God’s Origin Story

By Timothy Fox

In my last article, I compared superhero origin stories to the beginning of the universe. Every superhero needs an origin story, and so does the universe. We need a reason why it exists. I argued the best explanation is a God who caused the universe to come into existence. But doesn’t that just push the origins problem back one step? What is God’s origin story? Why is he here? That’s the focus of this article.

God’s Origin Story

Whenever cosmic origins is discussed and God is offered as the explanation for the beginning of the universe, the skeptic is near certain to object “Yeah, well, who created God?” as the ultimate refutation. But this just shows the skeptic doesn’t understand who God is.

God’s Superpowers

When Billy Batson, an ordinary boy, says the word SHAZAM! he is transformed into the superhero Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel – it’s complicated). Shazam has the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the willpower of Atlas, the lightning blasts of Zeus, the invulnerability of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. (An alliteration of all of their names spells Shazam.) That’s a pretty awesome list of superpowers, isn’t it? But even with all that, Shazam still isn’t God.

In fact, superheroes aren’t even in the same league as God. God isn’t just really strong; he is infinitely powerful. God isn’t just smart; he has infinite knowledge. God isn’t just good; he’s morally perfect. Take everything that makes superheroes great and crank it up to infinity. That’s God. God isn’t just great; he’s a Maximally Great Being. God can’t be beaten; he can’t be killed; he can’t not exist. He lacks nothing, needs nothing. God is the standard of goodness.

Maximally Great

Now look at how silly the question “Who created God?” is. If something created God, that thing would be greater than God. But nothing could be greater than a Maximally Great Being; therefore, nothing could have created God.

But couldn’t there be two Maximally Great Beings? No, as then neither one would be maximally great; it would be a tie. Which one would win an arm wrestling contest? Which would beat the other in a race? Which one would win at chess? Each might be a great being, but neither would be maximally great. Thus, there can only be one Maximally Great Being.

Last time we saw there were only two options for the existence of the universe: either it has always been here or it came into existence at some finite point in the past. If it came into existence, it needed a cause. God never came into existence; therefore, he doesn’t need a cause. He is what Aristotle called the First Cause, or Unmoved Mover. God set the universe into motion.

God’s Origin Story

I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you, but God has no origin story. He simply is. God is eternal. As the Bible describes: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). God is a Maximally Great Being, having every great-making property to the maximum.

Superheroes are strong. They’re brave. They’re fun to read about and watch. But God is no mere superhero. God is the greatest being in the universe, and as such he is the only one worthy of our worship.

“Who among the gods

     is like you, Lord?

Who is like you—

    majestic in holiness,

awesome in glory,

     working wonders?” – Exodus 15:10

 


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

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
43 replies
  1. jcb says:

    God’s origin story
    https://crossexamined.org/gods-origin-story/
    The universe probably has a reason why it exists/that caused it (T).
    The best explanation is God/an all perfect being. (F)
    God needs (?) an origin story (F: there is no God).
    The cause of our universe needs an origin story before we can say that there is a cause (F)
    Some skeptics say “Who created God?” in an attempt to refute God (T)
    This refutation fails (T)
    This shows that skeptics don’t know who God is (F: it shows that they wrongly think G needs an Origin)
    Shazam is many abilities but is not all powerful/all perfect (T)
    Superheroes aren’t the same as an all perfect being (T)
    God isn’t just really strong; he is infinitely powerful. (F: there is no God)
    The God that TF is talking about is thought to be infinitely powerful (T)
    There is a known being that is infinitely powerful (F)
    God isn’t just smart; he has infinite knowledge. (F: God does not exist)
    God isn’t just good; he’s morally perfect. (F: God does not exist)
    There is a being that has been shown to have all 3 of these perfect qualities (F)
    There is a living being that can’t ever be killed (F)
    A perfect in all ways being “can’t not exist” (F)
    A real God is the standard of goodness. (F)
    A perfect in all ways being can’t be created (F?)
    A perfect in all ways being probably hasn’t been created (T)
    A perfect in all ways being probably has been created (F)
    A perfect in all ways being probably has always existed (F)
    If something created a perfect being, that creating thing would not be p
    A being that is created cannot be stronger than the its creator (F)
    There can’t be two beings who have the same strength and no one has more (F)
    A MGB (Maximally Great Being) can be defined as being unique (T)
    Either the universe has always existed, or not (T)
    The universe probably came into existence (T)
    God never came into existence (T: God doesn’t exist)
    If God always existed, he doesn’t need a cause (T)
    God always existed (F)
    God, a perfect being, is what Aristotle called the First Cause (F: The First Cause is not all knowing)
    God simply exists and is eternal (F)
    The Bible makes some claims about God, like that he is eternal (T)
    Such claims are true (F).

