindu avatars or Abrahamic prophets. These Manifestations are the great prophets and teachers of many of the major religious traditions. These include Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Zoroaster, Muhammad, Bahá’ú’lláh, and others. Although the faith is strictly monotheistic, it also preaches the unity of all religions and focuses on these multiple epiphanies as necessary for meeting the needs of humanity at different points in history and for different cultures, and as part of a scheme of progressive revelation and education of humanity.
Classical theists (such as Ancient Greco-Medieval philosophers, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, much of Jews and Muslims, and some Protestants) speak of God as a divinely simple “nothing” that is completely transcendent (totally independent of all else), and having such attributes as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness.  Theologians of theistic personalism (the view held by Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, and most modern evangelicals) argue that God is most generally the ground of all being, immanent in and transcendent over the whole world of reality, with immanence and transcendence being the contrapletes of personality. God is also commonly defined as having a necessary existence, as necessity is deemed a good thing to have, and just as God has omnipotence and omniscience, he has necessity to its maximized degree.
Many philosophers developed arguments for the existence of God, while attempting to comprehend the precise implications of God’s attributes. Reconciling some of those attributes-particularly the attributes of the God of theistic personalism- generated important philosophical problems and debates. For example, God’s omniscience may seem to imply that God knows how free agents will choose to act. If God does know this, their ostensible free will might be illusory, or foreknowledge does not imply predestination, and if God does not know it, God may not be omniscient.
The last centuries of philosophy have seen vigorous questions regarding the arguments for God’s existence raised by such philosophers as Immanuel Kant, David Hume and Antony Flew, although Kant held that the argument from morality was valid. The theist response has been either to contend, as does Alvin Plantinga, that faith is “properly basic“, or to take, as does Richard Swinburne, the evidentialist position. Some theists agree that only some of the arguments for God’s existence are compelling, but argue that faith is not a product of reason, but requires risk. There would be no risk, they say, if the arguments for God’s existence were as solid as the laws of logic, a position summed up by Pascal as “the heart has reasons of which reason does not know.”
Stephen Hawking Was an Atheist
The physicist, who died Wednesday at age 76, wasn’t expected to see his 25th birthday, after being diagnosed with the incurable neurodegenerative condition ALS at age 21. Though Hawking beat the odds for more than five decades, the scientist told the Guardian in 2011 that death was never far from his mind.
“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years,” Hawking said. “I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”
Here are some of Hawking’s most interesting thoughts about death, the afterlife and God.
Hawking didn’t believe in heaven
The scientist took a pragmatic view of what happens to the brain and body after death.
He believed in an ‘impersonal God,’ but not a creator
Hawking invoked the name of God in his seminal book A Brief History of Time, writing that if physicists could find a “theory of everything” — that is, a cohesive explanation for how the universe works — they would glimpse “the mind of God.”
But in later interviews and writings, such as 2010’s The Grand Design, which he co-wrote with Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking clarified that he wasn’t referring to a creator in the traditional sense.
“Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” he wrote in The Grand Design. “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”
Using language about God, Hawking told TIME after the book’s release, is more figurative than literal.
“God is the name people give to the reason we are here,” he said. “But I think that reason is the laws of physics rather than someone with whom one can have a personal relationship. An impersonal God.”
Hawking considered himself an atheist
Hawking spoke more plainly about his thoughts on God in an interview with Spanish publication El Mundo.
“Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation,” he said. “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”
Though Hawking rejected the conventional notion of God or a creator, he fundamentally believed that the universe and life have meaning, according to the New York Times.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist,” Hawking said of the meaning of life. “Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”
Jesus Christ Is God
Jesus is God
Jesus is God – What does the Bible say about Jesus’ deity?
Does the Bible, which is the earliest and most historically reliable source, actually say Jesus is God? What does it tell us about Jesus and His identity?
Let’s take a brief look at a few of the many passages that clearly and consistently answer that question, straight from the pages of Scripture. We’ll begin by going back an additional 700 years before the life of Christ, to the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
Jesus is God – Prophecies
- Divine Messiah predicted in the Old Testament
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”1
“Immanuel” literally means: “God with us.” See also Matthew 1:23; Jesus was “God with us.”
- This Messiah would be born a human son, but have a higher nature
Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This was a radical statement coming from a monotheistic Jewish prophet — especially calling a human being “Mighty God”; but one that God fulfilled centuries later in Christ.
- A couple hundred years later, but still more than half a millennium before Jesus walked the earth, more was predicted about the Messiah’s divine nature
Daniel 7:13-14 “There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven . . . He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
“Son of Man” was the primary title Jesus used for Himself — and this passage shows that this was a clear and strong claim of deity. And in Mark, the earliest of the four Gospels, He also included the unmistakable phrase, “coming on the clouds of heaven” and applied it to Himself (Mark 14:62). His listeners got the point, refused to believe it, and added it to their reasons to try to kill Him.
Jesus is God – His Earthly Ministry
- The baby Jesus worshiped by the Magi
Matthew 2:11 “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”
Along with being led to the site where Jesus was born, these Magi were apparently informed by God about Jesus’ divine identity, and so they responded appropriately by worshiping Him.
- Jesus accepted worship from His disciples
Matthew 14:32-33 “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
In a Jewish culture, only the one true God can be worshiped; their actions show that they acknowledged Jesus as being divine. And Jesus didn’t correct them or say, “Don’t you realize that I’m just a mortal prophet? Stop worshiping me!” Rather, He accepted their worship, knowing He really was God in human flesh.
- Jesus’ claim about Himself
John 8:58-59 “‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”
This is a powerful double claim from Jesus: first, that He pre-existed His human birth and was actually alive and present (as God) before Abraham; second, that His title was “I am” — which was the same title used for Jehovah God in Exodus 3:14. His listeners again got the point, and picked up stones to execute Him!
- Another of Jesus’ claims of deity
John 10:30-33 “‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’”
It couldn’t be clearer than it is here: Jesus’ highly educated listeners understood His claim of deity. They only had two possible responses: to humble themselves and bow before Him as the Magi and the disciples had done earlier, or reject His claim and judge Him as a blasphemer. Unfortunately they chose the latter option. But notice that Jesus doesn’t argue with their accusation, because it was accurate. He really was claiming to be God!
- Thomas’ response to the resurrected Jesus
John 20:27-29 “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
This disciple realized, because of Jesus’ resurrection, who Jesus really was — and humbly worshiped Him and declared His true identity: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus not only accepts this declaration, but blesses all of the disciples — and all of us today — who come to the same realization and place of humble worship.
1 The bold emphases in verses is added by the author.
(Compliments of Mark Mittelberg)
What is your response?
Is Jesus Christ God
Who is the Messiah?
Jesus fulfilled the ancient biblical promise of a wounded victor who would rescue humanity. He was the one who overcame evil itself by allowing it to destroy him.
In the very beginning of the Bible, we see Adam and Eve living with God in the Garden of Eden. Though the Garden is perfect, evil still exists. The evil in the Garden of Eden existed in the form of a snake who tricked Adam and Eve into disobeying God’s commands.
It was a fatal mistake on the part of Adam and Eve, and one that would lead to the world in a downward spiral of sin. It is after the rebellion, though, we see God make one of His first promises, thus putting into action the grand plan that would eventually save all mankind once again. Here, God promises someday, someone would come bash the head of the snake who brought evil into the world, but not before the snake is able to strike this person’s heel. It’s a beautiful, albeit confusing, promise left with no further explanation until later in the story, when God makes another promise to a man named Abraham.
God promises Abraham that through his descendants, goodness and blessing will be brought back into the world. To one of these descendants, a man named Judah, God promises a great king will come from his line and this king will be the one who destroys evil and fulfills the promise God made to Abraham.**
Yet one by one, the kings of Israel fall well short of destroying evil. In fact, evil destroys them. The Old Testament ends, and still, no such king as was promised has come.
In the very beginning of the New Testament, though, we are introduced to the king who will fulfill the promises of God—the Messiah Jesus.
So, what does Messiah mean? To the Israelites, the Messiah referred to the king God had promised would defeat evil and bring goodness back to the world, and they had been looking for this king for a very long time. By coming from the line of David and Judah and by combating evil throughout the world, Jesus fulfilled every definition of the Messiah meaning that the Israelites had been looking for. Yet most of the Jews didn’t realize that Jesus was the Messiah. Consumed by the evil Jesus came to destroy, they killed their only savior and the Son of God Himself.
It seems like a tragic ending to the story, but it fulfills the promise that God made all the way back in the Garden of Eden. Evil had struck the Messiah’s heel, but the Messiah Jesus would still crush Evil’s head. By rising from the tomb, Jesus gained the ultimate power over death and evil and gave His followers power over death and evil as well, dealing Satan a fatal blow.
Today, Messiah Christianity still prevails. Like the ancient Israelites, we too must now wait for Christ’s return before we can truly celebrate the victory over evil. Nevertheless, the battle has already been won—just as God promised it would be.
Do you have questions about the Messiah? Want to talk to someone who can help you understand who Jesus is and how he can apply to your life today? Click below.
God’s love for us
How can we know for sure that God is always with us and willing to help? Because of God’s love for us! The love of God is the sure foundation of our faith in Him. His love gives us the absolute assurance that we are never alone or without help. God’s love for us is unfailing, it never stops, it is eternal. God’s love is the reason we are alive. The more we become rooted and grounded in God’s love, the more we will become happy, fruitful and fulfilled.
‘I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.’ (Ephesians 3:18)
The apostle Paul suffered severe persecution, everywhere he went, because he preached the life saving gospel of Jesus Christ, while facing the hatred of the religious leaders. In the midst of all the pain and warfare he experienced, Paul wrote these incredible words:
‘I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:39)
Paul knew from his own experience that it is God’s burning love that kept him, during even the worst trials.
And it was the compassionate love of God that motivated him to keep fighting the good fight of faith, to reveal Jesus Christ to the world. God had poured out His own mercy in the heart of Paul.
‘For Christ’s love compels us….’ (2 Cor. 5:14)
Because of God’s love, Paul was willing to face the hatred, rejection, offense, betrayal and even torture from his enemies. He had only one desire: reveal to people that God loves them with a love that goes beyond their wildest dreams.
‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.’ (Ephesians 2:5)
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Jesus Christ Is Love
Epic Uplifting Christian Motivational Mix II
Jesus Christ Movement Is Spreading The Word Of God Around The World! Help Us Spread The Word!
This blog contains the ’10 Principles of Christian Motivation’. Before we get to them, it’s important to first establish the foundation…LOVE! One letter separates the W-O-R-D from the W-O-R-L-D…the letter “L”. The difference between Christian and worldly motivation is found in this single letter, which represents our love in all things. Love is our ultimate goal.
Love is what God asked of the Israelites when he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength.” Love is what Jesus answered to the Pharisee when tested with the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” He said the first and greatest was to “love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength,” then to “love our neighbor as ourselves”.
When it comes to Christian motivation, nothing is more fundamental than love. Love is what gets us started and keeps us going. At all times and in all ways love is our foremost and guiding principle. It is the basis of our existence. For the love of God we live and breathe. Without love for God, everything we do is meaningless, like clanging a cymbal. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, he states:
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
The Motivation of Paul the Apostle
What could be more motivating (powerful) than being filled to the same measure as God? And who is more qualified to instruct us than Paul, perhaps the most committed follower of Jesus ever known. It’s hard to imagine anyone more motivated than this super-apostle. He traveled farther than even the most battle-hardened CEO. His network of connections was immense, stretching across the entire Mediterranean and beyond. He was more published than William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and JK Rowling combined. He spent his entire life building up the business he cherished. Statesmen sought his council, mega-church leaders clamored for his advice, kings feared his rebuke. He was so dedicated to his job he paid the ultimate price to see his business succeed. And he did it all for the sake of love.
As Christians, we sometimes find ourselves lacking motivation. This is where the ’10 Principles of Christian Motivation’ begin…on the foundation of Christ’s love. The list below concentrates on the actions that keep us building through love, in the practical ways.
The Fundamental Principles of Christian Motivation:
Drawing near to God keeps us motivated. It means he will draw near to us. Being close to God is connecting to the true source of all energy and power. He created the universe with a word. We attach ourselves to him through his word and prayer. He will motivate us as we speak and listen to Him.
Being generous keeps us motivated. Giving freely will lead to greater riches as sure as holding back leads to want. A generous person will prosper and will be continually refreshed.
Choosing humility keeps us motivated. God leads the humble with justice and teaches them his way. The humble will have abundant prosperity. The rewards are riches, honor and life. Putting others first, letting others promote us, having a low estimate of our own importance is the key to godly success.
Being quick to listen and slow to speak keeps us motivated. It gives us an advantage as we gain a deeper understanding of each situation. Listening shows others love and respect. Listening to God gives us security and frees us of anxiety.
Fellowship with believers keeps us motivated. Fellowship is belonging, being an active part of the body of Christ. Each member belongs to all the others. Two can resist an attack where one is defeated alone. Fellowship keeps us sharp just as iron sharpens iron. We help carry one another’s burdens in fellowship.
Using our God-given gifts keeps us motivated. We have a sense of purpose and fulfillment as we choose to be responsible with our talent. Expending ourselves in righteousness and fulfilling our duty to Christ also builds trust and competence.
Being a peacemaker keeps us motivated. It provides us the soil for order and reconciliation. We create energy in others as we seek to befriend and resolve. When we look for agreement and the right kind of compromise we establish the atmosphere of peace.
A positive attitude keeps us motivated. Thinking about the noble, the truthful, the lovely and admirable, the excellent and all things worthy of praise is what Christ did. When we choose this pattern we tune into the frequency of Christ. We are transformed as we renew our thinking and guided to know God’s will.
Gratitude for the little things of today keeps us motivated. Godliness with contentment is great gain. When we affirm that life in Christ is good, we learn to be content with what we have. This freedom gives us wings to fly above the self.
Being aware of the present keeps us motivated. Jesus himself teaches us that nothing in the past or the future really matters, only the present. This is mindfulness and keeps our energy focused on today’s immediate. We possess the vitality and focus to accomplish what’s in the here and now.
These 10 principles, when practiced, will give us the energy to achieve great things in life. If we researched the source of motivation in corporate America we might see articles about goal-setting, risk taking, personal learning or financial planning. There is certainly nothing wrong with these. And yet as Christians we could follow these instructions and yet feel completely demotivated. For us there is something deeper at the soul level, a source of everlasting motivation… the eternal glory of Almighty God.
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Jesus in Christianity
In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Messiah (Christ) and through his crucifixion and resurrection, humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life. These teachings emphasize that as the willing Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of God the Father, as an “agent and servant of God”. The choice Jesus made thus counter-positions him as a new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam‘s disobedience.
Christians believe that Jesus was both human and divine—the Son of God. While there has been theological debate over the nature of Jesus, Trinitarian Christians believe that Jesus is the Logos, God incarnate, God the Son, and “true God and true man“—both fully divine and fully human. Jesus, having become fully human in all respects, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin. As fully God, he defeated death and rose to life again. According to the Bible, God raised him from the dead. He ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, and he will return to earth again for the Last Judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the World to Come.
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Although Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to summarize key elements of the shared beliefs among major denominations based on their catechetical or confessional texts. Christian views of Jesus are derived from various biblical sources, particularly from the canonical Gospels and New Testament letters such as the Pauline epistles. Christians predominantly hold that these works are historically true.
- Christians believe that the mother of Jesus was a virgin.
- Christians believe that Jesus was a human being who was also fully God.
- Christians believe that Jesus came into the world as the son of only one earthly parent, Mary.
- Christians believe that Jesus never sinned or did anything wrong.
- Christians believe that Jesus was eventually martyred, was buried in a tomb, and then on the third day came back to life.
- Christians believe that because he rose from the tomb on the third day, that he lives and has a glorious spiritual body today which can be felt with a touch.
- Christians believe that Jesus eventually ascended back to God the Father.
- Christians believe that Jesus will come back to earth a second time.
Some groups considered within Christianity hold beliefs considered to unorthodox. For example, believers in monophysitism reject the idea that Christ was fully human and God at the same time. Others, such as the Latter-day Saints, consider Christ to be in possession of a fully physical body after his resurrection.
The five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus are his baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. These are usually bracketed by two other episodes: his nativity at the beginning and the sending of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) at the end. The gospel accounts of the teachings of Jesus are often presented in terms of specific categories involving his “works and words”, e.g., his ministry, parables and miracles.
Christians not only attach theological significance to the works of Jesus, but also to his name. New Testament Scriptures requisite the name of Jesus as the only way to be saved. Devotions to the name of Jesus go back to the earliest days of Christianity. These exist today both in Eastern and Western Christianity—both Catholic and Protestant.
Christians predominantly profess that through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, he restored humanity’s communion with God with the blood of the New Covenant. His death on a cross is understood as a redemptive sacrifice: the source of humanity’s salvation and the atonement for sin which had entered human history through the sin of Adam.
Christ, Logos and Son of God
Jesus is mediator, but…the title means more that someone between God and man. He is not just a third party between God and humanity…. As true God he brings God to mankind. As true man he brings mankind to God.
Most Christians generally consider Jesus to be the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, as well as the one and only Son of God. The opening words in the Gospel of Mark (1:1), “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”, provide Jesus with the two distinct attributions as Christ and as the Son of God. His divinity is again re-affirmed in Mark 1:11. Matthew 1:1 which begins by calling Jesus the Christ and in verse 16 explains it again with the affirmation: “Jesus, who is called Christ”.
In the Pauline epistles, the word “Christ” is so closely associated with Jesus that apparently for the early Christians there was no need to claim that Jesus was Christ, for that was considered widely accepted among them. Hence Paul could use the term Christos with no confusion about who it referred to, and as in 1 Corinthians 4:15 and Romans 12:5 he could use expressions such as “in Christ” to refer to the followers of Jesus.
In the New Testament, the title “Son of God” is applied to Jesus on many occasions. It is often used to refer to his divinity, from the beginning in the Annunciation up to the crucifixion. The declaration that Jesus is the Son of God is made by many individuals in the New Testament, and on two separate occasions by God the Father as a voice from Heaven, and is asserted by Jesus himself.
In Christology, the concept that the Christ is the Logos (i.e., “The Word”) has been important in establishing the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and his position as God the Son in the Trinity as set forth in the Chalcedonian Creed. This derives from the opening of the Gospel of John, commonly translated into English as: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  In the original Greek, Logos (λόγος) is used for “Word,” and in theological discourse, this is often left in its English transliterated form, “Logos”.
The pre-existence of Christ refers to the doctrine of the personal existence of Christ before his conception. One of the relevant Bible passages is John 1:1-18 where, in the Trinitarian view, Christ is identified with a pre-existent divine hypostasis called the Logos or Word. This doctrine is reiterated in John 17:5 when Jesus refers to the glory which he had with the Father “before the world was” during the Farewell discourse. John 17:24 also refers to the Father loving Jesus “before the foundation of the world”. Non-Trinitarian views about the pre-existence of Christ vary, with some rejecting it and others accepting it.
