Thursday, March 18, 2010
God's Character in Nature
I listened to a debate recently between Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Francisco Ayala.
Both of these men are supposed Christians. Dr. Craig, a philosopher and theologian, was trying to demonstrate that God is seen in nature through intelligent design. Dr. Ayala is an evolutionary biologist who believes in natural evolution. Dr. Ayala's kingpin argument was the character of God. He used this to speak against intelligent design.
You see, Dr. Ayala too believes that God is solely benevolent. He cannot agree that these malevolent designs in nature are a display of God's character. Isaiah 45:7 tells us something different. The word create in this passage is bara. So this is part of God's initial creation from the beginning, not from the fall of mankind and God is taking responsibility for it and declares in Romans 1:20 that His invisible attributes are seen here.
Dr. Ayala falls back on naturalistic evolution to explain what he sees because under His comprehension of God's character, God must have left the scene, be no longer present in nature, and nature was left to formulate without God's presence after the initial creation event. This is the only way he can reconcile his fallacious impression of God with reality.
The problem with this is that God would have had to be absent throughout the course of history even to the creation of man and that is not what the Bible tells us. The Bible tells us that God was intimately involved in creation throughout its course and that He personally oversaw the creation of Adam and Eve. If I understand Dr. Ayala correctly, he would disagree with this. He believes that man evolved from apes. There are so many ramifications to that assertion until it is mind boggling. Keep in mind too that there was no sin in the world at this time, so why has God left the building?
This argument has been made before by various Christians who see the implications of human evolution, but it is worth repeating here. If man is simply an intelligent animal, then animalistic behavior in man is acceptable. Can you see how that one little idea at the vertex of a proposition or philosophical hypothesis can lead to deception? This denies the conscience of man and allows for a great latitude with sin, in particular, in the sexual realm. Is it any wonder under this false doctrine that we are now including practicing homosexuals, fornicators and adulterers into churches and calling them saved?
Almost anything is acceptable as long as the two participating people are consenting. After all, animals do it. Love is tolerance of sin under this teaching and being salt and light is hate. Guaranteed in the future that little by little, this philosophy will chip away at the core of our morality until we are accepting sin at a magnitude unheard of in these civilized times because we have to be all tolerant of what others are doing. We are under a strict moral code to mind our own business. That is what it means today to be loving.
The only place at this point where we draw the line is under mutual consent. If those who are into perversion can prove that these victims are consenting, then they can take more ground and society will accept it as right and good. Since many of these folks deny God, their definition of right and wrong is based on whatever society deems as right and good. That is how these heinous practices become socially acceptable.
For example, abortion is a heinous crime against the voiceless innocent. Yet the bulk of society turns a blind eye to this wicked evil in the name of a lack of prosperity due to overpopulation.
In the end, they will wish that all those children had survived. It is only when they see the effect it has on the ladies who participated and the adverse problems, generated by killing off parts of our society necessary to support the elderly, that the tide will turn. Then they will look back and gasp in horror at what our society did. There isn't a doubt in my mind too that somehow this will become something that "Christians" participated in and so therefore, Christianity is the problem. They are twisting the history on slavery in the same manner and the Nazi regime. Forget the fact that those who sincerely were Christians refused to participate in those things.
I was a little disappointed that Dr. Craig did not see that the logical conclusion is that we are misunderstanding God's character. Regrettably, Dr. Craig is probably tainted with the same formulation concerning God's character.
There is no way of getting around this. We either have to take the position that everything we see is an illusion and that God is not seen in these things or we have to take the stand that God isn't here at all to make this idea of God's all-loving character work. What if neither of these positions is true? What if the truth is that reality is true, God is intimately involved in creation and His invisible attributes are clearly seen here from the creation of the world?
The truth is that God is love. The difficulty is with our definition of the word love. We have so skewed this interpretation that it is no wonder that there is an enormous confusion over God's character and creation.
A loving God sent His Son here to die a brutal death for the sins of the world to satisfy the just requirements necessary to pardon us from sin. That was His just requirement. Let that sink in. That is what God designed to make a way for us from the moment of creation. Hebrews 9:26 He took that upon Himself and came to this earth as a man to accomplish this. Nevertheless, it was still a rather gruesome means necessary to help us. If you ask me, from the impression of the singularly benevolent character of God that people have built in their minds, God would have never allowed this to happen in the first place.
A loving God judged the Jews on more than one occasion and certainly eliminated the people in that region who were diabolical. Why? Because they were not people who cared about others, they loved their money, they were full of pride and they were full of sexual perversions. Ezekiel 16:49 They had gone so far into this corruption that there was nothing that could redeem them. Society is heading that way again today and Romans 1:18 and the book of Revelation tells us that God is going to react the same way.
If those characteristics were not evidenced in nature, then Romans 1:20 would be null and void of effect to anyone who does not believe and everyone on this planet would have plenty of excuses not to believe. Instead, it is the very fact that we see both beautiful, gentle and loving creatures here and ones that are terrifying that causes God's judgment to be just.
The most significant part of that, in my mind, is that the most terrifying creatures to have ever lived are separated from us by God through a cataclysmic event that wiped them out. Yet we can see that they did exist and we have a little fun imagining what it would be like if we had a zoo full of them in the movie Jurassic Park. It would obviously not be a good time and we would be in panic mode. These folks are genuinely terrified and rightfully so because there is an aspect of God that is terrifying as well and it is directed toward those people who refuse to obey His commandments.
2 Samuel 22:22-27 demonstrates this duel character of God based on our lives and hearts. He shows Himself loving and merciful to those who are loving and merciful. On the other hand, He is shrewd to the devious. This is actually a Hebrew play on words. The first word means crooked or perverse. The second one means to be twisted or to wrestle. The implication is that God twists the perverted. That is how He will appear to them. These attributes of God must be evidenced in nature or people will fail to see that He has righteous indignation.
He is a God that would beat up a bunch of merchants who are selling for the purpose of profiting off of Him in His church and so, He messed up their business day. I have heard people gloss over this display of anger by Jesus in saying that He is God and so He can do what He wants, but this would be sin to us. The clear implication is that this is wrong behavior that we can't do because we aren't God. How ridiculous. If it is sin to us, then God in the flesh would be sinning too. The entire objective here was for Jesus, who is God Almighty, to live the life of a man without sin. So anything that falls under the category of sin for us is sin for Jesus.
When these folks with their false impression of God see us out on the streets confronting people on their sin, they are grossly offended because of this doctrinal error. Their entire view of God is one of benevolence and gentle kindness. They have no idea what these folks need nor do they realize that these sin filled perverts are overflowing with the love message that has led them to where they are.
In conclusion, this suggests only two logical possibilities. Either we are wrong about the character of God or Jesus is a sinner. If Jesus is a sinner, that negates the entire message. Since all of these attributes are clearly seen from the creation of the world when it is viewed in reality, I say that we are missing the mark in understanding who God really is. He is not the mealy mouthed namby pamby transexual god that people are imagining in their heads. Jesus was never like that. That is not God Almighty and His entire creation and Word declares that to everyone.