Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 19 Number 9 September 2017
Page 2

Editorial

Overwhelming
Circumstantial Evidence

Louis Rushmore“Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact—like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly—i.e., without need for any additional evidence or inference” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumstantial_evidence). Another source further defines “circumstantial evidence” to be “evidence in a trial which is not directly from an eyewitness or participant and requires some reasoning to prove a fact” (emphasis added, http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=191).

In a sense, God is on trial as to His very existence. What do the facts establish? Does sufficient evidence exist to prove the existence of God? If God exists, has He provided mankind any guidance respecting this life or eternity to come?

In the legal sense, there is no direct evidence establishing the existence of God. By that, we mean no one living today has had or presently experiences direct communication with or observes God. Claims to the contrary by some people lack credibility. God has in the past interacted directly and dynamically with humanity, but no evidence exists that He operates amidst us openly today—providentially and unseen, yes, but not directly and visible (e.g., not with ongoing Bible miracles). Therefore, if there is evidence, today, for the existence of God, it must be indirect or circumstantial evidence. Does circumstantial evidence sufficiently prove the existence of God?

There are two primary lines of circumstantial evidence that absolutely, beyond the shadow of any doubt prove the existence of God. Together, they provide overwhelming circumstantial evidence of the existence of God. Consequently, all of mankind ought to concern itself with its conduct on earth because there definitely is an eternity looming ahead of each soul—eternal reward in heaven where God dwells, or eternal punishment away from God in a devil’s hell.

First, the existence of the universe and everything in it proves that God exists. What the Bible says through the pen of the apostle Paul in Romans pertains to proof of the existence of God simply because of the existence of the universe and everything in it. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20 NKJV).

Obviously, there are many things around each of us that were designed by and made by mere mortals (e.g., automobiles, airplanes, buildings). One could enumerate a very long—nearly endless—list of items that unmistakably were designed and made by someone. None of the things on such a list just happened into existence by themselves, and nothing on such a list would be confused with something that occurs naturally without human intervention. It would be severe delusion to conclude otherwise.

We could make another list of things that equally declare by their existence that they were designed by an intelligent mind and brought into existence. The stuff so listed here, mankind is incapable of producing the first specimen, though he may be able to propagate the successive copies of something he did not create (e.g., plant trees). Among the items on this list would be the intricate, expansive universe with all of its moving parts. Man is unable to make the stars, the planets, the sun, the moon and the intelligent relationship they sustain to each other. Earth’s layers of atmosphere, birds, animals, aquatic life, humans and innumerable other considerations are completely beyond the capability of mankind to bring into existence from nothing. All things that exist of which man is not the inventor have the fingerprints of God on them.

Evolution is the alternative, God-hating theory advanced in a futile effort to displace God as the Intelligent Creator. It depends for its supposed machinery on mindless happenchance over millions of years. Evolution encourages people to embrace the illogical theory that the impossible is somehow possible if allowed enough time to transpire. That reminds me of a joke about a manufacturing company that though it was losing money on each product sold, it expected to make a profit in the long run through the volume of sales. Is it any wonder that once industrial giant eventually went out of business?

Evolution is merely a theory because there exists neither direct evidence nor circumstantial evidence to establish it as a fact. Furthermore, evolution is unscientific because it neither is observable nor can it be demonstrated even under the controlled circumstances of a modern laboratory.

Evolution can neither explain the first existence of matter nor can it explain the first cause. Aside from that, a non-living thing never produces a living thing—has not and does not! A rock is a rock, and it will always be simply a rock; for instance, a rock will never turn into a dog or a cat—not even after millions of years.

Evolution would have us believe that over millions of years a creature would develop changes to better exist in the world, such as defensive mechanisms or adapting to hostile environments. If developing a defensive mechanism over millions of years were necessary for a creature to survive, it would die out almost immediately—not having those defensive mechanisms. If a giraffe required a long neck to eat from the tops of trees in order for it to live, and it would take millions of years for that feature to materialize, all giraffes would have died of starvation almost immediately.

Design evidences a designer. The evidence of design in things that are beyond the human capability to produce is evidence of a Divine Designer—God. Something called irreducible complexity especially proves the existence of a Divine Designer—God.

