Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth, to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
You know, Dave, every time I say that, it’s the same introduction I use every time, but that’s our heart. That’s what we want people to do. To search….
Tom: …the Scriptures. Especially if you desire to know God’s truth. Where else are you going to turn?
Dave: And to please Him.
Dave: And to serve Him. I mean, what else is there, worthwhile?
Tom: And, Dave, for all that is essential for salvation.
Tom: And living a life [that is] pleasing to Him.
Tom: We are in chapter 2 of Dave’s latest book. It’s called Seeking and Finding God. “Of God and Human Destiny” is the title of chapter 2.
Tom: And it begins, “Eternity—what does it mean?” You ask the question. What does it mean, eternity?
Dave: Tom, I can remember as a young boy, I don’t know how young, but probably six, seven, eight years old, thinking about eternity. And it could drive you mad. It goes on and on and on. Why doesn’t it end? Why should it end? You can go back in the other direction. God is the I AM. It’s interesting. The Bible talks about God in a different manner. He wasn’t the child of someone else, or, you know, you can go back and read the myths of the Greeks and the Romans or the pagans.
Tom: Or the Mormons.
Dave: Yeah, right. You’ve got all this nonsense, but “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God,” the psalmist said. Well how can that be? It’s like—here we’re in a spaceship, Tom, and we zoom at hyper-speed, and finally I bring the thing to a halt. And I say, “Ladies and gentlemen, historic moment, we have just reached the edge of space!”
And a little boy looks out and says, “Yeah, but what’s over there?”
You don’t reach the edge of space—and I’m not trying talk scientifically or philosophically—there’s always something else over there.
One of the elementary proofs—that there’s an infinite number of numbers you know, in mathematics. And very often you assume the opposite in order to prove what you want to prove. So let’s assume that there is a finite number of numbers. You name it, I’ll add one to it. We got another one (laughing).
So time, did it begin? Yeah, there was a beginning to time. Genesis:1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That was the beginning of the universe, the creation of the universe, and time is part of the physical universe. But that was not the beginning of God. It was not the beginning of existence and it was the beginning of energy because energy can’t go on forever.
So eternity? And are we eternal beings? We talked about that last week and the week before, I guess in the first chapter. We have no reason to believe that the soul and the spirit of man, and that’s the thinking part, not the brain. The brain doesn’t initiate your thought. We can’t go back over that. But we’re not the prisoners of our brain. We’re not wondering what our brain is going to come up with next. But we are the thinker inside that makes the choices, makes the decisions. That person, when the body dies, we have no reason to believe that that person ceases to exist. Now it doesn’t mean that we always existed before.
Tom: Well, yeah, that’s a good point, Dave. Some people think eternal, that we were always around. But only God is eternal in that way. We had a beginning.
Dave: We had a beginning because God created us. But the God who created us obviously didn’t have a beginning.
So, eternity. We know, then, that eternity is outside of time. We know that eternity is outside this physical universe. Because we know that energy could not have been hanging around forever.
Dave: Yeah, the law of entropy says that energy becomes less and less usable, and if it had been hanging around for billions of years to make a big bang, it would have entropied before it banged. So that’s not going to work. Everything that we see—you know it’s amazing, Tom, it just staggers me, the more I study the Bible, the more I learn about it.
You take the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, sixty-six books, that’s almost as many chapters as there are in the Qur’an. There are a hundred and fourteen chapters, surahs. But sixty-six books in the Bible, and written by forty different men over a period of 1,600 years—we’ve gone through this before—most of whom didn’t know one another. They came from different times in history, different cultures, and yet it doesn’t contradict itself. You have interwoven themes. You want to follow redemption, for example, or follow the blood, redemption through the blood, or whatever you want. It just is woven intricately in and out through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
And when the psalmist says, “from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God,” that’s far different from what the pagan religions say. Or when you get to Paul, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4, “We look not at the things which are seen; for the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are not seen are eternal.” That’s what we want to deal with. Or when you go to Hebrews 11: “By faith, we understand the worlds were framed by the Word of God so that things which are seen were not made out of things that do appear.”
