Churches Of Christ/Questions

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: A few questions.

What proof is there that God exists? A great many people challenge the historical, moral, and scientific foundation that is scripture. If the majority of science, atomic clocks, fossils etc say the earth is over 4 billion years old, with evidence. Why would anyone follow the bibles teachings?

If there is a God what proof is there that it's the Christian God.

If there are no miracles today, then why would anyone believe in the bible by pure faith. I have heard of providence yet won't an atheist say that this is just coincidence, or some thing not of the hand of God no matter how amazing it is? I've heard that the time of miracles has ended, once again won't the atheist claim that this is convenient?


If God only listens to the prayers of those in the church, then why does he seem to answer the prayers of those outside the church? Are they unsaved righteous like the roman soldier who God sent Peter to save?

How can I know God exists? I've prayed for various things and many have come to pass, yet some took years to happen.

ANSWER: Hello Raul,

There are a number of questions here that would require a great deal of time and space to answer with anything more than a cursory response.  I will do my best with what space I have.  Feel free to ask follow ups.

~~~~What proof is there that God exists?~~~~

If you are asking about proof in the logical/formal argument sense, then the best one I've seen is as follows:

If there is at least one thing that exists that could only exist by cause of God, then that one thing constitutes sufficient evidence for the existence of God.
There is at least one thing that exists that could only exist by cause of God.
Therefore, that one thing constitutes sufficient evidence for the existence of God.

I'll actually list three to substantiate the minor premise:  you, the universe, the Bible.

If you want more on any of those, feel free to ask if I don't cover it below.


~~~~A great many people challenge the historical, moral, and scientific foundation that is scripture.  If the majority of science, atomic clocks, fossils etc say the earth is over 4 billion years old, with evidence. Why would anyone follow the bibles teachings?~~~~

Well, to be clear, Truth is not determined by democratic vote.  What's True is True even if no one believes it.  A great many people believe in the Bible, too.  2,000,000 of them in my specific faith alone (at last count that I saw).

Atomic clocks, as far as I'm aware, do not say anything about the earth being 4 billion years old.  The first atomic clock was the ammonia maser clock built in 1949 now housed at the National Instituted of Standards and Technology.  So that clock has only measured roughly 64 years, not 4 billion.

Fossils also say nothing of the earth being 4 billion years old.  Even if one were to believe the Macroevolutionary model of the universe, the earliest living thing would only have been 3.5 billion years old.    However, the methods used to arrive at these enormous numbers are all fraught with flaws.  The radiometric dating methods all start with a series of assumptions accepted by those who want to believe the ancient earth idea.  Yet when we test the methods themselves, they fall far short.  Here is a quick experiment to show you what I mean.  Plant a tree.  Let it grow for two years.  Take the sapling and put it in a hyperbaric chamber for roughly 150 days in water from a freshwater river (and whatever comes along with it).  Put it under pressure equivalent to water at a depth of 2 kilometers.  After the 150 days, take it out and date it using any or all of the radio metric dating methods available.  You will be surprised at the results.

There is a host of evidence for folks who are interested.  I'll list a few sites for you to explore.  The only one I concur with 99% is the first.  The rest, well, their theology is horrible, but their science is good.

www.apologeticspress.org
www.drdino.com
www.answersingenesis.org
www.icr.org

~~~~If there is a God what proof is there that it's the Christian God.~~~~

This question comes down to the veracity of the Bible.  It does no good to assert that the Bible is true then quote from the Bible to prove that.  What I recommend is to hold the Bible up in regard to its inerrancy.  40-something human authors over 1600 years writing something as unified and as timeless and powerful as the Bible is impossible.  A single human author couldn't even do it and I know, I'm an author of quite a number of novels.  The only being who could have produced something like the Bible is deity.

You can also hold the Bible up with regard to its prophetic power, something no human can do.  E.g. Cyrus being predicted by name (Isa. 44:28) to restore Jerusalem 150 years before Cyrus became king of Persia.  You also have a host of prophecies concerning Jesus that all came true.  There are quite a few prophecies to consider, all of which (when made by God) came true.  The destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Mosaical system of the Jews is probably the most prominent and detailed.

~~~~If there are no miracles today, then why would anyone believe in the bible by pure faith. I have heard of providence yet won't an atheist say that this is just coincidence, or some thing not of the hand of God no matter how amazing it is? I've heard that the time of miracles has ended, once again won't the atheist claim that this is convenient?~~~~

The atheist may claim whatever they like.  What must be understood is the purpose of miracles and why they ceased.  Also, one must properly define faith.  If what you speak of is a blind, evidence free faith that is based on a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart, then that is not my kind of faith.  My faith is a reasoned faith based on evidence.

Faith has never come from miracles.  It has always come from teachings from God.  Miracles were there only to verify to the hearers that those who spoke had God's authority to speak.  Once the entirety of the scripture was written down by those men, their testimony given for all time, then the confirming function of the miracles was no longer needed.  The Bible is capable of being defended without them because of its power, integrity, and cohesion.

As for Providence, Providence is a bit different than coincidence.  Providence is when, through the obedience of men to God's Word, God's will is achieved.  Providence is when the gospel is preached to those who hunger for the Truth.  Providence is when a local congregation takes care of one of their own who is in financial hardships, or emotional turmoil, or other stressful situation.  Providence is not winning the lottery because you are a Christian who is financially poor.  That is just coincidence. :)

~~~~If God only listens to the prayers of those in the church, then why does he seem to answer the prayers of those outside the church? Are they unsaved righteous like the roman soldier who God sent Peter to save?~~~~

These are two very different questions.  First of all, you'd have to give me an example of a prayer from the unfaithful that you think God answered.  As for Cornelius, Acts 10 says he was a righteous man.  If he was a righteous man before Christ died, a man still under the non-Jewish Patriarchal system of laws, a man faithful to God via that system, then why wouldn't his prayers be heard?  God only hears the prayers of the righteous and by declaration of scripture, Cornelius was righteous.

~~~~How can I know God exists? I've prayed for various things and many have come to pass, yet some took years to happen.~~~~

Faith does not come by praying for it.  Faith comes through study of God's Word.  You want to know God exists, the power of God unto salvation is the gospel, the New Testament.  The school master that brings us to a fuller understanding of the New Testament is the Old.  If you study the Bible, if you truly study it, not JUST to try and find errors (which is certainly part of it), but study it to understand what it is saying, there you will find God, for the Bible is truly the mind of God revealed to His Creation.

That sounds silly maybe right now, maybe like a platitude, but if you follow this instruction, you will come to understand that it is not, that it is everything I say that it is.  You won't be able to help yourself.

Like I said, if you have any specific follow up questions I am more than happy to answer them.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Does it count as providence for someone to pray for a cure to anxiety then meet a doctor 13 years later who greatly helped him?

Or to lose 80 pounds after needing to from health issues?

Do you find that the Church should have over site. I've been to three and they all have big doctrinal issues. One was fine, but the minister was a very unseemly person. A fourth church I have not gone to has the teaching of eternal security.

Answer
~~~~Does it count as providence for someone to pray for a cure to anxiety then meet a doctor 13 years later who greatly helped him?

Or to lose 80 pounds after needing to from health issues?~~~~

Sure.  God designed the human body, provided the reasoning skills to understand it, and the resources (herbs, etc.) to aid in its mending.  God created man and gave us the will to survive and to succeed.  So I believe that can be Providence the way I understand Providence.


~~~~Do you find that the Church should have over site. I've been to three and they all have big doctrinal issues. One was fine, but the minister was a very unseemly person. A fourth church I have not gone to has the teaching of eternal security.~~~~

Oversight of what?

Churches Of Christ

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ernie Laurence, Jr.

Expertise

I am capable of answering any questions concerning doctrines of the church of Christ. I specialize in Creation vs. Evolution topics, the book of Revelation and other Biblical prophecies, and other apologetics related topics such as distinctions from denominational doctrines.

Experience

My experience in this area includes: having been raised by members of the church of Christ from infancy, having been immersed into the church of Christ at age ten, having taken an active role in worship/service leadership (song leading, teaching, preaching, youth ministry) since age fourteen through the present, and participating in numerous formal debates, research projects, and online discussions.

Organizations
The church of Christ

Publications
Local congregations.

Education/Credentials
I hold a bachelor's degree in computer information systems (CIS) from Tarleton State University which focuses on business communication and management. This provided training for how to deal professionally with individuals and organizations if not direct training in the field of religion. See experience section for informal education experience.

Awards and Honors
N/A

Past/Present Clients
N/A

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.