Science Supports Faith in God

Science Supports Faith in God

This ministry is designed to show that science and the Bible are friends and not enemies. Because of human-devised theologies and a poor understanding of science, some people claim that the Bible and scientific evidence are at odds. The fact is that all valid scientific evidence agrees 100% with what the Bible actually says in the original language. We say that science supports faith in God.

The word “science” means knowledge. Science arrives at knowledge by a methodology that involves making a theory about a question and then designing experiments to determine whether that theory is true. The media, and even some in the scientific establishment, will make a proposal, accept it as fact and not allow it to be tested. The result is that people attribute things to science, of which true science is not guilty.

A scientific discipline that has drawn much attention in Christian circles is geology. This has developed because of the invention of a theology that draws attention to physical theories and ignores the spiritual. This theological approach is called dispensationalism, and it has a restrictive way of interpreting the events in the Old Testament. It regards Jesus as a military figure who will return to engage in a physical war with human political entities on Earth, such as Russia and China. Jesus spent a large amount of time attempting to lead people away from this kind of thinking. He told them, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

So how can we say science supports faith in God? Proverbs 8 finds personified wisdom speaking about God’s actions. Verses 22-29 tell us that God established clouds (verse 28), brought forth the mountains (verse 25), and made the fields (verse 26). It does not tell us how He did it. Scientific studies have found that water, dust (condensation nuclei), and cool temperatures make a cloud. Geologic studies show plate tectonics and volcanism are processes that God used to make the mountains. Geology also tells us that fields are carefully crafted from sand, organic material, and various minerals that growing plants need. In Job chapters 38 to 41, God challenged Job to explain many things he could see around him. Today, science supports faith in God by helping us understand the wisdom required for God to do many of those things.

Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created the Earth. Creating a planet on which living things can survive and a place where humans can grow and prosper requires massive complexity. The passage is not dated or timed, nor does it tell us how God did the creating. Geology has helped us understand how God formed the minerals required for life. Science helps us understand the processes that formed the various soils on which life depends. We know about nutrients and the processes needed to create them, most of which are included in that brief verse of Genesis 1:1. The fact that science has learned how God formed these resources allows us to locate them. Our search for oil, coal, phosphate, sulfur, iron, and other minerals has been successful because we know how God created those vital substances.

The Bible tells us that God created time and that one day to Him is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day (2 Peter 3:8). Quantum mechanics is now helping us understand the nature of time as a created entity that has not always existed. We must not allow our thinking to restrict God’s actions to what we mortal humans can do or understand. Isaiah 55:8-9 finds God pointing out that His thoughts and methods are superior to ours. Science supports faith in God because He has left a trail of evidence that we are slowly learning to understand.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Christian Compassion and Doing Good in Christ’s Name

Christian Compassion and Doing Good in Christ's Name

One thing that happens to you when you become a Christians is that you grow in compassion for needy people. That is generally not true of other belief systems that tend to view people’s problems as retribution for their wrong actions or as a natural product of the survival of the fittest. Christian compassion and doing good in Christ’s name are unique to Christ-followers.

Since becoming a Christian, I have had many opportunities to be involved in Christian responses to needs. I have supported the drilling of water wells in places where people have inadequate or contaminated water. Another area has been funding medical outreaches to people who have little or no medical care available. Christian compassion involves helping needy people regardless of the cause.

Are the people benefiting from this help Christians? In most cases, they are not. So how do we justify spending large amounts of money on people who may not be believers and who may have caused their own problems by how they have lived? The classic response to this question is to look at what Jesus Christ did.

In Matthew 14 and 15 and Mark 6, we see situations in which Jesus fed thousands of people. You might say that the purpose of these miracles was to demonstrate to the people that Jesus had the power of God. But we should not overlook the words telling us that Jesus had compassion on the people and addressed their hunger. Were all of the people Jesus fed perfect people? I would suggest that many of those people had come to hear Jesus out of curiosity and skepticism. Some were motivated by wanting a solution to a problem they had. They were not people wanting to become disciples. In all probability, many of them were people steeped in sin.

Jesus doesn’t ask any questions. He didn’t refuse food to anyone because they were bad or had evil motives. Jesus addressed a need because He has compassion for all humans. So we today express Christian compassion as we address human needs because we care about people. Unlike other human belief systems, Christianity overflows with caring and compassion. We express it by massive humanitarian aid to people on every continent and in every situation.

