Why do people look but then deny there is a God?

Posted: August 2, 2007 by Daniel in Christianity, evangelism, evolution, get equipped, religions and beliefs, resources

Philip Bell preaching at Summerhill BaptistJust got home from listening to Philip Bell from Creation Ministries International.

It was an intense 2 and a half hours. In the first part Philip addressed the concept of theistic evolution and asked does it matter? In finding an answer we must consider what Jesus, Peter and Paul believed about it. Some key verses for understanding this are Mark 10v6 and John 5v46,57.

Daniel talking with Philip after the meetingDaniel talking with Philip after the meetingMany problems arise if we try to marry evolution with the bible. The new testament authors understood there to be a first Adam 2 Peter 3v5,6

In the second half Philip addressed the issue of death and suffering. This is a key issue that comes up in many evangelism encounters in some shape or form so I am keen to learn more about carefully refuting this one.  

The bible clearly shows us the reason that there is pain, parasites, cancer and animals that rip other animals to pieces – God didn’t make the world that way. We are under God’s curse due to our sin. Much of our problem with not being able to see God is due to our bias of atheism, agnosticism, etc. Christianity is a bias too – the question is which is the best bias to Daniel talking with Philip after the meetinghave?

Philip then went on to explore the big proof for an intelligent designer – the level of complexity in created things. For some reason people cannot understand that non-man made things have design (any suggestions please reply.) We can laugh at a picture of rocks rolling down a hill to form words (It obviously was put there by someone) but think mutated chance and good fortune made the grass and flowers growing on the side of the hill.

Philip highlight just how flimsy putting our faith in science is because our understandings of the world are constantly deepening or changing. He gave the example of the view that 97% of DNA was junk till years later it was discovered that so much more of it is important.

He spent some time looking at cells and how difficult it is for scientists to try to explain the series of intermediate steps that show the evolution of cells. In a shocking quote he gave, scientists could not explain a theory of assembly for a certain cell structure but went on to praise evolution for being so marvellous for having done this thing. This quote clearly showed how much faith was at work in those scientists.

Overall it was a very enjoyable night and I have got a lot of good ideas out of it. I found Philip’s talk to be very biblically based and had an evangelistic note to it towards the end. My key question that I left with tonight was, ‘why do people look but then deny there is a God?’ I think there are some clear biblical responses to this found in Romans chapter 1. If you can think of any more suggestions please let me know. I am interested in ways to be most effective in reaching such people (yes I know that salvation is of the Lord, but we still have a responsibility to be as clear and helpful as we can be).

Daniel talking with Philip after the meetingDaniel talking with Philip after the meeting

Daniel talking with Philip after the meeting

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Comments
  1. laelaps says:

    You wrote “The bible clearly shows us the reason that there is pain, parasites, cancer and animals that rip other animals to pieces – God didn’t make the world that way.”

    But there are many, many kinds of parasites and diseases are caused by bacteria, which require host organisms to survive. What were these animals doing in the Garden of Eden? Just hanging out until the Fall? If this is the case, they’d had to evolve pretty quickly to enter hosts afterwards, and since they are animals they would have to have been created (according to creationist dogma). This scenario would mean that as soon as Adam and Eve left the Garden they would be besieged by tapeworms, nemotodes, viruses, and infectious bacteria; how they survived without any medicine to combat this is beyond me.

  2. h3nry says:

    Daniel,

    “In a shocking quote he gave, scientists could not explain a theory of assembly for a certain cell structure but went on to praise evolution for being so marvellous for having done this thing.” I am very curious about it so it would be nice if you could tell us what the quote is.

    You must weight up the evidence for evolution too. It is now accepted as a solid fact from genetics, paleontology, embryology, zoology, geology… etc. It might not yet address certain issues but you cannot ignore mountains and moutains and mountains of evidence for it. Besides science progresses have shred light on evolution everyday… as an analogy, ee don’t even know how gravity works but we just have to have “faith” in it.

  3. Thanks for writing,

    Sorry L. That is a great point. I was just attempting to summaries what I heard.