    To summarize:
    1. The author is right: we don’t need to know everything (like the cause of the cause of the universe) to know some things (like that our universe exists, and probably has a cause).
    2. The author is wrong. We don’t know the cause of our universe, and we don’t know that there is a perfect in all ways being that exists.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “God never came into existence (T: God doesn’t exist)”
      .
      Psalms 14:1 For the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt; their acts are vile. There is no one who does good.
      .
      Isaiah 43:10-11 10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me, no god was formed, and none will come after Me. 11 I, yes I, am the LORD, and there is no Savior but Me.
      .
      Romans 1:20-22 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools,
      .
      .
      As for the rest of your TOTAL NONSENSE – it is NOT worth responding to.

      Reply
  2. TGM says:

    I feel so comfortable, so safe, knowing that I am protected by an all knowing, all powerful, maximally great intelligence, worthy of worship, awesome in his glory, majestic in his holiness, everlasting… and ready to send me to hell.

    Reply
    • Thoughtful Discussion says:

      TGM- … and ready to send me to hell.
      .
      Actually, it’s Christian theology that God doesn’t send anyone to hell. To assert such is a simple misunderstanding. See, God is also perfectly loving and just. True love only exists when it’s given and received freely, not forced. Thus, we all have a choice. If one doesn’t accept God’s love in life then He loves us enough that He won’t unjustly force us to be with Him for all eternity. It’s this separation from God, his utter absence, that is hell.
      I pray you don’t resign yourself to hell, but instead accept Him and all He has to offer. God bless!

      Reply
      • KR says:

        If God created Hell and if He knew before he created us exactly what we were going to do, then saying He doesn’t send people to Hell is pure sophistry. The free will argument doesn’t work as the very concept of free will (in the libertarian sense) is logically incoherent.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          It sounds like a violent husband’s justification.
          “I’m not locking you in the shed that I built, you chose that yourself”.

          Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “It sounds like a violent husband’s justification.
            “I’m not locking you in the shed that I built, you chose that yourself”.”
            .
            Only if the hasp is on the inside of the shed and she has the lock in her hand. Otherwise not so much.

          • KR says:

            “Only if the hasp is on the inside of the shed and she has the lock in her hand. ”
            .
            An odd analogy – unless you’re suggesting that the souls dwelling in Hell have the possibility of letting themselves out.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            @KR
            .
            Confused much? My reply is right where I wanted to put it under Andy’s comment. The shed analogy is his. Though I agree it is a poor one as he stated it. Which is why I corrected his rendition.

          • KR says:

            “Confused much? My reply is right where I wanted to put it under Andy’s comment. ”
            .
            Yes, I’m confused – because your analogy (yours, Mark – you know, the one with the hasp and the lock) doesn’t make much sense – unlike Andy’s.

          • Thoughtful Discussion says:

            Andy Ryan – It sounds like a violent husband’s justification.
            “I’m not locking you in the shed that I built, you chose that yourself”.

            KR – An odd analogy – unless you’re suggesting that the souls dwelling in Hell have the possibility of letting themselves out.
            .
            This is a good video to clarify some confusion. It addresses what Hell is, C.S. Lewis’s quote of how the gates of Hell are locked from the inside, and God’s justice.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVQlAdG6Spw
            The parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 19:16-31, is reffered to in the video. Please check it out too!
            I hope this helps you both!

          • Andy Ryan says:

            TD, regarding the claim of the doors being locked on the inside, can you give me a Bible verse to back that up. My phone’s suddenly not giving me certain punctuation marks so you’ll have to imagine the question mark at the end of the last sentence.

          • KR says:

            @TD,
            .
            I watched the video but I’m afraid it didn’t really clear anything up. The “locked from the inside” analogy still doesn’t make any sense since Frank didn’t open for the possibility of getting out of Hell. He said something about people in Hell keeping on sinning but how would he know that – why couldn’t people change their minds?
            .
            Anyway, that’s a peripheral point. The main problem is that the entire idea of Hell is predicated on the notion that we can choose our beliefs which clearly isn’t the case. If it was, there would be no such thing as doubt, since we would be able to just choose to believe. The idea that we can freely choose to believe leads to obvious absurdities – like the possibility of having your beliefs decided by the flip of a coin. Heads, I choose to believe – tails, I choose not to. A belief based on nothing but an arbitrary decision is of course completely vacuous since it has no actual content.
            .
            If we are to be held accountable for our beliefs, these beliefs must be based on something. They have to have a reason – if we don’t know why we believe, the belief is involuntary and not an expression of any intent so we clearly can’t be held responsible for it. Furthermore, the reason for our choice to believe must be under our control, otherwise it would be determined and not freely chosen. From this follows that the reason for our choice to believe must itself be a choice. Of course, this choice would also require a reason, which must be a choice a.s.o., a.s.o.
            .
            As should be obvious, a free will choice to believe (or any other free will action for that matter) inevitably leads to an infinite regress of choices based on previous choices. The only way to break it with your free will intact is through an action that cannot be by choice (since this would just continue the regress) but is till under your control (since it would otherwise be determined and not free). This means that the action has to be simultaneously involuntary and voluntary. This is an obvious contradiction, which means free will is logically incoherent and cannot exist in reality.
            .
            Of course, if we can’t choose our beliefs (and we clearly can’t), the entire doctrine of salvation through belief and damnation for unbelief becomes absurd if not perverse, since it apparently has God sending people by the billions to eternal torment for something they did not choose.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            It’s equivalent to asking everyone to read a detective novel with the last chapter missing and guess who the murderer is, then punish anyone who doesn’t get it right. Hell for anyone who’s just not great at working out clues? Hey, Christians – if you die and get Allah telling you you’re going to Muslim hell for not believing in him, would you see that as just and fair?

