Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ancient of Days (1)

(Painting) Ancient of Days by William Blake

I watched till thrones were put in
And the Ancient of Days was
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like
pure wool . . .

And the books were opened.

Daniel 7: 9-10

It is rational to believe in the existence of God. Infact, it does not stand to reason if you do not believe in a Supreme Being who created the universe. Yes, we might debate about which way is the right way to approach Him or split hairs over some doctrinal issues, but there is a God. He exists!

I have never understood the flawed logic of the atheist, who proudly beats his chest in the “certain knowledge” that there is no God. Well, what can I say, . . . there are bounds of reason, but I guess all humans do not dwell within its confines.

At no time in the long history of mankind has the topic of God’s existence been more contentious than it is today – in this age of information. I do not propose to provide in this brief write-up an “undisputable proof” of the existence of God but rather to lay, however briefly, a rationality for the belief in a Creator.

It is imperative in this present age that christians educate themselves not only in scriptures but also in as many subjects as they may find time and means to study. It is a brave new world out there – a world of ideas – in our campuses, classrooms, lecture halls and laboratories and you must meet the opposing ideas and “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”

Now, when I say give “a defense” I do not necessarily mean that it has to be “a scriptural verse” or “a passage from the bible”. I am talking about discussing philosophy with the philosophers, discussing physics with the physicist, and biology with the biologist . And no, you do not need to be a universal expert in all of these disciplines to confidently do so. There is a simple rational basis in all academic disciplines and that rationality is usually more than enough to state your case.

And why is this important you ask?

The story is told of a fourteen-year-old boy from a christian family who asked his father about the existence of God and the conversation went something like this:

“Daddy, God created the world, right?” the boy asked

“Yes my son, He did” the father responded “Why do you ask son? You have believed in God since you were ten years old. Are you having any doubts?” the father asked.

“No Dad. I got into a debate in school with some of my classmates about the existence of God and as hard as I tried to make them see my point of view, they were unyielding.” the boy responded.

“Just tell them God created the world and how it is well explained in Genesis chapter 1 and 2. Also mention John 3:16 and how God sent his only Son to die for the sins of the world” the father said

In exasperation the boy blurted out,

“I know all those scriptures Dad! The book of Genesis and John work very well within the confines of our house and in church, but these books do not do very well in my classroom.”

I will leave you to imagine the expression on the father’s face.

A fourteen-year-old boy has perhaps stated in plain words what you obviously must have experienced when you tried to talk about your faith from a strictly biblical perspective with your professor or your academic colleagues. The point is that they do not accept as valid the reference text (Bible) from which you are quoting. They wish to engage you at an academic plane, to make the discussion as intellectual, as logical and completely subject to reason and empirical evidence.

So what is the christian to do? Walk away?

No. No. A thousand times, No!

As a christian there is more rationality in your faith than in the fleeting convictions of an atheist. What is your faith? When I hear christians talk about faith, they speak of it as if faith is the same thing as some helpless belief that they have no option but to resort to.

When the apostle Paul defined faith, he called it the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So faith can have a substance, faith can have evidence. Have you noticed that Paul defended his faith before scholars and before illiterates, before Greek philosophers and before the academics and intellectual elites of his day; so much so that Festus cried out in a loud voice “Paul you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!

And what was Paul’s response?

“I am not mad most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason”

Did you read that? …the words of truth and REASON! So there can be a reason for faith, a substance for faith, an evidence for faith. Faith is not some passive, weak-minded and whimsical belief that a christian should capitulate to because he has not made the effort to think. It is and can be rooted in REASON if christians would make the effort to read and to think.

Christians, I implore you all to Think, and you shall Find!

Of course I am not in any way suggesting that you will know all things. No man knows all things, but you will always know enough and more than you need to debate and to defend your faith in the battlefield of ideas. Yes it is a battlefield and the war has since started. On television, in university lecture theatres, academic fora and conferences, men from every field of learning are constantly casting doubt over the existence of a Supreme God.

You may say it does not concern you but O it does. You can already hear the questions being asked in every nook and cranny of university campuses and on the streets, and no doubt you will have children of your own someday and your children will ask you these same questions because they will hear it in school from their classmates and from their teachers. If you are not prepared now, you will not be prepared then.

It is also important that christians educate themselves so they do not make statements that are to say the least “totally outrageous”. I listened to a radio programme recently where a christian lady called in to express why she believed in God/Bible. She started off by making certain assertions about cloning and to quote her, called it “crap”. As a fellow christian, my sympathies were with her but I cringed at her utterance; anyone who says cloning is crap (perhaps suggesting that it doesn’t work) certainly doesn’t know anything about cloning in the first place. It is statements like these, made by this caller that leaves the christian faith open to assault by non-believers who call us a bunch of mythologists.

The caller was not lacking in passion, but passion without facts and reason is not enough. You can pound on the table and speak at the top of your voice from sunrise to sunset that “I believe the Bible!” “I believe in God!” I believe the Bible!” I believe in God!” but that alone will not be admissible in an intellectual argument. That approach may work in church but it will find no acceptance against the logic of your professors or your intellectual non-believing colleagues.