Following the Apostolic Age, from the 2nd century forward, several controversies developed about how the human and divine are related within the person of Jesus. Eventually in 451, the concept of a Hypostatic union was decreed, namely that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human. However, differences among Christian denominations continued thereafter, with some rejecting the hypostatic union in favor of monophysitisim.
Incarnation, Nativity and Second Adam
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. — Colossians 1:15-16
The above verse from Colossians regards the birth of Jesus as the model for all creation. Apostle Paul viewed the birth of Jesus as an event of cosmic significance which brought forth a “new man” who undid the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. Just as the Johannine view of Jesus as the incarnate Logos proclaims the universal relevance of his birth, the Pauline perspective emphasizes the birth of a new man and a new world in the birth of Jesus. Paul’s eschatological view of Jesus counter-positions him as a new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam. Unlike Adam, the new man born in Jesus obeys God and ushers in a world of morality and salvation.
In the Pauline view, Adam is positioned as the first man and Jesus as the second: Adam, having corrupted himself by his disobedience, also infected humanity and left it with a curse as its inheritance. The birth of Jesus counterbalanced the fall of Adam, bringing forth redemption and repairing the damage done by Adam.
In the 2nd century Church Father Irenaeus writes:
“When He became incarnate and was made man, He commenced afresh the long line of human beings, and furnished us, in a brief, comprehensive manner, with salvation; so that what we had lost in Adam—namely to be according to the image and likeness of God- that we might recover in Christ Jesus.”
In patristic theology, Paul’s contrasting of Jesus as the new man versus Adam provided a framework for discussing the uniqueness of the birth of Jesus and the ensuing events of his life. The nativity of Jesus thus began to serve as the starting point for “cosmic Christology” in which the birth, life and resurrection of Jesus have universal implications. The concept of Jesus as the “new man” repeats in the cycle of birth and rebirth of Jesus from his nativity to his resurrection: following his birth, through his morality and obedience to the Father, Jesus began a “new harmony” in the relationship between God the Father and man. The nativity and resurrection of Jesus thus created the author and exemplar of a new humanity. In this view, the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus brought about salvation, undoing the damage of Adam.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).—John 10:10 (Ampl)
Jesus seemed to have two basic concerns with reference to people and the material: (1) that they be freed from the tyranny of things and (2) that they be actively concerned for the needs of others.
In the canonical gospels, the Ministry of Jesus begins with his baptism in the countryside of Judea, near the River Jordan and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper. The Gospel of Luke (3:23) states that Jesus was “about 30 years of age” at the start of his ministry. The date of the start of his ministry has been estimated at around AD 27-29 and the end in the range AD 30-36.
Jesus’ early Galilean ministry begins when after his baptism, he goes back to Galilee from his time in the Judean desert. In this early period he preaches around Galilee and recruits his first disciples who begin to travel with him and eventually form the core of the early Church. The major Galilean ministry which begins in Matthew 8 includes the commissioning of the Twelve Apostles, and covers most of the ministry of Jesus in Galilee. The final Galilean ministry begins after the death of John the Baptist as Jesus prepares to go to Jerusalem.
In the later Judean ministry Jesus starts his final journey to Jerusalem through Judea. As Jesus travels towards Jerusalem, in the later Perean ministry, about one third the way down from the Sea of Galilee along the River Jordan, he returns to the area where he was baptized.
The final ministry in Jerusalem is sometimes called the Passion Week and begins with the Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The gospels provide more details about the final ministry than the other periods, devoting about one third of their text to the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem.
Teachings, parables and miracles
In the New Testament the teachings of Jesus are presented in terms of his “words and works”. The words of Jesus include several sermons, in addition to parables that appear throughout the narrative of the Synoptic Gospels (the gospel of John includes no parables). The works include the miracles and other acts performed during his ministry.
Although the Canonical Gospels are the major source of the teachings of Jesus, the Pauline epistles, which were likely written decades before the gospels, provide some of the earliest written accounts of the teachings of Jesus.
The New Testament does not present the teachings of Jesus as merely his own teachings, but equates the words of Jesus with divine revelation, with John the Baptist stating in John 3:34: “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” and Jesus stating in John 7:16: “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me”. In Matthew 11:27 Jesus claims divine knowledge, stating: “No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son”, asserting the mutual knowledge he has with the Father.
The gospels include several discourses by Jesus on specific occasions, such as the Farewell discourse delivered after the Last Supper, the night before his crucifixion. Although some of the teachings of Jesus are reported as taking place within the formal atmosphere of a synagogue (e.g., in Matthew 4:23) many of the discourses are more like conversations than formal lectures.
The Gospel of Matthew has a structured set of sermons, often grouped as the Five Discourses of Matthew which present many of the key teachings of Jesus. Each of the five discourses has some parallel passages in the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of Luke. The five discourses in Matthew begin with the Sermon on the Mount, which encapsulates many of the moral teaching of Jesus and which is one of the best known and most quoted elements of the New Testament. The Sermon on the Mount includes the Beatitudes which describe the character of the people of the Kingdom of God, expressed as “blessings”. The Beatitudes focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction and echo the key ideals of Jesus’ teachings on spirituality and compassion. The other discourses in Matthew include the Missionary Discourse in Matthew 10 and the Discourse on the Church in Matthew 18, providing instructions to the disciples and laying the foundation of the codes of conduct for the anticipated community of followers.
The parables of Jesus represent a major component of his teachings in the gospels, the approximately thirty parables forming about one third of his recorded teachings. The parables may appear within longer sermons, as well as other places within the narrative. Jesus’ parables are seemingly simple and memorable stories, often with imagery, and each conveys a teaching which usually relates the physical world to the spiritual world.
In the 19th century, Lisco and Fairbairn stated that in the parables of Jesus, “the image borrowed from the visible world is accompanied by a truth from the invisible (spiritual) world” and that the parables of Jesus are not “mere similitudes which serve the purpose of illustration, but are internal analogies where nature becomes a witness for the spiritual world”. Similarly, in the 20th century, calling a parable “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning”, William Barclay states that the parables of Jesus use familiar examples to lead others’ minds towards heavenly concepts. He suggests that Jesus did not form his parables merely as analogies but based on an “inward affinity between the natural and the spiritual order.”
Miracles of Jesus
In Christian teachings, the miracles of Jesus were as much a vehicle for his message as were his words. Many of the miracles emphasize the importance of faith, for instance in cleansing ten lepers,[Lk 17:19] Jesus did not say: “My power has saved you” but says “Rise and go; your faith has saved you.” Similarly, in the Walking on Water miracle, Apostle Peter learns an important lesson about faith in that as his faith wavers, he begins to sink.[Mt 14:34-36] 
One characteristic shared among all miracles of Jesus in the Gospel accounts is that he delivered benefits freely and never requested or accepted any form of payment for his healing miracles, unlike some high priests of his time who charged those who were healed. In Matthew 10:8 he advised his disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, and drive out demons without payment and stated: “Freely you have received; freely give”.
Christians in general believe that Jesus’ miracles were actual historical events and that his miraculous works were an important part of his life, attesting to his divinity and the Hypostatic union, i.e., the dual natures of Christ’s humanity and divinity in one hypostasis. Christians believe that while Jesus’ experiences of hunger, weariness, and death were evidences of his humanity, the miracles were evidences of his deity.
Christian authors also view the miracles of Jesus not merely as acts of power and omnipotence, but as works of love and mercy: they were performed to show compassion for sinful and suffering humanity. Authors Ken and Jim Stocker state that “every single miracle Jesus performed was an act of love”. And each miracle involves specific teachings.
Since according to the Gospel of John[20:30] it was impossible to narrate all the miracles performed by Jesus, the Catholic Encyclopedia states that the miracles presented in the Gospels were selected for a twofold reason: first for the manifestation of God’s glory, and then for their evidential value. Jesus referred to his “works” as evidences of his mission and his divinity, and in John 5:36 he declared that his miracles have greater evidential value than the testimony of John the Baptist.
Crucifixion and atonement
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Johannine “agency christology” combines the concept that Jesus is the Son of his Father with the idea that he has come into the world as his Father’s agent, commissioned and sent by the Father to represent the Father and to accomplish his Father’s work. Implied in each Synoptic portrayal of Jesus is the doctrine that the salvation Jesus gives is inseparable from Jesus himself and his divine identity. Sonship and agency come together in the Synoptic gospels only in the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:37; Mark 12:6; Luke 20:13). The submission of Jesus to crucifixion is a sacrifice made as an agent of God or servant of God, for the sake of eventual victory.This builds upon the salvific theme of the Gospel of John which begins in John 1:36 with John the Baptist‘s proclamation: “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. Further reinforcement of the concept is provided in Revelation 21:14 where the “lamb slain but standing” is the only one worthy of handling the scroll (i.e., the book) containing the names of those who are to be saved.
A central element in the Christology presented in the Acts of the Apostles is the affirmation of the belief that the death of Jesus by crucifixion happened “with the foreknowledge of God, according to a definite plan”. In this view, as in Acts 2:23, the cross is not viewed as a scandal, for the crucifixion of Jesus “at the hands of the lawless” is viewed as the fulfilment of the plan of God.
Paul’s Christology has a specific focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus is directly related to his resurrection and the term “the cross of Christ” used in Galatians 6:12 may be viewed as his abbreviation of the message of the gospels. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus was not an isolated event in history, but a cosmic event with significant eschatological consequences, as in 1 Corinthians 2:8. In the Pauline view, Jesus, obedient to the point of death (Philippians 2:8) died “at the right time” (Romans 4:25) based on the plan of God. For Paul the “power of the cross” is not separable from the resurrection of Jesus.
