I Don’t Believe in God!

Q. “Don’t tell me about your religion. I don’t believe in God.” How would you answer that?

A. There are many ways to approach this. Let’s start by defining what, or who, we mean. The Oxford Dictionary defines god as “the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being”:
• Creator means “a person or thing that brings something into existence”;
• Ruler and source of all moral authority implies, as a minimum, intelligence and goodness; and
• Supreme being means the highest person.

For people who don’t believe in God, even though they may not say it, essentially they are denying:
A creator or First Cause. The Law of Cause and Effect states that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause. If you trace our physical universe to its beginning, it must be caused by something or someone outside of itself. It cannot cause itself into existence, otherwise it would violate the law of non-contradiction. This is because the universe must exist in order for it to create anything, and it must not exist such that it has to be created. But self-creation requires both to be true simultaneously, and it simply can’t be, otherwise logic breaks down and there is no basis for reasoning. So a transcendent First Cause must pre-exist our universe, whom we call the Creator.
A designer. If you examine our universe, you will observe order (e.g. planetary orbits), symmetry (e.g. structure in organisms), and intricate design such that things work together. Just as a building requires an architect and a painting requires a painter, so this careful design requires a highly intelligent Designer who planned and executed everything.
A person. Not only is the First Cause all-powerful in order to create the universe, and all-knowing to design all living and inorganic matters, He must have personality as we have intellect, emotions, an innate sense of right and wrong (morals), and a will to decide, as that which is created, namely us, cannot be greater than the creator.

So simple logic tells us that an omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), moral being (person) exists, and we call this First Cause Designer God. To say that you don’t believe in God simply tells us that you do not want to accept the evidence, which are plenty. It does not change the fact that God exists, who you can know if you care to find out.

Contradicting God’s Power?

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Q. Jesus dying on the cross is the only way to take us from our punishment for our sins. If there is any another way, God would have answered Jesus prayer of taking this cup away from Him. But doesn’t this contradict the fact that with God, everything is possible?

A. No it does not. We need to be careful how we interpret theological statements:
Mt 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Also Mk 10:27, Lk 18:27)
• Lk 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.

When the Bible says with God all things are possible, and nothing will be impossible with God, it was contrasting what’s humanly very hard, to the point of being almost impossible, namely for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, or a barren woman to conceive a son in her old age, with what’s divinely possible. It does not mean absolute impossibility, since rich people like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in God’s kingdom (Mt 8:11; Lk 13:28).

What it means is that anything that can be accomplished with power is possible with God, as God’s power is unlimited, and nothing is too difficult for Him:
Gen 18:14 Is anything too difficult for the LORD?
• Num 11:23 The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”
• Jer 32:17 ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,
• Jer 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?

But doesn’t God’s omnipotence means He can do anything and everything without limitation? The answer is both yes and no. Yes He can do anything achievable with power, but no He cannot act against His own nature:
2 Tim 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
• Tit 1:12 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
• Heb 6:18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
• Jas 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

There is no external limit to His power; but His power is subject to His nature of being absolutely holy and utterly opposed to evil. As such He is faithful, cannot lie, and cannot be tempted, because He cannot deny His nature. His divine being, who He is, demands this, and He can never change (immutable). Therefore it is more theologically correct to qualify the statement “with God all things are possible” with the clause “consistent with His nature“, which the biblical narrative omits as it is not a theology textbook.

Now back to the question “does Jesus’ death on the cross being the only way to save us contradict with God all things are possible?”. No it does not. Humanly speaking it is impossible to save mankind any other way. Only the perfect Son of God becoming our substitute can atone for our sins, and Jesus did exactly that. What’s impossible with people is possible with God.

In classical logic, the law of non-contradiction states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time i.e. something cannot be both true and not true at the same time in the same sense. Here the statements “Jesus’ death is the only way” and “with God all things are possible” are not mutually exclusive. There is no contradiction.

The Incarnation a Contradiction?

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Q. I don’t understand you Christians. You say Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Isn’t that a contradiction? 100% God leaves 0% man. 100% man means 0% God. You can’t have 200% of a single person. Don’t you mean 50-50, or some other combination adding up to 100%? You can’t have it both ways!

A. I’ve heard the accusation that the Incarnation is a contradiction in other forms. For example, as God Christ is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent etc. As man, Christ is not omnipotent, not omniscient, not omnipresent etc. You can’t be both at the same time. Isn’t this a contradiction? You can’t have your cake and eat it too!

No, this is not a contradiction. When we say Jesus is fully God, we mean He has all the fullness of Deity:
* Col 1:19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
* Col 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

Although fullness means 100%, it is not additive. For example, I am 100% my father’s son, and 100% my children’s father, but that does not mean I am 200% of a father-son hybrid. You cannot sum them.

Secondly, according to the law of non-contradiction, in order for there to be a real contradiction, something needs to be both true and not true at the same time in the same respects. Otherwise you only have an apparent contradiction or paradox, not a true one.

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The Incarnation states that Jesus the Son of God took on human flesh i.e. became man. He thus has two natures, a divine nature and a human nature. His divine nature has infinite power, knowledge, and is not limited in space and time. His human nature, however, is finite and has limited power, knowledge, and subject to limitations of space and time. So He is at the same time God in His divine nature, and human (not God) in His human nature. There is no contradiction as we are referring to two different natures. It would only be a contradiction if He is both God and not-God at the same time within His divine nature, or both man and not-man at the same time within His human nature, but that’s not what the doctrine states, hence no contradiction.

The Trinity a Contradiction?

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Q. You Christians believe in three Gods: the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet you say there is only one God. You are contradicting yourself and totally confusing! How can anyone believe you?

A. Christians believe in one God who exists in three persons, not three Gods. There is no contradiction. The answer involves classical logic, the law of non-contradiction, which states that something cannot be both true and not true at the same time when dealing with the same context.

Those who say that the Trinity is a contradiction misunderstand what the doctrine actually said. They think that it said:
* God is one being and God is three beings, or
* God is one person and God is three persons
at the same time and in the same respect, in which case it would indeed be a contradiction. However, that’s not what the doctrine states.

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The doctrine actually says that God is one being in three persons. Being is the essence or nature. It is who you are. God’s essence is that He is deity, that which makes Him God. Persons means independent individuals, distinct from each other. The Bible teaches that there are three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are distinct from but equal to each other. Rightly understood, the doctrine of the Trinity states that there is one God, one essence, and this one essence exists in three Persons. God is one in one sense (being), and three in another sense (persons). It does not state that God is one and God is three in the same sense at the same time. There is no violation of the law of non-contradiction once you define everything clearly.