9/06/2009

God Is, Part 2

This is the second in a short series of posts that give arguments for God’s existence. These arguments complement each other. That is, one proves one aspect of God’s nature; another proves another aspect, and so on.

My area of professional expertise is industrial engineering, also called “process engineering.” I have spent most of my life in the pursuit of process improvement. I have professionally applied myself to manufacturing processes in several industries. I have looked at ways to improve equipment, organization of jobs, the way human beings interact with machines, and the way humans interact with each other.

The purpose of a manufacturing process is to produce quality products, when needed by customers, at minimal cost, in a safe manner. There is one thing I know: a process left to itself does not produce products like that. If we take our hands off the controls, neglect the equipment, or ignore the people doing the work, we get bad products, late shipments, high costs, and increased injuries. If we neglect the process completely, we get nothing whatsoever.

The world around us is full of processes that move toward an organized purpose. We don’t have to look far at all to find them.

John Gerstner, in his book Reasons for Faith (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1960, reprint 1995), uses this example on p. 34-35:

The dandelion sends up a little parachute to carry its seed along on the wind and find a place to germinate. That certainly spells intention … we search in vain to find anything in the dandelion that corresponds to our brain, the brain that enables us to think up useful plans.
We find the location of that purpose in “the ultimate cause which we have seen lies behind everything that is.” This is not an argument based on probabilities. Evidence for any purpose whatsoever at any point in any process demonstrates the existence of an intelligence to set that purpose.

I am arguing teleologicaly, that is, arguing from evidence that the things in nature seem to have a purpose. It’s a little like saying things are designed, but not exactly.

So now we have reasoned to a being that has always existed, has great power, and has the power to choose in our last post. Now we add that this Being has intelligence and intention. Only persons show the power to chose, intelligence, and intention. This fits the general idea of the eternal, personal God of the Bible.

The last post in this series will look at some abstract principles and processes that can only be explained by appeal to God.

2 comments:

Steve said...

In the book of Romans, St. Paul tells us that "no one seeks for God".

We are not born in a neutral state, but ACTIVELY REBELLIOUS and COMPLETELY DEAD in our sins and trespasss.

I think what you are doing is admirable and may bear fruit.

But there is nothing like speaking of Christ and what He has done for a lost and sinful world into someone's hurt and suffering and telling them that that death was for them. That Christ forgives them and promises them new life with no more pain, no more tears, no more suffering.

And then invite them to church or a Bible study with you to come and hear more.

I am enjoying your series, J.K..

Keep up the good work!

J. K. Jones said...

Steve,
Thanks for your complement.

You are right. The gospel is the main thing.

What fascinates me is the large number of people who reject Christianity without ever understanding its main message: eternal life as a free gift from a holy God because of Christ’s sacrifice. I do try to address the gospel often (see search labels: Extra Nos and Gospel).

I do think there are at least two reasons to do apologetics.

God might use our arguments to reach the hearts of some. We don’t argue someone into the kingdom, but we don’t witness anyone into the kingdom either. We are called to “give a reason for the hope [we] have…with gentleness and respect.”

The other is to encourage other believers whose faith might be shaken by an unbeliever’s argument. We should show that rejecting the gospel is folly.

Please keep coming back. It’s good to have friends out here.

JK

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