Do you notice how people often discuss “the God question” as though it’s just another topic to be decided either by public opinion polls, personal conviction or even by a court of law? The whole question revolving around the existence of God is far more important than just interesting debate. Either God exists or He doesn’t, and where we come down on that question has very serious consequences. If there is no God…dare we contemplate what this truly means?
I have a strong feeling most people don’t dare. The reason I believe that is because most people don’t “connect the dots”, by adding the if-then corollaries. In that way, we tell ourselves that we can have our cake and eat it too. We take the parts of religion/eternity that we like and dismiss the rest. How neat – but how likely is that to be even close to the truth?
So let’s dare to do it right here and now – let‘s take the “God debate“ to its logical extreme – if there is no God…
…Then Heaven and/or “a better place” are just wishful thinking
The notion of a place called “Heaven” has always been intimately connected with existence of a loving and benevolent God, and the Bible confirms this. Yet many people today, either having a weak concept of God, or dismissing the possibility of His existence entirely, nonetheless believe that there’s a better place on the other side of the grave, which many continue to refer to as Heaven.
Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. If there is no God, then it’s extremely unlikely that there’s a better place in any kind of “next life”. You’re beloved grandma – gone forever. Your cherished dog fluffy – dust in the ground. And you – toast in the making.
Have you dared to contemplate this?
Since many of us have been raised with some form of religious training, we are familiar with the concept of Heaven. Yet when we grow up and begin to lose touch with religion, we often retain the belief in the promise of Heaven. Let’s face it, it’s a very comforting notion, especially during dark times in life.
We even create our own definitions as to how one gets there, ie, good people go to Heaven, bad people go to the other place. Have you heard this spoken before? Have you believed it yourself?
While the concept may give us a sense of control over our eternal destinies, it is completely wrong according to the Bible. The problem with creating our own definition as to who attains something that looks like eternal salvation is that it’s completely subjective – we naturally include ourselves, as well as the people we love, while assuming those who we hate or fear have a one-way ticket to Hell.
Comforting yes, but completely wrong. In fact, it’s a complete fantasy of our own creation. If there is no God, then Heaven – or anything remotely resembling it – doesn’t exist.
…And so are angels
Angels are another common belief among people who have a fuzzy concept of God, or even reject His existence out of hand. Like Heaven, it’s comforting for people to believe that there are angelic beings who look out for us and guide us from the heavenly realms.
But can there be angels if there is no God?
According to ChristianAnswers.net, angels are mentioned “at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament.” And – according to Scripture – angels do in fact perform many of the functions that pagans, “spiritualists”, various New Ager’s, and the many hybrid/pseudo-Christians believe they do, including protecting us, delivering us from danger, providing for us, and yes, even delivering us to God at the moment of death – a la Touched By An Angel.
And for what its worth, there’s even Biblical support for the widely believed concept of guardian angels. In Matthew 18:10 Jesus lays the foundation for guardian angels:
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
What’s missing in the popular, non-faith based notions about angels however is that they exist to do the will of God, which is to minister to men. They do not act out of the kindness of their eternal hearts, nor by their own designs. They do not exist unto themselves. They are spiritual beings created by God, to do the will of God. And if God does not exist, then angels are a complete fantasy as well.
…There is no salvation, no absolution
If we’re completely honest, every one of us have done things in our lives that we regret, things we wish we could go back and undo. The reality however is that we can’t. We’ve hurt people, we broken relationships, we’ve caused problems, we’ve lined up on the wrong side of issues, undergone epic failures and made messes. Some have committed crimes, and a few have even caused the deaths of others.
In Psalm 103:8-12, the Bible tells us:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Emphasis mine)
We like to say forgive and forget, but is that what others do for us? Is that what we do for others? We can never be sure, can we? That’s because it’s very difficult for humans to forgive, and infinitely harder to forget. And very often, the world won’t let us forget. If you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, then you know what I mean.
Absolution is a divine gift, one the Bible says is freely available to us. But we can’t give it, not to others, and certainly not to ourselves. Only God can. And if there is no God, then there is no absolution.
