Defining God


“What could define God [is thinking of God] as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible…

“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

The words of Stephen Hawking being interviewed by ABC’s Diana Sawyer in June, 2010.

Stephen Hawking is a deist, or at least that how I would describe this interaction with Sawyer. This is the same terminology as Jefferson and Franklyn, and brings to the forefront the general arguments made by those of the mono-theist faiths. It is something I also believe in which Hawking’s was wrong.

Religion is not just based on authority, but based on unsubstantiated faith in a supreme power to answer the unanswerable. A power that puts order to the general chaos of life. Sometimes we do not know, we cannot rationalize, why things happen. Why, for example, was one house in Joplin, Mo destroyed and another, next store, left without damage? Why did one person, an obviously good and pious person, die while another lived?

Many years ago, I saw the same devastation in a town east of Denver. On June 6, 1990, an F-3 tornado hit the town of Limon. I was there three days later as a representative of the State of Colorado. There was no town. Nothing but a few standing structures like the walk-in refrigerator of the local bar and the back half of the bank.

We met a woman standing in a daze in the middle of what was main street just looking into the plains. When asked where her home was, she just pointed into the nothingness. Then she asked, “Why?”

There was not answer. A personal God, a god that is worshiped in accordance with His rules would not do this to his people. He would not do this to those who are not obedient because he is a forgiving God. Isn’t He?

The problem with “faith” is that there is not reasoning involved. That does not mean that everything needs to have a reason, just that faith is designed only to explain the otherwise unexplainable.

Why was the National Cathedral damaged in the earthquake in the summer of 2011? It is a house of God, after all. And who sinned in Texas to have the wild fires burning hundreds of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes?

Sometimes life happens. No other explanation needed.

But that is not good enough for some. One friend swears that prayer aided in an otherwise disabled car to start. Could it have been something mechanical, like an overheated engine or fuel so low that it was pushed away from the fuel-line? No, according to our friend, it was God’s doing.

Science is better than faith. It does examine and explain, and if the explanation is wrong, it will eventually self-correct. Reason allows us to look at alternative explanations to see if they better explain an event. Even the great Albert Einstein’s theories of space-time could be proven wring one day.

We can see almost to the beginning of time and can show that the simple house fly shares over 90 percent of the DNA as humans. And through DNA, we can show that Darwin was right.

It is confusing when a true believer for whom God is the answer, finds that science is important when convenient or needed to save a life. Or keep a person breathing even though death had already come to the brain.

Sometimes the answer is “There is no answer.” Not yet, anyway. Given enough time, given enough great minds, maybe we will finally discover that the Earth is not 6100 years old and the center of our galaxy, and ours is not the only life form in the Universe.

David’s new book, A Christian Nation? An Examination of Christian nation theories and proofs, is now available through CreateSpace eStore and Amazon.com.

InkandVoice readers can receive a 20% discount at CreateSpace with code 5H3W9SN8.

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About David Rosman

David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in Communications, Ethics, Business and Politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com, InkandVoice.com and NYJournalofBooks.com.
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4 Responses to Defining God

  1. God is all of the elements of the earth that supports all life.

  2. cluveriusac says:

    I feel as though you either have to accept the bible as truth, or you have to discount it entirely. I really don’t see much room for interpretation. Is the bible the literal word of god as presented to man, or is it simply a very popular work of fiction? Those are your choices. If you say that the bible is true, then you have to accept every word of it, such as its endorsement of slavery, genocide, and misogyny. You can’t claim that some parts are the absolute truth, and other parts are not true at all. It doesn’t work that way. Personally, I believe it to be a work of fiction. I believe that the stories contained within it can be used to teach us lessons, similar to Aesop’s fables, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and other such stories, but they are certainly not true histories. We have far too much evidence that contradicts it.

  3. Lynn Wilhelm says:

    David, I think you are misinterpreting the comparison Hawking is making in the quote you use. The comparison he makes is to how science and religion are informed. Given the context I think one could substitute “informed by” for “based on” in the quote you used.

    “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

    You base your entire post on that quote from which the rest of your article does not follow.

    Your last sentence is crazy. We already know that the Earth is not 6100 years old and the center of our galaxy. And current evidence about other stars and what we know about life on our planet shows that we are very likely not the only life form in the universe.

    David, would you mind writing more carefully? I really want to hear what you have to say, but to have to wade through so much muck and bad editing to get to your point discourages me from reading your articles. Not to mention having to click two links to get to your articles. At least link directly to your article, not the landing page. None of this makes me likely to check out your book, by the way. Or better yet, put your entire article in your LinkedIn “discussion”. It seems you aren’t as interested in discussion as you are in driving us to your website. I know the formatting stinks on LinkedIn, but I’d rather not have to click through and, one day, I might not.

    By the way, Richard Dawkins has some excellent comments about why things happen (which is really what your article seems to be about) in his newest book “The Magic of Reality”. (He talks about it much more clearly, too.) I know the book is meant for kids, but I greatly enjoyed it while reading it to my 8 year old. She loved it too.

    (comment also left on LinkedIn Freethinkers discussion)

  4. brakelite says:

    Rather than defining God, this post merely defines your unbelief, based on the erroneous assumption that it must be God who is the cause of everything bad happening in our world. Which of course is nothing new, people have been using that as an excuse for their unbelief for centuries.
    As to the question “why does bad stuff happen to good people?”….I have only a vague answer from personal experience, an answer which may not satisfy anyone else, but it is the best I can do. I have had some bad stuff happen to me in my life. I think we all have. Yet none of it has lessened my faith in God, and all of it has made me a stronger person. We learn to cope, we learn to trust God regardless of what happens, because we trust that He knows exactly what He is doing. He may not instigate disasters and the like, but certainly He allows them. Being God, He knows the end from the beginning. From our perspective we can not see even into tomorrow, let alone next week. But we trust God that He knows, and in the end, when all is said and done, we will look back on our lives and agree with God that “all things worked for our good”. (Romans 8:28)

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