John Calvin supported the “agent of God” Christology and argued that in his trial in Pilate’s Court Jesus could have successfully argued for his innocence, but instead submitted to crucifixion in obedience to the Father. This Christological theme continued into the 20th century, both in the Eastern and Western Churches. In the Eastern Church Sergei Bulgakov argued that the crucifixion of Jesus was “pre-eternally” determined by the Father before the creation of the world, to redeem humanity from the disgrace caused by the fall of Adam. In the Western Church, Karl Rahner elaborated on the analogy that the blood of the Lamb of God (and the water from the side of Jesus) shed at the crucifixion had a cleansing nature, similar to baptismal water.
Resurrection, Ascension and Second Coming
The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus is a foundation of the Christian faith.[1 Cor 15:12-20] [1 Pet 1:3] Christians, through faith in the working of God[Col 2:12] are spiritually resurrected with Jesus, and are redeemed so that they may walk in a new way of life.[Rom 6:4]
In the teachings of the apostolic Church, the resurrection was seen as heralding a new era. Forming a theology of the resurrection fell to Apostle Paul. It was not enough for Paul to simply repeat elementary teachings, but as Hebrews 6:1 states, “go beyond the initial teachings about Christ and advance to maturity”. Fundamental to Pauline theology is the connection between Christ’s Resurrection and redemption. Paul explained the importance of the resurrection of Jesus as the cause and basis of the hope of Christians to share a similar experience in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22:
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
If the cross stands at the center of Paul’s theology, so does the Resurrection: unless the one died the death of all, the all would have little to celebrate in the resurrection of the one. Paul taught that, just as Christians share in Jesus’ death in baptism, so they will share in his resurrection for Jesus was designated the Son of God by his resurrection.[Rom. 1:4]  Paul’s views went against the thoughts of the Greek philosophers to whom a bodily resurrection meant a new imprisonment in a corporeal body, which was what they wanted to avoid, given that for them the corporeal and the material fettered the spirit. At the same time, Paul believed that the newly resurrected body would be a heavenly body—immortal, glorified, powerful and pneumatic, in contrast to an earthly body which is mortal, dishonored, weak and psychic.
The Apostolic Fathers, discussed the death and resurrection of Jesus, including Ignatius (50−115), Polycarp (69−155), and Justin Martyr (100−165). Following the conversion of Constantine and the liberating Edict of Milan in 313, the ecumenical councils of the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries, that focused on Christology helped shape the Christian understanding of the redemptive nature of Resurrection, and influenced both the development of its iconography, and its use within Liturgy.
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The one thing that I spent a lot of time developing was the actual system that I was teaching people so that they were getting the most out of their time.
Because most of my students want to start playing actual worship songs as soon as possible rather than practicing guitar scales all day long.
Rather than having to put your head in a book and memorize music theory I wanted everyone I taught to be able to play a song within a day or two of picking up the guitar.
Almost every guitar player I know got started playing guitar so they could play songs and I’m sure you are the same way…so why do most guitar learning programs take all the fun out and just make you practice scales all day?
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Christian Motivational Video
Want to Create a More Positive Life?
How Christian Affirmations Will Help You Become A Positive Person… Full Of Spiritual Confidence With More Godly Esteem… Without Worldly Negative Thinking!
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Break Free Of Your Limiting Beliefs
Have you ever seen a massive big elephant roped by one leg to a stake in the ground?
And that tiny rope around that little peg keeps the elephant secure. This massive big elephant that can cause so much destruction with it’s strength, who can knock over trees and move huge obstacles can not escape from one small rope.
Because from a baby it was tied to that stake and when it was young it would have felt pain every time it tried to escape until it became so ingrained into it’s subsconscious mind that even after it has grown up to be more powerful and surely could escape the elephant still thinks it is trapped.
What about the story of the flee in the jar?
If you put flees in a jar they jump up and down and escape. With the lid on the jar they jump and hit the lid until eventually they become conditioned to jump just high enough that they don’t hit the lid.
After a while, when the lid is removed they still jump a little lower to where the lid was. They can now escape, there is no longer a lid there, yet because of their previous experience which has formulated their limiting belief they stay trapped in the jar.
We Can Be Like The Elephant and The Flea!
Perhaps you are suffering from low self esteem, self hatred, sadness, fear of rejection, or continuous “bad luck” because of things that happened to you years ago. Perhaps you think you’re not good enough, you’re hopeless, you will never amount to anything, and so on.
Where did this ingrained belief come from?
There could be a myriad of answers however the fact is that someone, something, some circumstance has place a small rope around your leg and made you think you can’t escape. At sometime in your life you have had a lid placed above you which has made you think you can’t reach the same heights as everyone else.
Is that lid still really there?
Perhaps you can live a much better life if you can see that negative, worldly thinking caused from worldly circumstances is tricking you into believing a lie. The lid is gone and the rope can’t hold you.
When you say, you can’t do it, who are you listening too?
The Bible says, we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us!
It is time to reprogram your mind from the defective worldly program that has been installed and replaced with the Godly program. The mind of Christ…
The Scientific Community Are Also Discovery Very Interesting Results When Testing Affirmations
JOHN 14:6 JESUS ANSWERED,“I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.”
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) Being humble is the first step to receiving help. You must admit that you cannot do life on your own. Life is full of unforeseen circumstances that can bog you down. Sometimes Satan…
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 (NLT) Just like you, people in the first century were heavy-hearted. They were troubled by the same demands of life that weigh on you;…
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” – Mark 12:31 (NLT) Too many time people make the mistake of thinking religion is a big list of to-do’s. When Jesus came to earth, He simplified things. He started with the command to love God with all…
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 (NIV) Most everyone has a “memory bank” of the wrongs committed against them. Your memory bank may include a bully kicking…
God’s name is a place of protection— good people can run there and be safe. – Proverbs 18:10 (The Message) Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Blizzards. Revolts. Protests. Whether originating with natural disasters or human discontent, storms can strike instantly. Nor do they have to carry international, national or state-wide impact. Personal…
Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories. – Isaiah 41:10 (CEV) Maybe you’ve faced financial challenges, dealt with division in the family, or grieved the loss of a loved one….
Since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life. – 1 Timothy 1:16 (CEV) The world…
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3 (NIV) It is impossible to go through life without being hurt. Promises are broken and trust is shattered. The circumstances of life shape our hearts, but they also break them. It is in the times when…
“If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 (CEV) Texts, e-mails, and message alerts pinging our smartphones like chirping birds reminding you of deadlines and appointments. They shoot at you at the speed of light. Technology was…
You are now very sad. But later I will see you, and you will be so happy that no one will be able to change the way you feel. – John 16:22 (CEV) Grief comes in many forms. Losing a child or spouse, a twin sister or your only…
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Is Jesus Christ Lord
Is Jesus God?
Some say Jesus Christ was just a man, or maybe a great teacher. But He was and is much more than that. The Bible says Jesus is unique in both His person and His purpose. He wasn’t just some spiritual individual during His time on earth; He was both God’s Son (John 3:16) and God Himself—God in human flesh (I Timothy 3:16). Yes, He was fully man, but He was also fully God (Colossians 2:9).
Jesus claimed to be God. It might be hard to understand how this could be true, but it’s important to remember that God is much bigger and more powerful than we can comprehend. We do know that Jesus said He existed before Abraham (John 8:58). He claimed that He and His Father are one (John 10:30), and that He is equal with the Father (John 5:17-18).
Not only did He claim to be God, but He also claimed to have the power of God. He said He has the authority to judge the nations (Matthew 25:31-46). He claims the authority to raise people from the dead (John 5:25-29) and to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7)—things only God can do (I Samuel 2:6; Isaiah 43:25).
Further, Jesus says He has the power to answer prayers (John 14:13-14), and that He will be with His followers always (Matthew 28:20). The New Testament equates Jesus to the creator of the universe (John 1:3), and in John 16:15, He says, “All that belongs to the Father is mine.”
But where’s the proof?
Claiming to be something, as Jesus claimed to be God, doesn’t make it true. Where’s the evidence that He is God?
Jesus’ identity isn’t based solely on what He says, but on what He does. And He has left a lot of evidence that He is God. That evidence includes fulfilled prophecy and recorded miracles in which Jesus reversed the laws of nature. He also lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), something no one else has done.
The ultimate proof of His divinity, however, was His resurrection from the dead after His death on the cross. No one else has ever risen from the dead on his own.
Did Jesus ever say, ‘I am God’?
If someone said to you, “I am God,” would you believe him? Many people who believe in one God would think the person is blaspheming. Even if Jesus said the exact words, “I am God,” many people would not have believed Him or even heard what He had to say. Yet, He did give us reasons to believe such a claim without using these words.
In Luke 4:8, Jesus says, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” He said and showed many times that He is the Lord. Jesus says, for example, that He is “the first and the last” (Revelation 1:17, 22:13), which God the Father says in Isaiah 44:6.
But maybe you’re looking for a place in the Bible where Jesus says, “I am God; worship me” in those exact words. If we suggest that Jesus could only claim to be God by saying that one sentence, we might also ask where He says, “I am a great teacher, but not God,” or, “I am just a prophet; don’t worship me.” The Bible doesn’t say that, either.
The good news is that Jesus told us He is God in many different ways! He has made it clear that He and God the Father are one (John 10:30), and says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Who else could claim these things except God?
Does that mean there are multiple gods?
Believing Jesus is God doesn’t mean there are multiple gods. It can be difficult to understand, but followers of Jesus believe in one God in three persons (God the Father, God the Son—Jesus, and the Holy Spirit). God is one but has three roles, just like a person today might be a father, an employee and a husband. Each person of God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) has a separate function, but all are united as one God—one in purpose, essence and nature, and equal in power and glory.
How can Jesus be God if He is God’s Son?