Now it doesn’t say that everything was made out of something invisible; it says everything was made out of nothing. The things that you see, these are temporary. And they were not made out of something temporary, obviously, because there would have been a time when that something wasn’t there.
So to try to say as the Mormon Church, for example, you know, Joseph Smith said, “Matter and intelligence have always been here.” Well, matter couldn’t have been here because it’s of temporary structure.
So anyway, eternity is outside of time. It’s outside of this universe. We talked about that in the past, but that’s why God can know what you’re going to do tomorrow without causing you to do it tomorrow. The fact that God knows what we’re going to do, does not mean that that then causes us to do it so we have no free will. And yet the Calvinist tries to say that foreknowledge is the same as predetermining and it is not, because God is outside of time. He sees what to us is past, present, and future from outside.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, to go back to the issue of matter always existing. Somebody said, “Well, God couldn’t have made something out of nothing. Therefore, at least He had to have made it out of Himself.” Now we got a problem!
Dave: Yeah. The universe is not an extension of God. If it were an extension of God….
Tom: He’d be dying!
Dave: That’s right.
Tom: We just said the second law of thermodynamics.
Dave: God’s got some problems….
Dave: Because this extension of Him is running down like a clock. I guess we don’t use that terminology any more. The old folks understand it. What do they say today, Tom?
Tom: Dave, I’m not—you’re older than I am, but I still, you know, I don’t go back the sundial, but I remember a clock.
Dave: Right. Well, running down like a clock. They don’t use clocks any more. It’s all digital.
Tom: And you don’t wind…
Dave: Like the battery, I guess. They still use batteries, so, the battery is wearing out.
Tom: There you go.
Dave: That would be comparable. So okay, so we know then that things that are seen—in fact, things, matter—contrary to what Joseph Smith dreamed up, it hasn’t been here forever. I couldn’t be here forever—second law of thermodynamics. It would have all entropied. Therefore, there was a time when no thing existed. No matter. No energy. It’s hard for us to understand, but we are driven to this by logic. Okay?
Therefore, God created everything out of nothing. But there had to be no beginning to God, because someone must have had no beginning because you don’t get everything out of nothing. Now God could create out of nothing. The Bible says, “He said let there be light, and there was light.” He spoke the worlds into existence. But if there were no God to speak the world into existence, there would be nothing. Okay?
Tom: Dave, we’ve already really covered this, but somebody’s going to ask the question, “Well couldn’t there be some kind of cosmic energy out there that created something?” Now we’ve dealt with it on one hand. On the other hand, what personal things could energy, whether it be intelligence or personality, how could energy create that?
Dave: It couldn’t. So that’s the basic problem with evolution of course. Evolution is some kind of a force. There’s some kind of a force behind it.
Forces do not think. There’s no way that some cosmic energy—first of all, there’s no way that a cosmic energy could come into existence. And if it’s cosmic energy, it would wear out. So it couldn’t be here forever. But energy, power, electricity, gravity, whatever it is, and we don’t really know what any of these things are—you’re not going to find….
Tom: Just you and me? (Laughing)
Dave: (Laughing) Nobody knows.
Dave: Science doesn’t know. You know, my scientist friends tell me for every door science opens there are ten unopened doors on the other side. It’s like receding images in a hall of mirrors. Why won’t we find the secret of the atom in the atom? Why won’t we find the secret of the universe in the universe? Because the universe did not create itself. It was created by God. By the infinite person. He is a personal being. Otherwise, we couldn’t love Him. He could not reveal Himself to us, and He could not create personal beings. It would be amazing, I mean God, who is not a personal being then creates personal beings? See that’s one of the problems, Tom. And again we’ve dealt with this probably years ago, but there are three basic concepts of God, just to simplify it.
A monotheism, one God. And then polytheism—well you’ve got a problem with each of them. Monotheism—this god is incomplete in himself. He cannot fellowship. He cannot communicate. He’s incomplete. He’s all alone. He cannot experience love, and so forth, the highest experience that there is.
