Debating Atheists: Arrival of the Universe (Part 2/5)

By Dan Grossenbach

In the previous post of this short blog series found here, I explained how four facts agreed upon by the majority of non-Christian experts can be used to build a strong case for Christianity. This is the approach I took when I debated Freethought Arizona spokesperson Dr. Gil Shapiro in November 2016. In this week’s post, I’ll cover the first one.

Debating Atheists Arrival Universe

#1 The Arrival of the Universe

Either the universe is infinitely old or it started at a finite time ago at a certain point in time. There’s no third option unless we deny the existence of the universe altogether as some new age or eastern beliefs do. The cosmos has been the focus of study as long as man has existed and some mysteries remain yet unsolved. Nevertheless, that the universe had a beginning is something we can say with relative certainty.

  1. About 13.8 bya the universe came into existence where energy, matter, natural laws, time, and space arrived on the scene prior to which they were not there.ASU astrophysicist and religion critic Paul Davies says “the universe can’t have existed forever. We know there must be an absolute beginning a finite time ago.”[1]

Alexander Vilenkin, another skeptic of religion goes further arguing for a finite starting point even with the possibility of multiple universes when he said this in 2003:

“It is said that an argument is what convinces a reasonable man, but a proof even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape:  they must face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” The problem for Vilenkin and his non-Christian peers is what follows from a “beginning.”[2]

In defense of this idea, outspoken religion skeptic and Arizona State University physicist Lawrence Krause said, “If you asked me what I would bet, I would bet that our universe had a beginning.”[3] To see why scientists like Davies, Krause, and other skeptics consider the beginning of the universe a problem, it’s important to see what follows from another fact we already know.

  1. In uniform and repeated human experience, everything that begins to exist has a cause

Sensing the pending consequences of these two facts, Dr. Krause tries to show how events can occur from “nothing.” The trouble is, he defines nothing as something. You can see Krause first properly defines “nothing” as the “absence of anything” but in the very next breath tells us his “nothing” of the pre-beginning initial conditions of the universe contained something, namely, lots of complex “stuff” and “particles” interacting with each other.[4] Dr. Krause is a brilliant man and must know better. For the stuff and particles he just listed by default entails space, time, energy, matter, and abstract objects like physical laws and logic which is all that’s needed to make up our entire physical universe. These things are not only not “nothing” (no-thing) but are the very things scientists tell us did NOT exist until they came into being at the beginning of the universe, a beginning Dr. Krause would put his money on. In fact, the universe itself is comprised of the same things he attributes to as “nothing.” So for Krause: nothing = universe.

If these first two points hold true, as nearly all experts agree, and the logic is sound, the following conclusion is inescapable.

  1. The universe had a cause.

This opens a whole other can of worms. Who or what is the cause? Well, we can infer a few things from this argument. The cause must be supernatural, uncaused, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, personal, powerful, rational, and independent. This list of attributes rules out nearly every world religion except monotheism.

Uncaused – Gen 1:1, Ps 102:25-27, Jn 1:3, 1 Cor 8:6, Col 1:16, Heb 1:2

Spaceless – 1 Kings 8:27, Isa 66:1-2, Acts 7:48

Immaterial – 1 Kings 8:27, Isa 66:1-2, Acts 7:48

Timeless – Ps 90:2, Job 36:26, Rev 1:8, Jn 8:58

Personal – Gen 17:1, Rev 19:6, Ps 33:9, Rom 4:17

Powerful – Gen 18:14, Jer 32:17, Job 42:1-2, Mt 19:26, Mk 14:26

Rational – 1 Cor 14:33, Isa 1:18, 2 Tim 2:13, Lk 10:27

Independent – Gen 1:1, Ps 102:25-27, Jn 1:3, 1 Cor 8:6, Col 1:16, Heb 1:2

We’re not able to show the God of Christianity on this first argument alone, but there’s no better candidate than theism to fit the bill. At the very least, the God of biblical Christianity matches this description without a single miss and is among a very short list of contenders. It’s important to note none of the rival atheistic theories fit these attributes for the universe’s initial cause. But before critiquing any rival options, I waited for Dr. Shapiro to present another cause that better explains the creation of the universe. He never did. And the options offered by the atheists mentioned here start off on false or unfounded assumptions. Atheists might not like the Christian explanation, but they seem to support the basis for it and fail to offer a better way. So the Biblical account of the arrival of the universe remains the best explanation available to us.

Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2xeVSkM

Endnotes:

[1] Paul Davies, “The Big Bang-and Before,” lecture at Thomas Aquinas College March 2002 quoted from ReasonableFaith.org.

[2] Alexander Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One p176, quoted from Common Sense Atheism blog post “Craig on Vilenkin on Cosmic Origins” by Luke Muehlhauser

[3] Lawrence Krause, debate with William Lane Craig in Brisbane, Australia on August 7, 2013 transcript here

[4] Lawrence Krause, debate with William Lane Craig, 2013, video here starting at around 17:00

 


 

Free CrossExamined.org Resource

Get the first chapter of "Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case" in PDF.

Powered by ConvertKit
64 replies
  1. Susan says:

    Quote:
    “Dr. Krause is a brilliant man and must know better.”

    Yes and that tells you right there he is prone to self deception just like the God of the Bible says.

    But since Krause’s scientific training has taught him to dismiss God then he won’t take notice of when God catches him in a contradiction with the nature of self deception being what it is.

    Lots of people like to try and spot superficial biblical contradictions but some people either refuse or don’t know to check themselves for one.

    ” Judge not lest ye be judged.”

    Reply
  2. jcb says:

    This article proves that there is a cause, using (fairly) good reasons. It then falsely asserts to to know/be able to infer what the cause is: something uncaused, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, personal, powerful, rational, and independent. Yes, the cause is powerful (it has power), but no it is not known to likely be rational (intelligent, intentional), timeless (eternal, or a-temporal), personal, independent, or uncaused. The author says “we can infer a few things from this argument” but gives no explanation of what justifies those inferences, and the author seems to be wrong that we can infer (know) much of what he claims we can infer from the argument given above. This article does not build “a strong case for Christianity”, but only for some virtually unknown cause of the universe/known world.

    Reply
    • Mike Edwwards says:

      “This article does not build “a strong case for Christianity”, but only for some virtually unknown cause of the universe/known world.”-correct, but that wasnt the purpose of this article, it was to only show the “cause ” argument. What God or cause that did fit the above description, would be point B. this is article is only addressing point A

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        Mike, that may be true, but the article still was wrong about many of the inferences it claimed we could make about properties of the cause. Perhaps the next article will make fewer errors.

        Reply
    • Clinton says:

      This can turn into an entire debate by itself. You obviously have reason to think that whatever created the universe has power. It has to be intelligent because the universe and everything in it is extremely complex. Intelligence usually infers something personal unless we’re talking about a machine. Got to be timeless because time didn’t start ticking till the universe started. Got to be uncaused because it was there before the universe. One would figure it has to be rational because there’s not much in the known universe that’s irrational. And you are right. It doesn’t quite build the case for Christianity but is a good argument for the existence of God.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        How are you defining complex? A rock is ‘complex’ but gets formed by natural forces. What’s an example of something simple that is formed naturally, such that you can say something else is too complex to have been formed naturally?

        Reply
        • Clinton says:

          Life is extremely complex. Every form of it. Even single cell organisms have a lot of dna. Every living creature has tons and tons of genes that operate in different times and ways. The forces of the universe are very complex. Our solar system is complex. Gravity itself has some complexity to it. And rock is generally simple. But the process in which it got there is complex.
          Things can be explained away in theory all day long, such as the formation of the earth, but there has to be something behind it all to have made it work.
          This is an argument that can’t be ignored and hasn’t been ignored throughout history. Whether one thinks there’s a God or not, there’s reasonably evidence to say that there is.

          Reply
      • jcb says:

        Clinton, Nothing shows that complex things (how is that defined by the way?) are probably created by intelligence. Some “complex” things like computers are made by human intelligence, and some “complex” things like the Grand Canyon are made by non-intelligent forces. You claim “Everything in it (the universe) is extremely complex”. If that were true, then it would disprove your claim, since some of the things in the universe are made by natural forces, and if they too are extremely complex, then natural forces can and do create extremely complex things. Time isn’t a thing, but time didn’t come into existence at the Big Bang. Scientists mean (it seems), our calculations of what exists don’t extend past the point of the Big Bang. If we ever discover the cause of the Big Bang, that cause will be Before the Big Bang. (The cause will occur before the effect). You even say that the Cause has to be there “before”(!!) the universe. As to uncaused, it doesn’t follow that if X is the cause of our universe, that cause itself has to be (or even probably is) uncaused. The cause isn’t probably Rational, if by Rational you mean an intelligent, wise being. Yes, this is not at all a Strong case for Christianity, but not, it is not a good argument for God: a perfect, intelligent, being. It’s an argument for something that had the power to create the Big Bang moment. We don’t know that thing to be timeless (you even said it was before the big bang moment), we don’t know it to be intelligent/rational/personal, etc.