          • KR says:

            I find it such a bizarre idea that we can choose our beliefs. It’s so blindingly obvious that this is not how belief works. Belief comes from conviction and we clearly can’t choose what convinces us. This is of course a good thing, because if we could, our beliefs would be completely independent of evidence or reason. We could literally convince ourselves of anything and no facts or arguments would have any impact since our beliefs wouldn’t be based on evidence, experience or arguments but would simply be the result of an arbitrary decision. Utter nonsense.

          • Bob says:

            KR – I find it such a bizarre idea that we can choose our beliefs. It’s so blindingly obvious that this is not how belief works. Belief comes from conviction and we clearly can’t choose what convinces us. This is of course a good thing, because if we could, our beliefs would be completely independent of evidence or reason. We could literally convince ourselves of anything and no facts or arguments would have any impact since our beliefs wouldn’t be based on evidence, experience or arguments but would simply be the result of an arbitrary decision. Utter nonsense.
            +1
            I can not force myself to believe what I find unbelievable – period!
            .
            That is why I never ridicule a Christian for becoming a Christian. As a former Christian I understand how one could succumb to the emotional appeals from friends and family, or simply tradition.
            But for one to actually argue nonsense, willfully ignore reason, and suppress rational investigation into why one continues to believe what one believes – that is entirely worthy of ridicule.

          • Thoughtful Discussion says:

            Andy Ryan – TD, regarding the claim of the doors being locked on the inside, can you give me a Bible verse to back that up.
            The quote is from C.S. Lewis, both the linked video and the verse already referenced take a good step towards explaining why someone could come to such a conclusion. They’re both right above your post, I’m unsure if you saw them before typing your reply.
            .
            KR – I watched the video but I’m afraid it didn’t really clear anything up. The “locked from the inside” analogy still doesn’t make any sense since Frank didn’t open for the possibility of getting out of Hell.
            “…Locked from the inside” means two things. First, it means that it was not God who put them there. It’s but the result of their own choices, either against God or in favor of other idols. Second, though they may be in anguish of their circumstances, they don’t want to leave if it means being with God whom they’ve rejected. Since they don’t want to leave, left to their own accord they never would. The question of if they’re capable to do so is answered better in an understanding of what Hell is, and what the world we live in now has.
            .
            KR – He said something about people in Hell keeping on sinning but how would he know that – why couldn’t people change their minds?
            So let’s discuss Heaven, Hell and Earth a bit here.
            To be in Heaven is to be united with God in all His Glory. He, being perfect, cannot allow sinful beings to remain in His presence for all eternity (Rev. 21:27). They must be transfigured in some way, more on that later. Hell, on the other hand, is the complete separation from God and His Grace/Love. Here on Earth, we’re in a sort of middle ground where we’re not fully separated from God but we’re not with him either. We all have access to what’s often referred to as Common Grace. This allows everyone, even those who’ve not accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, to experience things such as love, happiness, hope, joy and the like. Last to note is that here on earth the Spirit may work in us, guiding and allowing a change in our hearts for the better. Christian theology indicates we need the Spirit’s assistance, and that we can do nothing without Him (Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 15:5).
            Back to Hell, in such a place devoid of love, happiness or hope of any sort we’re left to our bitter loathing broken selves. The Spirit is not there as it was in life and we won’t be able to change our convictions of our own power. Thus, those who have already spurned His offer of Grace will continue to curse and reject God, sinning in one way or another. This is the logic that’s lead Frank and many others to come to that conclusion.
            .
            KR – Anyway, that’s a peripheral point. The main problem is that the entire idea of Hell is predicated on the notion that we can choose our beliefs which clearly isn’t the case.
            The only way to break it with your free will intact is through an action that cannot be by choice.

