Posts Tagged ‘god’

Who Created God?

October 16, 2007

I recently watched the Nightline Face Off debate between the members of the Rational Response Squad, atheists Brian Sapient and Kelly, and Christian evangelists Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort.  I was quite disappointed in the debate as neither side did a particularly good job of presenting their arguments.  Christians watching the debate most likely walked away Christians and atheists most likely walked away atheists as neither side was particularly persuasive.

The purpose of the debate was to scientifically prove the existence of God without referring to faith or the Bible.  Unfortunately only one of two of Ray’s arguments attempted to do that, the rest relied upon the ten commandments, definitely in the Bible, and personal experiences, an argument from emotion.  The two best arguments that Ray brought up were that the universe requires a designer and that the existence of objective moral law requires the existence of a law giver. 

It is interesting to note that Kelly admitted that in order for society to function there must be objective moral law.  As I have previously written on the necessity of the existence of God for morality to exist here I will deal with the atheists objections to Ray’s other argument regarding the designer of the universe.

Ray began by pointing out that when one looks at the building the event was taking place in that due to the characteristics of the building we can infer an intelligent builder.  The existence of the building requires a cause, it didn’t just happen. The atheists made two objections to this argument. The primary objection was that if the universe requires a cause or a creator then what caused or created God.  They claimed that the universe is eternal.  Neither Ray nor Kirk even attempted to address this argument.  The other objection raised by the atheists is that one can find the builder of the building, look up the permits for the building in the city records, etc…

In regards to the first objection and what caused or created God.  As Ray and Kirk pointed out God is eternal and thus does not require a cause or creator.  The question is can the same claim be made of the universe?  Is the universe eternal as these two atheists claim?  Fortunately there is a large body of scientific evidence regarding this subject.

Consider the following excerpt from an article in Scientific American, a respected peer reviewed scientific journal:

The universe began from a state of infinite density. . . . Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe. It is not meaningful to ask what happened before the Big Bang; it is like asking what is north of the North Pole. Similarly, it is not sensible to ask where the Big Bang took place. The point-universe was not an object isolated in space; it was the entire universe, and so the answer can only be that the Big Bang happened everywhere.

Then there is this quote by Professor Stephen Hawking, himself an ardent atheist:

The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago.

Robert Jastrow, an evolutionary astronomer writes:

Now both theory and observation pointed to an expanding Universe and a beginning in time…. About thirty years ago science solved the mystery of the birth and death of stars, and acquired new evidence that the Universe had a beginning.

Louis J. Cavelli, Ph.D., Professor of Physics for the University of Alabama said:

A large body of astrophysical observations now clearly points to a beginning for our universe about 15 billion years ago in a cataclysmic outpouring of elementary particles. There is, in fact, no evidence that any of the particles of matter with which we are now familiar existed before this great event.

The fact is the expansion of the universe, cosmic microwave background radiation, and a host of other observed phenomena all point to a universe that is not eternal but had a beginning at some point in the past. Thus the question of what caused the universe is a valid one and not so easily dismissed as the Reasonable Response Squad would have you to believe and a question to which they have no answer.  The Christian faith provides that answer, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Answering Common Sense Questions – #13

October 2, 2007

This is the final blog dealing with several supposedly “common sense” questions that a church of Christ preacher or member would allegedly find difficult to answer.  These questions were dreamed up by Mr. David Martin of the Solid Rock Bapist Church and have been widely spread across the internet and are used in debates about the churches of Christ on various christian themed message boards.  The final question which Mr. Martin asks is:

The “Church of Christ” teaches that “obeying the Gospel” includes being baptized in water in order to be saved. If this is true, then how is it that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith before and without water baptism? The Bible says in Acts 5:32 that only those who obey God may receive the Holy Ghost – so what did those in Acts 10 do to obey and receive the Holy Ghost and be saved? In the light of Acts 10:34-48, Acts 11:14-18, and Acts 15:7-11, how can anyone honestly believe that water baptism is necessary to salvation? Simon Peter said their hearts were “purified by faith” (Acts 15:9) and that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ like they were (Acts 15:11); that is, before and without water baptism! We know that unsaved people do not receive or have the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Romans 8:9). We know that the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have believed on Christ (John 7:39). We know that the Holy Spirit seals the believing sinner the moment he puts his faith and trust in Christ as Savior, before he is ever baptized in water (Ephesians 1:12,13). How does the warped theolgy of Campbellism explain away these clear passages of Scripture without “muddying the waters” of truth and drowning its members in eternal damnation?

For once Mr. Martin accurately conveys the beliefs fo the churches of Christ that “obeying the gospel” includes water baptism.  In an attempt to disprove this belief he then claims that in Acts 10 the gentiles present were saved before and without water baptism. He makes this claim based on the fact that they recieved the baptism of the Holy Spirit and performed miracles before their water baptism.

First we need to begin by examining Mr. Martin’s claim that only those who obey God may receive the Holy Spirit and that unsaved people never recieve or have the Holy Spirit.  If he is wrong about this claim then his entire argument here fails.  Let us begin by looking at the four verses that he uses to support this statement.

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

This passage doesn’t help Mr. Martin’s argument as it only says that God gives the Holy Spirit to those that obey him.  If I say that I gave my children gifts on Christmas that does not mean that didn’t give gifts to others as well, I just simply did not mention any others that I may have given gifts to.  So, while this passage is an excellent passage proving that the saved will recieve the Holy Spirit it does nothing to prove the unsaved do not in any way do so.

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Here it is important that we notice that Jesus is speaking about the recieving of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  This is an important distinction as we shall see later.  Jesus is telling his disciples here that those of the world will not recieve the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  If the Spirit is ever recieved in a way that does not involve the indwelling, which we will see later that it has been, then this passage would not apply to that situation.

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Once again we see that this is speaking of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit within us and that if God’s Spirit does not dwell in us then we are not his.  Thus we can infer from this that those who are not Christ’s do not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, we see this passage doesn’t indicate that a manner of recieving the Holy Spirit that does not involve its indwelling has not been given to unbelievers.

John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

This passage as with Acts 5:32 only says that believers were going to recieve the Holy Spirit and does not comment one way or the other regarding unbelievers.  Yes believers are going to recieve the Holy Spirit.  This does not mean that there is not nor will there ever be a circumstance under which an unbeliever will in some way recieve the Holy Spirit.

Now that we have examined the passages that Mr. Martin provided let us look at scripture and see if we find any instances where one who is unsaved has recieved the Holy Spirit or performed miracles by the Spirit?  Caiaphas the high priest prophesied about the death of Jesus (John 11:49) before he and the others had Christ put to death and according to Peter all prophecy is inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20).  Thus we see here one person who was unsaved yet recieved the gift of prophecy by the Holy Spirit.  Baalam’s donkey recieved the spirit and spoke to Balaam (Numbers 22:28). Would Mr. Martin argue that this was a saved donkey?  So the idea that the spirit is never recieved in any way by the unsaved is untrue.  However, the Spirit did not dwell within either Caiaphas or the donkey.  Thus we see there is a difference between recieving the Holy Spirit in such a way as to perform miracles and recieving the spirit to live within us.

To further demonstrate this point let us consider the Samaritans that were converted by Philip’s preaching (Acts 8:5-12).  At this point they had believed and been baptized thus according to Peter they had recieved the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13).  Yet we find that they had not yet recieved the miraculous manifestation of the Holy Spirt as displayed by those who recieve Spirit baptism (Acts 8:14-17). So we see that recieving the indwelling presence of the Spirit as a seal of our salvation and recieving the miraculous manifestation of the Spirit are two different things.  According to John 14:17 and Romans 8:9 only the saved receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a seal of their salvation but there is no such passage regarding the miraclous manifestation of the Spirit.

So were Cornelius and his household saved when they recieved the baptism of the Spirit?  The first thing to note is that Cornelius was told to send for Peter and that Peter would tell him what he must do (Acts 10:6) and speak words by which he and his household would be saved (Acts 11:14).  In Luke’s account of the events he says that while Peter was speaking the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles, however, he does not specify at what point in Peter’s speech this happened (Acts 10:44).  Peter, on the other hand, when he recounted the events for the Jews back home described the events in order (Acts 11:4).  Peter says that as he began to speak the Spirit fell upon the Gentiles (Acts 11:15).  Thus if this reception of the Holy Spirit was a sign of their salvation then they were saved before hearing the words by which they were supposed to be saved. Furthermore, Peter doesn’t mention Christ or explain the gospel until the end of his speech (Acts 10:38-40). Thus if these people were saved upon being baptized with the Holy Spirit then it was without believing in Christ or hearing the gospel, which Paul says is the power of salvation (Romans 16:16).  Finally Peter states that this baptism of the Spirit had not occured since the beginning, the day of Pentecost, until then (Acts 11:15).  So this was not a common occurance that happened to all Christians as is the reception of the indwelling Spirit as a seal of our salvation but was a seperate event for a particular purpose.   On the day of Pentecost the baptism of the Holy Spirit was given to establish God’s church and open its doors to the Jews.  In Acts 10 the same baptism of the Spirit, which had not occured since as seen above,  was poured out upon the Gentiles in order to open the doors to them as well.  In neither instance was salvation the intended purpose of the Spirit baptism.  Thus Cornelius and his house were not saved before and without water baptism but were saved when they believed the gospel preached by Peter and baptized in water as he commanded them (Acts 10:48).