        Reply
        • Clinton says:

          I defined complex for you already. Life is complex. So many thousands of things inside one life form working together to make it work like it is supposed to. Just because it can be reasonably explained in such a way that it can be understood doesn’t take away from the complexity. Computers, like you said for example, are put together by an intelligent, personal being. Didn’t come from nothing.
          Grand canyon, rocks, volcanoes and earthquakes spur off from natural forces, yes. But they still didn’t come from nothing. As far as the big bang, maybe like you say, there was some sort of material there before, and somehow interacted, and bang, a complex, life permitting, somehow orderly universe came into being.
          That kind of violates thermodynamics, which says that everything comes from order to disorder. And being that we never have observed anything moving in the other direction, it doesn’t make sense that a bunch of atoms would come together on its own and create something so vast and spectacular.
          Look we both obviously don’t interpret evidence the same way, but it is a good argument.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I defined complex for you already. Life is complex.”
            No you didn’t define it. Giving an example of something (or asserting an example) isn’t defining it.
            .
            “And being that we never have observed anything moving in the other direction”
            We see it happening all the time. A tree is more ‘complex’ than an acorn. Waves sort pebbles on a beach into order of size. With energy added into a system, parts of it can and do become more ordered and/or complex.

          • Clinton says:

            Complex; constisting of many different and connected parts.
            Could’ve picked up a dictionary for that.
            Yes, the mighty oak is more complex than an acorn. The acorn is designed and ordered to grow into an oak. It is order from order. The acorn isn’t disorder, it grew from the tree to possibly grow another tree.
            Waves on the beach scatter pebbles on the beach,. So what.
            With energy added to systems, systems already in place.
            But everything when not maintained falls apart. A tree if not watered or if it gets an infestation of parasites eventually dies and rots away. A system whether electric of mechanical will eventually break. Like a nuclear plant, when maintained, properly cooled and all that runs well, but mistakes made or left to its own devices will eventually have a nuclear meltdown.
            Everything eventually dies and breaks down. Even the human body gets stronger from childhood and eventually weakens and dies.
            We have never observed anything naturally by itself come from a bunch of material, particles, atoms, to something that works.
            Life has never come out of nothing.

          • toby says:

            Life has never come out of nothing.
            Right, because there is no such thing as nothing.
            |
            We have never observed anything naturally by itself come from a bunch of material, particles, atoms, to something that works.
            What are you even talking about here?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Clinton: “Waves on the beach scatter pebbles on the beach”

            Wrong – waves on a beach can create order by sorting the pebbles into piles by size. You’re ignorant of how the world works Clinton. Greater order arises from disorder all the time.
            .
            Clinton: “We have never observed anything naturally by itself come from a bunch of material, particles, atoms, to something that works”
            .
            We’ve never seen a God create life either. It’s always created naturally out of existing life.

          • Clinton says:

            The waves don’t create anything though. The rocks assorted by size because of their weight and all that. I am not the ignorant fellow here sir.
            Greater order does not come from disorder. Never has.
            You said it yourself, the complexity of a computer is created by an intelligent being. Life has a whole lot of coding in it, and information doesn’t get there by accident.
            Just because you can’t see God doesn’t mean he isn’t there. You can’t see wind, yet you can believe it exists.
            And you said it again. Life comes from other life. It doesn’t come from any lifeless primordial ooze, nor can it.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “The waves don’t create anything though. The rocks assorted by size because of their weight and all that”
            .
            A blind, undirected process created greater order. You claimed: “we never have observed anything moving in the other direction”. You can hand wave all you want, but I just gave you an example of something you have said we have never observed happening. Insert energy into a closed system – such as the sun falling on earth – and yes, order can increase. We literally observe it ALL THE TIME, every day.
            .
            “Greater order does not come from disorder. Never has.”
            Again, we see it happening all the time.
            .
            “You can’t see wind, yet you can believe it exists.”
            Clinton, are you trolling here? Take a kite outside and you’ll see the wind in action. If you’re too lazy to leave your house, look out of your window and see the leaves moving in the breeze. Tell me a similar test for the existence of God.
            .
            “information doesn’t get there by accident”
            Good job that evolution isn’t a random process then.
            .
            ” I am not the ignorant fellow here sir”
            Then I guess you just pretend to be one online.

