How Do We Explain the Origin of the Universe?

1287973381-BT4GL4M

In the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and of our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, “How did it all begin?”, science answers, “Probably by an accident.” To the question, “How will it all end?”, science answers, “Probably by an accident.” And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living.
– Neil Postman

A proponent of the big bang theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the matter of the universe came from nothing and by nothing.
– Anthony Kenny

Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.
– Robert Jastrow

The Big-Bang actually creates a tremendous problem for the atheist. If nothing at all existed prior to the Big-Bang, then what exploded? Moreover, the atheistic view, that the universe is all there is, requires that the universe, for no reason, just came into existence out of nothing. But again, this seems absurd. If the Christian had postulated such a proposition, he or she would have been laughed out of court.
– Mike Licona

It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.
– G. K. Chesterton

To say something created itself is to postulate something so incomprehensibly bizarre that it renders belief in miracles mere chicken-feed by comparison.
– Bō Jinn

Some have spoken of the universe spontaneously creating itself: the whole cosmos propped up by nothing, absolutely nothing. As miracles go, this would be unparalleled. Everything from nothing? Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, but this would mean the virgin birth of the cosmos. In fact, it’s the virgin birth of the cosmos but without a virgin, without anything. Here would be the greatest conjuring trick every pulled: nothing up the sleeve, no sleeve, not even a magician. Just pure magic, out of nowhere.
– Glen Scrivener

The beginning of the universe seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.
– Sir Arthur Eddington

My contention is that the nature of the universe we observe is more consistent with a deliberately created world than with one that has formed accidentally.
– David Siegrist

How Do We Explain Freedom?

download

The demand for absolute liberty brings men
to the depths of slavery.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (1906 – 1945)

Some young men are so ill-informed as to suppose that absence of restraint is the same thing as freedom, whereas, by unchaining the passions, it makes them slaves to a set of masters more tyrannical than all the teachers and mentors of childhood.
– Plutarch, (c. 45 – 120 AD)

No man is free who is not master of himself.
– Epictetus, (c. 50 – 135 AD)

Freedom on a piano involves subjection to the laws of music. Freedom in flying requires applying the principles of aerodynamics. Freedom in driving necessitates respect for the rules of the road. Freedom flourishes inside of boundaries. It self destructs without them.
To live life with the notion of absolute freedom is absolute folly. One quickly becomes a slave of his own self-centeredness, winds up in jail, or ends up dead.
We need something higher than ourselves to steer our life by. We need boundaries to be free. We need guidelines from our Maker.
– Jurgen Schulz

Freedom is not the permission to do what you like.
It’s the power to do what you ought.
– Os Guinness

Jesus Christ was nailed fast to the cross so he could not move. How is that for giving up your freedom? Christianity is the only religion that claims God gave up his freedom so we could experience the ultimate freedom—from evil and death itself. Therefore, you can trust him. He sacrificed his independence for you, so you can sacrifice yours for him. And when you do, you will find that it is the ultimate, infinitely liberating constraint. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
– Timothy Keller

He is a free man, whom the truth makes free,
And all are slaves besides.
– William Cowper, (1731 – 1800)

We find freedom when we find God;
we lose it when we lose Him.
– Paul Scherer

In freeing ourselves from Christianity, we have only freed ourselves from freedom.
– G. K. Chesterton

How Do We Explain Faith?

external-content.duckduckgo-1

It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith.
Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert
that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
– G. K. Chesterton

Can you PROVE, in a non-circular way,
that there is truth? that reason works? No?
Oh, you have FAITH. I see.
– Anonymous

Faith is belief in something for which there is evidence but no proof.
Faith is required for belief in most scientific ideas, as well as in religious doctrines. Faith is irrelevant for believing proven facts, like the
existence of cats or mathematical truths.
– Sy Garte

Life will always take you with a combination of faith and reason.
God has put enough in this world to make faith in Him a most
reasonable thing; He has left enough out to make it impossible
to live by sheer reason alone.
– Ravi Zacharias

Belief in God is an act of faith.
But so is believing our existence
is simply the result of chance.
– Eric Metaxas

The greatest act of faith takes place when a man
finally decides that he is not God.
– Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Faith is taking the first step even when
you don’t see the whole staircase.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

How Do We Explain Hell?

external-content.duckduckgo

If you want your own way, God will let you have it.
Hell is the enjoyment of one’s own way forever.
– Dorothy Sayers

Atheism is a lack of belief in God? A mere absence?
Fair enough.
Hell is a lack God’s presence, the absence of God.
God is, in His way, a libertarian. Everyone gets to choose.
– Eve Keneinan

Hell is God’s great compliment to the reality of human freedom
and the dignity of human personality.
– G. K. Chesterton

One does not miss heaven by a hair, but by constant effort
to avoid and escape God.
– Dallas Willard

Only the gospel dares to proclaim that God enters smack-dab into the middle of the hell we create. Only the gospel dares to proclaim that God was born a baby in a bloody, crap-filled stable, that He lived a life befriending the prostitutes and lepers no one else would befriend, and that He suffered, firsthand, the hellish depth of all that is nightmarish in human existence.
– Gregory A. Boyd

Hell is when and where you know there’s a party going on, that
you were invited, and that you permanently declined.
– James A. Fowler

In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell, is… a question: “What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven [editor: they will not accept God’s forgiveness]. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.
– C. S. Lewis

The question is not, “Why would a loving God send anyone to hell?”
The question is, “Why would anyone choose hell over a loving God?”

How Do We Explain Faith And Reason?

1d91412cd445367da459b906b2f7-do-you-think-reason-and-faith-are-mutually-exclusive

Creation is too large to be contained in the tight fist of reason.
– Marilynne Robinson

Reason is no substitute for faith, as colour is not substitute for sound.
– Nicolás Gómez Dávila

God does not expect us to submit our faith to Him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity.
– Augustine

Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
– G. K. Chesterton,
Orthodoxy

Religious faith is not a rebellion against reason, but a legitimate and necessary revolt against the imprisonment of humanity within the cold walls of a rationalist dogmatism. The Christian faith declares that there is more to reality than reason discloses – not contradicting reason, but simply transcending it, and escaping from its limitations.
– Alister McGrath

The last function of reason is to recognize that there are an infinity of things which surpass it.
― Blaise Pascal

How Do We Explain Christianity?

god_religion_cross_christianity_religious_christian_spirituality_faith-1031152

Christianity has inspired some of the world’s greatest music and arts, and has expanded education from the elite to the masses — even creating the entity of the university…

Prior to the coming of Christ, human life on this planet was expendable.
. . . In the ancient world, child sacrifice was a common practice. In ancient Rome, babies were often left to die if the father did not want them. Many Christians saved these babies and reared them in the Christian faith and helped turn the tide. Through His church, ultimately Jesus brought an end to infanticide in the Roman world.

Christianity also helped to cease the gladiatorial contests — where slaves would be forced to fight unto death for the entertainment of the crowds. And Christianity got slavery abolished in the ancient world and then again in the modern world.

Christianity managed to stop the practice in India of widow-burning. Many times a young girl would be married to an older man. When he died, she would be burned to death on his funeral pyre … until the missionaries agitated to put a stop to this. Wherever the Gospel has truly penetrated, the value of human life has greatly increased.

. . . Christianity and the Bible helped give birth to modern science, beginning in the late Middle Ages. The belief that a rational God had created a rational universe inspired so many scientists to engage in scientific exploration, looking to catalogue the laws the Creator had impressed upon His creation.

The early scientists thought of themselves as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” (in the words of astronomer Johannes Kepler).

. . . Virtually all of the founders of every major branch of science were Bible-believing Christians. We document that in the book with a long list. One of those men, Sir Isaac Newton, was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived — and he was a committed believer who wrote more about the Bible and theology than he did about science.

– Jerry Newcombe
https://www.christianpost.com/voice/the-incredible-impact-of-jesus-christ.html

How Do We Explain The Historical Jesus?

Christ graphic ab3

Heaven and earth have been scoured to find evidence for or against the historicity of Jesus, theory after theory has been brought forth to account for him apart from his historicity. They have all collapsed by their own sheer weight or have broken themselves upon the fact of Christ. After . . . years of terrific battle, the smoke has cleared, and there stands upon the horizon of our thinking a character essentially as the New Testament depicts him.
– E. Stanley Jones

The early opponents of Christianity . . . the fact that none of them even attempts to claim Christ never existed, when you’d think that would be the best argument against the whole thing, is (to put it mildly) rather suggestive.
– Tom Woods

No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus.
– Otto Betz

All four Gospels agree in giving us a picture of a very definite personality. One is obliged to say, “Here was a man. This could not have been invented.
– H. G. Wells

That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.
– Will Durant

How Do We Explain The Resurrection?

empty-tomb-vector

I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.
– Thomas Arnold,
Historian and Oxford Professor

If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the reality of the Christian church and its phenomenal growth in the first three centuries of the Christian era? Christ’s church covered the Western world by the fourth century. A religious movement built on a lie could not have accomplished that…. All the power of Rome and of the religious establishment in Jerusalem was geared to stop the Christian faith. All they had to do was to dig up the grave and to present the corpse. They didn’t.
– Henry Schaefer III

Claiming that the original leader was alive again was simply not an option. Unless, of course, he was.
– N. T. Wright 

I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.
– Charles Colson

The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live.
– Wolfhart Pannenberg

How Do We Explain Our Story?

Collage 9

Would you ever expect to find the complete works of Shakespeare printed, collated, and bound by an accidental explosion?

But this is exactly what we have. An explosion that not only gave us the complete works of Shakespeare, but a bunch of bipedal units to act things out, crowds to weep and moan, and an industry of Shakespeare criticism that spans centuries. But the explosion didn’t stop there. It also gave us Kafka, Russian architecture, solar panels, Jeffersonian democracy, Christianity, and ivory poaching.

We are bits of the flying flotsam, spinning away from the eye of the Great Disaster. Anything we do is attributable to Chaos, for we are its children, carbon-based shrapnel with sensitive nerve endings, a problem with self-importance, and a taste for pizza.