…There is no right or wrong – only what we accept to be either
Humanity has a natural orientation towards rebelling against authority. We don’t want anyone telling us what to do – and we certainly don’t want to get our concepts of right and wrong out of an ancient book like the Bible. I believe this is one of the primary reasons why people reject belief in God. They can’t accept the fact that there may be definitive concepts of right and wrong.
One of the corollaries to Murphy’s Law is If the facts don’t support the desired outcome, then the facts must be changed.
And so it is with non-belief in God. Many non-believers come to their positions based on the fact that they do not agree with what they read in the Bible. On the surface, it may seem that non-belief becomes liberating – after all, you are effectively eliminating the rule book. But on deeper reflection, it’s stepping into very dangerous territory.
The diabolical figures of history – Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao, Charles Manson, and a host of other despots and mass murderers – were of the opinion that the world needed a new rulebook. The Word of God was not part of their agenda – in fact, it specifically needed to be removed. In each case God was eliminated from the picture, and in each case lives were lost – often millions of them.
If there is no God, then this is what happens when we are left to design our own concepts of right and wrong. There is no right or wrong, and the powerful and those wielding weapons create the definitions, and dole out the consequences to the non-compliant.
…Then those suffering in this life are indeed doomed
Maybe you’ve lived a pretty good life – you’re healthy, you have a loving family, plenty of friends, a comfortable standard of living, and a great future. If so, you may never have contemplated this topic.
But think for a moment about the people who are not similarly blessed – and they’re out there. Think about the people who are permanently physically or mentally disabled or impaired, people mired in poverty, people doing life sentences in prison, people who have lost loved ones in horrible tragedies, and people with terminal diseases, just to name a few.
What hope do they have???
In the human realm – they have none at all. A government program will not save them, and neither will positive thinking or the Tooth Fairy. Hopelessness is a very real human condition, and it afflicts millions of people at this very moment.
I know that doesn’t fit neatly within the realm of positive thinking, or the notion that life and human existence are getting better all the time. And I realize that most of us deal with the hopeless, either by ignoring them, by telling ourselves that they somehow brought it on themselves, or by rationalizing why we’ll never become one of them. But if we’re being realistic, then we have acknowledge this reality. Some people are in very miserable circumstances, and there’s virtually no chance that they will escape them in this lifetime.
In Romans 10:9-13 we’re told:
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Nothing in human existence – not our laws, our government structures, our economy, our monetary system or even our technology – can promise us anything that comes close to this. And if there is no God, then those who are suffering in this life are indeed doomed.
…Then Man is his own god
Millions of people are downright excited at this thought. If there is no God, then Man is basically his own God. That means we’re free to do what we think is best. We’re no longer “bound by ancient ideas that are irrelevant to the present time, and were crafted by people long dead based on their own selfish agendas”. We can create a world that is more fair and more open, maintain better control, and build a better world.
That sounds beautiful – if you believe in fantasies!
Think about it. Free to do what we want – until we infringe on the “rights” of others. More fair and open? What’s fair to you and me may be considered threatening to others. And building a better world? We can’t even control the weather!
Virtually all ideas centered on building some kind of earthbound utopia fall apart when you realize that the entire construct requires perfect human beings. It’s not a stretch to say that that’s never going to happen. In fact, considering the aforementioned megalomaniacs, and their efforts to create a utopian world, it seems that any attempt in that direction results in complete disaster. We don’t have the resources to create a perfect world, because we are not perfect beings. That realization in and of itself should reduce the notion of Man as his own God to the absolute nightmare that it is.
Only by aspiring to union with God do we have even a remote possibility of becoming better at anything.
The good things of eternity and even of humanity don’t exist, and can’t exist, if there is no God. Heaven does not exist, angels do not exist, absolution does not exist, there is no right or wrong, the suffering are doomed, and Man will wander in the dark – ultimately to oblivion. Only the existence of God makes any of those things possible, only the existence of God provides man with the divine compass that he needs to seek out true righteousness.
Apart of God, we have none of that.
Have you ever considered this?