  3. Andy Ryan says:

    What does ‘the cause must be powerful’ mean? How is power being defined here? Does it mean like magical? It’s a very ill defined term.

    Reply
    • toby says:

      Also in number three they use their book of unknown authorship to point to their book of unknown authorship as being the best of such books.

      Conveniently they fail to explain how something can said to exist in any fashion and have those attributes. How can a timeless (and/or changeless) thing be said to do anything? How could it have any sort of will if it can’t change?

      And in other discussions they’ll neglect to mention how such a being could be perfect and yet have wants/needs/desires which implies that it’s lacking something.

      As the internet meme says, “God can do anything . . . except make his own money.”

      Reply
      • ANTHONY says:

        I’ve heard Christians claiming that God paid their debts for them, so he might actually be able to make his own money.

        Reply
          • ANTHONY says:

            No, I meant what I said. I have listened to Christians saying that their financial debts were cleared by God. Some people will believe any old nonsense.

          • A brother in Christ says:

            God does work miracles. God has blessed me. Obviously there’s a lot too it, and if you don’t get the whole story it sounds more outrageous than it is.

    • Mike Edwwards says:

      Its not inferring anything or pointing to any specific cause just yet. its only observing the “bare bones” of the root argument. weather its magic, supernatural or naturalistic, would be the next step in the argument

      Reply
  4. TGM says:

    “Well, we can infer a few things from this argument. The cause must be supernatural, uncaused, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, personal, powerful, rational, and independent.”
    .
    Your statement somehow follows as a conclusion from a new premise “3. The universe had a cause.” I generally reject this. However, I can put on my giant rosey glasses of sympathetic understanding and see where you get supernatural, uncaused, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, independent and powerful. But how, exactly, do you go from “a cause” to “a personal and rational cause”? Somehow the proponents of this argument always forget to tell us exactly where a personal agent is justified.
    .
    Sorry, the best you can do say “we don’t understand the cause”, were such a cause even justified.
    .
    By the way, does anyone even consider this argument to be valuable? How many theists became convinced that their god existed because of this argument? Just trying to reassure the already faithful, I suppose. #notreallyapologetics

    Reply
  5. David says:

    Dan, you say, “About 13.8 bya the universe came into existence”. Are Christians finally admitting that the earth/universe is not 6,000 years old? They kind of had to since their preeminent apologist, William Lane Craig, admitted as much.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyOZRMIe768

    This is progress. Maybe next you can admit that there was no global, cataclysmic flood in the year 2348 BC. Your buddies over at Answers In Genesis still think there was.

    Read the article at: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/timeline-for-the-flood/ then the one at https://cognitivediscopants.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/what-if-god-threw-a-flood-and-no-one-came/ and decide for yourself.

    Reply
  6. toby says:

    I fail to see any mention of how they know that nothing (no-thing as they like to point out) is a possible state of affairs. Perhaps Krauss is getting at this point that there doesn’t seem to be an actual nothing. They make such a fuss of there being a cause, a cause, a cause, then go on to describe a type of causation that has nothing to do with anything we intuitively think of as causation. Or anything we can remotely demonstrate as causation. You cannot make any sort of analogy to demonstrate it as possible because all analogies would include pre-existing conditions/materials. They’d boil down to “A painter makes a painting . . . now imagine there’s no paint or canvas or brush or anything at all to paint.”
    _|_
    There’s a thing (if you can even call it a thing) that is not of and not in our universe that makes our universe out of no preexisting materials and without the benefit of time. How then can there be a time at which there was no universe and then a time at which there was?
    _|_
    How this thing makes the universe from nothing is barely ever touched upon and when it is, it is the impotent response, “He’s enormously powerful so he can do that.” That is no explanation at all.
    _|_
    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore the universe has a cause.

    I think this is a particularly flawed argument. It needs rewriting.

    1. Everything that we observe to begin existing has a cause.
    1a. These causes require material.
    1b. These causes require time (i.e. there was a time at which there was a cause and a time at which there was not).
    2. The universe, as we know it, began to exist.
    3. Therefore the universe has a cause that required material and time.

    Reply
    • Pierre says:

      You are confusing the types of causation between those within the universe and the cause of the universe, which includes time/space.

      Reply
      • toby says:

        You’re ignoring the fact that all we know about causation is what is in the universe and you’re special pleading for one instance of one kind of causation that we know nothing about and have no examples of. And you have no idea what causation without time or material would even mean.

