Posted in Christian Faith

Not enough evidence, God!  Not enough evidence!

Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell was once asked what he would say if he found himself standing before God on the judgement day and God asked him, “Why didn’t you believe in Me?” Russell replied, “I would say, ‘Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!'”

What this assumes is that if enough unambiguous and irrefutable evidence were presented it could, potentially, lead to belief.

That seems intuitive in a worldly sense so I get why someone who is dead in sin would think that way. What supposedly rational people like Russell are unable to grasp, though, is that a lack of evidence is not what keeps people from faith, spiritual blindness is. Here are a few relevant passages from Scripture.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14

To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 26:18

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:18-21 (read to verse 32 for more)

To paraphrase a quote I read somewhere a while back but cannot remember where. I don’t believe Christianity because it makes sense but because without it nothing makes sense. And that is the divide between those who have been called and those who have not.

Granted this will sound like hogwash to those who are dead in sin and hogwash-ish to those who think they are one good evidential argument away from converting the hardened online skeptic they have been arguing with for days. But evidence in the traditional sense doesn’t matter.

In fact, without Scripture and the God of Scripture nothing matters. And not only does nothing matter, nothing makes sense, not even science.

To my point about science, here is something I wrote for school about God and science.

Introduction

In his paper, Why Scientists Must Believe In God: Divine Attributes Of Scientific Law, Vern Sheridan Poythress opens with the seemingly counterintuitive claim that “All scientists—including agnostics and atheists—believe in God. They have to in order to do their work.” The author goes on to admit that his notion runs contrary to popular American culture and that science is often thought of as antagonistic to orthodox Christian belief and that modern science seems to sustain itself without the help of explicit theistic underpinnings. The only time God is invoked in science at all is when he is necessary to only to account for gaps in modern scientific explanation. As science progresses, the author asserts, the gaps are explained, and the need for God increasingly diminishes.

Brief Summary

The thesis of the paper is that God cannot be divorced from science or relegated to gaps in scientific explanation as modern culture might suggest but, instead, God must be seen as being “involved in those areas where science does best, namely areas involving regular and predictable events, areas involving repeating patterns and sometimes exact mathematical descriptions.”  The author asserts that the work of science depends constantly on the fact that there are regularities in the world and that the regularities that scientists must rely on to do their work are the regularities of God’s own commitments and his actions.  In short, without the regularities that are of and from God, there would ultimately be nothing to study.

Critical Interaction

Scientists depend not only on regularities with which they are already familiar, such as the regular behavior of measuring apparatus, but also on the postulate that still more regularities are to be found.  And it is in these scientific regularities, known as scientific laws, where God can be seen.  In order to understand the concept laid out by the author, the reader must set aside the philosophical views of scientists and ponder what all scientists must expect, in practice, from scientific laws.  Or, as the article notes, “just as the relativist expects the plane to fly, the scientist expects the laws to hold.”  And laws science relies on can only hold if they are universal in time and space.  Within the very concept of law lies the expectation that they apply at all times and in all places.  Using the universally understood concept of scientific law, the author explains that, “the classic terms are omnipresence (all places) and eternity (all times).”  Thus, scientific law, regardless of the faith of the scientist, has two attributes classically attributed to God.  “Within a biblical worldview, God is not only “above” time in the sense of not being subject to the limitations of finite creaturely experience of time, but he is “in” time in the sense of acting in time and interacting with his creatures. Similarly, law is “above” time in its universality, but “in” time through its applicability to each particular situation.”

In our increasingly secular society, science is often thought of a discipline where God is not necessary but since the universe conforms to universal laws that exist outside of space and time, as God does, it is easy to hold the opinion that it is not necessary to believe in God or that removing God from the equation might somehow make science more objective. But since nothing escapes the dominion of universal scientific law, non-belief seems untenable. To boil the point down, the author asserts that, in classical language, the law is omnipotent. “The law is both transcendent and immanent. It transcends the creatures of the world by exercising power over them, conforming them to its dictates. It is immanent in that it touches and holds in its dominion even the smallest bits of this world.” The author goes on to write that “the key concept of scientific law is beginning to look suspiciously like the biblical idea of God.” Although some have tried to escape the spiritual discomfort that goes along with “knowing” that there is a God (Romans 1:20) by denying that laws that transcend the world are personal, they can only do so by constructing for themselves idols that are similar enough to God to be plausible but different enough to provide comfort to the secular mind. One cannot be certain if setting up idols stems from willful denial or not but it does imply presupposing that there is no God. While presupposition, bias, and cognitive dissonance seem to be behind the thinking of many of us, an implicit presupposition seems absent from this article. In fact, it seems as though common thought is set aside while what should be more obvious objectivity is explored.

And this objectivity, along with the simplicity of the argument, is how the author makes his case.  On its face, the subject may seem like it could easily evolve into a complex philosophical argument, the central idea that scientific laws are transcendent, personal, and have an author is as simple as the Gospel message itself and often only complicated by those who have a desire to lend credibility to the notion that science and God will be forever at odds.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the article states in a clear and concise manner what we all know but many of us refuse, whether consciously or not, to admit. Using the author’s words, “We experience incomprehensibility in the fact that the increase of scientific understanding only leads to ever deeper questions, “How can this be?” and “Why this law rather than many other ways that the human mind can imagine?” The profundity and mystery in scientific discoveries can only produce awe—yes, worship—if we have not blunted our perception with hubris (Isa 6:9–10).” And it is in this hubris, we often find excuses where, according to Scripture, none rightfully exist. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that we are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

11 thoughts on “Not enough evidence, God!  Not enough evidence!

  1. Wouldn’t this be contradictory to the usual character ascribed to God?
    It is usually supposed that God desires all men to come to know him. If one’s unbelief is due to “spiritual blindness” and if we presume that this disability is not the fault of the spiritually blind person doesn’t that mean God made that person spiritually blind knowing full well that this would prevent the person from even being able to believe that God exists?

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    1. Great question!

      True, God does desire all men to come to know Him but, at the same time, He also knows that not all will so I don’t see those who would not have come to Him anyway being blinded as a contradiction at all.  It may be difficult to understand using human morality as a guide but theologically contradictory it certainly is not.

      For example, read what Jesus said in John 3:19–21.

      “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

      That is a description of the blindness and deadness of all human beings in the world who refuse to come to the light. The light that God reveals of himself in nature, they refused to go there. The light that he reveals in Christ, in the gospel, the light that he reveals of himself in Scripture, the reason people don’t come is not that they lack light, but that they love darkness. They are not kept from light against their will. It’s precisely their strong-willed preferences for the darkness that keeps them away from the light.

      Our blindness and our deadness stems from our own blameworthy desire, love, and preference for darkness over light.
      We, not God, are really responsible for these desires, these loves, these preferences that we have. They are the very essence of what is evil about us.

      Most people I have talked to over the years don’t struggle so much with the fact that they are spiritually blind but, instead, they are quite comfortable in their blindness and don’t want much to do with God at all.

      Hope this helps!

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    1. True. I’ve even had some people tell me they wouldn’t believe even if they knew it were true which means that there is more at play than evidence.

      Dr. Frank Turek says these people are on a happiness rather than a truth quest and I think that’s true.

      Fact is, if most non-believers would admit it, they are quite happy in their disbelief, don’t think they need God, and don’t want any of it to be true.

      Liked by 1 person

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