Many people are Christians today because they saw what Christianity does and how it overflows with compassion and caring. Galatians 6:10 tells all Christians to do good to everyone. The opportunities to do that are greater today than at any time in human history.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Everyone Has Faith – But In What?

Everyone Has Faith - But In What?

I recently had a discussion with an atheist who said, “I have no faith.” I pointed out that his statement was simply not true because things in his life radiated a faith. He has faith in America, even though there are things going on in this country that might try to destroy that faith. He has faith in gravity. He doesn’t walk around worrying that gravity will fail, and he will float off into space. He has faith in the political party that he supports and even faith in a professional sports team. Everyone has faith. The question is not whether we have faith but what we have faith in.

What does your faith do for you, and is your faith growing or dying? Everyone has faith, but is your faith in any way dependent on another human being? If so, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed in that faith. People die. Politicians lie. Sports figures lose their ability. Philosophical beliefs radiate the inability of humans to think rationally.

I am an old man, and sometimes I make contact with atheistic people I knew years ago when I was an atheist. If they are still atheists, they cannot give me any evidence to support their atheistic faith. They are opposed to belief in God, but their atheism has not blessed them. They are getting ready to die with nothing but frustration, anger, disappointment, and disillusionment.

My atheist friend admitted that being an atheist had not improved his life. He then challenged me to show him how my faith had improved my life. That was easy. My faith led me to a wife who was a blessing to me. There was never any evidence in our 49 years of marriage that she even thought about being unfaithful. When death took her from me, my faith sustained me and led me to a second wonderful woman who has blessed my life. My faith has caused me to have an excellent relationship with my children. It has helped me find joy in a son who has sustained multiple birth defects.

My faith has also given me friends I can trust. I know they would never let me down, and I can rely on them for help in all circumstances. My faith led me to a career in teaching instead of the one my father picked out for me, which primarily involved making money. My teaching experience was rewarding and full of joy. My faith took me into a ministry that makes my life pregnant with purpose and full of value.

My faith causes me not to fear death. My faith is in Jesus Christ and His word, not in humans. I have received hatred and abuse from people who claimed to be Christians, but my faith in Christ has sustained me. I have not listened to the humans who have their own set of problems and refuse to follow the love and compassion that Jesus taught.

Everyone has faith, but in what? I want to share my faith with others because I want the world to be saturated with a belief based on love, service, and peace. God has given us all kinds of evidence for faith in Him. Life teaches us that not having faith in God and His Word brings misery and frustration. When Thomas had a faith problem, Jesus gave him evidence (John 20:24-29). Today we have more evidence than ever to believe and live by faith in God.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

God In the Flesh

God In the Flesh - The Rational God

Several years ago, I spoke at Ohio State University when a leading atheist maintained that God was an old Chinese woman. I pointed out that he should at the very least attack God on the level that God claims to be and not some straw horse god he had just described. He responded by quoting my old atheist friend Madalyn Murray O’Hair who said, “No God ever gave anything to man nor appeared in any way to man nor ever will.” Then I pointed out that God did precisely what Madalyn said He would not do when He came to Earth in the form of a human. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh.

Put yourself in the role of God for a moment. You have created humans, and you desire to lead them to a better way of living. How would you do it? You could make a violent entry to Earth, displaying all of your power and strength. What would that do? It might create a power struggle among humans to be your right-hand person.

That power struggle actually happened in the life of Christ. Matthew 20:20-23 tells about a mother bringing her two sons to Jesus and asking Him to make them His assistants in His kingdom. Another negative to this approach is that people would give service and obedience to God out of fear, not love. There have been those world rulers who tried to rule by power and force. People knuckled down to the ruler, but they hated him, and they rebelled at the first opportunity.

You can enslave a people for a short time, but ultimately they will revolt. The power struggle that always results brings out the worst in humanity. We see that happening in many places on Earth today. The kind of service that will last is one based on love, not enslavement. Jesus Christ, as God in the flesh, brought that kind of love.

It is also a fact that when a ruler lives a radically different lifestyle from that of his subjects, he has no way to relate to them. In today’s world, people try to imagine what it would be like to live the wealthy and opulent Hollywood lifestyle. Movies such as Camelot have had a theme that revolved around royalty trying to comprehend what it is like to live as “common” folk.

In Jesus, we see God in the flesh avoiding the show of force and the opulence. Hebrews 4:15 reminds us that in Christ, we do not see one who lived a lavish lifestyle, but rather one who could “be touched with our infirmities, but was in all points tempted as we are.” Psalms 22:1 describes God in the flesh crying out at the frustrations of life, as we do. Christ repeated those words in Matthew 27:46. Isaiah 53:3-6 describes the suffering of Christ for us. God coming to Earth makes perfect sense if you understand that God wants a relationship with His creation. The Bible makes this clear in passages like John 1:1-3,14 and Philippians 2:6-8.

The tragedy is that people today have gotten so far away from understanding real love that they think of God as they would a dictator, a slave owner, or a military general. The kind of love that the Bible speaks of has a special name – “agape.” It is so far removed from the mindset of our culture that John 3:16 is a cliché without meaning to most people.

Even religious people have trouble with the concept of grace because they can’t comprehend that God is love. In the verses following John 3:16, we read the observation that men love darkness and reject God. God gave us a choice because He wants us to believe in Him and love Him as a Father, not an abusive dictator.

We have a book titled The Rational God that explores this subject in greater detail. It’s available from us for purchase or on loan. You will find our catalog of materials at doesgodexist.org. You can also purchase the book from the powervine.store.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Animals Seem to Demonstrate Altruism

Animals Seem to Demonstrate Altruism

Are animals willing to sacrifice their well-being to benefit another animal? Altruism is a human characteristic thought to be missing in animals. As scientists study animal behavior more deeply, they see many cases where animals seem to demonstrate altruism. Those include jumping into a fight to save another animal when there is no direct benefit to the intervening animal. In one case, killer whales were hunting a sea lion. Suddenly two humpback whales charged in and pushed the killer whales away, allowing the sea lion to escape. People observed that happening three times in the same area.

There are also situations where animals seem to demonstrate altruism by giving food away. Vampire bats need a constant supply of blood because they can’t survive more than 70 hours without it. Researchers have seen vampire bats regurgitate blood when an individual misses a meal. In one case, a vampire bat gave away so much blood that it starved to death. Studies of meerkats, a species of mongoose in southern Africa, have shown that one couple will breed the offspring and other adults raise the babies. Studies of bonobo primates have demonstrated that they share food both in captivity and in the wild.

Are those the behaviors we thought that only humans exhibited? One constant danger in studying animals is our tendency to anthropomorphize animal behavior. In other words, we interpret animal behavior in light of human behavior rather than looking at the possible reasons for the animal’s actions. You can see this by looking at how people treat and talk to their dogs. The reality is that the dog has learned where it gets its food, its sensual pleasure, and its security. No matter how much support the dog receives, it will still chase the cat, eat the feces of another dog, and bark at a time that displeases the owner. Dog owners tend to overlook those animal instincts and behaviors, and they may even put clothing on the dog.

Researchers can see that all animal behavior in the wild has some kind of survival benefit. In the cases above, the whales don’t have sympathy for the seal. Killer whales attack humpback whale babies, and the best defense the humpbacks have is to drive the killer whales out of the area. Vampire bats are not successful in getting blood every time they go out, so sharing benefits all of the bats because the next night might be their time to be unsuccessful. A similar scenario is present with monkeys sharing.

These animals seem to demonstrate altruism but still resort to survival behavior when under stress.
Chimps raised in human homes do not become humans. When a human invades their territory, they resort to violent behavior. At the same time, pure altruism is a trait available to humans, but not all humans demonstrate it at all times. There is a saying that humans can act like animals, but animals cannot act like humans. The death of Christ on the cross is the classic example of sacrificing one’s self to benefit even those who reject you.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: National Wildlife, June-July 2021 pages 30-35.

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UFOs

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UFO

Apparently, the media are running out of things to talk about, so they have resurrected the claims of alien visitation to Earth. In June, U.S. intelligence agencies are supposed to release a report detailing what the government knows about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). Former CIA director John Brennan has stated that there have been scores of credible sightings of UAPs or UFOs that “may be piloted by a different form of life.” We have repeatedly pointed out that this is not a biblical issue. The Bible does not say that Earth is the only place where God created life.

The attention this matter is getting indicates several things about the United States today. First, the media will jump to any conclusion, no matter how bizarre it is, to get attention. Secondly, people who have rejected God and the Bible have to find some other answer to the mysteries of life, and alien intelligence has always been one of them.

UFO simply means we are too ignorant to know what we are looking at. It doesn’t make any difference if you call it Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. The number of possibilities that do not involve alien spacecraft is vast. Many UFO sightings are simply reflections off of the cockpit or window of the observer’s vehicle. Also, being in an unfamiliar environment can cause people to misinterpret what they see.

Once when I was working in Canada, a group of people claimed that a ghost was haunting a woods nearby. One night, several of us camped out in that woods. At about 2 a.m., we saw a ghost, complete with an open mouth and two eyes. It glowed a greenish-yellow color and then vanished. One of the native Canadians in the group laughed because he knew what we were seeing. The aurora borealis (northern lights) were flickering wildly in a solar maximum, and the ultraviolet radiation caused bioluminescence in a dead tree. In broad daylight, we could see that, but at night, with our imaginations running wild, it looked totally different.

Atmospheric refraction or reflection off high clouds can make city lights visible many miles from the city. Earthquakes generate radiation, and some of it is in the visible spectrum. Weather balloons, flares, test aircraft, cloud reflections, satellites, planes, or drones can all become Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. With this new report, we will see a barrage of headlines from conspiracy advocates, tabloid writers, and psychics. In truth, it is more likely that the number of actual mystery objects will be very small. Jesus Christ has answers to the real struggles in life, but E.T. does not.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: The Week magazine for May 28, 2021, page 17.

Another Lunar Eclipse Is Coming

Another Lunar Eclipse Is Coming

On the morning of May 26, 2021, the Moon will turn red in what some people refer to as a “blood moon.” Is this a fulfillment of Acts 2:20-21? Certainly not. It is merely another lunar eclipse.

Unfortunately, most of us in the United States will see little or none of it. In the western part of the country, the penumbral stage will begin as the Moon sets in the west. The umbral, or complete, stage will only be visible along a slice of the Pacific coast, in western Alaska, and all of Hawaii. It will also be visible across the International Dateline into parts of Asia and Australia.

There are several lessons this event can teach us. The first one is theological and has to do with how we read the Bible. To correctly understand this Bible passage, you have to look at who said it, to whom, why, and how the people it was addressed to would have understood it. Acts 2:14-40 is Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost. Peter spoke to the Jews who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate an event peculiar to the Jews, and he quoted Joel 2:28-32. The Jews understood “the last days” to refer to the Messiah’s coming as prophesied in Isaiah. Everyone understood the Moon turning to blood was a symbol of the great change that was coming.

So how do we know that the “moon will turn to blood” on May 26? God constructed the universe with such design and intelligence that we can tell when the Moon will enter the umbra of a lunar eclipse, and we can know that to the second. We also know that the Sun’s light shining through Earth’s atmosphere colors the Moon red while refracting the blue light away. What we see reflected from the Moon is that red light. This event has no spiritual significance. The last total lunar eclipse took place on January 21, 2019. Unlike the return of Christ, we can accurately predict when another lunar eclipse will be.

We see God’s wisdom and design in the precision of the creation and the remarkable position of the Moon and Earth allowing Earth’s shadow to fall on the Moon. As they have in the past, some people will try to use another lunar eclipse for religious purposes, but our plea is to count this as one more evidence that science and faith are symbiotic. The only religious significance of the things we see in the sky is to remind us of God’s power and design.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: Astronomy magazine, May 2021, pages 46 -47.

Happiness Comes from Following Christ’s Teaching

Happiness Comes from Following Christ's Teaching - Robert Ingersoll
Robert G. Ingersoll 1833-1899

Robert Ingersoll is an atheist hero because he traveled the country attacking God, Christianity, and the Bible in the nineteenth century. Ingersoll is quoted as saying, “The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, the way to be happy is to make other people happy.” That statement is remarkably similar to the writings of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:10-13 and the words of Christ in John 16:22-24. Happiness comes from following Christ’s teaching.

Every attempt by atheists to provide an alternative to the teachings of Christ has ended up in frustration and pain. When an atheist built a town in Missouri with the name “Liberal,” it collapsed in a short time, with the founder saying he never again wanted to live in a town with no churches. Governments based on atheism in the past and today have not been successful in providing peace and prosperity for their citizens.

It is easy to attack Christianity while enjoying the blessings of Christ’s teachings. Offering a useful and positive alternative to what Jesus taught is another matter. As the United States drifts away from its Christian roots and embraces humanism, secularism, and atheism, we see an increase in suicides, shootings, racism, and abuse. Happiness comes from following Christ’s teaching.

When someone is incarcerated, the prison usually asks their religious beliefs for the record. Very few prisoners say “atheist,” “agnostic,” or “none.” In our prison work, we ask prisoners taking our correspondence courses to explain how they got to the point of being jailed. Merle Haggard wrote a song in which he said: “In spite of all my Sunday learning, to the wrong I kept on turning. No one could steer me right, but mother tried.” Haggard’s mother was a member of the Church of Christ, and his prison stint took place because he rejected the teachings he learned as a child. We hear that line over and over from many of our students in prison.

My father was an atheist, but he was a very moral man. I asked him one time why he was faithful to my mother. His response was, “I guess it is because of the way I was raised.” His father was a minister, and his mother was a strong Christian woman. Jesus said, “By their fruit you shall know them (Matthew 7:16). Atheism has no positive fruit in the long run. Happiness comes from following Christ’s teaching. Robert Ingersoll found a receptive audience only when he repeated the teachings of the Bible.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Inspiration for this came from Faulkner University spring bulletin 2021.

Near-Death Experiences and God

Near-Death Experiences and God

The April 16, 2021, issue of The Week magazine (pages 48-49) carried an article about the research of Bruce Greyson, a professor emeritus in psychiatry at the University of Virginia. Dr. Greyson has been collecting hundreds of records of people who have had near-death experiences (NDEs). In 1975, psychiatrist Raymond Moody wrote a best-selling book titled Life After Life. Dr. Greyson has a new book similar to Moody’s simply titled After. It contains a series of case studies of people who have had NDEs.

The article discusses possible explanations of the near-death experiences people have had in terms of brain responses to stress. But the Greyson studies go beyond just trying to find a physical explanation for what people experience. One interesting fact is that people who have had NDEs are changed by the experience. Greyson says that a near-death experience “dramatically transforms people’s attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors.” People lose their fear of dying, they lose their fear of life, and they see a purpose in life they hadn’t seen before.

Greyson says, “I’ve spoken to people who were policemen or career military officers who couldn’t go back to their jobs, couldn’t stand the idea of violence. The idea of hurting someone becomes abhorrent to them. They end up going into helpful professions. They become teachers, or health care workers, or social workers.”

Dr. Greyson ends his article by saying that he grew up without any spiritual background, and he still is not sure of what “spiritual” means. He says that researching near-death experiences for 40 or 50 years convinced him that there is more to life than just our physical bodies. He says he now recognizes that there is a nonphysical part of us, but he is not sure what it is.

Our society has tried to portray humans as just animals. The research that honest seekers like Greyson are doing gives strong support to the fact that what defines us is our soul–that part of us created in the image of God.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Increase in Paranormal Beliefs

Increase in Paranormal Beliefs

Someone said that when people don’t believe in something, they will believe anything. As our culture has turned away from God, it has forsaken Christ’s teachings and turned to irrational ideas. New studies show an increase in paranormal beliefs.

Statistics from the Chapman University “Survey on American Fears” from 2015 to 2018 show that the percentage of people who believe in haunted houses has grown from 41.4% to 57.7%. The percentage of people who believe Bigfoot is real has increased from 11.4% to 20.7%. Those believing that aliens have been visiting Earth has grown from 18.1% to 35.1%. Faith in the ability of fortune tellers and psychics to foresee the future has increased by a small percentage as well.

There are many contributing causes for the increase in paranormal beliefs, but a part of it is biblical ignorance and rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus urged people to seek and to think. When Thomas had doubts, Jesus showed him the evidence. Biblical miracles always had a purpose in conveying truth. Through the prophets, God warned Israel not to trust magicians, soothsayers, witches, and sorcerers. The law gave lethal consequences for those who persisted in promoting the paranormal.

Chaos in all aspects of American life today results from people believing what they are told without demanding evidence and factual information. It has affected the pandemic, the election, and the racial struggles that are going on throughout this country. Let us urge people not to believe anything just because someone says it is true. We must demand evidence and think!

— John N. Clayton © 2021