If Jesus is God’s Son, does that mean God had a wife?
God has never had a wife. Calling Jesus God’s Son is an expression of His role in relation to God the Father. Unlike us, Jesus was not conceived by two earthly parents; He was born of a virgin through a miraculous work of God. He was born holy, without sin.
Being born of a virgin might seem impossible—even Jesus’ mother, Mary, asked, “How will this be? (Luke 1:34)—yet God is all-powerful and made a way for the holy Jesus to be born a human. In Matthew 1:20, an angel tells Mary’s fiancé, Joseph, that what is conceived in Mary “is from the Holy Spirit.” Jesus was not born out of a sexual relationship between God and Mary, but instead out of a miracle by God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus was both fully God and fully human.
It is also significant that the most thorough Gospel account of the virgin birth was written by Luke, a medical doctor. If anyone knew the impossibility of a virgin birth, it was Luke—yet, after careful research, he concluded that it was a fact. The God who was powerful enough to create the universe was also powerful enough to bring Jesus into the world without a human father. His miraculous birth is just one more testament to His deity.
Why should we care who Jesus is?
There is one way to heaven, one way to be free from your sin and to have a relationship with God. That’s through Jesus Christ. Acts 4:1II says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” To have eternal life in heaven, you must put your trust in Jesus. Here’s why:
We all sin, meaning we all fall short of God’s perfect standard. The consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). That means eternal separation from God. But because Jesus lived a sinless life, His death on the cross provided the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Because He defeated death by rising again, we can have eternal life in the presence of God when we put our trust in Him.
Hundreds of people saw and believed in the risen Christ after His death and resurrection, and countless people in the past 2,000 years have discovered that only Jesus can meet the deepest longings and needs of the human heart. In Jesus Christ alone “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
Can we trust what the Bible says about Him?
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is God, and there are many reasons we can trust the Bible. (Find “Is the Bible true?” under the Common Questions section for five of them.)
Not only do we have many reasons to believe that the text of the Bible is true, but many will find that reading the Bible allows God to speak to them—perhaps not audibly, but through His words.
While there are different translations of the Bible, the same core message is the same—that God loves us and freely offers us eternal life if we accept Jesus as our Savior. Different translations exist in an effort to make the Bible understandable to various audiences; however, the major doctrines—and the person of Jesus Christ—remain the same.
If you’re curious about Jesus or what the Bible says about Him, read the book of John in the Bible. It’s a great place to start.
Ten Biblical Reasons Why Jesus Is God
10 Biblical Reasons Jesus Is God
At a crucial point in his ministry, Jesus asked his disciples,“Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). The answer to this question is more important than anything else. Nevertheless, today, just as in Jesus’ day, when Christians ask people the question “who do you say Jesus is?” there are various answers given concerning his identity. But what does the New Testament tell us about who Jesus is?
Understanding the deity of Jesus is fundamental in defending the truth of the Christian faith.
All major religions1 and cultic groups2 reject the doctrine of deity of Christ. Some of these objections are a result of rationalism (“reason” is supreme, not God) over revelation or a misunderstanding of what the doctrine teaches. Another more common objection results from revisionist history, which claims that Christ’s deity was invented at the Council of Nicaea in the 4th century3 and not something believed by the early church.4
The reason Christians believe in the deity of Jesus is that we are forced to come to this conclusion by the clear teaching of Scripture. It is important to get Jesus’ identity because if we deny the deity of Jesus then we do not have the Father (1 John 2:23; cf. John 5:23). Here are 10 Scriptural reasons for the deity of Jesus.
1: The Bible Teaches That There Is One True God
JESUS’ DIVINITY IS PART OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.
This is important to understand because many objectors to the deity of Jesus misunderstand what Christians believe about the Trinity. Christians believe what the Bible teaches—that there is only one true and living God (Deuteronomy 6:4; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6). However, we must not confuse monotheism (belief in one God) with Unitarianism (the belief that the being of God is shared by one person). Jesus’ divinity is part of the doctrine of the Trinity, which states that within the one Being that is God, there exists eternally three co-equal and co-eternal persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each is a distinct person, yet each is identified as God: the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6), the Son (John 1:1–3; Romans 9:5), and the Spirit (Acts 5:3–4). We must also remember that it wasn’t the Father or the Spirit who became incarnate; it was the Son (John 1:14) and he was born under the Law (Galatians 4:4). This is why, in his humanity, Jesus prays to the Father (Matthew 26:39, 42).5
The doctrine of the Trinity is revealed between the Old and New Testaments through the incarnation of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.6 God did not change between the Old and New Testaments, being a Unitarian God in the Old and a Trinitarian God in the New. God has always been Triune, but the specific revelation of the divinity of Jesus takes place in the New Testament.7
2: The Bible Teaches That Jesus Pre-Existed Before The World Was
The New Testament in several passages clearly teaches that Jesus existed in eternity past before his birth in Bethlehem.
Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In John 1:1 we read the same words, “In the beginning.”8 John informs us in John 1:1 that in the beginning was the Word (logos) and that the Word was not only with God but was God. This Word is the one who brought all things into being at creation (John 1:3). John 1:1 teaches that the Word is eternal, the Word has had an eternal relationship with the Father, and the Word as to His nature is deity.
In his prayer in John 17:3–5 Jesus both refers to his pre-existence and uses terminology that can only be used about deity:
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
To have eternal life is to know two persons: both the Father and Jesus (see John 14:6-7; 16:3). But notice, Jesus is distinguished from the Father because Jesus is the one speaking to the Father. The personal pronouns (me, your, you) clearly show that this is one person speaking to another. In this conversation, the Son is speaking of the glory he has shared with the Father before the world was; the words “in your own presence” refer to their sharing of divine glory.9 John 17:3–5 is not an example of the “human side” praying to the “divine side” but of a divine, yet incarnate (John 1:14) person, the Son, communicating with a divine, but non-incarnate person, the Father in heaven.
Paul’s words in Philippians 2:5–8 teach not only the deity of Jesus but also the distinct personhood of the Son prior to his incarnation.10 In this passage, Paul exhorts the Philippians to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus who “existed in the form of God.”11 These words come before the verbs emptied, taking, and becoming and point to the pre-existence of the one “existing in the form of God.”12 Moreover, Jesus did not regard13 the equality he had with God the Father, in eternity past, something to be held on to. Instead he “made himself nothing”14 by doing two things: taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men.15 Having entered into human existence he humbled himself to death on the Cross. Because of this, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10–11); it is only God who is to be worshipped as Lord (see Isaiah 45:23).
3: Jesus Is Creator Not Creature
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Paul’s statement in Colossians 1:15 that the “firstborn of all creation” teaches that Jesus was a created being. However, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teaching resembles the view of the ancient Colossian heresy that Paul had to combat.
The Colossian false teachers advocated the idea that Jesus was the first of many other created mediators between God and men. By using the specific Greek word prōtotokos, “firstborn,” Paul rules out the idea of Jesus as a created being. “Firstborn” does not mean “first created.” Rather, Paul uses a term that was based on the ancient designation of the authority, or pre-eminence, metaphorically given to the firstborn (Genesis. 49:3–4; Exodus 4:22). In the same way, David, the youngest of Jesse, was named “firstborn” (Psalm 89:20–27) who ruled Israel. Manasseh was born to Joseph first, but Ephraim, his younger brother, was “firstborn” due to his position as given by Jacob/Israel (Genesis 48:13–20, Jeremiah 31:9).
BY DESCRIBING JESUS AS THE “FIRSTBORN OVER ALL CREATION,” PAUL IS SAYING THAT HE IS THE ABSOLUTE RULER OVER ALL CREATION.
Furthermore, if Paul had wanted to describe Jesus as a created being, he could have used the Greek word protoktistos, which means “first created.”16 So why didn’t he use it? Because Paul did not believe Jesus was created. By describing Jesus as the “firstborn over all creation,” Paul is saying that he is the absolute ruler over all creation.
In fact, the evidence that Jesus is supreme over all creation comes in Colossians 1:16. Here, Paul absolutely rules out the idea that Jesus is a created being because he presents Jesus as the Creator of the entire universe which exists by his creative power (John 1:1–3; Hebrews 1:2, 8–10). The reason Jesus can “create all things” is that “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). The Greek word for “Godhead,” theotēs, refers to “the state of being God.”17 It is only God who can create (Isaiah 42:5, 44:24, 45:18).
4: Jesus Identifies Himself as Divine
At the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths in his encounter with the Pharisees (John 8:13), Jesus told them, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). The Jewish people reacted to Jesus’ statement by asking him, “Who are you?” (John 8:25).
Jesus told the Jews exactly who he is: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). This “I am” (ego eimi) statement was Jesus’ clearest example of His proclamation, “I am Yahweh,” from its background in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 41:4; 43:10–13, 25; 46:4; 48:12; cf. John 13:19).
These are the very words (ego eimi) ) that caused the Roman soldiers to fall to the ground after they came to arrest Jesus (John 18:6). Jesus’ explicit identification of himself with Yahweh of the Old Testament is why the Jewish leaders wanted to stone him for blasphemy (see John 5:18; 10:33).
