Saturday, October 20, 2012

Prove It!

                “Prove it!” The man nearly yelled with an angry finger pointed in the direction of the man standing behind the other podium. “Prove that there is a God. When you can prove to me that there is a God then I’ll rethink everything about life. “
                “That’s just it the other man said I cannot scientifically prove to you that there is a God. It is a matter of faith. The God of Scripture requires that we look around us and see the evident of His designs and believe in Him. Everything has His fingerprint on it. It is too sophisticated and intricately intertwined to be the result of chance and time.”
                “Natural selection is the guiding “designer” in this process of evolution. The mutations that improve survival are naturally what survive to reproduce. No “god” is needed,” the atheist professor said smugly.
                “Too many mutations have to be in place at once for that to be the case. Remember Philip Johnson’s example of the woodpecker. Which of the three mutations happened first to the woodpecker to make it better able to survive? The structure of the long beak that made is possible to penetrate hard wood trees, the structure of the skull that made it possible to hit the tree without splitting its head open, or the long tongue  for grabbing grub larva that would not allow the bird to fly safely were it not encased in the long bill? The thousands of DNA base pairs for each of these genes would all have to be spliced into the genome at one time or none of them would work and the bird’s ‘intermediate specie’ would surely not survive,” the creationist professor replied.
                “You are asking me to accept as fact something that cannot be tested or proven. Prove it!” the first professor demanded.”
                “But evolution cannot be proven scientifically either Professor. If it could we would not be calling it a theory. I could say the same to you sir. Prove that there is not a God,” the creationist professor softly replied. “Both of our views are a matter of faith, the only difference is I’m will to admit it.” 

                I have been watching this argument for a long time now. Since I finished my Animal Science degree in 1988 I have watched the debate go on back and forth between atheist/naturalist and creationists. When I was in college there was really no response to speak of from the creationist side of the argument. At least I was not aware of one. The forces were certainly aligned on the side of naturalism against what I had believed all my short, green life.
                I don’t hold a grudge against an honest question about the existence of God. Everyone who is honest has their doubts. I don’t blame those searching for proof of what they are considering.
                I was listening to the radio this week and heard a message from the book of Daniel. I think Nebuchadnezzar was an honest atheist to start with. Not long after Daniel was taken into Nebuchadnezzar’s royal court, the king had a dream that “troubled his spirit”. I think he was a pragmatist king who used whatever influences were expedient for his success to become the powerful sovereign he was. I say this because of what he did to try to understand why his dream was so troubling in the second chapter of Daniel:

Dan. 2:1-9 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.  And the king said to them, "I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream."  Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation." The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, "The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation." They answered a second time and said, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation." The king answered and said, "I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm-- if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation."  (ESV)

Nebuchadnezzar had a brush with something he perceived as spiritual. The dream was apparently of such magnitude his usual confidence was shaken to the core. He was now facing the question of the ages, “Is there a spiritual dimension to man’s existence?”  I say he was an atheist/pragmatist at heart because he knew too well the phonies he kept in his court. I am assuming he used them for influencing the “religious and superstitious” under his reign. The way he treated them, it sounds like he was all too aware of their shallow trickery. He had a spiritual problem and he needed a spiritual answer. He turned to the brokers of all things spiritual, (magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans) and at spear point he commanded them to be well… spiritual. It was time to earn their keep by their trade or get off the payroll.  

The king had come to a crisis in his life and needed to know what the significance of this crisis was. If there is no spiritual component to life he would chalk it up to indigestion, have another glass of wine and move on in life. His decree was “firm.” He had to know. If I may, everyone has this moment in their life; a critical time when a crisis of the mind, body and spirit has to have an answer. Nebuchadnezzar simply knew how to expedite the process and frankly had the means at his disposal to do it (Dan 2:12).

It is my belief that when you come to this place in your life personally that God has someone in your sphere of influence that can help you with the question. Of course I am assuming that there is a God. Isn’t that fair though? If there is a God who cares isn’t it fair to ask for and expect confirmation? And if there is a God who cares wouldn’t He have someone or some way around you to give you an answer for that crisis? It is ok to seek proof of the spiritual dimension.

In Nebuchadnezzar’s life that person was Daniel. Daniel’s crisis had already passed in his young life and he had received his confirmation (Dan. 1:8-17). Daniel trusted the same source he had relied on before to help the king. It was a comfort to me when I read: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. (Dan 2:20-22 ESV)

And to the king:

Dan 2:30  But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.  ESV

The answer was given to Daniel so that Nebuchadnezzar would know the thoughts of his mind.  Understanding the crisis of his mind was the reason the answer was sent and Nebuchadnezzar could be certain the answer was true because the answer’s credibility was inherent in the answer itself. The question of the supernatural came supernaturally. The thoughts of Nebuchadnezzar’s mind were exposed and explained to him. In the answer he received confirmation of the dream’s content and meaning. He also got affirmation of the purpose of his life (this probably being the core of what cause him to be troubled in his spirit).

The heart knows when it hears the truth like the lungs know when they are full of fresh air. It affirms and provides meaning to life’s big question: Is there a God that cares for me?

You have a right to ask that question. If I may, my crisis was answered shortly after I finished my Animal Science degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. I got mine from a search of the Bible. The Bible makes a promise to give you an answer about the supernatural supernaturally.

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  ESV

An answer that affirms the question and the questioner is waiting. It will help you understand the thoughts of your mind and where you fit into life. You will find it in the pages of the Bible.

Isa 55:10-11  "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

From seed to bread is start to finish, beginning to end. Take a walk in the rain. Sit quietly in the woods during a snow shower. The answer will come.

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