        Reply
  7. Robbie says:

    It’s astonishing how many people totally miss the point,do yourself a favor and forget everything you think you know and understand it’s takes more faith to be a atheist than it does to believe in Christianity. It doesn’t mean Christianity is true,but until the so called “scientific community” and “smart people” don’t have to hide evidence that don’t support their therories,all the jibber jabber is useless.

    Reply
  8. A good question says:

    I do want to ask a good question here. If so many people commenting on here are such smart athiests, and know so much that they can prove everything wrong and the Christians are stupid, why are they spending so much time on apologetics websites attacking every single article that shows up?

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “I do want to ask a good question here”
      Let us know when you have it then.
      .
      “why are they spending so much time on apologetics websites”
      It’s a public service.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        No it’s not. Most atheists don’t bother to learn doctrine to know God’s positions before they take shots at Him.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          Yes it is.
          “Most atheists don’t bother to…”
          Sorry Susan but you’re pulling this out of your ear. Atheists generally test a better knowledge of the Bible than Christians. Learning about the Bible is often what made them atheists in the first place. I’m referencing a Pew Research Center survey. What are you referencing with your claim?

          Reply
          • A good question says:

            But the funny thing is, you never answered the question. If the ideas from your side of the tracks are so smart then why don’t you sit on an athiest website and add to that discussion?
            Are you trying to maintain your faith, or are you afraid someone else might read these things and convert.
            And sorry, no, I don’t think you do have a proper knowledge of the Bible, or you wouldn’t believe so many falsehoods about it.

          • TGM says:

            What is a “proper knowledge” of the Bible and who gets to decide what that is? You? Some committee? A divine book of absolute wisdom and guidance that also invites multiple interpretations is nonsensical. Or just a cruel joke.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “you never answered the question”
            I did – it’s a public service. You’re welcome.
            .
            “If the ideas from your side of the tracks are so smart then why don’t you sit on an athiest website and add to that discussion?”
            .
            It’s ‘atheist’, not ‘atheist’. 1) How do you know I don’t contribute to atheist website discussions? 2) What atheist discussions do you think I need to add to?
            .
            “I don’t think you do have a proper knowledge of the Bible”
            Cool. I don’t think you do.
            .
            “Are you trying to maintain your faith”
            I don’t have a faith. If there are bad arguments presented, I answer them. If you have any counter-arguments for what I’ve said, present them. Arguments about why anyone else chooses to take part in discussions is irrelevant.

          • Susan says:

            A survey? You are upholding a survey as authoritative?

            Can you guarantee no one lied on the survey?

            How many people guessed when they answered?

            Faith is God’s criteria.

            The Pew Research center’s criteria could be anybody’s.

            How do you know an atheist or agnostic didn’t write the survey?

            You listen to the world too much Andy.

            Try asking God for the ability to hear His side of things. The world lies a lot.

            I am probably going to irritate you soon Andy so if you don’t feel like replying then don’t.

            You always act like this is a theist vs. atheist issue but you leave God out of the equation.

            As a Christian I don’t defer much to research centers run by the world. I defer to God who has been running His work of salvation for thousands of years.

            So I think He takes seniority over the Pew Research Center….a good bit, too.

            God Bless you and keep you!

          • A good question says:

            It takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a Christian.
            There’s too much evidence contrary to the atheistic worldview to ignore.
            Faith is not simply a belief despite what the dictionary says.
            And for TGM. The Bible does not invite people to interpret it however they want. People throughout history have tried to interpret it to fit whatever their motives are.
            In order to gain an understanding of the Bible, you’ve got to come at it without preconceived notions, and look at the big picture.
            I don’t decide the correct view, the author does. In order to interpret it correctly, one has to figure out what the author was trying to say.
            Making the mistake that man is supremely intelligent and the author just didn’t write it good enough just doesn’t help anyone understand it. One is often on a moral high horse and says that God is evil for what he does without ever taking into account why He did it.
            And I’m I was just curious about why such highly intelligent people would stoop down to attack what they view as inferior intelligence, if you just know that it’s all a stupid story.
            “It’s a public service”
            Ok.

          • TGM says:

            “In order to gain an understanding of the Bible, you’ve got to come at it without preconceived notions, and look at the big picture.”
            .
            Really? Am I to understand that I cannot understand the bible unless I approach it by your method? Once again, it seems that I cannot determine what the bible means without you as my interpreter. Apparently the bible cannot stand on its own. So, who are you and why are you correct?