5: The Apostles Identified Jesus as Divine
Both Jesus and his apostles identified him as divine. The Apostle Peter described Jesus as “our God and Savior” (2 Peter 1:1; cf. Titus 2:13) and called on believers to “honor Christ the Lord as holy” (1 Peter 3:15).18 Jesus’ own half-brother James, who was an unbeliever at first (John 7:5), described him as “the Lord of glory” (James 2:1; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:8; Psalm 24:7–8). What man or prophet could be described in this way? The Apostle John also attributed titles to Jesus that were used only of God by describing him as the “Alpha and Omega” and the “first and the last” (Revelation 22:13; 1:8, 17–18; cf. Isaiah 44:6). The writer of the book of Hebrews also has insight into the identity of Jesus In Hebrews 1, the author identifies Jesus (the Son) as superior to any prophet (vv. 1–2), above the angels (v. 5), worthy of our worship (vv. 6–8; cf. Psalm 45:6–7), and the creator of all things who is unchangeable (vv. 2–3, 10; cf. Psalm 102:25). The author of Hebrews further states that Jesus is “seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2; cf. Acts 2:30).
6: The Jewish Leaders Recognized Jesus’ Claim to Divinity
One of the clearest evidences of the deity of Jesus is the Jewish leaders’ reaction to Jesus’ words and actions. In Mark 2, Jesus not only heals a paralytic but also forgives his sins (Mark 2:5). This is the reason that the scribes cry blasphemy, for it is God alone who can forgive sins (Mark 2:7).19
In his trial before the Sanhedrin Jesus is once again charged with blasphemy because of his response to the high priest’s question: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” (Mark 14:61) Jesus responded, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). Then the high priest tore his clothes, charged Jesus with blasphemy, and condemned him to death (Mark 14:64). Why did the high priest respond that way? Because Jesus quoted from Psalm 110:1and Daniel 7:13–14 and applied the words to himself. In Daniel 7 the divine Son of Man comes before the Ancient of Days, and all peoples and nations serve20 him. The Pharisees recognize Jesus’ divine claim here and charge him with blasphemy, intending to put him to death.
7: The Early Church in the New Testament Prayed to Jesus
Prayer is something that should be addressed to God alone, but Jesus calls his disciples to pray to him (John 14:13–14; 16:26). In the book of Acts when Stephen is being stoned to death, he calls out to the Lord Jesus to receive his sprit (Acts 7:59). Interestingly, the term for “calling on” (epikaloumenon) recalls the appeal of Peter to the people in Acts 2:21 to “call on” (epikaleshtai) the Lord to be saved. Paul also describes the Corinthians as those who “call upon [epikaleo] the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2). In the Old Testament, people “called on” on the name of Yahweh (Joel 2:32). The Corinthians were people who addressed Jesus as Lord in prayer.
8: The Early Church in the New Testament Worshipped Jesus
Jesus accepted worship from people (Matthew 2:2, 14:33, 28:9). One of the greatest examples of this comes from the lips of Thomas when he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). If Jesus was not divine, then Thomas made a serious error; but Jesus made no effort to correct Thomas in his worship. Yet Peter (Acts 10:25–26), Paul (Acts 14:14–15), and the angel in Revelation (Revelation 22:8,9) all corrected others for trying to worship them. The confession of deity here is unmistakable, clearly demonstrating that worship belongs only to God (Revelation 22:9) because Jesus accepted Thomas’s worship of him (John 20:29).
What’s more, in the book of Revelation, the elders and every creature in heaven and upon earth ascribe universal worship to “him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb” (Revelation 5:11–14; cf. John 1:29).
9: Jesus Made Claims That No Human Being Could Ever Make
Jesus not only identified as God, but he also indicated his deity through his words and actions. Jesus said that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must call him Lord (kurios, Romans 10:9; cf. Matthew 7:21). Just saying that Jesus is Lord does not get you into the Kingdom, but to enter the Kingdom you must confess Him as Lord.21 The entrance into God’s Kingdom, according to Jesus, is dependent upon a person’s knowledge of him and his reciprocal knowledge of the person (Matthew 7:23).
Jesus even promised rest to all those who come to Him (Matthew 11:28). Could Moses have ever made a claim like this? No! How could a human being give anyone rest from the Law?22 Jesus also claimed, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). God never gave any man or prophet all authority in heaven and on earth, but this same authority was given to the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13–14 (see also Matthew 26:64).
10: Jesus Is the Son of God
It is often pointed out that the words “Son of God” are not an exclusive title for Jesus. For example, in the Old Testament Israel was called God’s son (Exodus 4:22–23; Hosea 11:1), the king was called God’s son (Psalm 2:7), and the angels were called God’s sons (Job 38:7). Even in the New Testament, Adam and believers are referred to as son/s of God (Luke 3:38; Romans 8:14).
There is, however, a difference between an adopted son and a relational Son of God, the latter being a deity by nature. More than anyone else who has walked this earth, Jesus the Messiah is uniquely entitled to be called the Son of God (John 1:49, 11:27) – “the unique One, who is himself God” (monogenēs theos – see John 1:18 NLT).23
WHATEVER JESUS SAID ABOUT HIMSELF MUST HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENTLY PROVOCATIVE ENOUGH FOR THE JEWISH LEADERS TO CALL FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT ON THAT CHARGE OF BLASPHEMY.
In Jesus’ trial before Pilate, the Jewish leaders clearly understood that Jesus’ use of this term was not just generic, for they wanted him put to death: “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God” (John 19:7; cf. John 10:36). According to the Law, it was blasphemy to use God’s name (Leviticus 24:16). Therefore, by referring to himself as the Son of God, Jesus was claiming to share “the rights and authority of God himself (cf. [John] 1:34; 5:19–30).”24 People who say that Jesus never claimed to be God must answer why he was crucified on the charge of blasphemy. Whatever Jesus said about himself must have been sufficiently provocative enough for the Jewish leaders to call for capital punishment on that charge of blasphemy.
The significance of this is that failure to believe in Jesus as the Son of God brings judgement because we are already dead in our sins (see John 3:18, Ephesians 2:1), but believing in Jesus as the Son of God brings eternal life (see John 3:15–17, 6:40, 20:31).
Although there may be many objections to Jesus’ deity, the New Testament clearly provides eye-witness testimony to the words, actions, and teachings of Jesus that prove his deity. A false Jesus cannot save you. If we do not get the identity of Jesus right, we will die in our sin (John 8:24).
- Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and others.
- Mormons, Oneness Pentecostalism, Unitarianism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christadelphians.
- This myth has been popularized by Dan Brown’s book (and film) The Da Vinci Code.
- This claim is clearly contradicted not only by the Scripture but by the statements of the early Church. For example, the early church Father Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (AD 35–108, who was a disciple of John the Apostle) taught the divinity of Jesus: “There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible, even Jesus Christ our Lord. . . . But our Physician is the only true God, the unbegotten and unapproachable, the Lord of all, the Father and Begetter of the only-begotten Son. We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin.” The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians (Chapter VII “Beware of False Teachers,” http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-ephesians-longer.html).
- A classic objection to the deity of Jesus is why does he pray to God if he is God? As if to say that he is praying to himself. But again this confuses the doctrine of the Trinity because Christians do not believe Jesus is the Father. Jesus, as the incarnate Son, would have continued the relationship with the Father that he enjoyed before the world was (John 17:5).
- See James White, The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief (Bethany House Publishers: Minnesota, 1998), 165–168.
- At the same time, Jesus is identified in the in the Old Testament by the Apostles (John 12:41 refers to Isaiah 6:1–3; Hebrews 1:5–6 refers to Psalm 2:7; Acts 8:32–35 refers to Isaiah 53).
- Which follows the Septuagint translation of Genesis 1:1.
- God does not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11).
- Oneness Pentecostals and Unitarians say that this passage refers to the time of Jesus’ human ministry.
- In verse 6 the present participle “being” or “existing” (ὑπάρχω huparcho) points to Jesus’ eternal existence in the “form of God.”
- See G. W. Hansen, The Letter to the Philippians: The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2009), 134.
- To regard or consider is something a person does, not something a concept does.
- It is debatable from a lexical standpoint whether “emptied himself,” (NASB) or “made Himself of no reputation,” (NKJV) are even the best translations. The NIV/TNIV translation “made himself nothing” is probably more supportable. See Moises Silva, Philippians: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 2nd ed (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academics, 2005) 105; Hansen, The Letter to the Philippians, 149.
- Jesus did not cease to be in the form of God in the incarnation, but taking on the form of a servant He became the God-man. Jesus did not give up His divine nature. He may have given up or suspended the use of some of His divine privileges, for example: omnipresence or the glory that He had with the Father in heaven (John 17:5), but not His divine power or knowledge.
- See Bruce M. Metzger, “The Jehovah’s Witness and Jesus Christ: A Biblical and Theological Appraisal,” Theology Today 10, no. 1 (April 1953): 77.
- Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, 2007), 288.
- Peter is drawing from the Old Testament in Isaiah 8:13 where the term “Lord” in the LXX refers directly to “Yahweh of Hosts” as being honored.
- Some argue that sins could be pronounced forgiven by God’s representatives (i.e., priest). However, “Jesus was not a priest, no one had offered sacrifice, and the scribes had heard no basis for the pronouncement of forgiveness, not even clear indication of repentance.” Craig Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 140.
- The LXX translates the Hebrew word for serve (pelach) פְּלַח as λατρεύουσα, which refers to the highest form of religious worship.
- Those who confess Jesus as Lord are those who do the will of the Father (see Matthew 12:50).
- In the first century, the Law of Moses was also known as the yoke of the Torah. Jesus’ yoke is lighter because he bears the load of the Law for us.
- This reading of monogenēs theos “is supported by the best mss (P66 א *BC*L), and the reading with theos is also supported by P75 אc, though both include the definite article before theos.” See Grant Osborne, The Gospel of John: Cornerstone Biblical Commentary (Tyndale House Publishers: Illinois, 2007), 21.
- D. A. Caron, The Gospel According to John: The Pillar New Testament Commentary (W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company: Grand Rapids Michigan, 1991), 599.
Who Is Jesus Christ
What is Jesus’ special role?
