The Artistry of God
But the person who says there is no creator of this world seems to me to simply be illogical and irrational. The Bible tells us, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1. Thinking of this inspired a short story that I wrote for the blog Idylls for the King that I contribute to. It’s called “The Artist.” Even if a person does no know God, to believe that this world has no creator is akin to believing a painting can come into existence without a painter, or a watch without a watchmaker, or a house without a carpenter, an electrician, a plumber, a carpet layer, and many more.
I recently read a comment on a fellow blogger’s post in which the commenter claimed to have been a Christian for many years, and to know all about the Bible and to have read many Christian books. But now, she wrote, she was an atheist. I almost cried when I read this. It seems though she had gained head knowledge of the scriptures over the years she had not gained a heart knowledge of God Himself. And she had forgotten the wonder of the world He created for us to enjoy and care for.
Since this is Music Monday, I have to admit that part of what got me thinking about this whole topic was a song by Revive, whose music I was listening to a lot last week. This song is called “Something Glorious” and is set to some beautiful photographs of our wonderful world in this video.
So how does someone look at something as glorious and beautiful as a sunset, or the rainforest, or a snow-capped mountain in the distance and not see God? I think maybe it is because they focus too much on the evil in this world and can’t see the good just beyond their view. I’ve often heard the argument that if there was a God, there would not be so much violence, famine, sickness, and pain in the world, because a good and all-powerful God would just fix all the problems. But this argument completely discounts the role humans play in taking care of (or failing to take care of) the wonderful gift God has given us.
Imagine you were given a beautiful watch. The watchmaker tells you that you can’t put it under water or it won’t work as well. He also says it needs to be cleaned every year or it will gather dust that will cause it not to work properly or keep good time. You also know that if you don’t want the watch face scratched you have to be careful when you wear it.
Nonetheless, you wear your watch all the time, even in the shower or when you swim. You live an active lifestyle and you are often hitting your watch against tools or other objects. Last month you went skiing with it on, and when you wiped out you hit it against a rock that was protruding from the snow (thank goodness you didn’t hit your head!). You’ve had the watch for five or six years, but you’ve never had it cleaned. When you put it on this morning you noticed how dingy and banged up it looked, and that it had lost quite a bit of time. In fact, it was barely running.
What do you think at this point? Do you blame the watchmaker for how poorly your watch now runs? No, because it was your lack of care for the watch that led to it running poorly. Do you complain that the watchmaker didn’t come knocking at your door every time you abused the watch and fix your mess, or come insist on cleaning it when you didn’t ask him to? No, it’s your watch and it’s in your care, it’s your responsibility to take care of it and ask the watchmaker to clean it when necessary. Do you decide that there was no watchmaker in the first place? Of course not, that would be foolish.
So why, then, do some people think that what we have done to this earth and what we as humans do to each other is evidence that there is no God? Why do they expect Him to just come fix everything even when they don’t ask Him to, or even believe that He cares or exists? Such attitudes are things I ponder and do not understand.
My mind thought I believe in God but haven’t really felt God until pains and destructions came upon me. When my dreams were destroyed I cried but I wouldn’t have dreamed loftier, beyond this world, had it not been destroyed. When my relationship was severely damaged I cried but I wouldn’t have loved deeper, beyond human, had it not been damaged. When my possessions were lost I cried but I wouldn’t have aspired further,beyond earthly riches, had it not been lost. If there was no God, there will be no pains and there will be no joys — only boring empty wanderings like a mechanical toy that is produced and left to function until it is worn out and meaningless.
Linda, I am so happy, though crying, because I have been through this and thankful for it. I am glad that when I felt the pains I didn’t question God’s existence nor I ask , Why? Why do we have to ask why when we know that we took part in the malfunction when we didn’t follow the manufacturer’s manual? Why can’t we take responsibility? Why are we so unreasonable — not believing in God for the creation yet we blame Him for the destruction?
Glad that you add the watch to simplify things. I read your posts but oftentimes I can’t comment because though I thought I understand, I really don’t. Your thoughts and writings are profound but I am not blaming it — I know why I can’t understand it and I have to smile when I read Ann’s comment, “If I don’t have the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I really won’t get it.” Yes, I don’t have the guidance of the Holy Spirit most of the times because I take no real effort in knowing Him more. I just relied in my heart but it’s not enough. I am like a child who knows for sure that my Papa loves me but I don’t learn about him more that I may understand his messages and ways.
Now back to the watch. All my watches are from my hubby so naturally I am so grateful for him. I never thought about the manufacturer until it stopped running and my hubby has no capacity to make it work. Most of the times we are like that, we are only grateful to the nearest supply channel — kiddos are thankful for parents but where do parents came from? Evolution? Who designed the process of evolution? We are thankful to gravity because we do not fall from the earth. Who designed gravity?
We have so many questions about existence and if our answer isn’t the Ultimate then there is no stopping with our questioning. If the answer isn’t the Ultimate what do we need the answer for? Hmm I suspect I am a battologist right now so, I am stopping but wait I got to say woooooot to the Greatest Awesomist Artist!
Rea, What a wonderful comment! So much there I’m not sure what to say in response. You know, we are each at a different place in our understanding of our Savior and His Word, but if you desire with your heart to know Him more, He will be faithful to teach you. My thoughts on God were not always so profound and there was a time I barely knew Him at all. But your comment has encouraged me to maybe write some more basic posts, to rethink the process of how I came to my understanding of Him and share that journey. I sometimes think that the basics are too basic, but you have shown me that those who read here might need those basics to help them along in their own understanding of God’s love and mercy.
I love what you said about supply channels. “Most of the times we are like that, we are only grateful to the nearest supply channel.” I pray we would look to the Grand Manufacturer more often! Peace, Linda
I LOVED Rea’s comment too!! She knows more than she thinks she knows! 🙂 Thank you, Rea!!! You bless me and help me!
Thank you, Linda, for the beautiful song and the heart behind your post, that desires God to be seen and known and loved, because He loves us so. Reading the comments leaves me without many words to say. I’m thinking of a song by White Heart, an old song that sang, “Even the hardest heart can break like the morning.” So thankful that He draws us to Him and that hearts can change and be made new. He continues to make me new each day, continues to create in me.
God bless you and your love of Him and others!
Deb, I knew you would like the song. It’s one of my favorites by Revive. I am thankful that He continues to make me new each day as well! I like that idea that what He is doing in our hearts is continue to create. He does create in us a love that wasn’t there before. Peace, Linda
Thanks for sharing, Linda
The picture is bigger than it appears. Christianity is our reality and that makes it easier for us to accept truth. For someone who does not believe the Bible account of creation, it’s equally easy to believe alternative suggestions. If I don’t believe the scriptures, quoting them amounts to viewing air. If I don’t have the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I really won’t get it.
I deliberately avoid certain discussions but I felt compelled to share a part of my story. I want to thank you for putting this out there and I do pray that God will reveal Himself to those who desire truth. My personal experience living on both sides of the fence has taught me much. Because of the foundation I had been given, coming home was easy. Not so for many especially if they received their grounding elsewhere or who have closed all doors to reasoning and learning otherwise.
When I moved in the other circle I realized that some who thought of themselves as Atheists were Agnostics. For some, there is a belief in a higher power – but a different system of beliefs. An Almighty God (or an entity so exalted) yes. Jesus as the Way…no. There were others at different stages of confusion- seeking what we know not but knowing where we were was not the place to be. ( I found it easier for me to disprove / discount His way than to accept the possibility of a ‘maybe’. )
Jesus came to die for us but the Word in St John 6 says none can come unless the Father draws them. I choose to believe the scriptures: (44No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me makes them want to come. But if they do come, I will raise them to life on the last day. 45One of the prophets wrote, “God will teach all of them.” And so everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him will come to me. )
I know He called me. To write that experience here would take a long, long time but I have to celebrate the fact that He redeemed me and called me by name. My course of action suggested I should have been dead and gone but Mercy said NO!!
I cannot (and will not attempt to) speak for anyone but myself. The song “It Is Well With My Soul” means much to me. I tell my friends I am not afraid of death … It doesn’t mean I’m morbid. It means I have come to the place in life where I realize nothing else matters except living for Him. I love my family and the wonderful people He has placed in my life but none of them mean as much to me as my relationship with Him. If I had to live life without them tomorrow it would be very, very painful but I would not choose this world or anything in it over living for Him. I struggled ( read suffered ) once. I don’t need to do it again. It came down to me and Him and at the end of it, I surrendered.
When I lived in the wilderness, those who responded to me in love got my attention quicker than those intent on dousing me with holy water. When we look at the vast number of interpretations of the Bible and the myriad doctrines, it is easy to see why someone could stay on the other side and be quite happy with themselves. Now that I am trying to walk in His steps, I realize I was never truly happy when I wasn’t walking with Him.
I play a game called ‘angry birds’ on my Ipod. The object is to launch missiles from a catapult to destroy the enemy’s hiding place and the enemy hiding therein. God had to destroy everything I held onto and hid behind in order for me to see Him and Him alone. For others, the destruction of the things around them pushed them further and further away from Him. Even then, He waits with open arms.
There are still people close to me who have walked away from Him and who still continue to walk away from Him. I too am saddened but I cannot be held responsible for the actions of an adult. I have the option to share Christ, they have the option to reject Him. I live the way I think He wants me to live and leave the rest to Him but I choose to believe they will come home.
P.S. In my state of ignorance, I blamed the watchmaker .
Redeemed and grateful,
P.S. – Pardon me if I sound jumbled. I was trying to get all the thoughts out before my fingers got tired 🙂 .
Ann, Thanks for such a thoughtful comment; it didn’t seem jumbled at all to me. I love the verse you quoted from John 6. That is what I often pray for family and friends who don’t know Jesus, that that Father will draw them to His Son. You are exactly right in your conclusion: “I have the option to share Christ, they have the option to reject Him. I live the way I think He wants me to live and leave the rest to Him but I choose to believe they will come home.” I am also redeemed and grateful. Peace, Linda
“How did this complex and interconnected world come into being without a creator?”
Depends on what you mean by ‘complex’, ‘interconnected’ and ‘world.’
If you just mean the planet…gravity is pretty much all the explanation we need. If you mean the life on the planet, then evolution through natural selection explains how life became so varied and connected.
You’ll have to be a bit more specific if you’d like a more specific answer.
“but I can’t figure out how the thousands (probably more) species of flowers came into being”
Because there were biological niches in which those flowers could adapt in order to survive. The environment causes flowers (like any living thing) to either adapt or die. Countless more types of flowers than currently exist died out because they didn’t or couldn’t adapt. Some could, which explains the ones that exist now.
I agree with you that they’re beautiful. But that’s a subjective judgment.
“so I’d have to say I know better what I have experienced”
I didn’t mean to call into question your experience. I merely am calling into question whether or not your experience matches up with reality.
For example, I have a friend who says he was abducted by aliens. He had an experience which has caused him to believe that he was taken aboard an extra terrestrial ship and inspected by aliens. I don’t doubt his honesty. I’m sure he believes what he tells me. But I don’t believe that he was actually abducted. I believe something occurred that caused him to believe that. And unless or until I am, myself, abducted…or other evidence appears to confirm his story…I won’t believe that he was actually abducted. And the same applies to you.
I’m sorry, but “gravity” and the theory of evolution are insufficient, in my opinion, to explain the existence of life on this planet or the way in which the various species depend on one another and depend on the very atmosphere that this planet has (and even contribute to it – such as plants using the carbon dioxide mammals exhale and mammals breathing the oxygen plants produce – which is what I mean by interconnected). And if the love I have experienced is not reality, I don’t want to know reality. I hope and pray you will know that love one day. Thank you for the lively discussion. Peace and love to you, Linda
“are insufficient, in my opinion”
In your opinion they are insufficient. But in reality, they are the explanations we have based on the evidence. You are, of course, free to have any opinion you want.
“And if the love I have experienced is not reality, I don’t want to know reality. ”
If you don’t care about what is demonstrably true, then asking anyone to explain to you how the world works or became the way it is seems the tiniest bit dishonest.
I never suggested that my opinion was not based on the evidence I have seen and considered. But now it seems you are just trying to be argumentative, and I think I shall concede that you will not be convinced by the evidence either. Thanks again for your comments. Peace, Linda
“(though I suspect you don’t think hope is necessary)”
Not at all. On the contrary, I view hope as a good thing.
I just don’t think hope in what your religion promises is the only kind of hope out there. And I don’t believe what your religion promises actually exists, thus negating any hope it may inspire. Hope is great. False hope, not so much.
“But I do find it interesting that so many of the commenters on a blog called “Belief Blog” profess to be atheists and spend so much time there trying to discount the beliefs of others.”
As we don’t have our own places on CNN on which to comment, why not comment there?
The hope I have is actually not in a religion, it is in a person and it is in love. My Savior calls me to love my neighbor and love my enemy as He first loved, by laying down His life for me and for all of humanity. I’m not sure what it is you think the Christian faith promises that you do not believe exists, but what I know Christ promises is a to make me a new creation. I have personally experienced the change He has made in my own heart and is making daily, calling me to love in a way I never did and never could before I knew Him. Peace, Linda
“I’m not sure what it is you think the Christian faith promises that you do not believe exists”
The deity, whether you call it Jesus or God or Yahweh or Christ. Or any other name. That’s what I don’t believe in. Along with any sort of afterlife.
“I have personally experienced the change He has made in my own heart”
I don’t know what that means.
But I don’t question whether or not you’ve experienced something. I just don’t believe you experienced what you think you did.
“calling me to love in a way I never did and never could before I knew Him”
I don’t know what kind of love you mean, but I imagine I can love in all the same ways.
Which brings us back to the point of my original post and my question for you. How did this complex and interconnected world come into being without a creator? I am not a scientist either, but I can’t figure out how the thousands (probably more) species of flowers came into being or why if there was not a creator who had an eye for beauty and created them.
As for my experience, I was there (and I am here now experiencing it) so I’d have to say I know better what I have experienced in terms of how His love has changed me than you would and whether you believe it does not change that. I am sorry you don’t know the kind of love I am talking about, because it is a divine love – the Greeks called it agape – and it is more wonderful than anything else I have ever known. Peace, Linda
“I almost cried when I read this.”
I have no desire to make you cry more, but the vast majority of atheists that I have encountered were once Christians and have read all about Christianity and the Bible. Myself included.
“So why, then, do some people think that what we have done to this earth and what we as humans do to each other is evidence that there is no God?”
Who does? Could you give examples of people who use this as evidence?
It might be evidence against the existence of some type of gods that people claim to believe in. But it isn’t evidence that there isn’t a god at all.
Thanks for the comment. It does make me a little sad that you have explored Christianity and now have somehow reached the conclusion that there is no God. As for the commenter that almost made me cry, there was more to the comment that I didn’t include, and that was that she was feeling quite hopeless. She even has a blog titled “Living Suicidal.” It was her hopelessness that really made me sad. I am encouraged, however, by the fact that there are plenty of former atheists who have come to know the love of God through Jesus Christ, even some famous ones like C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel. There is always hope (though I suspect you don’t think hope is necessary).
As for the question you quoted and your query as to where I have heard this argument. The question came from this argument earlier in my post:
I’ve seen this argument many times in the comments on the CNN Belief Blog. Now whether those who make this argument are serious, or are just atheists (or not, it’s hard to tell sometimes) trying to cause a stir on in the comments, I don’t know for sure. But I do find it interesting that so many of the commenters on a blog called “Belief Blog” profess to be atheists and spend so much time there trying to discount the beliefs of others. Peace, Linda