by Bill Nugent
What follows is a lively debate at a college near you:
The atheist debater was definitely a product of the sixties. His bushy hair was speckled gray as was his full beard. His affable mannerisms concealed a sharply honed wit and professorial style by which he argued the case for evolution and atheism. At this point in the debate the atheist is allowed to ask the creationist a question. He sought to bloody his opponent with a query that would be difficult or impossible for the creationist to answer. He asked “If there is an intelligent, rational designer of life that you call God, why did He design birds like ostriches with wings too weak for them to fly and pigs with extra toes that don’t even touch the ground?” The atheist’s cheering section giggled with delight.
The creationist gripped his podium tightly and thought for a moment. He answered “Now this is amusing. My atheist opponent asks a question that objects to God on theological terms. This is Atheist theology! Notice how the evolutionist attempts to read God’s mind and implicitly say that God must behave in a certain way (i.e., rationally) or the evolutionist won’t believe in Him. The futility of the above argument is readily apparent and it is easily rebutted. This is because the first question facing the atheistic evolutionist is not the character (rationality) of God but the EXISTENCE of God. My atheist opponent implicitly argued that if God is not rational then He must not exist. That argument is absurd on its face. Of course an irrational God can exist! Any irrational being can exist. Irrationality does not imply lack of existence or even lack of intelligence. Many brilliant people are irrational in certain aspects of their character. Let me hasten to explain however, that the Bible teaches that God is rational and that flightless birds and other creatures that seem irrational to man are explained in the pages of the Bible.
“No one argues against the fact that human beings are intelligent, rational beings. Look at the buildings, bridges and planes designed and built by man. These things look immensely rational but have you ever been to a museum of modern art? Have you ever seen anything rational in there? Modern art from a purely rational standpoint seems as useless as the wings on an ostrich. By the way, even ostrich wings are useful in cooling the body and have decorative feathers. Intelligent, rational human beings produce irrational art and no one argues that people are irrational or unintelligent and no one says people don’t exist!
“Can’t God be artistic? Isn’t God allowed to use artistic License? God created man in His own image. Man is artistic because God is artistic! What seems to be irrational often does, upon further investigation, have rational value.
“If this alone were not enough to rebut the enigmatic question of my atheist opponent then we should consider what the Bible teaches about the curse that came upon all of creation because of man’s sin. The curse upon creation brought all kinds of bizarre phenomena into the world. Genesis 3:17-19 and Romans 8:20-22 state that creation is under a curse because of sin and for this reason creation is subject to futility. The curse not only explains the perceived irrationality of flightless birds but it also explains the whole matter of the existence of evil.”
At this time the atheist stood up and objected. “Your time is up!”He thundered. “Enough on that question.” Let me ask you this.“How can an all-loving God allow evil to exist in His creation?” The creationist calmly but firmly began to answer this second question.
“First, God did not reveal Himself in the Bible as an all loving God. Love is but one major aspect of His character. The Bible states that “God is love” (I John 4:8) but also states that “God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). God has great love for humankind but God also has great wrath against sin. In His love and kindness God offers us reconciliation and forgiveness through the death and resurrection of His Son. If anyone refuses God’s kind offer of reconciliation then such a one implicitly chooses to be separated from God’s loving presence (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). That place of separation from God is not a good place to be.
“The atheistic argument that states ‘A good God cannot allow evil’ can also be said to be absurd because the primary issue facing the atheist is not whether God is good or bad but whether or not God EXISTS! Once we determine that God exists then we can discuss His character. The Bible reveals that God exists and that God is good. Indeed, God is so good that He must take wrathful action against evil.”
I hope you’ve been amused and enlightened by the above novelette. I’ve written in several Defending the Faith articles about the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows that life is far too complex to have formed by chance. There is an intelligent, rational, artistic, loving (yet wrathful against sin) designer of life who is God. God has revealed Himself to humanity through the Bible. The fact that the Bible is inspired by God is confirmed by archaeology, history, manuscript evidence (Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.) prophecy and fulfillment of prophecy. The Bible is God’s love letter to humanity in which He invites us to receive everlasting life.