            “In order to interpret it correctly, one has to figure out what the author was trying to say.”
            .
            So it’s a puzzle game! I’ll know everything I need once I solve the riddle. Evidently the author only wants one person to understand the bible correctly because there is a different interpretation for every single person who reads it. Well, whomever that person is, they’ll probably get an awesome prize. Maybe guessing correctly unlocks the secret cow level.

            “One is often on a moral high horse and says that God is evil for what he does without ever taking into account why He did it.”
            .
            I believe in neither God nor evil, so this hardly applies to me. My own revulsion arises from the humans who find an entity compelling that engages in such distasteful behavior. And I have little reservation about climbing onto that high horse.

            “And I’m I was just curious about why such highly intelligent people would stoop down to attack what they view as inferior intelligence, if you just know that it’s all a stupid story.”
            .
            I’m hardly intelligent myself, barely a step up from an orangutan. But atheists that I respect don’t attack people. They attack beliefs, not based on intelligence, but those arising from ignorance, and a far greater danger than stupidity. Intelligence is a red herring.

          • A good question says:

            Mr tgm. Read it like you would any other book. People can come out of every book with different opinions. It’s not a puzzle. It’s not hard to understand. Well I mean some things are, but the theme of the Bible is not.
            I never said you need me as your interpreter. And I didn’t say you or your friends attack people, although some do. On both sides.
            I’m sure you’re much more intelligent than an ape, never said anyone here was not.
            And what kind of distasteful practice are you referring to?

          • TGM says:

            Thanks AGQ. I do regard the bible much as any other book, except other best sellers don’t have legions of disciples lobbying policy on its account. The bible is sublime in places and absurd in others. But it cannot do all the heavy lifting (divine guidance, story of creation, etc.) credited to it. Also the plot is kind of lame. And trite.
            .
            As to distasteful… I find that global extermination tops the list. But we can add an embarrassing degree of narcissism, the implicit/explicit condoning of human ownership, and horrific torture to that list. Don’t you find these things distasteful as well? But I imagine you would excuse or even relish such events.

  9. A good question says:

    Sorry it took so long to reply tgm. Ive been working long hours
    I have to disagree on the plot being lame but that’s a different story.
    As for global extermination, i.e. the flood, the Bible says that at that time the earth was filled with violence. Later it says that their thoughts were only evil continually.
    God destroyed the earth on account of the people being totally evil. Not just because He felt like it.
    If you bought an ant farm,set it up and all that. You came back to it a few days later and found that they got out, and got all into your food and sugar and everything, you would probably destroy the little critters. ( I realize that this isn’t the greatest analogy but nonetheless.)
    If you’re referring to God when you say narcissist because he wants our worship, you can curse God all day and it won’t hurt Him. You can praise Him all day and it won’t help Him. Worship is for our own benefit. Besides that, worshipping other gods would mean you aren’t loyal to Him.
    There were only two forms of slavery allowed by the Bible. One was indepted servitude, where you sold yourself to someone as a servant. The other was as a punishment for crime.
    Anyone who did own a slave, it was a human, and God does not condone it.
    I’m not completely sure what your talking about with regards to torture, unless you’re talking about hell. In that case, you only go there if one rejects God and goes his own way. I don’t necessarily believe that one will be in an actual fire, I believe that it’s a place where one will be lonesome and conscious of what they have missed.
    And no, I don’t ” relish” these skewed views. I don’t agree with slavery, torture or narcissism. And I don’t want to see the world destroyed, or people, but ultimately it will be up to the individual.

    Reply
    • TGM says:

      The torture to which I refer was the stapling of one specific historical figure to a crucifix where he allegedly suffered the greatest horror to which a person could. And in thus doing so conditionally purged humanity of its responsibility for “sin”. You’re probably familiar with the story. The details are irrelevant as my complaint is with the people who do, in fact, relish this supposedly redemptive process. The glee in which they recount the “glory” of this sacrifice is sickening to me. I’ve heard it aptly described as “Jesus torture porn”. Not only could I never rejoice in human suffering, I could not, and would not, ever accept someone being penalized for my own mistakes. I find those who have no problem accepting vicarious torture to be a sorry lot and it’s painful to call them friends and family.
      .
      As for hell… eternal abandonment sounds rather unpleasant too. And there is no shortage of folks looking forward to mocking hell’s residents. Those are some sick people.