I am by no means saying we should not quote the bible, what I am saying is that as christians we should be wise enough to be mindful of our audience and how best to engage them. You might need to engage people in an intellectual debate of your faith before you introduce the scriptures because that might be the only way you can get past the walls they have erected in their minds.

As christians we must read far and we must read wide, and not just the bible but other books as well. When was the last time you read a book on history, geography, government, or theology? Have you read an account of the history of the church (and I don’t mean the Acts of the Apostles), I mean the history of the church from the time of Polycarp, through the dark ages and the enlightenment period in Europe.

You have lived in England for five years perhaps, but do you know the history of that country from its Celtic inhabitants through the Roman occupation and the Anglo-Saxon invasion to present day or have you taken a scholarly tour through the “Egyptology section” of the British Museum?

Do you know what a gene is and how it affects our existence as humans? If you don’t know, what are you waiting for before you do? How do you expect to debate atheist like Richard Dawkins, an Oxford university professor or Christopher Hitchens for that matter.

Get a library card and read for goodness sake!

When was the last time you read a book on christian epistemology or apologetics? Why are the only books christians ever read always “Seven steps to …… (fill in the blank).

Have you listened to a theological discourse by Ravi Zacharias or John Polkinghorne? It would not cost you a cent to. An archive of Ravi’s apologetics can be found on his website.

There is a battle of ideas going on in the world right now, in society at large but particularly in our citadels of learning – the psyche and the instincts of people – students and children especially, are been turned further and further away from a belief in God.

Do you even have a library card?


  1. lol, am cracking up right now about getting a library card but you are right on point..
    i quote 'passion without facts and reason is not enough', this is so true, we do really need to get some information before engaging in a debate about our believe in God.
    lemme help complete the sentence- 'seven steps to prosperity' ! lol !
    i do have a library card but maybe i should start maximizing the use of it.
    thanks for the info tho, Great write up !!!

  2. Oh yes, I noticed that about Paul. He was the one who boldly walked to the marketplace and said, "let me tell you about this inscription you have here that says, "to the unknown God." Paul usually strove to explain. I used to participate in an apologetics forum a while back, but there's still so much I want to know (which I don't know right now). You listen to Ravi Zacharias too? Ok, I like you, lol.

    Wow, just wow. I thank God for this article. And I have to put it up as a link.

    "Now, when I say give “a defense” I do not necessarily mean that it has to be “a scriptural verse” or “a passage from the bible”. I am talking about discussing philosophy with the philosophers, discussing physics with the physicist, and biology with the biologist . And no, you do not need to be a universal expert in all of these disciplines to confidently do so."

  3. @Rainyjoy, About the library card thing, I know ooo.. it is funny but it a serious issue and people wonder why non-believers don't take us seriously. I am amazed at how very little reading christians do apart of course from the mandatory school work. Even while in medical school, I can count on one hand the number of christian colleagues who really read stuff from other disciplines.

    @Jaycee. Of course I listen to Ravi Zacharias and YOU LIKE ME for that? O wow! I LIKE YOU BACK, JAYCEE (as Barack Obama would say ). What you said about Paul is completely true. This guy debated with Stoics and Epicurean philosophers in Athens - he met them on their own turf and did not shy away. We were told that some mocked but he also won several over. I have spoken to a number of atheist and believe me they are not as in command of the facts as some christians might think. The atheist claims that rationality is their clarion call but when you subject their views to the test of rationality, their logic (or lack thereof) falls apart. I must say here though, that these debates should be done in love on the part of the christian - our point is not necessarily to win an argument or to put any one down. Love should always be our motivation.

  4. I totally agree that LOVE should always be our motivation. It's not a game. It's about the most important truth that all of us need to know.

  5. Absolutely insightful words Eyitemi. Trying to convince a heart-hardened atheist from the scriptures sometimes could be fruitless. I remember the day a former supervisor of my postgrad studies asked me, "Samuel, how do you believe there is God". He had heard me several times say "God bless you" and wondered if I could explain how God blesses without him knowing God.

    My explanation then had to go beyond the scriptures. Not sure if I quoted anything from the bible though. I think I shared testimonies of God's goodness in my life that no man on earth would see it as possible without the hands of a 'supreme being'. I recall, before I left that school, my supervisor had started saying "God bless you" to people too. Does that mean he was convinced? I do believe so.

    "As Christians we must read far and we must read wide, and not just the bible but other books as well"

    I agree with this. It is very important we acquire knowledge. "My people perish cos they lack knowledge..." However, we should not seek to debate the existence of God alone, we should take the cross of praying for our atheist friends. While we can talk [argue, debate] from sunrise to sunset, in the end, it is the holy spirit that convinces the heart.. also, "the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much"

    God bless you Eyitemi. I've been blessed :)

    - LDP

  6. @LDP. . . you are right. Ultimately, no man can save a single soul. Only God can convict a heart. God bless you too, my friend.

  7. i think am gonna start listening to Ravi Zacharias, its my first time hearing this name but i just read some of his archives, some deep stuff i must say but really good. you guys thanks for the info.

  8. T@ Rainyjoy....That would be lovely Rainyjoy. I think every christian should be familiar with Apologetics in this present age. See if you can browse the archive through: