What does godless mean?
Well mankind’s knowledge of our universe has grown exponentially since the start of the 20th century. In just over a hundred years, we have learnt more about how the universe works, and worked out how to use this new knowledge in new and ever more inventive ways then we did in all the former years, decades, centuries, and millennia all put together. Our acquisition of knowledge of how the universe works has been quite astonishing. At the beginning of the 20th century we barely knew what an atom was. Now, thanks to quantum physics, we use the atom to build some of the most complex machines mankind has ever conceived as easily as a child builds with Lego or Meccano. We have built a global communication system, a global navigation system, and even sent machines and human-beings off the globe altogether. This would have been nothing short of ‘magic‘, to previous generations, even to people at the start of the 20th century it seems pretty bewildering.
As each new level of knowledge has been formulated and formalised, we have found no trace of what might be called ‘God’s Fingerprints‘, anywhere. By this I mean that as we have learnt more we have not found a need for God to intervene to make things happen. For example: at one time we thought that rain came from Heaven; we now know: what clouds are, how they form, where it will rain, when it will rain, and of course we know no-one is needed to form clouds and to make it rain. In our understanding of rain, God’s hand is not needed. Rain comes as a natural process through the interaction of sun, water, air, and land. Rain is a natural by-product of the laws of the universe, God does not need to lift a finger to make it rain.
But to use a quote from crime novels: ‘absence of evidence, is not, evidence of absence‘. Or to put it another way: ‘until we understand the question, we will not understand the evidence‘. It is not God’s Hand in the unfolding of the universe that I wish to explore here; it is what it means to our ‘everyday life‘ if God is not the author of creation.
How the universe formed
There are generally two views of what the universe is and where it came from;
- The universe has always been there (‘Steady State‘)
- The universe came into being at some point in the past (‘Big Bang‘).
Well the Steady State hypothesis falls at the first hurdle, if the universe has always existed, it must have existed for millions of billions of trillions of years before we turned up. Nothing stays the same over time; everything degrades over time. So, at some point in the past, the universe must have been better than it is today, so at some point, it must have been perfect. This gets us back to the point at which the ‘perfect’ universe came into being. The universe cannot be in a ‘Steady State‘ now; if it came into being at some point in the past.
So the universe had a start. This means that the universe we live in would have to have just popped into existence, in less time than it takes a soap bubble to pop; the “Big Bang”. Nothing meaningful can be said about the time prior to the Big Bang, as there was no time, or even space for the Big Bang to pop within. And in that pop, everything in the universe today, came into being; all matter and all energy; if it wasn’t there at the Big Bang, it isn’t in the universe now. Nevertheless, for our universe to exist today, this is what must have happened sometime in the past.
From the pop, the universe expanded from something smaller than an electron [not that an electron can be said to have a ‘size‘ in the conventional sense of the word] to its present size of about 13.8 billion light-years across. As the young universe cooled after the Big Bang, the first atom to spontaneously form was hydrogen, then helium and a few of the other lightest atoms <elements>. Over time these clumped together to form Stars. [Giving light to the universe for first time.] As the stars burnt the hydrogen and helium, more of the lighter elements formed. Then, at the death of some of the stars, they exploded, and in the process formed all the other elements of the Periodic Table. These elements <atoms> spread out from the star’s explosion. Over millions of more years these elements coalesced forming new clumps, and new stars where born.
One such clump eventually formed our sun and its planets, one of which is our earth. The earth is thought to be some 4.6 billion years old; the oldest rock found so far is 4.6 billion years old. For the first billion years or so, of earth’s existence, nothing could live on it; it was too hot. Then, about 3.5 billion years ago, when earth had cooled enough for life to spontaneously form, the first living cell spontaneously formed; the ancestor of all living cells that have ever been; of all living things that have ever been. Or to put it another way, over millions of years and random chance, a living cell just sprang into being, out of the primordial soup; [whether this happened on earth or some other planet and came to earth on a comet, it still sprang into existence, unbidden, as a natural outworking of the laws of the universe].
By about 3 billion years ago, primitive microbes had evolved from the first living cell; they fed off the noxious gases left over from the creation of earth. Things did not change much for the next few hundred-million years. The microbes lived on the noxious gases and excreted oxygen; there was very little free oxygen around at that time. As the noxious gases were all eaten and the oxygen levels rose. The microbes starved to death, as they had eaten all their food. [The first great extinction, they cannot have known what was happening to them]. Over the millennia that followed, some of the microbes evolve into oxygen or carbon-dioxide breathing life. Over the next few hundred-million years, no end of marvellous and magnificent plants and creatures evolved to meet the ever changing challenges of plant earth. As the earth aged, 99.999% of all the flora and fauna that evolved from that first living cell, died out; became extinct, without the slightest knowledge of why.
Then, somewhere in the middle of Eastern Africa, a bipedal mammal with no real natural defensive or attack capabilities developed a brain capable of outthinking both its prey and its predators. At some point later, it spontaneously finds that there is right & wrong; and so homo-sapiens are spontaneously born. Then over the next few million years we get to modern man. Who has gone on to be smart enough to be the first creature in the history of the planet, to know they are destroying their own natural habitat; by consuming the planets resources faster than the planet can replenishes them. But not smart enough, to stop! So by the laws of the universe, formed at the Big Bang; the enormous passage of time; and random chance, mankind spontaneously appears.
End of the universe
Well let’s go on to see how a godless universe ends. After another five billion years our star (the sun) will expand to engulf the inner planets. So our Earth will be utterly destroyed by becoming part of the sun; the sun, which once nourished all live on earth, will eventually consume the earth. The earth will cease to exist, so all life on earth will equally cease to exist. If we do not find a way off the planet, we will cease to exist. The universe will carry on, as it always has, for billions and trillions of more years, not noticing the lost of an unremarkable star (our sun) and its plants. One of which is, quite possibly, the most remarkable planet in all of creation; our own, little, beleaguered, earth. So the universe will continue to unfold following the same laws that came into being at the Big Bang. This will continue on for many, many trillions of billions of millions of years. Then one of two things will happen, either:
- The universe will go into reverse and start to fly back together and after countless more millions of billions of trillions of years, it will all squash down to a single point called the ‘Big Crunch‘. Which may form the conditions for a new Big Bang, or it may just pop out of existence as fast as it popped into existence at the Big Bang.
- The universe will continue to just keep on expand for countless more trillions of billions of millions of years until eventually everything:
finally winds down . to . . come . . . to . . . . a . . . . . complete . . . . . . stop . . . . . . .
With only light remaining, this is called the ‘Heat Death‘ of the universe. Which may also form the conditions for a new Big Bang or, that’s the end of that; nothing more will ever happen again, ever again. ever; even Time and distance will cease to have any meaning.
In both scenarios, a new Big Bang may occur, bringing a twist to the idea of a Steady State universe. Perhaps the universe has always existed, it is just that it is reset to ‘Factory Settings‘ every few million billion trillion years; leaving no trace of the previous universe. Meaning nothing done it one universe will have any effect at all on how the next universe will unfold. So the universe will end in one of three possible ways:
- The Big Crunch, where the entire universe pops out of existence just as fast as it popped into existence.
The end of all things!
- The Hear Death of the universe, where everything just winds down and, comes, to, a, complete, stop.
The end of all things!
- The Big Bang restarts again and again. Each time bringing into existence a completely new and unrelated universe.
The end of all things! [For our universe anyway!]
But before we go ahead and explore what all this means to hoe we live out our everyday-live. In the interests of fairness, I should point out some of the problems with these ideas:
- There is not enough stuff in the universe! For the equations of the Big Bang to work there needs to be more matter than there appears to be; not just a little bit more. There only seems to be about 10% of the matter needed for the Big Bang. So 90% of the matter is missing. This is what has been called Dark Matter, simply because we have absolutely no idea where it is, what it is, or even if it exists at all.
- The same is true of what is called Dark Energy. There appears to be too much energy in the universe for the equations to balance!
- The two most successful theories mankind has ever come up with are Quantum Physics and Relativity. These two ideas have been used to shine a light on more of the universe than any others. Quantum Physics deals with the very, very small. Relativity deals with the very, very large. But they are total incompatible with one another. Not like comparing apples and oranges, more like comparing apples and the colour blue. This suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with these two ideas. And yet both are needed to explain the Big Bang.
- Well actually Quantum Physics and Relativity can only be used to explain the Big Bang down to the tiniest fraction of a second after the Big Bang. The actual moment of the Big Bang [the actual moment everything came into existence; Creation] has not yet been explained.
- Although it is true that our machines use both Quantum Physics and Relativity, neither idea have anything at all to say about our everyday life or how we should live it.
- Why the laws of the universe are the way they are, is also not known. The anthropomorphic principle holds that the universe is the way it is because we are here to see it. Or to put it another way, if the universe was not the way it is, we would not exist to see it.
- Before the Big Bang there was nothing: No matter, No things, No dimensions, No distances, No space, and No time. So before the Big Bang, where could the Big Bang have gone bang? If there was no-where and there was no-when, for it to go bang in.
Well so much for the current theory as to how the universe came to be. The universe popped into being, at which point it created the laws by which it would unfold, and then went about the process of following those laws until its eventual death, and The end of all things.
So, what does all this tell us about our everyday life in a godless universe? Well in a godless universe, that came into being all by itself; unnoticed, unbidden, unwanted, of no more significance than any grain of sand on any beach. The laws of the universe were fixed at the moment of the Big Bang, not having the slightest interest as to what those laws would give rise to. The universe then follows these laws in the same way as a train follows its track. If we knew the settings of all the points along the way before hand, we would know exactly where and when the train would be at any point in its journey. And like a godless universe, the train cannot change the points by itself.
Nothing that happens or is done, in a godless universe has any effect, any effect at all, on how the universe unfolds. In the same way that the ticking of a clock has no effect whatsoever, on the rate at which time passes. Then at some point, the universe ends, with nothing that formed within the universe still in existence. And, just like at the start, its end is: unnoticed, uncared for, unlamented. In a godless universe: nothing matters, nothing is of significance, all things are irrelevant and meaningless. In a godless universe there is no right or wrong, there is no good or bad, there is no kind or unkind, there is no caring or uncaring, there is no nice or not nice. There are only the laws of the universe, which cannot be broken! What is going to happen, will happen; there is nothing that can be done about it.
Life has no more significance than any other natural process following the laws of the universe. It will start spontaneously, unnoticed, unbidden, unwanted, it will live within the laws of the universe, then it will die. In a godless universe, the start of a life has no more significance than the phases of the moon. And its eventual, inevitable, death equally holds no significance at all. It will die: unnoticed, uncared for, unlamented. Nothing it did has any effect on the outcome. Nothing that was done too it, has any effect on the outcome.
In a godless universe, the only task any life must fulfill, is the passing on of its genes; its “selfish genes“. But even that is meaningless, as all will be destroyed in the end, with nothing that was done leaving any mark at all on anything at all. So what should our response to all this be? Well in a godless universe, our response has no effect on anything! There is no right or wrong, there is no good or bad, there is no kind or unkind, there is no caring or uncaring. In a godless universe, nothing we do matters any more than a wisp of wind nudging specs of dust around, matters.
The Baker and the Yeast
It is like Yeast believing that the Baker cares about each individual yeast cell. After all, the baker creates a fabulous place for the yeast to live. The yeast cell is with a great perfusion of family members. There are no predators within the dough, it is sterile. They are evenly spread throughout the dough; space for everyone. The baker ensures there is an abundance of food; sugar. The temperature is lovely; just right to eat and have babies. And the only thing they are expected to do is to, eat and have babies. So why wouldn’t the yeast worship the baker as a ‘god’. From the yeast’s prospective, the baker is far greater than they, and they will never fully understand the baker’s point of view. As far as all the evidence available to the yeast goes, the baker is a ‘god’ to the yeast.
The dough is like a godless universe. The baker cares only that the yeast eats and produces babies. When all the food is gone, the baker puts the dough in the oven, where all the yeast that has not starved to death, is instantly burnt to death. If the yeast where to cry out to the baker saying, “Why have you forsaken us?” This is a meaningless plea, the baker has not forsaken the yeast, the baker never cared about the yeast in the first place; only that it ate and had babies. The baker did not care if a yeast cell was selfish or selfless. As soon as the baker no longer has a use for the yeast, it is swept aside without a second thought. This is what it is like to live in a godless universe!
Actually, the dough is a little better than a godless universe. At least the baker had a reason for nurturing the yeast and then uncaringly destroying the yeast. There was, at lease, a purpose to the process. In a godless universe not even that can be said to be true. The universe formed without the slightest interest in what happens inside it. Good, bad, it is totally indifferent; the universe could not care less. And it will end with the same laissez‑faire attitude as it started.
In a godless universe, even life, itself, is nothing more that some very complex chemistry. When a body dies, only the body’s chemistry stops, the other life on and in the body carries on as before. Structurally speaking, there is very little difference between a living body and a dead body. All that has happened is that one set of chemical processes (called life) has ended, and another set of chemical processes has started (decomposition). All that fire and passion and love and vitality of life, just evaporates away, when somebody dies. They did not exist before the complex chemistry gave them ‘life‘, and at the end of ‘life‘ they simple cease to exist. There is no after-life, as there was no before-life!
Life in a godless universe is no more than complex chemistry, like putting a pan of water on the stove; it is just a pan of water. Turn on the stove, and the pan becomes a bubbling lively pan of boiling water, full of frenetic activity. Turn off the stove, and it returns to being just a pan of water again, warm, but this too will fade; and it will become indistinguishable from any other pan of water. In a godless universe this is all a living thing is, a cauldron of bubbling chemistry, and when ‘life‘ ends different chemistry starts. There is nothing left of the life because there was nothing that started the life in the first place, it is just the consequences of the laws of the universe.
A sane response?
So, what then is a suitable, rational, sane, reasoned, response to a godless: uncaring, uninterested, unfeeling, universe? Well anything we like really, the universe could not care any less, and nothing in it matters. Do good! Do bad! It matter not! If we can get away with it, Do it. If it brings pleasure, Do it! In a godless universe the only controls are:
- Do I want to do it?
- Am I prepared to pay the price?
- In a godless universe, if you wish to be a homicidal-maniac, then the price is; you may get caught and put in prison. If you can live with that, then become a homicidal-maniac.
- In a godless universe, if you wish to be a selfless worker, working with the poor and destitute, then the price is; you may never live a comfortable existence. If you can live with that, then become a worker for the destitute.
- In a godless universe, if you wish to become a doctor in the NHS, then the price is; long hours and little money. If you can live with that, then become a doctor.
- In a godless universe, if you wish to live off benefits, living on booze & drugs and being a criminal to fund it all, then the price is; you may get caught and put in prison. If you can live with that, then become a selfish, drug & booze fuelled, benefits fraudster.
- In a godless universe, the first time you feel that all your tomorrows are going to be worse than today; and today is the worst day of your life, then end your life. In a godless universe, nothing matters, not even your own life.
Indeed, in a godless universe, since nothing matters, if we are not living for our own best interests, we are fools. In a godless universe, how we live our life has no effect on how the universe unfolds; living for our own best interests is the only sane response to a godless universe. Be selfless or be selfish, be a giver or be a taker, serve others or serve yourself, it does not matter at all! Do whatever makes us happy. But don’t make the mistake of thinking we, or anything we do, matters. Because neither we, nor our loved ones, matter, nor anything done by us or to us, matters; because It Does Not! In godless universe, that is.
[It makes me ask; Why do some people try to persuade us that we do indeed live in a godless universe? * Is it because they know nothing matters and trying to persuade others this is a godless universe is a good way to sell books? * Or is it to pit their wits against another, just for the fun of it? * Or have they just not really thought all this through? Whatever the truth of their motives, I hope this essay has been enlightening.]
Before we look at adding a creator to the mix, I would like to look at two common ideas about a godless universe: Karma and Reincarnation. For the universe to be godless, there can be no consciousness of the universe, If there where consciousness, there would be a creator [which we will discussed a little later]. Neither of these ideas is particularly associated with a conscious powerful entity; an organizing entity or ‘god’. So they can only be offered as a possible explanation for a purpose to life in a godless universe; to try to make our life and choices matter.
Without a creator, one idea of Karma is that the universe is balanced; that yin is held in check by yang, that yang is held in check by yin. That the universe is balanced in regards to the amount of good and bad it contains. That the good we do offsets the bad we do. But this does not lead to improvement over time. If I do 3 good things, then I do 3 bad things, the universe is balanced; there is no improvement. If I do 3 good things, then I do another 3 good things, then 6 good things have happened. So, by balance, 6 bad things must to happen.
Another idea is of storing up Karma, in a sort of Karmic Piggy Bank. This holds that if I do 3 good things, I can expect 3 good things to come my way. [This seems to be the opposite of balance.] It suggests that good begets good, and bad begets bad. But we all know that is not how the world works. Bad people get rewards and good people get trouble. We all know of some very, very bad people; who do not get anything, even approaching, what they deserve. We all know of very, very good people; who do not get anything like what they should. The universe does not have an attribute of good and bad, of justice and injustice, of kind and unkind, or nice and nasty. These are things that we create by our words and actions. For example: a common phrase, ‘the Truth will out‘; many of us will know that this is not in the slightest true. We have all received some injustice in our life that has not been put-right. Do we really think, in a godless universe, that there is some force, or power, or energy, or balance, which puts all things ‘right’ in the end? Because, if we do, then that entity seems a pretty good candidate for a ‘god’. [However, we will see, in the following chapters, a real ‘god’ must have more than just a wish for the balance in the universe’s good and bad to be maintained.]
Additionally, what we perceive to be Good & Just is very much defined by our perspective on what is Good & Just. What is fair for one person may be unfair to another person. Without a ‘god’, how can we possibly measure what is, in fact, Just and Good?
I feel, one of the reasons why this philosophy is commonly espoused, is that it does not challenge the person in their actions. They may do whatever they wish, and if it happens to be good, from their perspective, then they can feel it will reflect well on them. It does not bring about any lasting change in that person. Just like the law does not make us into better people, karma does not instill in us a lasting change. Indeed, picking and choosing those bits we like from this philosophy or that philosophy or melding a number of philosophies together, is a recipe for: inconsistency, chaos and confusion.
The other big idea in a godless universe is that of reincarnation. This holds that the soul is an integral and inherent part of the universe, and is constantly recycled. Moving us up or down a hierarchy of living things, depending on how we lived our life this time around. But, again without a ‘god’ to guide us in good and bad, how does the universe move us up or down the hierarchy. Reincarnation also falls into many of the same problems as Karma; like: What is Good and just?
Again, I feel that this idea is liked because it does not challenge us to lead a better life. After all, I am not sure I care about coming back as a slug; I will not remember being a man. I do not know if I have ever been a slug before, so why should I care if I am again.
What is god?
So what happens if we add a creator to the mix; ‘god‘?
Well first we must define what ‘god’ is.
1st, God must be conscious. This seems a little self-evident, but it is worth noting that without God being conscious; able to think, to choose, to decide, to act, to be active, to be involved, God would be indistinguishable from a godless universe.
2nd, If the universe completely contains ‘god’, then the universe is greater than ‘god’. So ‘god’ must be greater than the universe. This means that ‘god’ must be:
- All powerful,
- All present, and
- All knowing.
If ‘god’ were not these three things;
- There would be some thing which ‘god’ does not have power over;
- There would be some place where ‘god’ was not;
- There would be some thing ‘god’ does not know.
All of which would mean the ‘god’ would not be much of a ‘god’. So when we say ‘god’, we mean, a Conscious being that is: All powerful, All present, and All knowing.
So what happens when we have a conscious: All powerful, All present, All knowing, being; ‘god’, bringing the universe in to existence; a creator? Well, nothing, really. We are still in the Baker and Yeast analogy. The baker may be the best baker the world has ever known. The best baker there will ever be. The baker will still burn to death all the yeast that did not starve to death. This ‘god’ does not care about its creation. So in this universe the same rules and guidelines apply as in the godless universe. Do whatever we want, whenever we want; still nothing matters.
This all seems very depressing. It just does not feel right. That our life and the lives of those we love and of all other people has no meaning or purpose at all. Is it really so, that nothing we do matters? Good or bad, is it all irrelevant! Alive or dead, it is all irrelevant!
Now it could be said that we would have to find our own meaning & purpose in life. Well yes; but that just seems to be finding what we want to do to make us happy for as long as our complex chemistry keeps us ‘alive‘. Do whatever makes us happy and call it our ‘purpose‘. If there is no purpose beyond death, then there really can be no purpose in life. If there is no meaning after death, then there really can be no meaning in life. Nothing means anything, everything means nothing.
Well let’s look again at the attributes of the baker and see if we can find a way out of this mess. If the baker is all wise; then the baker will know what to do in all situations. If the baker is all good; then the baker will never mislead the yeast or trick the yeast.
Does this get us any further? Well frankly No! The baker, even being: All powerful, All present, All knowing, All wise, and All good, will still burn to death all the yeast that did not starve to death.
Well this all sounds really rather grim indeed!
But there is one more characteristic that may help our existence not to be quite so irrelevant, and it is outlined in The Bible:
1John 4:-12 (NIV) Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
A loving creator: God
Now what does this all mean to our everyday life,
if God, All Powerful, All Present, All Knowing, All Wise, All Good, and All Loving, created the universe?
Well this changes everything! Every, thing! God loves us, God is interested in how we live out our life, God brought us into existence for a reason; a purpose. This sounds great: now I have a reason to live my life; I have a purpose to live my life; I have meaning to live my life. Now the fire of life I feel in me, the fire of life I see in my loved ones, the fire of life I see in all other people, indeed the fire of life I see in all of nature, has a purpose and a meaning, we are all loved by God!
So now, at last, we can drop the analogy of the baker, for now we know what ‘god’ is, God is: All Powerful, All Present, All Knowing, All Wise, All Good, and All Loving.
Whilst we are on the subject; it seems worth asking. Can there be more than one ‘god’?
Well each ‘god’ would also have to be: All Powerful, All Present, All Knowing, All Wise, All Good, and All Loving. So each ‘god’ would be completely indistinguishable from each other ‘god’, so there can be only one God. One God Only.
Where is God?
So now we must ask; Where is God then? Why hasn’t God made it clear that God exists?
Well the most obvious answer is; How would we recognise God if we saw God? God, by definition, is greater than the entire universe itself. There is no possible way for us to see God in entirety! What part of the Baker would the Yeast recognise?
The second most obvious answer is that if God loves us, God would want us to love God. So if God were to appear in the sky and say “I am God, your creator“. We would all fall to our knees and worship God, how could we possibly do otherwise; God is greater than the entire universe. But if God wanted that, then that is how God would have created the universe. If God had wanted robots, a universe populated with automata, then God would have created the universe that way.
Love that is not a choice, is not love. Love that is forced, cannot live. Which is better; the spontaneously hug from a child, or the hug ordered by the child’s parent? For love to be a choice, a real choice, it must be possible to say ‘No’. With irrefutable proof, that choice is taken away.
Why do bad things happen?
Then we may ask: “We can understand that God will not appear in the sky”, “but couldn’t God be more involved in our everyday live?”
Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?
Well my first thought is: How do we know we are not being protected from worst things? Or, would we want an audit at the end of the year, where God outlines all the bad things God protected us from? Or would we want the bad things to nearly happen, only for God to stop them happening; so we could see God was doing a bang-up job on our behalf? As though God were at our beck-and-call.
My second thought is: when would God’s protection of us become, interference? For if God is to stop people from doing bad things to us and those we love, then surely God would also have to protect other people from us. We may feel other people do not need protecting from us. But I would ask: do we have more that some other person? If we do, then are we asking that God should have stopped us gaining more, so those without, would never became ‘the poor’. Indeed, this all seems to remove choice altogether, as now we cannot even choose to do good, because God would force us to do good.
An active God
God is good.
So, like any good parent, God wishes to care for us.
There can be no real doubt that Father God is actively protecting our life;
God is good!
God is wise.
So, God knows how to teach us.
There can be no real doubt that Father God is actively guiding our life;
God is Wise!
God loves us.
So like any good parent, God wishes to teach us.
There can be no real doubt that Father God is actively teaching us within our life;
God is Love!
And, like any good parent who wishing to prepare their child for adulthood, they must give the child the space to learn: to stumble, to fall, to grow, to choose. God knows what God is doing. All things in our life are part of God’s nurturing plan for us. We can utterly trust that God knows what is best. After all: God is All Powerful, All Present, All Knowing, All Wise, All Good, and, of cause, All Loving. God is our God and our God loves us, utterly.
Well perhaps not surprisingly the choice is not vast. I have shown that a godless universe is untenable and that more than one god is impossible, so what are the choices? There really is only one. When God choose the Jewish nation as His chosen people, He could not have chosen better. I would not have chosen a small nomadic people with no homeland, to be the custodians of God’s great missive to the whole of mankind. But then, fortunately, God does not consult me on such matters. The Jewish nation, people, and religion have done a quite magnificent job of maintaining God’s message. Through the most terrible of trials, they have maintained faith in and with God, unswervingly. More than once they have weathered attempts to wipe them from the face of the planet. But they have kept safe the message that God loves His creation; Mankind. It is therefore not surprising, that mankind’s saviour; Jesus, came from the Jewish people. More people worship the God of the Old Testament; the One who said “Let There Be Light“, than all other religions and philosophies combined. [It is surprising we don’t get on better.]
Jesus’ coming, his death and his resurrection, opened the door for us to freely come into communion with God. Without this we would still be separated from God. God loves us, but God is also: All Powerful, All Present, All Knowing, All Wise, and All Good, how could we possibly commune with God, without God making it possible. By sending his son; Jesus, the very embodiment of God Himself, God is telling us of His great love for us. By His Son’s; Jesus’, death on a cross, God is telling us that any and all debts have been paid-up and paid-off, in-full forever. By Jesus’ resurrection, God is telling us that sending His only begotten Son; Jesus, His sacrifice: is, was, and always will be, enough! It is done!
Additionally, God’s choice of when to send His Son; Jesus, was also perfect. With the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, this would be the springboard for getting God’s Message out; that God loves all of mankind. Again, for me, I would not have put this message in the hands of a small group of powerless people under Rome’s thumb. But, along Roman roads, the message of Jesus’ life and atoning death and resurrection reached all of Western Europe. And in the same way it is true, through Constantinople [Istanbul], to all of Eastern Europe. Giving God’s Message a solid base for the whole world to know of God’s Love and the redeeming work of His Son; Jesus.
But this does raise another question; How are we to know of God, and about God? God is so far above us. Just as the Yeast will never fully grasp the Baker, we can never fully grasp God. But in loving us, God would still wish to communicate with us. So, at the right time, God gave us The Bible, through God’s chosen race; The Jewish people. God tells us all of His: All Powerfulness, All Presentness, All Knowingness, All Wiseness, and All Goodness. And through sending his son Jesus, (God Emanuel; God Himself, with us), God’s All Lovingness.
So the next question that presents itself is; How are we to view The Bible?
Well it is God’s word to his crated and loved people, all of us.
But I should like to start with, what The Bible is not. It is not a book of science! Science tells us how things, the universe, work. Science, at its best, tells us how God may have gone about creating the universe. What science does not do, indeed what science cannot do, is tell us about why God created the universe. Science is about ‘How‘; The Bible is about ‘Why‘.
For The Bible to be an exhaustive description of God, it would be as big as the universe. For The Bible to be a complete description of God, it would be smaller, but would still be completely beyond our comprehension. Even for The Bible to be a concise description of God, it would still be beyond any human’s ability to take in and comprehend. No, for us to have any chance of even beginning to comprehend any aspect of God, it would have to be the edited highlights of God. A cut down form that our very limited minds could take in and that each generation and culture of mankind could relate to and absorb.
