STUDY 1: FALSE VIEWS OF GOD
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
WE intend to devote several Studies regarding various false views of God that exist in the world. The first two Studies will examine atheism. The word atheism is derived from the Greek word atheismos, which in turn is derived from the Greek privitive a (no) and the Greek noun theos (God), the ending ismos standing for theory, that is, no-God theory.
Atheists are first noticed in Greek history, but only in isolated cases. The Greek considered atheism to be immoral and irreligious, and therefore banished atheists from their territory. There were also a few individual atheists among the Romans, but hardly any since the Pagan Roman Empire merged into the Christian Roman Empire, until about the end of the seventeenth century, since which time atheism has been increasing. No nation, race, tribe or clan of atheists has ever existed; and many believe that atheism can only exist where there is a lack in, or a perversion or degeneration of the human heart and mind. In the last 250 years atheism has been increasing among a few philosophers, more scientists and a small number of ordinary people.
Atheism’s First Argument and its Refutations
We will now proceed to examine the arguments that atheists use for their unbelief, and then we will offer several reasons that prove the fallacy of their arguments. The first argument that atheists usually give for their theory is that they cannot find God. We reply:
(1.) All that an investigator can say on this point is that he has not been able to find God by investigation. However, he cannot speak for others, for many others claim that they by their investigations have found God; and this includes many of the greatest philosophers and scientists who have lived since atheism was reborn in the seventeenth century.
(2.) No amount of human investigation, which is naturally limited, could prove that there is no God; for only one who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent could be powerful, knowing and ubiquitous enough to say in truth that God is nowhere and hence is non-existent. Hence, to be in a position to demonstrate God’s non-existence, if it could be done, one must have superhuman powers, that is, must be God Himself (which after all would prove there is a God); hence no human being can prove God’s non-existence.
(3.) The very thing that the atheist-investigator seeks to make visible is dealt with contrary to the nature of that thing; for a spirit being of necessity is not grasped by sense. A spirit being is invisible, it is not visible to our material eyes (1 Timothy 6: 16).
(4.) Such an investigator is conducting his investigations by inadequate instruments. His instruments are material and are usable on material substances, and will give splendid information thereon, but are entirely inadequate and inapplicable on spiritual substances. For example, the scientist who would seek to work with tools inapplicable and inadequate to the materials in question would of course fail to produce results.
(5.) God can be sought only by the mind and heart, as the instruments that can come into touch with Him. Reflection and the faith, hope, love and obedience that are built upon such reflection, are the instruments that manifest God, not material instruments. The existence of God, though invisible and intangible to sense is required to explain all nature and its details. It is the real scientist’s and philosopher’s reflection on the universe as a whole and in detail, with its wonderful laws and order and marks of intelligence and wisdom, and on man and his history, that convinces them of God’s existence.
(6.) God is not only to be sought in the unusual, like miracles, fulfilled prophecies, etc., but in the usual and ordinary workings of nature. For example, the laws of nature imply a law-giver. The order of nature implies an orderer. Its infinite proofs of intelligence imply an intelligent maker. Its being the product of a succession of causes implies a first, and hence causeless, eternal cause. Its wonderful and multitudinous designs imply a Designer.
(7.) Intelligent atheists have been seeking God in miracles and other unusual things, and not finding any miracles and unusual things, except on the testimony of witnesses long since dead, he denies miracles and hence does not find God there. Let him seek instead to search for God in nature and in human history and experience, not by material instruments, but by his mind and heart, that is, by reflection, and by giving faith to the reasonable product of such reflection, which faith, in turn, will arouse his hope, love and obedience to go out to God that these immaterial instruments will reveal to him (Romans 1: 20).
Atheism’s Second Argument and its Refutations
Atheism’s second argument is that there are so many useless and unmeaning things in the world which would not exist if there were an all wise Creator who made the universe; for such a Creator could not, they reason, make unmeaning and useless things. Again, we reply:
(1.) Why find in these few allegedly useless or unmeaning things an argument that there can be no wise Creator who would make them, when there are literally billions of meaningful and useful things in the universe that argues that there is a wise and beneficent Creator?
(2.) This argument assumes that the reasoner really knows that what he calls useless and unmeaning things are really such. How does he know that they do not have and will not yet be proven to have a meaning and use?
(3.) Some things that were once thought to be useless and unmeaning have been discovered to have uses and meaning. Even if there are some things whose direct use and meaning we do not yet know, modesty should teach us to remember that, after all, we know but little. Furthermore, as the number of things whose use and meaning are unknown is constantly decreasing, patience should move us to conclude that we will yet learn those not now known.
(4.) One should at most not call something useless or unmeaning, but should rather say that to us they are unmeaning and useless, if they be so to us. This course would be both wise and modest, for their particular meaning and use will undoubtedly be made known eventually.
(5.) Such things in which we do not yet know what their particular use and meaning is, frequently have a morally and religiously elevating effect.
(to be continued)
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