In biochemist Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box, it is demonstrated how many cellular systems are “irreducibly complex” at the molecular level, and as such could not have come about by the gradual step by step processes of evolution, by mutation and natural selection. In order to evolve, multiple systems would have to arise simultaneously, and the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. In his Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Evolution has no explanation for such irreducible complexity. Instead of existence by chance or accident, such systems argue for intelligent design.

One example of irreducible complexity above the molecular level is the Bombardier Beetle. It has within it two glands containing different chemicals that when spewed out together, mixed with enzymes and heated result in a pressurized, combustible squirt toward anything or anyone threatening it.

The question must now be asked, “How did this beetle get such an extravagant mechanism of self-defense?” The evolutionist must believe in millions of small accidents and changes to get this mechanism. Yet, why would a beetle evolve any of this mechanism if it did not produce a beneficial result the first time it was used? The mixture is of no use without the enzymes. The enzymes are of no use without the mixture. The mixture and enzymes are of no use without the combustion tube. The combustion tube is of no use without the valves to control direction and build up pressure. This could go on and on, but what it really means is that there is no way that this defensive mechanism could come about unless it all happened at once. An impossibility for evolution, a simple matter for the Great Designer! “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). (David P. Everson)

“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalms 19:1). “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained” (Psalms 8:3). The fingerprints of God are all over the created universe, on everything in it that man did not fashion and upon humans themselves. The created universe provides overwhelming circumstantial evidence of the existence of God.

Secondly, the existence of the Bible proves the existence of God. There is no other volume on Earth that is comparable to the Bible. Externally and internally, the Bible has upon it the fingerprints of God.

The Bible evidences within its pages a divine source of inspiration that is noticeably different from common, human inspiration. Both testaments claim to be divinely inspired, in accordance with summary statements about being God-inspired and Holy Spirit-given (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21). The continuity and consistent compatibility throughout the 66 books that comprise the Bible far supersedes anything written by mere mortals. This is particularly noteworthy since the Bible was written by about 40 God-inspired, human penman, most who did not know each other, from different countries and possessing varying degrees of education, over about 1,600 years in three languages. The Bible is logical, and it fits together from cover to cover like a giant jigsaw puzzle without either any missing or any extra pieces.

The message of the Bible when implemented into the lives of its readers brings about a better, healthier, happier life on earth, and it promises a pleasant eternal habitation beyond the grave. What’s not to like—except for the fact that the Bible calls upon mankind to submit to the will of God—refraining from sin and pursuing righteousness. No one likes to be told what to do, but God possesses both the right by way of creation and the authoritative power to reward or punish as He sees fit.

Externally, the Bible is no less a remarkable book without peers on Earth. Unlike any other volume, the New Testament alone has over 5,000 partial or whole Greek manuscripts attesting to the message of God to man. In addition, over 9,000 ancient versions or translations of the New Testament confirm the message of God for man today. Beyond that, quotations of Scripture in numerous antique historical writings and lectionaries support the biblical message, too. Even copies of manuscripts a millennium apart from each other verify the carefulness with which the Bible text has been preserved providentially by God. The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah bears extraordinary agreement with the manuscript from which our English translation of Isaiah was made, though there exists 1,000 years between the two manuscripts.

Each book in the Bible bears the marks of divine authorship, in contradistinction from contemporarily written books and other writings that have been shown to be forgeries. Textual criticism and scholarship regarding the original languages have demonstrated that the Bible today is at least 99.5% identical to the original God-sent messages and no biblical doctrine is adversely affected by the .5% of the Bible where there exists a minor question. No other written communication on Earth possesses anything comparable to the credibility and to the validation attributed through external evidences to the Bible.

The fingerprints of God are all over the Bible itself—inside and out. There is overwhelming circumstantial evidence of the existence of God by the very presence and integrity of the Bible—the Word of God. “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalms 119:89). “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psalms 119:105).