      Reply
    • TGM says:

      I don’t know what it means to totally evil. I don’t see how that is even possible. Do we have any examples of totally evil cultures? The closest vile cultures we have in living memory, and you can probably think of a few without trying hard, could hardly be described as “totally evil”. So I don’t even know what you could be talking about. Does totally evil mean beyond redemption? Even Jesus could not die for them? Were the Canaanites beyond redemption too? Wiping out everyone except an old man and his family is really just laziness.
      .
      If we stick to your ant farm analogy and I created an ant farm, from scratch, without considering the possible consequences to poor design then I would be negligent. If I compounded the problem by inviting a situation where the system could fall apart, then I would be complicit in its downfall. If I were to then destroy everything once it got out of my own control, I should have to suffer the embarrassment of my own incompetence, be forced into restitution and clean the silly mess, then be forbidden from making another one until I learned my lesson (all while apologizing to the poor ants for my bad stewardship). Lastly, when people read my personal journal about the incident, they might ruefully forgive me, but they would also have the decency not to blame the stupid insects.

      Reply
      • A good question says:

        See I had already said that I knew the ant analogy was that good, I was just making a point. You are right, they are just ants. But we are people. We have a mind and can make a choice. God didn’t create man as imperfect originally. They corrupted themselves by doing what they knew they weren’t supposed to.
        When I say totally evil, I meant that yes they were beyond redemption, and it corrupted the entire earth. I get the idea that they would have destroyed themselves and the earth.
        As far as Jesus being tortured, yes it was horrible. It is sad to know what He went through. Sin though. Sin is the violation of a person, the person in God’s image. Sin requires punishment. It requires death, blood. In the old testament they sacrificed animals. But the blood of an animal could not wipe away sin, it could only cover it.
        That’s why God himself took on the form of a man, and died that horrible death, so that sin would be forgiven by a perfect sacrifice of a sinless man.
        It’s already done. He paid. We didn’t say, hey God, do this for us would you do that for us? He did of his own will, out of His love for us.
        If you accidentally stepped in front of a car, and someone pushed you out of the way but lost their own life in the process, one would normally be grateful that someone saved their life. You didn’t ask them to do it, but they did because even though they didn’t know you, they loved you enough to save you. That’s how we feel about Jesus.
        Another thing. Jesus lives. He’s alive and well.
        Look I know that you don’t believe it, and I’m not trying to make you but I’m just telling you what it’s actually about because it’s highly misunderstood by many and even made fun of and attacked.

        Reply
        • TGM says:

          “If you accidentally stepped in front of a car, and someone pushed you out of the way but lost their own life in the process, one would normally be grateful that someone saved their life.”
          .
          Not true. Have you never heard of survivor’s guilt? I would probably be quite uncomfortable to learn that someone died on account of my mistake.

          Reply
        • TGM says:

          It’s not usually fair to pick apart nits when people are trying to share complicated ideas with brevity, but I also can’t let things like this pass after they raise my eyebrows three inches over my forehead…

          “When I say totally evil, I meant that yes they were beyond redemption, and it corrupted the entire earth. I get the idea that they would have destroyed themselves and the earth.”
          .
          What I conclude, then, is that in order to prevent them from exercising their God-given free will and destroying themselves and the earth, God was required to destroy them and the earth? This is like higher order irony. I’m sure you have some explanation, but I’d prefer you didn’t try.

          Reply
          • A good question says:

            I’ll give just a simple answer. That wasn’t God’s intention for mankind. He has a plan for mankind that includes man enjoying a relationship with Him.
            #2 He created man. He has every right to destroy it.
            They did exercise their freewill. That’s what got judgment upon themselves.
            As for survivors guilt,. It’s because one knows it was unfair for someone to lose their life for them. But, that person loved you enough to save your life at the expense of theirs.
            Someone would have been upset if you got ran over and nobody tried to help.
            I have to add one last thing. Someone else at one time or another will pay for my mistake. That is what sin is. The violation of the person.
            Not all sin violates someone else. Sometimes it’s the man that violates himself. But everyone does something that hurts someone else at some point.
            Human depravity is the most empirical fact, but it is the most intellectually denied.

    • TGM says:

      So slavery… I’ll be brief. I reject indentured servitude and debt slavery as indefensible as well. So I don’t find your apologetic to carry much weight. But it’s not so simple as that. Because biblical slavery also allowed for forceful acquisition of humans. Non-Israelite slaves were permanent, subject to transfer of ownership and inheritance provisions. The bible described permissible punishments along with methods to induce indentured slaves to accept permanent status. Not a single commandment forbidding ownership. But to some minds there is always some way to excuse this.

