Volume. XX, No. 45
Sunday, 07 May 2006

From the pastors heart: The existence of God

When we talk about salvation, life after death, heaven and hell, or eternal life, we are often challenged by individuals who do not believe in the existence of God. If there is no God, then what is the use of talking about all these subjects? In its broad sense, atheism is a belief that there is no existence of God or gods. Atheism also includes agnostics who say that they cannot know of the existence of God or non-theists who assert the absence of belief in both the existence and non-existence of a deity. These individuals challenge the believers of God (I am not concerned about theists in general who believe in polytheism) to show them God.  If they fail to show God, then it is taken as a proof of the non-existence of God.  Therefore, the atheists challenge the believers by putting the burdens of proof upon the shoulders of the believers. As a result, the atheists themselves do not have to do anything to prove their points, but simply saying that they have not seen God yet,  and therefore, they are right.  However, I must raise my objections to the atheists by challenging them to think more.

First, I do believe that their charge against the believers of God to prove the existence of God is very absurd. They are clever enough to shift the burdens of proof from their shoulders to the believers’ by just one statement: show me God, then I believe; but, if not, you have failed your point; therefore, there is no God.  They want to play smart, but they are very unreasonable.  In every culture, society, civilization, and age, there has been always the notion of the existence of deity. Until quite recent times, the existence of God had not been challenged with any significance. Even geographically we can hardly find any tribe or culture denying the existence of God. Then, why the believers of God have to bear the burdens of proof, not vice versa?  If an atheist wants to deny the existence of God, he will have to prove that all believers in any deity are all wrong. However, I must warn them by saying that though atheist philosophers have tried to disprove the existence of God, there has been no one what was able to come up with sufficient evidence to disprove the existence of God.

Second, having read my first point, I am sure that atheists are upset.  They will challenge my argument by saying that it is not that hard to disprove the existence of God. They say, “we do neither see God nor touch Him. Therefore there is no God.” This sort of argument is not unusual.  Such a view has been known as Humean theory of meaning.  David Hume was a philosopher (1711-76). He viewed that the proposition, “God exists,” was meaningless because it was either false or unreasonable. His reason for this was found in his empiricism.  He tied the meaning of words closely to sensory and introspective experience. Therefore, he viewed that we could verify only the matters capable of confirmation by sensory or introspective experience. It is not too hard to refute this view because his proposition that everything has to be confirmed by sensory or introspective experience cannot be confirmed by sensory or introspective experience. His proposition must deny the existence of ideas and thoughts because they are not a part of sensory experiences. If philosophy is an area of metaphysics, his philosophy itself must be denied because his ideas are in the form of evidentialism. The Humean philosophers must prove that they are right. I do not know how atheists can explain away that mind is different from the brain. They may try to relate mind to brain by saying that the mind is brain. However, we all know that when we are sad, our whole person is sad, not the brain. The mind is bodiless and untouchable but it seems that everybody believes in its existence. If a man believes that there is mind which is beyond our physical senses, then he does not have any trouble to believe that there is God who is bodiless and untouchable. Our thoughts do neither take any physical space, nor carry any weight, but they exist. Humean empiricism cannot deny the existence of God. 

Third, cause-and-effect must support the existence of God. Nothing comes out of nothing.  Something must have caused something to happen from nothing. We may apply this to the origin of the universe. Atheists have believed that the universe came from nothing without a cause. Thus they proposed a big bang theory to explain the origin of the universe. According to this theory, the universe was created some time between 10 billion and 20 billion years ago from a cosmic explosion that hurled matter and in all directions. In 1927, the Belgian priest Georges Lemaître was the first to propose that the universe began with the explosion of a primeval atom. Over the years, it has gained many supporters. However, atheists may accept this theory, one thing is clear – it will never be proved. At this point, we must look at the issue more honestly. The Cambridge astronomer, Fred Hoyle, pointed out that the Big Bang theory required the creation of the universe from nothing. It is a strong form of a belief. Listen to Anthony Kenny of Oxford University: “A proponent of the theory [Big-Bang theory], at least if he is an atheist, must believe that . . . the universe came from nothing and by nothing” (The Five Ways: St. Thomas Aquinas Proofs of God’s Existence, New York: Schocken Books, 1969, 66). Kai Nielsen says, “Suppose you suddenly hear a loud bang . . .  and you ask me, ‘What made that bang?’  And I reply, ‘Nothing, it just happened.’ You would not accept that. In fact, you would find my reply quite unintelligible” (Reason and Practice: A Modern Introduction to Philosophy, New York: Harper & Row, 1971, 48). Whether it is a little bang or big bang, there has to be a cause.  Having read my argument so far, then examine the following proposition: “Out of nothing, nothing comes.” The believers of God do believe that there was a cause behind the existence of the universe. The sun, the moon, and many stars cry out for a cause. David said, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). The cause of the existence of the universe must be an uncaused (i.e. self-existent), timeless (i.e. transcends time), and immaterial Being with nothing-is-impossible power. The Bible declares, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). 

Listen to the voice of a psalmist from Psalm 104: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty, who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain” (vv. 1-2).  “He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth” (vv. 19-20).  “O Lord, how manifold are thy works!  In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” (v. 24).

Praise the Lord!

Your Pastor

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Shorter Catechism Question No. 44: What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us? The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, That because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.
Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Raphael Ng’s father, Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, & John Tann; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Sally Teng, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei and others afflicted with viral illness. "Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” (Ps 16:1).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions - Rev & Mrs Moses Hahn & ministry in Sihanoukville; b) Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam; c) Pastors & believers in India & Pakistan; d) Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim; e) Church preparations  - our 20th Anniversary Celebration; f) Journey mercies - Dn David Yeo (China/Adl), Bro Simon Yeo (Adl) & Sis Grace Chung (Korea/Adl); g) B-P Pastors and sister Churches.

Praise and Thank God for – a) YAF Bible Study Meetings & Choir Practices; b) Journey mercies - Grandpa Ki (Adl) & Bro Simon Yeo (Melb). 

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $16,555.00 for Pastor’s car.

Extra Working Bee Sessions on Saturdays 20 May & 27 May. Please come to prepare our church building/grounds for the 20th Anniversary Celebrations.

Looking Ahead: Praise Night on Sat 3 June at 7:30pm.

Looking Ahead: 20th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service on 4 June. Please invite your family, relatives and friends to join us on this joyous occasion.

Anniversary Thanksgiving Dinner: Citi Zen Restaurant, Sunday, 4 June, at 6 pm. Dinner vouchers at concession rates available from Sisters Sooi Chin Gong & Peng Ha Yeo, & Bro Jason Tan. Please get your voucher early as dinner places are limited.



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