Atheists are having a field day with a recent Youtube video-clip from a debate between Eric Hovind (creationist) and Bernie Dehler (secular humanist) at Portland State University. The highlight is a question posed by Bernie’s son, a sixth grader, who asked for Eric to produce evidence for God. “How do you know that God exists” was essentially the question. Eric responded with an appeal to logic suggesting that unless you know everything you cannot be sure of anything. Therefore it is irrational to discount the presence of God. After watching the clip and witnessing the difficulty Eric had making his point, I began to wonder how I would answer the same question.
The answer, I believe, is quite simple though intensely contemplative and personal. The best place to start is a review of the 3 endowments at Creation’s finale – The Image, The Breath, and The Mandate. In these we can begin to appreciate our purpose in and sense the anticipation of the great cosmic symphony.
In the 5 days and several hours preceding man’s entrance, the creative episodes were initiated with impersonal mandates such as “Let there be…Let the waters be gathered…let the dry land appear…Let the waters bring forth…and Let the earth bring forth.”
Then, for the first time, creation gets personal. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness (Genesis 1:26a).” This endowment signals the Creator’s original intent for man.
John MacArthur expounds on the significance of divine image in his book The Battle for the Beginning.
“Above all, the image of God can be summed up by the word personhood. We are persons. Our lives involve relationships. We are capable of fellowship…We know what it is to share thoughts, convey and discern attitudes, give and take friendship, perceive a sense of brotherhood, communicate ideas, and participate in experiences with others.”
I think Henry Morris gives the best defense of human purpose in his book Many Infallible Truths.
“Communication and fellowship between man and God not only are possible but must actually have been a part of God’s very purpose in creation…since this is the ultimate consummation toward which time is moving, then there can be no doubt that this was God’s primeval purpose when time began. He created men for fellowship with Himself.”
The inevitable result of the obvious compatibility was fellowship.
Another unique endowment was The Mandate from the Creator to fill and subdue (1:28). Sometimes referred to as the Dominion Mandate, this declaration clearly establishes mankind as Creation’s superior.
The Bible presents man as the epicenter of God’s creative power and genius, charged with its mastery. “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet (Psalm 8:6).”
This is by no means a license to abuse the earth and its creatures, but rather a sanction for careful responsibility in management.
Henry Morris addresses our sovereign assignment this way in his commentary The Genesis Record.
“The cultural mandate, as some have called it, is clearly a very expressive figure of speech for, first, intense study of the earth (with all of its intricate processes and complex systems) and, the, utilization of this knowledge for the benefit of earth’s inhabitants, both animal and human. Here is the primeval commission to man authorizing both science and technology as man’s most basic enterprises relative to the earth.”
It is the endowment of The Breath, however, that is key to evidential witness of the Divine. In my attempt to rationalize the uniqueness of The Breath, I originally posed that it must have been the particular exercise that made man eternal giving him the ability to navigate concepts beyond his time-space-matter existence (see Scripturosity article “Mankind – Favored Not Fortunate”).
But there was a flaw in that supposition. If death had not yet intruded the Creation (Romans 5:12), then all creatures would have had eternal intent in the beginning. What, then, did the breath of God uniquely signify of man in the “very good” Creation?
Genesis 2:7 chronicles that “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
There are two Hebrew words in this verse that warrant definitive clarity. The first is nephesh translated “living soul” here. This is the same word used to describe the compatibility of all creatures with earth’s biosphere. It has also been explained as consciousness. By biblical comparison and cross-referencing, it is technically referring to that which bleeds and breathes (see Scripturosity article “Plant-ing Seeds of Doubt”). The other word is neshamah which is translated “breath of life.” While all conscious creatures “brought forth” from the impersonal creative mandates processed oxygen from their environment for functionality, none of them received the neshamah – the breath from God. This was given only to man. One commentator referred to it as the Divine spark.
Could this blast of pure Spirit, while initiating the nephesh or conscious elements of his existence, also been the primordial endowment of man’s conscience – his unique co-knowledge with God?
Proverbs 20:27 articulates that “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
The young philosopher, Elihu defended his qualification to intervene by telling Job, “There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration (neshamah) of the Almighty giveth them understanding (Job 32:8).”
In the context of “the beginning,” John the Apostle wrote, “In Him (God the Son) was life; and the life was the light of men…That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:4,9).”
The great Apostle Paul wrote of a specific human reality that makes all men accountable before the holy Judge of heaven despite excuses of ignorance. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead: so they are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20).”
I propose that it was The Breath of God that enlivened man’s essence with the innate ability, yea necessity, to connect with the Divine. While man has a free will to act in harmony with or resistance to this conscience, God has, nevertheless, given every child of Adam’s race a divine nudge toward Himself. This is why all men are “without excuse (Rom. 1:20).” It is this internal “candle” or spirit-connectedness with the Creator that shines on the natural world and it’s First Cause.
My answer to the skeptic or seeker appealing to sense or reason in the pursuit or denial of God’s presence is that the evidence is within them. Every individual is endowed with a compass that points the way to true North – a candle to dispel the shadows of error.
The best evidence to the atheist that there is a God is the intellectual and emotional energy consumed in snuffing this inherent light. Be honest with yourself in a moment of sincere introspection and retrace your steps toward naturalism. How did you get here? Did you have to deny any premonition of purpose along the way? Did your intellect eventually overcome your conscience at the feet of academia (see Scripturosity article “Conscience and Intellect”)? Are you satisfied that you have not been influenced by agenda-driven zealots (see Scripturosity article “Intellectual Invention”)? Have you ever given yourself the intellectual latitude to observe and consider the evidence from a paradigm that invites the supernatural and aligns with your essence (see Scripturosity article “The Gospel Message”)?
What it boils down to is the direction of one’s faith. Faith is not exclusive to proponents of the supernatural. Faith is requisite to a naturalistic cosmogony as well (see Scripturosity article “Answering Skeptics – Part 5”). The worldview disparity is not in the evidence, but rather in the axiom – the philosophical starting point from which the evidence is observed (see Scripturosity article “Fact and Theory”). Creationists presuppose the history of earth and humanity as chronicled in the book of Genesis; while evolutionists regard every observation through the notion of deep time and the doctrine of geologic uniformity (see Scripturosity article series “Deep Time Warp” – Part 1 & Part 2). These initial assumptions shape the direction of every interpretation. To decry faith is either open ignorance or pure hypocrisy.
Before one can reject a Creator or a redeeming Sovereign, he must first deny the very essence of his own humanity. Does God exist? Perhaps the better question is – Should anyone really have to ask?