      Reply
      • A good question says:

        Forgot to mention Hell. I don’t know any follower of the way that would relish the fact, or mock someone going to hell. I love people and I don’t want them to go there, I don’t mock anyone who will. God doesn’t want to send people there. But if they want to live corrupt, they can’t inherit incorruptible.
        Indentured servitude is pretty much gainful employment.
        Punishment. I get what you’re saying. But one commits a crime, does it not make sense to put them to work to pay for that crime rather than give them a free place to stay, free meals and free healthcare while they don’t do much.
        Prisoners of war. When they surrender and are captured, should that have been killed instead? Or the same thing as a criminal. Society having to pay for them while they do nothing?
        They were not allowed to keep them forever. They had to let slaves and servants go on the seventh year, unless the slave/servant chose to stay.
        There was also a commandment, exodus 21:16. Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him shall be put to death.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          “Indentured servitude is pretty much gainful employment”
          The Bible talks about how the children of your slaves also become your slaves. That’s not indentured servitude and it’s certainly not gainful employment. Either you don’t know the Bible very well or you know this already and are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.
          .
          “They were not allowed to keep them forever. They had to let slaves and servants go on the seventh year, unless the slave/servant chose to stay.”
          Are you referring to this passage?
          “When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt” (Exod. 21:2)
          .
          If so, the passage clearly refers to HEBREW slaves. That the Bible had more restrictions on enslaving fellow Jews that on enslaving non-Jews is not a point in its favour. And again, either you don’t know the Bible very well or you’re hoping people won’t notice these passages refer to Hebrew slaves only. Which is it, A Good Question – ignorance or dishonesty?

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            You were right. Wrong about everything else, unfortunately. But you didn’t answer my question. Ironic given your user name – seems you can ask questions but can neither listen to the answers nor answer yourself.

      • A good question says:

        I want to mention one last thing. You said free from the responsibility of sin.
        No we are not free from responsibility of sin. If we continue to live in willful sinfulness we are not free from the responsibility.
        Free from sin means that we are broken from the bondage of sin.

        Reply
    • toby says:

      AGQ: The other day I was thinking about a common theist assertion about how so many cultures have flood myths and how this is in some way proof of the bible flood myth. All of this thought was brought on by the situation in Texas. Do you know what occurred to me as they were talking about a Texas town that was without water because their treatment plant was flooded? Early humans didn’t have water treatment. Early humans didn’t have deep wells to get water from. So is it any surprise that there are so many flood myths? Early humans had to live close to water. Rivers and lakes cause floods. There’s this little thing called a tsunami. The bible account is someone’s myth account.

      Reply
      • A good question says:

        Toby. There is a good amount of evidence in the world that could point to a global flood. I’m not going to get into them though. If you really want to know, look at the evidence from an objective standpoint and make your own decision.

        Reply
  10. Eric Breaux says:

    I’m a Christian but have a sincere question about God. How is it possible for him to do anything if he’s timeless? for anything to happen requires time so it can start continue and end, so how does he do anything not experiencing the time required for what he’s doing? Since there can be nothing before time how would the act of creation be possible without it, since that’s an event? How can he be anywhere if he’s space less? Isn’t a form necessary to even exist? How could you have any substance or attribute without space that is required to have a form? And he’s omniscient, so how can he have infinite knowledge of, and eternally transcend, what there can only be a limited amount of? He made us and what we’ll experience to last eternity, so how does his infinite knowledge not make it so that time would already have to be infinite to him for him to know and transcend everything? Time is limited, that’s why it can always continue’ like with math.

    Reply
    • jcb says:

      Hi Eric, It seems that there is no evidence for a timeless being. And yes, the notion of “timeless” is often poorly defined. It could mean “eternal”, or it could mean that god can time travel, or it could mean that “time” has not relevance to god (so that when God created the universe, he didn’t do it at a moment in time). All these seem false or nonsensical. It seems better to say, there is no known eternal being, no time travelling being, no being to which time does not apply.

      Reply
  11. toby says:

    As far as Jesus being tortured, yes it was horrible. It is sad to know what He went through. Sin though. Sin is the violation of a person, the person in God’s image. Sin requires punishment. It requires death, blood. In the old testament they sacrificed animals. But the blood of an animal could not wipe away sin, it could only cover it.
    |
    So what then was sacrificed? Certainly not Jesus. As a meme I saw the other day said, “What did jesus sacrifice? Looks like it was his weekend.” Some sacrifice. It redeems you, but only with strings attached. God apparently is impotent to forgive someone without demanding their belief in return. “You gotta believe!” If someone here on earth needed that kind of confirmation you’d say they were an egotistical twit.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *