What difference does God make?

Our existence as humans is most certainly a cosmic accident if there is no personal Creator.  We exist by chance, not by design or purpose. And, if this is an accurate accounting for our existence, several facts follow:

  1. All notions of ultimate meaning are based on wishful thinking and irrational fantasy.
  2. There is no ultimate morality; no right or wrong; no transcendent morality. Morals are simply matters of personal taste or societal opinion. The so-called problem of evil cannot be addressed and cannot (on rational grounds) really be called a problem.
  3. Death is both the irreversible cessation of organismic functioning  and  the irreversible loss of personhood. There is no hope of anything outside of this life.

Apart from the existence of a Creator, we exist by chance in a deterministic universe governed by raw natural selection. If, on the other hand, there is a Creator, a personal God who made us male and female in His own image, then at least three truths follow:

  1. Life has value, meaning and dignity beyond the limitation of human opinion.
  2. Personal identity, human freedom and responsibility become genuine markers of our existence. We have been endowed by our Creator with these qualities.
  3. The transcendent (which we intuitively recognize) elevates us out of the despair of human relativism and the limitations of human inquiry.

Statement of life:

In the beginning, when time itself began, God made the universe out of nothing. Among the planets, he created earth, its land and seas and all its creatures. As the climax of his creative activity, he made humans, male and female, in his own image. The godlikeness of humankind emerges as the story unfolds: men and women are rational and moral beings (able to understand and respond to God’s commands), responsible beings (exercising dominion over nature), social beings (with a capacity to love and be loved), and spiritual beings (finding their highest fulfillment in knowing and worshipping their Creator). Indeed, the Creator and his human creatures are depicted as walking and talking together in the garden. All this was the godlikeness which gave Adam and Eve their unique worth and dignity.

Three statements of  truths in relation to belief in God:

  1. I believe in God as Creator of a good world (accounting for the goodness and beauty in the world)  Genesis 1:1ff.
  2. I believe in God as Creator of humans in His image — male and female (accounting for the gender and marital structure of society) Genesis 1:26-28.
  3. I believe in the fall of humanity and the resulting curse on the earth (accounting for the moral structure—“you shall” – ”you shall not” and all the suffering and sorrow on the planet) Genesis 2, 3, 4; Romans 5:12.

Final thought:

“If a being like God exists, all of this astonishing fine-tuning, interrelated complexity, and so on isn’t shocking in the least. If no God-like being exists, then shock is thoroughly warranted. We can look at lots of other arguments—not just one—to reinforce and broaden our understanding of what may be behind our/the universe’s existence, human dignity and worth, the trustworthiness of our minds/reason, the existence of moral duties, the existence of beauty, and so on. Of course, much depends on our openness to considering whether something beyond our senses exists. The Big Bang offers one such clue that it does!” (Paul Copan)

Is it possible that people resist belief in God primarily because it threatens their desire for autonomy and self-sufficiency? Perhaps atheists would be more honest if they joined philosopher, Thomas Nagel in saying,  “I hope there is no God.”

Steve Cornell

This entry was posted in Apologetics, Assurance, Atheism, Atheists, Christian worldview, Christianity, Creation, Ethics, God, Hope?, Intelligent Design, Nihilism, Philosophy, Problem of evil, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Science, Worldview. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What difference does God make?

  1. nick yang says:

    Thanks to God for I belong to you, I believe in you, and I behave like you (as closely as I can).

  2. Tafacory says:

    While I respect your experience and position of authority, I think your claims in this post are either logically fallacious or blatantly false. Please allow me to clarify some of them.

    “There is no ultimate morality; no right or wrong; no transcendent morality.” – While there may not be any ultimate morality without God, there can still be an objective morality. That is to say, there can still be right and wrong without having to rely on God’s existence and His commandments. Research into evolutionary biology and sociological biology have made progress into what human morality is composed of and from where it comes. At this point in time, it seems as if morality has been programmed into humans via natural selection, mutations, genetic drift, and migration, i.e., the tools of evolution. But if morality is inherent within all of us biologically, then we can say with a fair amount of certainty that certain actions are morally right or wrong. What I mean to say is that God need not be the ground of morality. Evolutionary biology in the form of genetics and social conventions can be the ground for human morality. I would suggest you read “Evolving God” by Barbara Kingsolver or “The Faith Instinct” by Nicholas Wade or even “Consciousness Explained” by Daniel Dennett. They provide evidence and insight into true human morality. The only difference is that the evolutionary explanation is empirical and has been verified whereas God, as a transcendent and immaterial being, has not been. Just something to keep in mind.

    “Death is both the irreversible cessation of organismic functioning  and the irreversible loss of personhood.” – I actually don’t know what you’re aiming at here. This statement is true whether not a person is a Theist or an Atheist. Death is the end of all conscious life for every sentient being, regardless of their metaphysical beliefs.

    “Life has value, meaning and dignity beyond the limitation of human opinion.” – This is true for Atheists too. The difference lies in the basis for each group’s respective beliefs. Theists claim God is what gives life such value but the Atheist says its life’s “one use only” that makes it inherently valuable. Because life is so relatively short and because we only get one, that is why it is valuable. God’s existence need not have anything to do with it. Now while you might argue that such meaning would be arbitrary and not ultimate, you would be arguing with a faulty assumption which is only things that have ultimate purposes or meaning are to be enjoyed. We can all enjoy arbitrary and finite things because they are just that. We can enjoy life because it is fleeting. There is no need to accept the assumption that without ultimacy, we ought to live our lives in states of unending despair and suffering. In fact, many Atheists live better lives than Christians because they take advantage of the short amount of time they have here on Earth. Yet Christians often don’t because they treat this world as some kind of practice or warm-up round.

    “Personal identity, human freedom and responsibility become genuine markers of our existence.” – Why is it that only the Theist is able to enjoy such aspects of life? Why must one be a Christian in order to exercise such privileges? To show you just how incorrect this is, let’s look at it from a strictly logical standpoint. We’ll modify the sentence to make it say what you’re implicitly stating. “Personal identity, human freedom and responsibility become genuine markers of our existence…if we’re Christians.” But if I replace that last word “Christians” with “Atheists” there is no logical contradiction which means that it is not logically impossible for either one. That is to say, both groups can enjoy such aspects of life. It seems unwarranted and even arrogant to claim that such a liberty belongs to Theists only.

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