He is There and He Is Silent

December 14, 2009

The 20th Century religious philosopher Francis Schaeffer wrote a book entitled “He Is There And He Is Not Silent.” It was a follow up to his earlier books “The God Who Is There” and “Escape From Reason.”

His premise is that God has revealed Himself to man through creation, the Bible and Jesus Christ. He compares Christian world views with existentialism. He states that the impersonal plus time plus chance does not explain creation or the “mannishness” of man. He contends that Christianity does answer all of the questions of origins in a God who is both personal and infinite.

On God’s personal side, Schaeffer submits that man is made in the image of God, and therefore meant to have a personal relationship with man. So the chasm is placed below God and man, and below the chasm are animals, plants and the machine (physics).

Schaeffer also asserts that God is infinite, and that all else is the creation. That includes man, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom and the machine. On the side of God’s infinity, there is a chasm affixed between God and his creation.

In a diagram, it would look like this:

The Personal God The Infinite God
Animal kingdom Animal kingdom
Plant Kingdom Plant Kingdom
The Machine (physics) The Machine (physics)

Jean Paul Sartre stated that the greatest philosophical question is that something exists rather than nothing exists. Eastern philosophy leans toward the “nothing exists” side. Hebraic/Christian thought affirms that God created a true universe outside of Himself, and that the universe is not an extension of the essence of God…not just one of God’s dreams.

Early science dealt with natural things. It agreed with Christianity in that both hold to the theory of the uniformity of natural causes. For the Christian that means that God’s universe can be known, but that God can interject Himself into His creation in substantive ways. But this belief relies upon acceptance that the Bible is God’s revealed truth to man. Early scientists believed that there is a reasonable God who created a reasonable universe, and that man, using his reason, could gain knowledge about the universe and about God.

The early scientists believed in the uniformity of natural causes. What they didn’t believe was the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system. They believed in the rational, in which is found the concept of thesis and antithesis. The basis of classical logic is that A is not non-A. If a certain thing is true, then its opposite is not true. They also searched for a philosophy that was a unified field of knowledge…an answer that would explain all of thought, all of creation and all of life. God is…and He created.

That position is not the dominant philosophy among modern scientists. Today’s scientists as a group reject the existence of God. Modern science is characterized by the belief in the impersonal plus time plus chance to explain origins. Yet until recently in scientific history (the early 1900s) they still searched for that unified field of knowledge that could explain everything.

Modern science starts with rationalism (not rationality), an autonomous man as the center of the universe, without the need for God. They do not believe in the rational in terms of thesis and antithesis. They embraced the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel, the 18th Century Enlightenment philosopher who first advanced the concept of synthesis.

Hegel changed the way the game is played in two areas: (1) epistemology, the theory of knowledge and the limits and validity of knowledge; and (2) methodology, by which we evaluate questions of truth.

He asserted that man should no longer think in terms of thesis (truth) and antithesis (not true). Rather, that we should seek an answer that is synthesis. This kicked the door wide open to relativism, in which there is no truth.

So, one worldview holds that God is the center of the universe, while the other holds that man is the center of the universe. The secular, non-Diety viewpoint has now seeped into every field of human endeavor, including art, music, general culture, and theology. The more that autonomous man has learned about nature, the more rebellious he has had to become to explain away the existence of the Creator God. Without a Creator, rationalism degenerates into determinism…that everything is a part of the machine and nothing else.

In a rational, God-based worldview, meaning can be found for creation and human existence. However, in a secular worldview, meaning dissolves into determinism, as all of the universe is swallowed up in physics and conjecture.

In order to avoid despair, and living a life without meaning, the Christian must make a leap of faith in the veracity of a Bible that is 100% written by men, and not subject to verification.

In order to avoid despair, and living a life without meaning, the secularist must make a leap of faith…even though it is a leap into the darkness. He manufactures meaning without any evidence whatsoever.

So, both worldviews end up being a religious activity since they both require faith. Secularism requires much more faith than rationality.

The human emotion and act of love is also meaningless in a determinist, secular, rationalist, existential world view. When there is no meaning in human existence, and people’s lives are only cogs in a machine, love becomes absurd. This cheapens the value of all life, not just human life.

What the secularist ends up with are groups of connotation words…words that used to have objective meaning, but are now used with no meaning left. Words such as love, morals, republican, democrat, constitution, law, justice, science, ethics and truth. The connotation words are useful in manipulating the hearers, since there remains a societal memory of what they used to mean. But they really only mean what the speaker wants them to mean.

So, where does one go for a unified field of knowledge and meaning of life if you do not accept the Bible as the Word of God, yet you still believe in a Creator God?

I would like to offer a Third Way…a Deist worldview that differs from the Christian and secular positions.

That is, that God is an impersonal-infinite God.

This simply deviates from the view that God is personal. It does not hold that God is unknowable. It affirms that God created everything but himself. Many characteristics of his nature are discoverable by observing His creation. The Deist worldview simply rejects the idea that God wishes to have a personal relationship with man beyond what He reveals about Himself in nature and the cosmos.

The Deist position calls into question the accuracy and veracity of the 66-book Bible that has existed since the 4th century Council of Nicea, and as such, finds that most of that Bible, while filled with good stories, fables, and moral lessons, is not the revealed truth directly from the creator God.

The only truths that can be determined about God are the truths that can be gleaned from studying His creation. That is the only revelation from God that can be verified. Further, God’s character can be known through study of creation from the microcosm to the macrocosm. But it must be stated that while God’s personality and character can be know truly, it cannot be known exhaustively since we are finite beings.

All other writings about God, no matter where on earth they are found, are man’s attempt to explain his understanding of God. Divine revelation directly from God to man as never been documented and cannot be duplicated within or without a laboratory. However the order of God’s universe, from the microcosm to the macrocosm, can be documented, replicated, studied and known.

Holy writ is only deemed holy by its adherents. To wit, Bible-believing Christians reject the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita and the Book of Mormon as heresies and vice versa.

This Creator of all but Himself has the power to manifest Himself to every human being that has ever lived upon this planet. If God truly wanted a relationship with mankind, or any man individually, he could simply reveal Himself. If and when God does reveal Himself to man, all “religion” will of necessity cease, as man will no longer need to reach out to God or try to explain a being he cannot experience with his five senses. Belief will be unnecessary, since mankind will KNOW God. The most jaded, cynical scientist and atheist, faced with a real God, could no longer hold onto their worldviews.

All of the rules and regulations found in the Bible, and the silly games attributed to the Creator, are an insult to the character of an infinite Being. God does not need to sneak around and play complicated faith games with humans if he desires human relationships. Accepting Him at the level of his universal revelation is a more honest way to believe in God.

I believe that God has revealed these seven attributes about Himself in creation:

1. Creativity
2. Kindness
3. Love
4. Beauty
5. Expansiveness
6. Abundance
7. Receptivity

I most heartily recommend the Deist worldview to seekers of truth. It is the worldview that requires the least amount of faith and manufactured guilt, reveals the most truth about God and the cosmos, retains meaning for human existence, and makes the most sense for those who aspire to maximum individual liberty.

There is another writer that I recommend for a supplemental perspective on the veracity of the Bible. Lysander Spooner was a Deist and attorney who wrote extensively about religion and politics in the mid-1800s. He has written “The Deist’s Reply to the Alleged Supernatural Evidences of Christianity.” In this five-chapter work, he delivers a withering argument against the very foundations of Christianity. I challenge you to read his work and refute it.

You can find the work and read it for free at: Lysander Spooner

Also, read “The Deist’s Immortality, and an essay on man’s accountability for his belief.”

© Copyright 2009, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.