    What we do know from the Genesis account is that things changed significantly after Adam and Eve disobeyed God.

    Gen 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
    Gen 1:29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
    Gen 1:30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
    Gen 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

    So obviously it was all good, but there was still some subduing required. But then we hear in the next chapter that things became a lot more difficult for humanity.

    Gen 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
    Gen 3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
    Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
    Gen 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
    Gen 3:17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    Gen 3:18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
    Gen 3:19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

    Here is one link to a thought from a letter to CMI that might help you understand the creationist pov.

    Thanks again for you thoughts on this one. There it is definitely important to consider our origins.

  4. laelaps says:

    Thank you for the response and the link, L. To me it’s more of a reader comment, trying to use “common sense” to do away with the problem, but I think the issue can’t merely be explained away by the presence of probiotic bacteria like Lactobacilli. I actually am pretty familiar with CMI, AiG, etc., but I just don’t find the creationist take on parasites to be tenable. I am aware of the change that the Fall caused, but what I was actually trying to ask was “What were all these bacteria and parasites doing when they can’t live outside hosts?” I can’t imagine that they’d all just be hanging out on leaves, making way for animals and Adam & Eve so they wouldn’t be ingested. It might make sense to assert that parasites/bacteria weren’t harmful before the Fall because of the creation story in Genesis, but looking at it from nature, it doesn’t make sense. Indeed, if everything really was created in 6 literal 24-hour days, there should be some sign of it in nature, and there does not seem to be any.

    This discussion actually reminds me of something David Attenborough once said;

    “I often get letters, quite frequently, from people who say how they like the programmes a lot, but I never give credit to the almighty power that created nature, to which I reply and say, “Well, it’s funny that the people, when they say that this is evidence of the almighty, always quote beautiful things, they always quote orchids and hummingbirds and butterflies and roses.” But I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he’s five years old, and I reply and say, “Well presumably the god you speak about created the worm as well,” and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful god with that action, and therefore it seems to me safer to show things that I know to be truth, truthful and factual, and allow people to make up their own minds about the moralities of this thing, or indeed the theology of this thing.”

    The argument can be made that it was really man’s fault, bringing this on himself, but God would have had to create the parasites in the first place and known what was going to happen. If God knew that Adam & Eve would disobey and the Fall would happen, then why create parasites that seem to affect the world’s poor? This take a lot of explaining in terms of theology if the Genesis account is going to be considered true, but everything we’ve learned about geology, paleontology, evolution, etc. tell us that we need not do intellectual backflips to make it work because the parasite evolved.

    Anyway, I know you’re likely to disagree with me, but it’s at least some food for thought.

  5. Interestingly enough, Philip referred to that exact quote from David Attenborough in the second part of his message: “why is their death, pain,injustice etc?” The Christian response can be made in three simple english letters: SIN.

    I don’t know what happened with the parasites, but (as we have already seen in the Genesis account) things did change – the ground became harder for farmers to work,death came, etc – but the big deal changed within man: we are now cut off from relationship with God and we now prove that Adam was our representative every time we sin.

    Sorry for getting a bit side tracked, but there is a gospel presentation just waiting to happen here. I want to answer you question. I do adhere to a form of evolution. Species can adapt and change within a species, ie breeds of dogs (there are some pretty amazingly different dogs) and every year there are new viruses, etc. Perhaps the eye dwelling parasite has made some changes in its choice of habitat? I don’t really know what I am talking about scientifically here but I am just clutching at what seems to common sense.

    I have checked out your blog and this is really your thing. My thing is just to present the gospel to people. A part of that is presenting to people who God is as revealed in the bible. But in our modern society there is a popular school of thought that there is no God. It is important to me to find out as much as I can about all this so I am able to give the most biblically faithful and truthful presentation I can.

    It is not my business to make people believe, but just to not get in the way of the content. I know that you have a strong bias towards the origin of this world and that I have a contrary bias. Both our biases affect how we see evidence before us. I can see a creator when I examine the world and you see a series of natural selections.

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