In conclusion, both the created universe and the Bible (internally and externally) provide overwhelming circumstantial evidence of the existence of God. Therefore, it behooves mankind to hearken to the instructions of God, which appear within the pages of the Bible. People living today are under the guidance particularly of the New Testament (Hebrews 8:6, 13) portion of the Bible.

There is sufficient evidence to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that God exists. What does that mean for you and me regarding His instructions that He provided to us through the revelation of His Holy Word in the form of the Bible? How ought the acknowledgement of the existence of God as well as the availability of His written instructions impact our lives? How should we live our lives? What preparation ought we and all of humanity to make for entering into eternity where God is? Within the New Testament especially, one can find the answers to acceptably remedying man’s sin problem, how God wants to be worshipped, Christian living, Christian service and Christian doctrine. However, be careful because manmade denominational doctrines often mislead regarding salvation, worship, Christian living, Christian service and Christian doctrine. “…let God be true but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:4).


Editorial

Why Do Some
People Leave God?

Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor

When one considers both the goodness and severity of God (Romans 11:22), it behooves us to ask the question, “Why do some people leave God?” God’s goodness should cause a person to fall to his knees in loving adoration for all the continual blessings God bestows. On the other hand, God’s severity should cause a person to continue to walk with God and to stay close to Him to avoid the terrible wrath of a just God. There are many reasons why some people leave God. While I am certain the following is not an exhaustive list, I submit that most reasons fall into one of the following three areas.

Firstly, some people leave God because of sin. Obviously, sin separates and divides a soul from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), but often those same sins keep a person from ever coming back. The devil makes sin look so appealing and rewarding. Sin can seem so appealing and rewarding that many believe a sinful life is the “in thing” and to do otherwise would be dull and boring. Thus, some love sin and have no desire to turn back to God. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:19-20). Alexander Pope is credited for correctly saying, “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Secondly, some people leave God because of storms. Sometimes a catastrophe comes upon a person or his family, and the first question asked is, “Why God?” “Why did God allow this to happen?” However, that question is a misunderstanding of God and His dealings with mankind. For example, there are certain laws of this earth which were placed into effect at creation, and they cannot be changed. An object set in motion will continue unless acted upon by some other force greater than itself. If a child is sled riding down a hill and hits a tree head-on and is killed, while that is an extremely horrific event, God certainly is not to blame. That is simply the laws of nature working in this world. The storms of life come to every person upon this earth at some point or another. We must realize that this world is not Heaven, and such trials and tribulations are a very common thing (John 16:33; Revelation 2:10). Sin and suffering are a result of living in a world filled with sin. Surely, that is what will make Heaven so sweet (Revelation 21:4).

Thirdly, some people leave God because of scars. Living among people can, at times, be very difficult. Often our greatest disappointments and hurts come from those who are closest to us. Consider the wonderful body of Christ, the church. How many people have walked away from God because of being hurt by another Christian? Personally, some of my deepest wounds in life have come from those who claim to love Jesus. However, before walking out on God, there are a couple things we must consider. People are people, even Christians! As such, we all sometimes do things that we should not. Often it may take years for a Christian who has wronged us to admit that wrong, and even still, some may never admit it! Also, carefully consider that not everyone who claims Christianity is Heaven bound! Remember, Jesus made that very point crystal clear (Matthew 7:21ff). Each week there are “many” according to the Master who will enter buildings designated “church of Christ” but will never please God because of hypocrisy and a lack of love for Him and the brethren. Jesus said it is easy to identify fakes based on the fruit they produce (Matthew 7:16-20). How easy would it have been for Jesus to walk away from His mission of seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10) because Judas was not sincere (Psalm 41:9)!

Sadly, God often fails to get the credit for all the good things in life, which He rightfully deserves (James 1:17), but far too often He gets the criticism for things for which He is not to blame. Some leave God because they love sin; some leave God because life’s storms seem unbearable, and yet others leave God because of the deep scars that simply come because we are human and those with whom we deal are human as well. Dear reader, remember God is the only One Who can free us from sin; He is the only One who can navigate us through storms, and He is the only balm for life’s hurtful scars. Don’t blame God! Love Him, adore Him, stay close to Him and spend eternity with Him when this transient life is over. You will be so glad!


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