On the other hand, you have polytheism. Well, you’ve got diversity, but you have no unity, so the gods steal one another’s wives, they fight and quarrel, there’s no peace in heaven and there can be no peace on earth.
But then the Bible gives us Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not three gods. Three Persons in one God. The Bible speaks of the Godhead. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not three gods— three persons, but one God. Now, the Father loved the Son, you know, and they counsel together, they’re complete in themselves. I say “they,” but God is complete in Himself. He doesn’t need to create us. He doesn’t need anyone. Okay?
So a force doesn’t even begin to satisfy these necessary qualifications that a philosopher would recognize are essential to the perfect being who alone could create all else. So it’s kind of a heavy discussion, Tom.
On the other hand, it’s something we need to think seriously about.
Tom: Well, you say as you go through the Scriptures, God’s not trying to prove who He is. It’s factual.
Tom: To Moses in the burning burn, He says, “I AM that I AM.”
Tom: The self-existent one.
Tom: There it is. Just factual.
Dave: Well, that’s another one of the evidences that the Bible is God’s Word. It doesn’t go into lengthy philosophical discussions, and Tom, it’s fifty years since I studied philosophy. You know my eldest son is a philosophy professor. I do enjoy a good philosophical discussion with him sometimes, and he’s a fine Christian, and he tells me that there many real Christians who are philosophers in the philosophy department—some heads of philosophy departments.
On the other hand, he says there are quite a number of them who call themselves Christians, but really aren’t.
But philosophy is a worthwhile pursuit. We’re thinking. But the philosophers have been thinking and philosophizing and arguing for thousands of years. And they can go into all ki-i-i-i-i-nds of…. Well, I tell my son—he does author some books, and I say, “You guys, you philosophers, you just write stuff for one another. You’re up on such a high level, nobody else can understand it, the terminology, and so forth. Why don’t you write for the common man?” But the point I’m trying to make is, the Bible is not complicated. The Bible doesn’t give you some lengthy philosophical discussion about whether God exists or not. The Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” And the Bible starts out the very first verse, “In the beginning, God….” And the Bible says that this whole universe bears witness to the fact that God created it. A God who is infinite in intelligence and wisdom and power and everybody knows it. We don’t have to argue about it.
Tom: Mm-hmm. So, the universe was created not by some thing but by some one. It had to be that way.
Dave: Absolutely, because things couldn’t be around forever. I mean the simplest way you could look at it—the sun hasn’t been in the sky forever. The stars haven’t been up there forever, they would have burned out. I don’t care how big the fire is, that’s what they are, huge fires. Every fire burns out eventually, okay? So, there was a time when nothing was there. We’ve covered that.
Tom: Dave, I don’t know if it was last week or the week before we were talking about the bumper stick. And you’ll still find it on the back of a VW bus somewhere.
Tom: And it says, “Visualize world peace.”
Tom: Now I always wanted to kind of pull somebody over or if they’re in a parking lot or something like that to just go over and say, “Now how does that work? ‘Visualize world peace.’” And the point I’m trying to make is most of them that have the bumper sticker don’t understand the religious implications of that. But we know if you believe that thing and you understand it, it has to do with an impersonal force out there. And the only way the impersonal force is going to bring something about is by personal beings meditating, coming together, and directing, guiding and directing, creating reality in effect, using their minds to affect the overall mind or the “over mind,” whatever you want to call it. But it’s absurd!
Dave: Tom, that is a common belief of many, many people.
Tom: Right, maybe the most popular, Dave.
Dave: If you got into religious science, or science of mind, this is what they believe. That there’s some mind…well they’ll call it a force, actually, but there is some mind out there. But that mind doesn’t seem to have a mind of its own, as you just pointed out. Whatever we visualize, or whatever we think—“think snow,” you know? Well, we’re the ones who make the universe go round. And that’s the dream of mankind ever since Satan brought that lie to Eve. “You can be one of the gods, too.” Oh wow, well then let’s see.
And you know that from Stanford to Harvard, in our university labs, we’ve got parapsychologists in white lab coats going through experiments trying to prove that there is some potential within man—that man has some power, that there is some force out there; there’s something, if we could just tap into it, think what we could do! Well as though this force, or this mind or whatever it is has no mind of its own. And we can use it to our own ends. But Tom, that’s what most prayer is. Is a religious technique…
Dave: …to get our own way. That’s what people think. We can manipulate God and get Him to do what we want.
Tom: Yeah, plus there’s no accountability. I mean, if I can just tap into it and make it do what I want, who’s in charge here?
Dave: Exactly, exactly. It doesn’t make sense, but that the dream of mankind.
Tom: And it can’t—you know Dave, it’s just absurd. How could something that we can control create us?
Dave: It does not make sense, Tom. Or that we can even influence. Now, the Bible talks a lot about prayer. And prayer is a mystery. God gives us the opportunity to join with Him in His purposes—not to cause Him to do what we want Him to do. And again, this is altogether different from all the religions, all the false views out there, all the cults. When you study this, you find the Bible is alone. Christianity—true Christianity, not false Christianity, not Christian Science for example, which again, is an attempt to do exactly this. “Oh Mary Baker Eddy discovered—what do you know? Jesus was a scientist! Isn’t that wonderful?” So Jesus knew the laws that would tap into this force. Somehow, there was some natural order out there that always existed. And if you could only understand the laws, then you could do it.
Now, Tom, I’m sorry, but the positive confession teachers teach the same thing and we could quote them for the next hour that there is a law of miracles. If we only understood—and we could make this scientific, you see, and “if you knew the laws that govern, or the principles….”
Be very careful of a teacher, a Bible teacher, who says “Now, if you follow these principles, then you can do it.”
Like Kenneth Hagin, who’s no longer in the land of the living, who said that Christ appeared to him and gave him four principles, which if you follow these, you can always get what you want from God. And you find that in his booklet titled: “How to Write Your Own Ticket with God.” No, I don’t want to write my own ticket with God. And Jesus said we are supposed to pray “Not my will, but thine be done,” and He even prayed that. As though a man is going to tell God what to do! And yet, this is the whole idea behind [the] positive confession movement. You can have healing, you can have wealth. Even Pat Robertson said, “We speak to money, and it comes to us. We speak to storms, and they stop. We can do it with the spoken word.”
No, we cannot do it, and we must submit ourselves to God’s will.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, this is obviously a distortion of faith. They are called Word of Faith teachers, but this isn’t biblical faith at all. But the issue of faith—we’re talking about God creating something out of nothing.
Tom: Now, do you, do you just have to accept that by a leap of faith? I mean we’ve tried to reason our way through it, but isn’t there a point in which we can’t just use reason? We’ve got to put our trust in God; put our faith in Him. How does that work?
Dave: Well, Tom, 1 Peter:3:15, Peter says, “Be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks a reason….” So God doesn’t expect us just to take a leap in the dark. And this is why we have prophecy. It proves the Bible is God’s Word. It proves that Jesus Christ is the true and only Savior of sinners. But we’re also to reason. God says, “Come now and let us reason together.” But as you’re pointing out, there is a limit to our ability to reason.
Tom: Well, we’re finite peanut brains… (Laughing)
Dave: That’s right.
Tom: (Laughing) Speaking for myself anyway.
Dave: Well no, speaking for all of us, Tom. And so any real scientist would tell you we don’t know what gravity is; we don’t know what electricity is; we don’t know what an electron is; we don’t know what space is. Is it curved? We don’t know what light is. Is it a particle or is it a wave? I mean, it acts like both. We don’t know anything because the God who created it is beyond our comprehension.
So we follow reason. God gives us evidence. He gives us reason as far as we can go. We then must take a step of faith. The Bible says, “By faith we understand the worlds were framed by the Word of God.”
Now as you pointed out, I can’t understand that. God creates everything out of nothing, on the other hand, I am driven to this by reason. And when I reach the point where I can no longer fathom it, then I take a step of faith. But I only take the step of faith in the direction that all the evidence is pointed. And this is what the Bible leads us to. But you won’t find that anywhere else.