Where did he come from?
What kind of person was he?
1, 2. (a) Why does knowing about someone famous not mean that you truly know him? (b) What confusion is there about Jesus?
THERE are many famous people in the world. Some are well-known in their own community, city, or country. Others are known worldwide. However, just knowing the name of someone famous does not mean that you truly know him. It does not mean that you know details about his background and what he is really like as a person.
2 People around the world have heard something about Jesus Christ, even though he lived on earth some 2,000 years ago. Yet, many are confused about who Jesus really was. Some say that he was merely a good man. Others claim that he was nothing more than a prophet. Still others believe that Jesus is God and should be worshipped. Should he?
3. Why is it important for you to know Jehovah God and Jesus Christ?
3 It is important for you to know the truth about Jesus. Why? Because the Bible says: “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Yes, really coming to know Jehovah God and Jesus Christ can lead to everlasting life on a paradise earth. (John 14:6) Furthermore, Jesus sets the best example of how to live and how to treat others. (John 13:34, 35) In the first chapter of this book, we discussed the truth about God. Now let us consider what the Bible really teaches about Jesus Christ.
THE PROMISED MESSIAH
4. What do the titles “Messiah” and “Christ” mean?
4 Long before Jesus was born, the Bible foretold the coming of the one whom God would send as the Messiah, or Christ. The titles “Messiah” (from a Hebrew word) and “Christ” (from a Greek word) both mean “Anointed One.” This promised One would be anointed, that is, appointed by God to a special position. In later chapters of this book, we will learn more about the Messiah’s important place in the fulfillment of God’s promises. We will also learn about the blessings that Jesus can bring us even now. Before Jesus was born, however, many no doubt wondered, ‘Who will prove to be the Messiah?’
5. Of what were the disciples of Jesus fully convinced regarding him?
5 In the first century C.E., the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth were fully convinced that he was the foretold Messiah. (John 1:41) One of the disciples, a man named Simon Peter, openly said to Jesus: “You are the Christ.” (Matthew 16:16) How, though, could those disciples be sure—and how can we be sure—that Jesus really is the promised Messiah?
6. Illustrate how Jehovah has helped faithful ones to identify the Messiah.
6 The prophets of God who lived before Jesus foretold many details about the Messiah. These details would help others to identify him. We might illustrate things this way: Suppose you were asked to go to a busy bus depot or a train station or an airport to pick up someone you had never met before. Would it not help if someone gave you a few details about him? Similarly, by means of the Bible prophets, Jehovah gave a rather detailed description of what the Messiah would do and what he would experience. The fulfillment of these many prophecies would help faithful ones to identify him clearly.
7. What are two of the prophecies that were fulfilled in connection with Jesus?
7 Consider just two examples. First, over 700 years in advance, the prophet Micah foretold that the promised One would be born in Bethlehem, a small town in the land of Judah. (Micah 5:2) Where was Jesus actually born? Why, in that very town! (Matthew 2:1, 3-9) Second, many centuries in advance, the prophecy recorded at Daniel 9:25 pointed to the very year when the Messiah was to appear—29 C.E. * The fulfillment of these and other prophecies proves that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
8, 9. What proof that Jesus was the Messiah became clear at his baptism?
8 Further proof that Jesus was the Messiah became clear near the end of 29 C.E. That is the year when Jesus went to John the Baptizer to be baptized in the Jordan River. Jehovah had promised John a sign so that he could identify the Messiah. John saw that sign at Jesus’ baptism. The Bible says that this is what happened: “After being baptized, Jesus immediately came up from the water; and look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw God’s spirit descending like a dove and coming upon him. Look! Also, a voice from the heavens said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” (Matthew 3:16, 17) After seeing and hearing what happened, John had no doubt that Jesus was sent by God. (John 1:32-34) At the moment when God’s spirit, or active force, was poured out upon him that day, Jesus became the Messiah, or Christ, the one appointed to be Leader and King.—Isaiah 55:4.
9 The fulfillment of Bible prophecy and Jehovah God’s own testimony plainly show that Jesus was the promised Messiah. But the Bible answers two other important questions about Jesus Christ: Where did he come from, and what kind of person was he?
WHERE DID JESUS COME FROM?
10. What does the Bible teach about Jesus’ existence before he came to earth?
10 The Bible teaches that Jesus lived in heaven before he came to earth. Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and also said that His origin was “from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2) On many occasions, Jesus himself said that he lived in heaven before being born as a human. (Read John 3:13; 6:38, 62; 17:4, 5) As a spirit creature in heaven, Jesus had a special relationship with Jehovah.
11. How does the Bible show that Jesus is Jehovah’s most precious Son?
11 Jesus is Jehovah’s most precious Son—and for good reason. He is called “the firstborn of all creation,” for he was God’s first creation. *(Colossians 1:15) There is something else that makes this Son special. He is the “only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16) This means that Jesus is the only one directly created by God. Jesus is also the only one whom God used when He created all other things. (Colossians 1:16) Then, too, Jesus is called “the Word.” (John 1:14) This tells us that he spoke for God, no doubt delivering messages and instructions to the Father’s other sons, both spirit and human.
12. How do we know that the firstborn Son is not equal to God?
12 Is the firstborn Son equal to God, as some believe? That is not what the Bible teaches. As we noted in the preceding paragraph, the Son was created. Obviously, then, he had a beginning, whereas Jehovah God has no beginning or end. (Psalm 90:2) The only-begotten Son never even considered trying to be equal to his Father. The Bible clearly teaches that the Father is greater than the Son. (Read John 14:28; 1 Corinthians 11:3) Jehovah alone is “God Almighty.” (Genesis 17:1) Therefore, he has no equal. *
13. What does the Bible mean when it refers to the Son as “the image of the invisible God”?
13 Jehovah and his firstborn Son enjoyed close association for billions of years—long before the starry heavens and the earth were created. How they must have loved each other! (John 3:35; 14:31) This dear Son was just like his Father. That is why the Bible refers to the Son as “the image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15) Yes, even as a human son may closely resemble his father in various ways, this heavenly Son reflected his Father’s qualities and personality.
14. How did Jehovah’s only-begotten Son come to be born as a human?
14 Jehovah’s only-begotten Son willingly left heaven and came down to earth to live as a human. But you may wonder, ‘How was it possible for a spirit creature to be born as a human?’ To accomplish this, Jehovah performed a miracle. He transferred the life of his firstborn Son from heaven to the womb of a Jewish virgin named Mary. No human father was involved. Mary thus gave birth to a perfect son and named him Jesus.—Luke 1:30-35.
WHAT KIND OF PERSON WAS JESUS?
15. Why can we say that through Jesus we come to know Jehovah better?
15 What Jesus said and did while on earth helps us to get to know him well. More than that, through Jesus we come to know Jehovah better. Why is this the case? Recall that this Son is a perfect reflection of his Father. That is why Jesus told one of his disciples: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9) The four Bible books known as the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—tell us much about the life, activity, and personal qualities of Jesus Christ.
16. What was Jesus’ primary message, and where did his teachings come from?
16 Jesus was well-known as “Teacher.” (John 1:38; 13:13) What did he teach? Primarily, his message was “the good news of the Kingdom”—that is, God’s Kingdom, the heavenly government that will rule over the entire earth and will bring endless blessings to obedient humans. (Matthew 4:23) Whose message was this? Jesus himself said: “What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him who sent me,” namely, Jehovah. (John 7:16) Jesus knew that his Father wants humans to hear about the good news of the Kingdom. In Chapter 8, we will learn more about God’s Kingdom and what it will accomplish.
17. Where did Jesus do his teaching, and why did he go to great lengths to teach others?
17 Where did Jesus do his teaching? Everywhere he found people—in the countryside as well as in cities, in villages, in marketplaces, and in their homes. Jesus did not expect people to come to him. He went to them. (Mark 6:56; Luke 19:5, 6) Why did Jesus go to such lengths and spend so much of his time preaching and teaching? Because doing so was God’s will for him. Jesus always did his Father’s will. (John 8:28, 29) But there was another reason why he preached. He felt compassion for the crowds of people who came out to see him. (Read Matthew 9:35, 36.) They were neglected by their religious leaders, who should have been teaching them the truth about God and his purposes. Jesus knew how much the people needed to hear the Kingdom message.
18. What qualities of Jesus do you find most appealing?
18 Jesus was a man of tender warmth and deep feelings. Others thus found him to be approachable and kind. Even children felt at ease with him. (Mark 10:13-16) Jesus was impartial. He hated corruption and injustice. (Matthew 21:12, 13) At a time when women received little respect and had few privileges, he treated them with dignity. (John 4:9, 27) Jesus was genuinely humble. On one occasion, he washed the feet of his apostles, a service usually performed by a lowly servant.
19. What example shows that Jesus was sensitive to the needs of others?
19 Jesus was sensitive to the needs of others. This was especially evident when, under the power of God’s spirit, he performed miracles of healing. (Matthew 14:14) For example, a man with leprosy came to Jesus and said: “If you just want to, you can make me clean.” Jesus personally felt this man’s pain and suffering. Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the man, saying: “I want to! Be made clean.” And the sick man was healed! (Mark 1:40-42) Can you imagine how that man must have felt?
FAITHFUL TO THE END
20, 21. How did Jesus set an example of loyal obedience to God?
20 Jesus set the finest example of loyal obedience to God. He remained faithful to his heavenly Father under all kinds of circumstances and despite all types of opposition and suffering. Jesus firmly and successfully resisted Satan’s temptations. (Matthew 4:1-11) At one time, some of Jesus’ own relatives did not put faith in him, even saying that he was “out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21) But Jesus did not let them influence him; he kept right on doing God’s work. Despite insults and abuse, Jesus maintained self-control, never trying to harm his opposers.—1 Peter 2:21-23.