I see your painting. It’s by Pollock. But where is your story? What is the plot? Who are the characters. What are the rules?

In this story, the Darwinian device that moves action is called (hail, the conquering hero) natural selection. But it has no purpose, no goal at all. Survival is the result for some and death for others, but there is nothing in this story to show that one is actually to be preferred over the other. Survival as good is just one of the axioms that’s been adopted by the faithful. The characters? What do you mean? There is only a strange impersonal trinity—Time, Chance, and Matter. Matter exists, and it is shaped by chemical reactions as Time and Chance act upon it. You have no soul. You are simply a combination of chemicals. What you call “death” is nothing more than a transition out of one combination and the beginning of another. Welcome to the leaf pile—you as mulch is no better or worse than you as man. When you begin and end is a pointless question…

The truth is that very few atheists will try to maintain that atheism is pleasant. It has been pitched as a hard truth, and those squinty-eyed atheists are the brave ones (the “brights,” according to Richard Dawkins), the ones willing to peer into the burning bosom of reality, see absolutely nothing, and write best-selling books about their experiences (and to convince us of our own soullessness). They preach this hard, chemically fatalistic doctrine like a bunch of Victorian Calvinists unable to understand why the populace won’t simply bow their heads and come along quietly.

Because it is nonsense. (And you can keep your tenure. I’d rather have a ping-pong table.)

― N. D. Wilson,
Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl

How Do We Explain The Existence Of God?

Seeking-to-Know-the-Secrets-of-the-Universe

If you would, imagine that I am God . . . and I hold the Universe in my hands. Picture a shoe box, but it’s the Universe… OK? All space, all time, all matter is in the box: the universe. I AM not in the box, but holding the box…

Now, let me tell you about the universe—the box in my hands: Recent estimates are that the universe is 156 billion light years across. That is, if the universe were not still expanding, it would take light 156 billion years to go from one side to the other. Scientists tell us that we can only see 14 billion light years away, because the universe began 14 billion years ago. That is, we can’t even see the vast majority of the universe, for the light hasn’t even reached us yet.

The Rosette Nebula (NGC 2237, Caldwell 49) in the constellation of Monoceros, HST image

• The universe is 156 billion light years across.
• Our solar system is .00126 light years across (the orbit of Pluto).
• Our solar system is 7.5 trillion miles across.
• So our solar system is 117.5 quadrillion times smaller in width than our universe.

If the entire universe were the size of planet Earth, our solar system would be about 1/70,000 of an inch wide. It would be about 1/6 as wide as a small bacteria.
The solar system: 7.5 trillion miles across, as wide as 1/6 of a small bacteria, if the universe is scaled down to just the size of the earth. But I’m asking you to imagine the universe in this box. Got it?

Now imagine that a man in the utterly miniscule speck that is our solar system, on the unimaginably miniscule speck that is our planet, in one particular spot, at one particular time, examines some clam fossils. He is a specialist in fossilized cretaceous mollusks. Then based on what he “empirically” and “objectively” observes, he writes a book stating, “There is no God,” that is, there is no one holding the box.

So, all the modern, technologically advanced, scientific people say, “Well, he is an expert . . . so that must be truth.”

That’s absurd, isn’t it? It’s absurd because some questions are way too big for any specialist. Yet some specialist invariably says, “We’ve examined the clam fossils and have concluded that there is no God.”

So what do we Christians do? We call in our own specialists who go out to the same spot and analyze the same clam fossils and say, “There’s a lack of transitional forms in the clam sequence; therefore, God exists. Someone’s holding the box.” Then all of us modern, technologically advanced, religious people say, “There is a God because our specialists say so . . . our scientists have concluded: God Exists!”

In the words of C. S. Lewis:

“The statement that there is [a God] and the statement that there is no [God] are neither of them statements that science can make. And real scientists do not usually make them. It is usually the journalists and popular novelists who have picked up a few odds and ends of half-baked science from textbooks who go in for them. After all, it is really a matter of common sense. Supposing science ever became complete so that it knew every single thing in the whole universe. Is it not plain that the questions, “Why is there a universe?” “Why does it go on as it does?” “Has it any meaning?” would remain just as they were?”

… I heard that Einstein once asked his class, “How much of the universe do you suppose we comprehend?” Someone said, “Five percent.” Einstein said, “I think that’s way too much, but even so, who’s to say God couldn’t exist somewhere in the other 95%?” Well, Christians don’t even believe He’s an object in the other 95%. They believe He’s outside the universe; outside of space and time; outside the box, holding the box. He’s the Creator of the box. Why would we even expect him to be a thing in the box that He created?

… God is not an “object” of scientific observation in this world.

Even if you understood every individual part of a Ford motor car, took it apart and analyzed each piece, you still wouldn’t find Henry Ford. And the car would no longer run. You would’ve dissected it. Yet a whole Ford motor car is a beautiful testimony to a person named Henry Ford.

God may not be a thing in His world,
yet the whole thing can bear testimony to its maker.

– Peter Hiett,
The History of Time