Chapter 1 – Setting the Foundation
In the dim recesses of unimaginable antiquity, God existed. He always existed. There has never been a time when God did not exist. To our human minds, programmed to operate completely within the bounds of time, this is incomprehensible. If one tries to imagine how this could be—that God always existed, never had a beginning—the brain tends to reel.
Is it unreasonable, then, to ask one to believe in the eternal existence of God? The answer is no, for the following reasons:
1. If one does not believe in God, then one has to accept the existence of the visible universe as being eternal; otherwise, the universe would have had to come into existence at some point in time. By what means could that event have occurred if there was no mind behind it? How did the universe spring into existence where there was nothing before?
2. The evolutionist cannot accept the existence of a purposeful mind directing creation, but does accept the emergence of the universe, with it’s mathematical order and complex life forms, without purposeful mind. Whether or not it is acceptable to all is not the point. Of the two explanations, the more reasonable is that a God exists who created the universe and life.
3. The acceptance of creation by an intelligent God still does not resolve the problem of origins. Yet, even in a strict science such as mathematics, there are certain axioms which cannot be proved but, nevertheless, are accepted as true because they are obviously so. Such axioms form the foundations of geometry. If not accepted as true, the entire structure of mathematics built on them collapses. If accepted as true, everything else follows. The existence of God is not without proof, however. We do not accept it in blind faith. Nevertheless, an unbeliever who wishes to know truth may need to proceed from an axiomatic position before discovering verifiable truth.
That a creator God exists explains not only the existence but the purpose of the physical universe we see about us. Many intellectuals, however, say they cannot accept the idea of God. That they themselves are intelligent and see order and intelligent design all about them in the universe does not appear to move them to accept a source intelligence. The reason is threefold:
1. Intellectual man rejects the supernatural because, he says, it is intangible and cannot be scientifically proved. This is inconsistent with his acceptance of scientific and mathematical axioms.
2. Intelligent man wants to be self-sufficient. The acceptance of a personal God implies accountability to a higher power.
3. God is always presented within a religious framework. Too often this presentation is made in archaic language by those who talk about unquestioning, blind faith to a God who appears angry and capricious. This has little appeal to a mentally active individual.
I well remember my introduction to God. My formal religious training began at age seven when I attended classes, taught by nuns, to initiate me into the basics of the Catholic faith. At the first lesson I was given a coloring book. On the first page was a picture of an old man with a very long beard, sitting on a throne, with a triangle over his head and a rainbow over the triangle. I was told this was God and I was to color him appropriately. It took years to shake the concept.
Perhaps this, too, is how most people think of God: an old man with a beard, dressed in a long robe, about six feet tall, with a scowl on His face. In this way God is made in the image of man, rather than man in the image of God. Formed centuries ago, these false images of God, foisted on many of us in our youth, have clouded the minds not only of unbelievers but most Christians as well, making it virtually impossible to think of God in any other terms, even though the Bible describes Him otherwise.
The average person carries about great quantities of other misinformation and distorted Bible facts. Even after years of studying the Word, these erroneous teachings can cloud or slant one's understanding of important doctrines. Many of these will be brought out in this book.
A typical teaching of what I call folk religion is that the devil is red, has horns and tail, carries a pitchfork, and lives in or rules over hell: so absurd that few take him seriously. But none of this is Biblical teaching. When told that Satan does not reside in hell but rather in the heavens, one is stared at with incredulity. So, it is imperative that we dispense with "folk Christianity" and see what the Bible actually says.
When presented in its
typical story form the account the fall of Adam and Eve doesn’t make a
lot of sense. Neither does the Sunday school teaching of the flood of Noah
which presents God as so angry He loses control and wipes out all humanity,
except Noah and his family, in a fit of pique. And the incident at the