Imagine trying to explain the Tax system in this country to a three year old child. We would talk in broad brush stroke descriptions. Nothing we said would be a lie or designed to be misleading. But we would not try to explain all, or most, or some, if any, of the caveats and subtleties of tax: Corporate, Income, VAT, … We would not, for instance, try to explain the difference between ‘Tax Avoidance‘ and ‘Tax Evasion‘. The three year old will only be able to take on some of the concepts of Tax, but that’s ok, they only need to know as much as we could explain to them. The problem comes when the three year old tries to explain Tax to another three year old. So The Bible does need to be written down, and it would have to be, the true, trustworthy, reliable, word of the: True, Trustworthy, Reliable, God. However The Bible comes to each of us, in whatever form, by whatever translation, it is still well within God’s plan to use it to guide each of us, on an individual basis, to know how much God loves each one of us, and how each one of us is best to live our life.
So after around eight thousand, have I proved the existence of God? Well of course not! Cleverer and more knowledgeable people than I have tried many times over the centuries, none have come even close. I suspect such a proof is beyond even the most capable and cleaver of human-being. And, as I noted earlier, a proof would negate choice. What I have tried to do in this essay though, is to delineate the choice a little better.
Our choice then is between:
A godless universe, without meaning or purpose, and
A universe created by the one and only true God, the:
All Powerful, All Present, All Knowing, All Wise, All Good, and All Loving, God.
- Either a universe where we are loved and cherished;
or a universe where we are utterly irrelevant.
- Either a universe where everything, even our own life, is meaningless;
or a universe where our choices have meaning.
- Either a universe where we have a soul;
or a universe where all life is meaningless.
- Either a universe where we have no more purpose than that of a rock on the moon;
or a universe where we can grow & progress to become all we were created to be.
I choose with all my mind, with all my heart, with all my strength, with all that I am, with all that I have; to know that I am the loved creation of an: All Powerful, All Present, All Knowing, All Wise, All Good, and All Loving, God.
Could I be wrong?
Could I be wrong? Could we really be living in a godless universe?
Well of course I could be wrong. But a godless universe is just too depressing a place to live out my life in. So I challenge you, the reader, to make your choice and then live out your life as if your choice is completely valid, and sort any errors out after death.
When I made my choice, in my late twenties, the universe began to make more and more sense. The more I lived out my choice, the more I know God loves me. The more I live to follow God, the more I trust God, and his great love for me.
When I die
And if, when I die, I find there is no God, I shall be bitterly disappointed, but I will have at least tried to make the universe a better place, even though I will have just discovered that everything I did had no meaning after all. All that toil and work and care, meant nothing to anything. But, of cause, I will not exist to feel all this, anyway.
But what if I choose the other; to live out my life as if in a godless universe. Well, when I die, I will find that there is a God. And God wished to be my Father, my Nurturer, my God, simply because I was His creation and He loved me.
What then? What if I had been offered the chance to follow the: All Powerful, All Present, All Knowing, All Wise, All Good, and All Loving, God, and I rejected it? Then what?
Well we know, through The Bible, God’s guide to us, what the rejection of Jesus’ redeeming blood, the proof of God’s Love for us, means. It means I would not be one of God’s children! I would not have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood! I would therefore have no place in God’s Heaven! There would be no room prepared for me! I would not be able complain and say I didn’t know! I could not explain that there where mitigating circumstances! I could not offer to accept Jesus’ blood only when I got to the pearly-gates! I could not do pennants to make-up for rejecting God’s Love during my time on earth! I could not have others make-up for my rejection of God’s freely offered Love! The Bible is very, very clear on this, if I do not utterly trust God to be my God and Redeemer, I have no place in Heaven with God! If I have not given my life to God and accepted Jesus’ redeeming blood before my death, I will not be “In a better place“! If I have not given my life to God and accepted Jesus’ redeeming blood before my death, I will be utterly lost and I will never ever enter Heaven, ever!
For me, the only logical choice is to accept God’s Unconditional Love. And live out my life knowing I am loved, personally, passionately, specifically; I am loved by name.
Why would anybody wish to live any other way?
God loves you! Choose this utterly, choose this without: reservation, doubt, or uncertainty, and you will learn God utterly loves you and always has and always will. Choose God!
May God bless you and keep you.