            As pointed out above, the bible indicates we would never choose to be with God if we had no common grace and the spirit never acted in us first. Have you ever considered that God is that first cause. Aristotle called Him the unmoved mover, or the primary cause.
            .
            KR – The idea that we can freely choose to believe leads to obvious absurdities – like the possibility of having your beliefs decided by the flip of a coin. Heads, I choose to believe – tails, I choose not to. A belief based on nothing but an arbitrary decision is of course completely vacuous since it has no actual content.
            Who likens choice to a coin flip? Well, other than Two-Face. Yes, that’s honestly absurd. I completely agree that belief must not be an arbitrary decision, but one based on evidence, content, and experience. Thomas wasn’t rebuked for not believing in the risen Lord, instead he was encouraged to touch and verify (John 20:27). This is the reason for this site, for the writers articles, and for my and others responses working to get through to you and provide what is needed. I pray it reaches you.
            .
            KR – Of course, if we can’t choose our beliefs (and we clearly can’t)
            KR, did you choose to believe in that statement? Hmm… I’m wondering why you discuss anything on this site with us. Why do you even try if you don’t choose your belief and we can’t choose our beliefs? If it’s not to convince us is it to for self-validation or satisfaction of some sort? I really don’t know, but at least those would be compatible with your belief. And also, to what extent do you mean? Do we have freewill to any degree? What percentage? It seems to me to argue that we all don’t have free will, that you’ve come to your conclusion, have no ability but to continue to believe in such, but yet argue that others should change their conclusions would be illogical. So, I simply must be misunderstanding where you’re coming from.
            .
            KR – the entire doctrine of salvation through belief and damnation for unbelief becomes absurd if not perverse, since it apparently has God sending people by the billions to eternal torment for something they did not choose.
            You’re free to remain stuck in this thinking if you so wish (though that’s because I believe you have free will), but I’ve already indicated that’s it’s counter to Christian theology. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. Please check that out again if you need, but also my response to Bob below to his “black out with sharpie” challenge.
            .
            Andy Ryan – Hey, Christians – if you die and get Allah telling you you’re going to Muslim hell for not believing in him, would you see that as just and fair?
            Islam and Christianity are simply not comparable in this sense; this is a strawman. Please let me explain and reference https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/islams-view-of-sin-and-salvation/
            “The Quran’s teachings regarding salvation are inconsistent. On the one hand, the Quran teaches that salvation is based on purification by good deeds (Quran 7:6–9). A Muslim can become righteous through prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and living according to the Quran. Yet the Quran also teaches that Allah has predetermined every person’s destiny, and one’s righteous acts may or may not affect Allah’s decision (Quran 57:22). It teaches that everyone, both the righteous and the unrighteous, will be led into hell by Allah, before the righteous will enter heaven (Quran 19:67–72). Therefore no Muslim can know his or her eternal destiny in this life. Even Muhammad himself was unsure of his salvation (Quran 31:34; 46:9).
            Today, whenever Muslims mention the name of Muhammad, they always add the phrase, “Peace be upon him,” because Muhammad’s eternal destiny is uncertain, and the Muslim must ask Allah to be merciful to him. This contradiction between the Quran’s teaching of salvation by works and its teaching of Allah determining salvation, regardless of one’s works, results in Islam being the world’s most uncertain religion regarding salvation.
            Contrast the Muslim belief in righteousness through works with the Bible’s teaching that no good work can make a person righteous; it is only through Christ’s righteousness that a person can be saved (Romans 5:21). Contrast the Muslim belief that all will enter hell with the Bible’s teaching that only Satan, the demons, and the unsaved will enter hell (2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:15). Contrast the Islamic teaching that salvation is through Allah’s arbitrary choosing and can only be known after death with the Christian hope that the truly repentant heart can be saved by grace through personal faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the Cross (John 3:16-18).”
            This was the most loving act of God, but we must ask was it just? Certainly He could pay our cost justly. Is it fair however that Jesus paid our penalty by suffering, dying, and took on all our sins? Was it fair that, in exchange, He has handed us transformational grace? That doesn’t cover up our sinful past, our sins are not forgotten, but it changes our very being to become like Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is what allows us to be accepted into Heaven. If anything, one shouldn’t be asking why God unjustly won’t allow us into Heaven, but why he ever justly would!? The answer is because God is just but also loving and provided Himself as the just and loving way.
            .
            Bob – But for one to actually argue nonsense, willfully ignore reason, and suppress rational investigation into why one continues to believe what one believes – that is entirely worthy of ridicule.
            I completely agree. Funny how we can use the same language…

      • TGM says:

        I guess I’ve never loved anyone so much that I would allow them to be tortured forever. Lucky for us that God is so powerful in his love.
        .
        And yes, it would be torture to be banished from all that which is good and sustaining, isolated and alone, were hell like that.

        Reply
      • Bob says:

