March 18, 2014

Cliff's Edge

However hokey it might sound, I see the reality of God everywhere.

That anything at all, whatever it is, exists, is powerful evidence for a Creator. Rocks, teakettles, stars—nothing came from itself. The scientific fad, which claims that the universe arose from nothing, is mere ad hoc metaphysical speculation garbed with all the epistemological privilege that science sanctimoniously awards itself.

“Why,” Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz famously asked a few centuries ago, “is there something rather than nothing?” The most logical answer remains what it has always been: because a self-existing and eternal God created everything (John 1:1-3).This, despite the firm declarations of many scientists, backed up by rigorous laboratory experiments (and a few equations to boot), that God doesn’t exist and that we are here by chance alone.

And, too, design in the created world still declares, without ceasing, a Designer. Though for centuries many have surrendered the teleological argument to David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, they’ve capitulated to a Potemkin village, and a shoddy one at that. An iPhone, which looks designed, acts designed, reveals design in its innards and outwards, and works only through design is, of course, designed. But a human being, which looks designed, acts designed, reveals design in its innards and outwards, and works only through design is, of course (we are assured by the “best and brightest”) not designed.

Whom am I to believe, Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin, and Christopher Hitchens, or my own eyes and brain (as well as Moses, Isaiah, Paul, John, and Jesus)?

The biggest question people have with God is the prevalence of evil. But nothing in the premise of an all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful God deductively demands the nonexistence of evil. The great controversy forms a powerful template and background that enables me to press on in faith, despite the evil that rattles our souls.

Sure, someone could justly argue that with this template I’m working from a priori presuppositions about how the world works, though (trust me) these are not a priori. Yet they are presuppositions. But so what? Nothing can be believed without presuppositions. The key is to have the correct ones.

Very early as a believer in Jesus, I struggled with the question: With so many faiths, views, and religions out there, how do I know Seventh-day Adventism is the truth? Bernie Molnar, one of my first Seventh-day Adventist contacts, instantly answered: “Well, it’s certainly not unreasonable to think that with all those views out there at least one of them is true.” I so appreciated his answer then. And today, 34 years later, I still fall back on it.

I can hear the so-called progressives scowl and protest about how arrogant, triumphalist, and narrow is the attitude that we have the truth. Oh, let ’em squawk. I’m used to the sad fact that in my 34 years in the church, I’ve faced more opposition to my faith from so-called Adventists than from anyone else.

I see the reality of God everywhere. I think of Kant’s famous saying: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” And though I won’t phrase it as he did, the more often and steadily I reflect on everything that is—houses, butterflies, iPhones—it’s apodictic that a Creator exists.

And with the grand revelation of Him in the Bible, which includes powerful evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, along with the confirming ministry of Ellen White, and my own life-changing experiences with Jesus, what else can I be but a Seventh-day Adventist?

Believing that we have the truth doesn’t mean we have all the answers. Are you kidding? If I have intellectual nightmares about the fact that negative six multiplied to negative six equals positive 36 (and yet –6 + –6 + –6 + –6 + –6 + –6 = –36!), how can I make sense of the Holocaust, the Trinity, or Daniel 11?

I can’t. But who cares? I still see God in everything, even in all that I don’t know.