21 Jesus remained faithful until death—a cruel and painful death at the hands of his enemies. (Read Philippians 2:8.) Consider what he endured on the last day of his life as a human. He was arrested, accused by false witnesses, convicted by corrupt judges, laughed at by mobs, and tortured by soldiers. Nailed to a stake, he took his last breath, crying out: “It has been accomplished!” (John 19:30) However, on the third day after Jesus died, his heavenly Father resurrected him back to spirit life. (1 Peter 3:18) A few weeks later, he returned to heaven. There, he “sat down at the right hand of God” and waited to receive kingly power.—Hebrews 10:12, 13.
22. What did Jesus accomplish by remaining faithful until death?
22 What did Jesus accomplish by remaining faithful until death? Jesus’ death actually opens to us the opportunity for eternal life on a paradise earth, in harmony with Jehovah’s original purpose. How Jesus’ death makes that possible will be discussed in the next chapter.
Jesus In Christianity
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What Happens When You Die? Does Hell Really Exist?
Fact: Hell is more real than people here!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reality: Very few pastors ever preach about Hell. But Hell exists! So many Christians don’t believe in Hell and
whether you’re rich or poor, famous or unknown, good looking or ugly, strong or weak, loved or hated, fat or skinny, happy or sad …you will still die! But what happens WHEN you die? You need to know, NOW. Why? You need to be ready for that day you will die…
“Hell Really Exists” will respond to every question You have and need to know about Hell, Satan and demons! Don’t gamble with the eternal destiny of your soul. One day you will die. 10 out of 10 people die.
What happens after death? Is there life after death? Is Hell Real? Why does Hell exist? Is Hell eternal? How can I not go to Hell? What is the Bible’s description of Hell? Is Hell-Fire Real? Is Hell a real place of everlasting punishment? Is Hell a place of darkness? Is there weeping, screaming, wailing and gnashing of teeth in Hell? Is Hell forever and ever? Did God Create Hell? Why did God create Hell? When did God create Hell? Does God send people to Hell? Did Jesus warn us about Hell? Who will go to Hell? Will good deeds save us from Hell? Where is Hell located? Are there testimonies of Hell? What is brimstone? What is eternal life? What is second death? What is the Book of Life? How can you get to Heaven?…
Who are demons? What is demon-possession? Are demons “evil spirits”? Do we have power over demons? How can we cast out demons? What is exorcism? Can we command the devil? Why do demons come back sometimes? …
What does the Bible teach about us? Have we only a body? Do we also have a spirit and soul? What does it mean that man is created in the image of God? Are the soul and spirit the same? What are the parts of the soul? What are the parts of the spirit? Is the spirit eternal? Why do we need a spirit? …
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Save Your Marriage Today!
You have found this site in a search to heal your marriage. Your marriage is not where it should or could be. Perhaps it is even headed for divorce. You may be in great pain, feeling the constant agony of a crippled relationship. It may be that you see the writing on the wall, or perhaps your spouse has even said it: your marriage is headed straight into the ground! You may have given up all hope. Maybe you are terrified, but still hopeful.
I am here to tell you that it can change. In fact, I am here to tell you that your marriage can not only be restored, but can actually become the marriage of your dreams! You really are married to your soul-mate!
Did you know that the rate of divorce among Christians is actually HIGHER than the general population? I can’t begin to tell you how surprised I was to hear this! We are a people called to be faithful, to be forgiving, to be loving. . . and we end marriages more often than the general public. That trend must stop! Let’s agree to change this fact, you and I working together to renew your marriage.
Divorce and broken marriages is not God’s plan. God’s plan was for marriage to be a lifetime. As I’m sure you have heard often, in Genesis 2:24, God tells us that “for this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife. And the two people will become one body.”? When we become one body, it is a forever thing.
- You can live with things the way they are. . . Suffer
- You can just get out of the whole thing. . . Divorce
- You can change the marriage for the better.
OK, I have my prejudices. Obviously, 1) isn’t working. You have already decided against that, the proof being that you found your way to this website! And 2) isn’t much of an option for those of us who believe God’s Word. So, the best answer is 3), accomplished of course, with God’s help.
If you are like most people, you have tried to make changes, tried to figure things out, and maybe even saw a little improvement here and there. But things just seem to either drift back to the way they were or get worse!
- Arguing with your spouse to try to get them to see your point, while they argue back to get you to see their point? (Neither of you will win.)
- Ignoring the situation, hoping time will heal? (It will only make it worse.)
- Trying to manipulate your spouse into going your way? (You become dishonest.)
- Reading books on male/female differences, new sex techniques, communication skills, or self-esteem? (They have no long-term effectiveness.)
- Praying to God, hoping for an answer? (Good start, and there is an answer!)
Let’s face it: marriage is a challenge! There is no way around that. But it is a challenge with enormous payoffs in the end. That is God’s plan. Marriages teach us to be better Christians, if we allow it.
My first discovery was that modern psychology was exacerbating the problem! While attempting to help, psychology was doing great harm to marriages. In fact, the statistics were appalling. Did you know that less than 50% of marriages that go to therapy stay together? And only 10-20% of people in marital therapy report any improvement.
Imagine that: you go to a doctor, and he tells you that you need surgery. But you have less than a 50/50 chance of survival. And if you do survive, only a 10 to 20% chance of improving. Who in their right mind would go through with surgery? Yet many, many couples end up in therapy each year. And when therapy doesn’t help, they decide that the marriage must really be over.
I knew there had to be better answers. . . and there were, right there in my Christian beliefs. I just had to take those beliefs, use them in real practice, and create a practical approach that is founded in faith.
God has given us the tools we need to build strong marriages, to become “One Flesh.”? But it takes study, discernment, and practice to bring this approach to fruition. You can take your beliefs, faith, and relationship to God to build your relationship. I will show you how!
I have spent the last couple of years taking all my material, honing it down, polishing it off, and creating a format that you can use to save your own Christian marriage. All that effort is now available, for the first time, for you. But you must act now, not because the material won’t be here, but because your marriage may not.
You see, the biggest mistake most people make in the midst of a marital crisis is to wait too long. People think that time might heal all wounds. (It may, but only if you know how to help the process along!)
I decided to make this material available to you in the simplest, most direct, and easiest format. I created an ebook that contains all the information you need in order to use your Christian faith to save your marriage.
This material is available to anyone reading this website. In fact, I am making sure you can get it with absolutely no risk to yourself or anyone else! I promise that if you use this information, and if you approach your marriage prayerfully, your marriage WILL BE SAVED!
The advantage is that you can get the information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the world. No waiting for the book to arrive, no trips to try to find the information.
THE secret to saving your marriage, starting today.
God’s Plan for your marriage.
The Top 5 Mistakes people make when a crisis arises.
The true secrets of healthy, stable, loving marriages.
How your Christian beliefs and faith can transform your relationship.
How to assess the stage of your crisis (there are 8).
How to address any stage of a crisis and turn it around.
What to do, what to say, and what to avoid in order to save your
Why Christians should and could have a “leg-up”? in dealing with problems in your marriage.
Why “hard work”? on the relationship isn’t always the answer.
How marriage counseling can be dangerous to your marriage’s future.
Why “low mood therapy”? is destined for failure and how “high mood relating“? makes the difference.
How to move beyond emotions and take action!
How to find the North Star of your relationship, and why it matters.
Why true intimacy is a lot closer than you think–and how to get there!
What the TIE Elements of Communication are, and how they can transform your communication.
How to change the momentum of a relationship, sometimes instantaneously!
What the Practices of Marriage are, and how they can transform your relationship.
Why arguing is a waste of time — and the amazingly simple secret to get around it.
How to become a team, even if you feel like opposites.
Why power is so destructive to relationships and how to change it.
How to deal with problems involving sex or money — and how to bring God into those areas.
How to make radical shifts (literally, quantum leaps!) in the relationship.
Much, much more about how to transform your relationship, with God’s plan and help.
In short, how to have the marriage of your dreams and prayers.
Teen girls struggle to maintain a positive self image in an image-focused society. This problem is growing more and more as teens are bombarded with media that portrays too-thin models and celebrities, with a constant message that all women need to look this way to be attractive and desirable.
The definition of beauty comes from mainstream society instead of from God, which results in girls being unhappy with the way they look and basing for their value and worth on these unreasonable standards.
May His Kingdom come!
Perhaps in 2028. That will be 2000 years, which is 2 ‘1000-year-days’ for YAH, since King Yahshua left earth saying He would send us some help. Where-Oh-Where is YAH’s ‘Spirit of TRUTH’ today? Truth has certainly been ‘thrown down’. ‘It cast down truth to the ground, and it did its pleasure and prospered. Daniel 8:12)
It is now the ‘Midnight Hour’. The ‘Roman Beast’ is about to ‘prosper’ more than ever. It’s been ‘stomping the residue, of all of us. Ouch! Daniel 7:19
Let’s follow the REAL King Yahshua together. Not the imitation king, about to appear. He will have tricks, just like the magicians of the Exodus.
This Son of YAH will come. Perhaps in under 12 years time. His Word says that He will kill the Roman Beast and the Whore of Babylon, as well as all who do not seek YAH in truth. He will save those who obey (but don’t add to) His simple commandments. Which, most importantly, is to show loving kindness to one another. With your actions. Not just your words. And obey His Sabbath. Here are 2 requirements to inherit eternal life:
- Don’t love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s. The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever. 1 John 2:15-17 Do NOT take the ‘Mark of the Beast’ to buy and sell. That disqualifies you for YAH’s kingdom. Rev. 13:15-17
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