        THOUGHTFUL DISCUSSION:
        …God doesn’t send anyone to hell.
        You need to shorten your name to DISCUSSION. If god created the prison, and god created the rules, and god is the judge / enforcer of the rules, and it is god who, in the end, will “sentence me to an eternal hell and then command that I be tossed in, then it is perfectly reasonable for TGM to state that it is god who will “send me to hell”.
        .
        To assert such is a simple misunderstanding.
        Obfuscation!
        .
        See, God is also perfectly loving and just.
        …yawn…
        .
        True love only exists when it’s given and received freely, not forced.
        Believe in me, worship me, follow me, or I will cast you into the lake of fire after you die:
        Rev. 20: 12-15
        And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
        Are you going to claim that the THREAT OF ETERNITY IN THE LAKE OF FIRE is “True love only exists when it’s given and received freely, not forced.”?????? And please, no obfuscation allowed. Don’t try to compare breaking human law with breaking “Gods law” and don’t try to compare the biblical hell with human prison.
        .
        ,b>Thus, we all have a choice.
        How do I “choose” to believe something that I find unbelievable? Do you have any mental tricks that I can employ? Just as I am not refusing to believe in leprechauns or fairies, I am not refusing to believe in your god. I just don’t find them believable.
        .
        If one doesn’t accept God’s love in life then…
        (Let’s see if this can penetrate) – I am not rejecting “Gods love”. I am rejecting a biblical claim. No god has shown up and offered his love to me. The only way I would even find out about this supposed God and his love is by picking up the bible and reading, or by watching Joel Osteen – God, for some reason, has decided to hibernate for the past 2,000 years, thank you very much!
        So please, don’t accuse anyone of not accepting “God’s love” when you have not even given us a GOOD REASON to conclude that your God even exists.
        .
        …He loves us enough that He won’t unjustly force us to be with Him for all eternity.
        But he will UNJUSTLY FORCE me to spend eternity in the lake of fire? He won’t simply let me die and not exist anymore – he has to punish me for not being convinced of his existence. That’s what you call “perfectly loving and just”.
        .
        It’s this separation from God, his utter absence, that is hell.
        Are you saying that hell will not be the place of eternal torment that every good Baptist hopes it will be, but instead will just be a place where god is not present? If so, I am in hell already? I am experiencing separation from god right now. I am experiencing his “utter absence” now, and have been for my 60 years. I could do this hell standing on my head.
        .
        I pray you don’t resign yourself to hell, but instead accept Him and all He has to offer.
        You know, just saying “I pray” is not the same as actually praying.
        .
        God bless!
        You know, just saying “God bless” doesn’t accomplish anything. Are you commanding god to “bless” us non believers? What you really want is for your god to smite us for our unbelief, so just be honest and end your diatribe with “God smite!”.
        .
        r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          “You need to shorten your name to DISCUSSION. If god created the prison, and god created the rules, and god is the judge / enforcer of the rules, and it is god who, in the end, will “sentence me to an eternal hell and then command that I be tossed in, then it is perfectly reasonable for TGM to state that it is god who will “send me to hell”.”
          .
          And to correct the thought here If GOD made a way to avoid the prison and an individual rejects that option; then the decision is back on the individual. Which from Scripture is EXACTLY what we find the case to be.
          .
          John 3:16-18 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
          18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

          Reply
          • Bob says:

            I wonder why neither of those verses you copied and pasted even mention “hell”?
            Anyway – I would not want to go to this biblical hell if it did exist. Now what?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “I wonder why neither of those verses you copied and pasted even mention “hell”?”
            .
            I suggest http://www.dictionary.com and look up the word “condemned”.
            And while you are there also the word “obtuse”.
            .
            .
            “Anyway – I would not want to go to this biblical hell if it did exist.”
            .
            Your typed responses on this site prove you a liar in this regards to this comment.
            .
            .
            “Now what?”
            .
            All of of John Chapter 3 applies.
            .
            .
            Life is a PASS / FAIL open ‘BOOK’ class and the student gets to choose their own grade. Choose wisely.
            .
            Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,

          • Bob says:

            Again – nothing about hell in those verses.
            Mark must think “condemned” and “judgment” are synonyms with “hell”…silly Christian.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Again – nothing about hell in those verses.
            Mark must think “condemned” and “judgment” are synonyms with “hell”…silly Christian.”
            .
            Nope; wrong again. NOT synonyms – precursors. And I think you forgot to look up the definition of “obtuse”.
            .
            Matthew 25:41 Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
            .
            Revelation 20:15 And if anyone was found whose name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

          • bob says:

            Well Mark, are you EVER going to tackle my other post, just below this one, about god and love? I invited any Christian to respond. While it is about love, a subject foreign to you, it does also address judgment and the lake of fire, your favorite subjects.
            So please, jump in anytime.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness to light and light to darkness, who replace bitter with sweet and sweet with bitter.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “We’re quaking in our boots. Your quotes are just. so. devastating!”
            .
            Wrong yet again. The quotes are NOT mine.
            .
            James 2:19 You believe that God is one. Good for you! Even the demons believe that, and shudder!
            .
            Matthew 13:36-43 36 Then Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He replied, “The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed represents the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 As the weeds are collected and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom every cause of sin and all who practice lawlessness. 42 And they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

        • Thoughtful Discussion says:

