Because it’s been coming up every so often in my personal life, let’s discuss metaphysics, shall we?
Solomon laments the task of philosophizing in Ecclesiastes (a book estimated to have been written nearly 3,000 years ago) when he states (ch 1 v 9-11 NKJV):
That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who come after.
Some of the most basic questions pondered throughout the eons concern questions of metaphysics. What is the universe and how did it get here? Is the universe eternal or was it created? If it was created was it created by one god or many gods? If there is a god or gods, where did s/he or they come from? And one of the most fascinating questions is, how is it possible that there came to exist anything at all?
Regrettably, a lot of the discourse on this matter in contemporary times is sullied by a false dichotomy that pits science vs. religion, as if having faith makes it impossible to see the utility in science or being a scientist requires one to abandon the “God hypothesis.” On the extreme end of things, certain scientific explanations take on faith-like qualities of their own – I would argue, in any case, that it takes a lot of faith to believe that something can be derived out of nothing, or that a universe with this much order (from the laws governing celestial bodies to the laws governing microbial bodies and everything beyond and in between) was a result of mere chance. But I don’t mean to get into a protracted analysis of science and faith here, particularly when I’m out classed and others have already written well on the subject.
Nor do I mean to drag out all the old philosophical arguments for and against different worldviews – though, I may get to that one day. No, today I just thought I’d share some scripture that has spoken to me and ask if they speak anything to you. The metaphysical question I’m addressing is whether or not God (YHWH) exists. First, I submit a small quote from Romans (ch 1 v 20-25 NKJV):
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, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Paul’s argument here is that mankind has always known God existed. As David rejoices in Psalm 19, “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.” Creation itself is evidence for a creator – when we stumble across a cabin in the woods we don’t assume nature put it there through a combination of chance, luck and time…we assume someone built the cabin!
But soon man was overcome with futile thoughts (take note of this, as the mind is the strategic center for spiritual warfare, which I’ll write about in the future) and his heart was darkened. Professing to be wise – and surely, many atheists and agnostics and critics of YHWH, Yeshua, and the Bible come across as not merely just wise, but articulate, cogent and intelligent – man began to create their own God or gods. And one must ask where this wisdom comes from – as James would warn us (ch 3 v 15), some wisdom “does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”
I could quote the rest of Romans chapter 1, which essentially deals with a reprobate mind, but the sum and substance of it really comes down to people being deceived. They think life is better free from YHWH’s “rules” and “laws” and system of morality – certain influential atheists have even gone as far to say they developed and propagated their views simply because they wanted to be free to sleep around and do drugs (direct quotes available in this video – sorry, don’t have time stamps – and here). Now, I don’t mean to impute judgment on people who want to live that kind of a lifestyle, but what I’m getting at is that people like that don’t realize they’re being deceived into thinking they are free when really they’re creating bondages for themselves.
This notion that one needs to prove that YHWH exists or prove He doesn’t exist is silly to me. Admit it, like it, or not, all we have to guide us through this life is our belief system. Changing beliefs is famously difficult. Most people demand “evidence” and pretend to “objectivity” but really we all have the human tendency to listen to what we want to hear and believe what we want to believe. This, I think, is one distinguishing mark of a true disciple of Yeshua – Yeshua promises the path will be narrow, full of adversity, and that, just as he did, his disciples will have to take up their own crosses and lay down their own lives (die to self) for their brothers. But he also states in John 18:37 that the entire purpose for his coming was to bear witness to the truth, and elsewhere in John that most famous of quotations that the truth shall set us free.