          Bob – You need to shorten your name to DISCUSSION.
          Bob, if you’d like, we can be on a first name basis. Feel free to call me Thoughtful 😉 We aren’t coming to the same conclusion, but I’d never accuse you of not thinking. It seems maybe you’re frustrated with my answers, but know I’m not presenting my own thoughts only Christian theology. I do hope you’ll take time to consider it.
          .
          Bob – Obfuscation!
          How? As I’ve done above, and will continue to do, I’m merely stating that your assertions are misconstruction of Christian stances. Further, I do no misleading. I clarified why I stated such in the very next sentence. Something that caused you to become… tired?
          .
          Bob – …yawn…
          What does this accomplish other than being rude?
          .
          Bob- Believe in me, worship me, follow me, or I will cast you into the lake of fire after you die: Rev. 20: 12-15
          First, we have to realize how abstract and symbolic the book of Revelation is. It can be difficult to interpret, so I understand where you may think such. But even so, all the previous stated theology still holds true. To have one’s name found in the book of life, literal or not, would mean that we’ve accepted God’s transformative Grace and can be united with Him in Heaven. Without Grace we’re left with the harsh reality of the law, and we all fall short. It’s worthy of note however that the Bible tells us hell was originally prepared for the devil and his angels only (Matthew 25:41). As God wants us all to come to him, be good sons and daughters, and be ready now because we won’t “know the day or the hour”. I’d say the entire chapter of Matthew 25 is not a threat as much as it is a warning. Revelation, being prophetic, isn’t a threat either, but states what’s to come more matter-of-factly.
          I’d be curious if the reason you’re interpreting this as threatening isn’t really the faint indication of the Spirit fighting within you to win you over. Perhaps you’re in conflict; He’s working so you take what’s to come very seriously, and this is how you’re currently rationalizing it, by demonizing the message. Of course, this would be sadly ironic no?
          .
          Bob – How do I “choose” to believe something that I find unbelievable? Do you have any mental tricks that I can employ? Just as I am not refusing to believe in leprechauns or fairies, I am not refusing to believe in your god. I just don’t find them believable.
          These are great questions. I don’t think there is any mental trickery but would suggest being open minded and critical thinking would be the first step. I’d ask that you take the claims of Christianity for what Christians say they are. If God, Heaven, Hell, and the like exist, as claimed, would they be worthy of pursuit? If you agree that they are, this is the challenge that has helped others.
          1) I ask that you find a quiet space and say a prayer tonight something to the degree “I don’t know if I’m talking to myself right now or if there’s a god listening, but if you do exist I ask you make yourself known to me. I pray to remain open and will be earnestly and expectantly looking for you to reveal yourself within the coming weeks.”
          2)Take the next 2-4 weeks get into the bible every day, just a few chapters. I’d suggest reading from the entirety of the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
          3) During this time refrain from anything you know to be against Christian teachings and avoid judgement of their claims by remaining open.
          4) And if possible meet with a believer in person, preferably one active in their church or has experience evangelizing, for a casual cup of coffee or something. once or more a week would be a great way to bring everything together. This time would be perfect for clarification questions and inquiries that branch out into other books of the bible. They can support you help keep you accountable.
          I knew of a gentleman in college who was into drugs and living with his girlfriend who took this challenge. After a long day of discussion with members of our church he went home and said that prayer. He flushed his drugs, explained to his girlfriend that he’d be crashing with a friend for the next few weeks and asked for her support. It wasn’t even a week later and he’d read through all of Mathew. I tell you he was already like a different person. He held himself high, greeting us with a smile, and there was a thirst in his eyes as we talked. Long story short, not only did he come to the Lord, but so did his girlfriend! They’re married now, living together again, and are very happy.
          I’m not saying this’ll always be the result, it may not be His timing, but I do trust in God’s capability to work in us.
          .
          Bob – You know, just saying “I pray” is not the same as actually praying.
          .
          Yes, I feel this is commonly known. However, it is unfortunate that there are those out there whom often don’t follow through with words. It’s for this reason, and learned from a mentor of mine, that whenever I say such a thing I pray right then and there. I pray before each response I make on this site and I have a list of the people who frequent this site that I include in my nightly prayers. Rest assured, you are being prayed for Bob 
          .
          Bob – You know, just saying “God bless” doesn’t accomplish anything. Are you commanding god to “bless” us non believers? What you really want is for your god to smite us for our unbelief, so just be honest and end your diatribe with “God smite!”.
          .
          Bob, I’m saddened. What’s caused this bitterness? “God bless” is a colloquialism, I’m sure you understand that. It’s not an attack, and my saying so is just a further indication of my praying for you. I wouldn’t dare make a command of God, and certainly don’t want you, or any non-believer, to be smite! Neither does God by the way, He takes no pleasure that the wicked die (Ezekiel 18:23, 33:11). So it couldn’t be farther from the truth and I think it’s very unwise to attribute motive in a discussion, but especially one so vile as that to myself or any Christian. I’ll type out my prayer for you today, “Dear Lord, I pray that Bob may come to know and accept you. Please allow yourself to be understood in a way that is undeniable to him God. May you use this site, its posts, or if it be your will myself to help guide him, to answer his questions. I pray to do so with salt and grace and understand the greater need for tenders of the garden than harvesters. Much better than online, I pray that Bob might meet someone in his life to better interact and experience your community with God. My heart goes out for Him Father.
          For Bob, JCB, Andy Ryan, TGM, Toby, KR, and the many others who comment and/or read from this site, I pray Your light may shine, wisdom be understood, and loving grace be accepted. I pray this be done according to your plan, and in your time. For now, I thank you for the simple opportunity to speak your truth. In your name Lord I pray, amen.”
          I hope this can help soften your heart. And I’d love if you would take the above challenge.

          Reply
          • Thoughtful Discussion says:

            It seems I mistakenly copied an older version of this responce. I didn’t add much more, so I won’t repost, but my appologies for the errors that exsisted in this one.

          • jcb says:

            TD Challenge

            Yes, we should all be open minded and use critical thinking.

            No, there is no reason to assume Christianity is true.
            If an enjoyable eternal life (Heaven) existed, that be worthy (valued by me) of my pursuit.
            Since it doesn’t exist, nothing about that challenge/consideration is helpful here.
            I’ve “asked” “god” to make itself known. It hasn’t. Are you open to the possibility that there is no such god to make itself known?
            I regularly read passages from the Bible. Nothing about that proves/has proven that God exists.
            Just a few months ago I met in person with a pastor. We talked, and later emailed, and then he bailed on our conversation after I answered all his (usual) objections.
            So we are back to the start: I have made many assertions here. The theists who respond have failed to show that any of them are false. If you can show that any are, please do..

      • Bob says:

        TD – God is also perfectly loving and just.
        .
        While we are on the topic of hell and TD’s claim, I have to bring this up. Any Christian is welcome to clear up this glaring contradiction.
        .
        Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And there were open books, and one of them was the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books.”
        .
        Now, let’s “compare scripture with scripture”:
        .
        1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
        That seems pretty straight forward – Love is from God and God is love – period!
        .
        1 Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
        That seems pretty straight forward – Love does not keep a record of the wrongs people do or say, period!
        .
        So:
        A) 1 John 4 tells us who the source of love is God.
        B) 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that one of the attributes of love is that it doesn’t keep a record of what people do wrong.
        C) Revelation 20 tells us that people will be judged based on the actual RECORD of the WRONGS they have done.
        .
        Conclusion: God is love – love does not record wrongs – God records wrongs,…wait…what?
        .
        As can be clearly read – one of those verses needs to be discarded in order to remove this contradiction. God can not be love AND record wrongs if love DOES NOT record wrongs.
        Would THOUGHTFUL DISCUSSION care to decide which verse should be blackened out with a Sharpie®
        .
        waiting…
        .
        waiting…
        .
        r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

        Reply
        • Thoughtful Discussion says:

          Bob – While we are on the topic of hell and TD’s claim, I have to bring this up. Any Christian is welcome to clear up this glaring contradiction.
          Let’s just be clear, I’m just the messenger. It’s Christian Theology that claims God is perfectly loving and just. As far as the “glaring contradiction” I do think it’s intriguing, but also easy to understand with some context and a holistic understanding of the Bible’s teachings.
          .
          Bob – So:
          A) 1 John 4[:7-8] tells us who the source of love is God.
          B) 1 Corinthians 13[:4-5] tells us that one of the attributes of love is that it doesn’t keep a record of what people do wrong.
          C) Revelation 20[:12] tells us that people will be judged based on the actual RECORD of the WRONGS they have done.

          .
          Let’s start by getting more context in 1 John 4 with verse 16, “…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment…”
          Let’s then look more at 1 Corinthians 13 with versus 6-7, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
          So I ask, can we live in love, and therefore God, any more after we’ve died? Can we be protected by His love any more than we’ve allowed up to that point? Can we trust in God any further? Can our love hope or persevere beyond death? If we haven’t accepted His love, if we haven’t known Him then our love was never made complete, and the unfortunate answer is no. The conclusion is we’d then have no confidence on the day of judgment. Why? Because God is loving but also just. We’ve done evil. Love doesn’t delight in it and justice won’t allow for it. It seems, given more context, your pretext begins to break down.
          Continuing on, Revelation, as mentioned before, is an abstract and symbolic book. It can be difficult to interpret and to determine what’s metaphorical, anthropomorphic, the like or not. So it’s uncertain that the book of life and death are “actual recorded” books. That said, would even a physical book make the contradiction you’re arguing for? I don’t think so. Let’s now look at Revelation too and play that old elementary game. Do you remember? One of these things is not like the others. Both 1 John 4 and 1 Corinthians 13 center on the topic of love. Revelation on the other hand is more on the topic of justice, and is a distinctly prophetic book at that.
          Revelation 20:12-15, “ And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
          It seems that if we’re not found in the book of life, literal or not, then we’re not protected by His loving grace and are subject to the law. It’s really more a matter of if we have life, than if we’ve committed wrongful deeds (as we all have). This is where I think you’ve gone most wrong. Your conclusion seems to focus only on love, but has no understanding of justice, righteousness or the law. For this let’s look to get further context in the Bible.
          .
          I recommend both Romans 3:23 and “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The conclusion is we are all unworthy to be with God in Heaven, but God loves us and provided for us a way. Let’s again look at the texts.

          Romans 3:21-26, “ But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
          John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
          .
          The Christian wisdom is this. We all live in this fallen world were we sin and fall short of God’s glory. There is nothing we can humanly do to save ourselves and the law is sin should be punished. We need God’s grace. The law was justly fulfilled in Jesus as he took the punishment in the ultimate loving and self-sacrificial act on the cross, through which he provided us this grace. We are undeserving of it, but it’s best we understand our need for it. We must accept it, and trade over our sins’ punishment, lest we stand condemned. Because outside of loving grace there is only justice. This all attests to His righteousness; He was correct in being both fully loving and fully just.
          Wow… ok. This is a good topic, one I feel could easily require more and better explanations. But I pray this helps for now. Have a good day! 🙂

          Reply
  3. KR says:

    “God isn’t just really strong; he is infinitely powerful. God isn’t just smart; he has infinite knowledge. God isn’t just good; he’s morally perfect. Take everything that makes superheroes great and crank it up to infinity. That’s God. God isn’t just great; he’s a Maximally Great Being. God can’t be beaten; he can’t be killed; he can’t not exist. He lacks nothing, needs nothing. God is the standard of goodness.”
    .
    That’s an impressive number of claims but as Hitchens taught us: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”. This of course doesn’t mean that unsubstantiated claims are necessarily false, just that there’s no reason to accept them until some justification has been provided.
    .
    “Now look at how silly the question “Who created God?” is. If something created God, that thing would be greater than God. But nothing could be greater than a Maximally Great Being; therefore, nothing could have created God.”
    .
    This looks like nothing more than a definitions game. The author is trying to avoid the looming special pleading fallacy by simply defining it away. This obviously isn’t going to work until some reason has been given why we should accept this definition as being consistent with reality. How can we verify that God is a maximally great being? Is there even a stringent definition of what “maximally great” actually means?

    Reply
  4. toby says:

    he is infinitely powerful.
    What does that mean?
    .
    he has infinite knowledge.
    So he knows everything that he would ever do? Are you saying that god doesn’t have free will? It kind of sounds like it.
    .
    he’s morally perfect.
    What does that mean to us? What does it mean when a god says not to steal? There is nothing from which god can steal is there? The argument is typically he can kill all people if he wants because he owns them, made them, he can do as he wishes. God saying not to steal is just his whim. He wouldn’t do it because he can’t. Because there are no other gods to steal from. There are no other gods to murder. There are no other gods to be gay with. It seems that god isn’t dictating his nature upon us, but just his whims about how we should play with each other.
    .
    he’s a Maximally Great Being.
    Where do you get your definition of great from?
    .
    he can’t not exist.
    Then he has no freedom to not exist.
    .
    He lacks nothing, needs nothing.
    Then why would he create anything? maybe you’ll suggest that he couldn’t have not created!

    Reply
    • KR says:

      “So he knows everything that he would ever do? Are you saying that god doesn’t have free will? It kind of sounds like it.”
      .
      That would seem to follow not just from His omniscience but also from His impeccable morals. If God can only do the perfectly good thing in any given situation and if the perfectly good thing is an objective fact, this would make God’s actions completely determined.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        This also seems a problem for the apologetic claim that our lives are pointless and without value unless another being created us for a reason. Given that no-one created God for a reason, by their own argument God’s life is pointless, purposeless and without value.

        Reply
  5. staircaseghost says:

    “God isn’t just great; he’s a Maximally Great Being. God can’t be beaten…”

    To be fair, he does need to watch out for those iron chariots, though.

    His all-seeing eye can also apparently be fooled by “hiding in the bushes”.

    Reply
  6. gary says:

    I would agree with Christians that evidence for a Creator does exist, but why do Christians automatically assume that evidence for a Creator is evidence that a scientifically ignorant Bronze Age deity named Yahweh or a first century peasant named Jesus is that Creator?

    Reply
    • TGM says:

      Hi Gary, what would you consider to be this evidence for a Creator? The best I can do is find evidence of a profound transformation event (aka Big Bang) from something we don’t understand (singularity) to something we sort of understand (the observable universe). Maybe you’re seeing something I’m not.
      .
      I agree with the rest. I see no necessary relationship between the putative creator of reality and Jesus. Even if Jesus performed miracles and resurrected, that does not necessarily require or imply a Creator.

      Reply
      • gary says:

        Let me clarify: I do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to be CERTAIN that a Creator exists. I believe that there is sufficient evidence to believe that a Creator MAY exist. I trust the experts and the experts have not (yet) reached a majority consensus regarding the origin of the universe.

        I see the existence of the laws of physics as the best evidence for the existence of a Creator. But it is certainly possible that there is another explanation for the orderliness of our universe. That is why I withhold judgment on the existence or non-existence of a Creator. That is why I label myself an “agnostic” and not an atheist.

        However, when it comes to the existence of Yahweh, Allah, Lord Krishna, and Lord Jesus Christ, I am most definitely an atheist.

        Reply
        • TGM says:

          Fair enough. I was wondering what met your standard for evidence. I’d consider the laws of physics to be consistent with certain types of creators, but I’m not quite as adventurous to promote that to “evidence”. Probably just semantics. Thanks!

          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 *