Chapter 4 — Why God?
I wandered far from God at times in my life, then found my way back. Not everyone shares my faith or understanding. That’s okay. But I know that true happiness and fulfillment in life only comes through understanding who we really are, and what it is that we should be doing with our life. We can choose many paths, it’s true, but in my experience, following the wrong path doesn’t get us where we want to be. So, where do we want to be? We want to arrive at that place of happiness and fulfillment. That isn’t necessarily the same place for everyone, but in my experience, it sort of is. I know that by living correct principles—in every aspect of our lives—we can find true happiness and fulfillment. So, in the next few chapters we discuss which principles are good for humanity, including fulfilling our ultimate purpose for being on earth. This will include every aspect of our existence—emotional, spiritual, health, financial, social, ethical, familial, etc. My approach is a little different maybe, because I tend to be a “reality” sort of person, so don’t expect me to be a cheerleader motivational coach. I present, and you bring your input, and perhaps together we can return to full freedom.
Hey Hey, We’re The Monkees
My friend’s son is heavily influenced by the secular education that society is providing to our youth, and he describes humanity as, “Monkeys on a Rock.” Yep. For many of America’s citizens, especially younger people, humanity is seen as little more than monkeys that have evolved from . . . well, that’s where it gets fuzzy—but we are barely-evolved creatures floating through space on a rocky planet, constantly on the lookout for food and sex. That’s it. They perceive no spirit, no divinity, and no Creator. Before we focus on God, let’s look at the alternative—from a secular viewpoint.
Where Did It All Begin?
Those who don’t believe in a Creator tell us the following. There was a void—there was nothing. Nothingness. For eternities upon eternities, nothing happened in this nothingness. Then, suddenly, without provocation or provocateur, without stimulus or inducement, there was a tremendous explosion of “something.” This something immediately began to expand and fill the nothingness with incredible energy and masses of bits of something, which began to develop on their own into subatomic particles, then atoms, and eventually molecules.
Skip ahead billions of years, and the massive volume of elements that had sprung out of nothingness had organized itself into trillions upon trillions of stars, then planets, with the aid of gravity. As one of those stony planets sat quietly with its large pools of hydrogen percolating in the energy of its nearby sun, one day, without provocation, etc., there was suddenly a single cell living organism. Where did it come from? Nowhere. It was just suddenly there—inanimate material transformed inexplicably into a living organism. This single cell living organism somehow had the ability to survive for longer than a few seconds in its hostile environment—and what is more, it possessed the innate ability to self-replicate. This was a fantastic stroke of cosmic luck—a tiny piece of matter suddenly and inexplicably becoming living matter, with the ability to absorb and process the energy it required, multiply, and congregate, and eventually join together in a functional organism that eats, drinks, reacts, seeks better conditions, reproduces, etc. Then, this living organism survived and continued to reorganize itself into higher and higher lifeforms, until a day (add several zeros to the timing just to give it cosmic gravitas) when it walked, talked, took care of its offspring, and wrote things down so accumulated knowledge wouldn’t be lost.
Did I miss anything? Did I pay close enough attention in my science classes? And hey—I’m not even saying that there’s anything wrong with science generally, or with “the science” that is teaching our children that this is indeed how it went down. I’m just saying that, from a secular view, I have to accept this version of things with a grain of salt. There are so many holes in it, and so many glaring gaps. As a theory goes—and we must adhere to the scientific method—this one cannot be proved or demonstrated, and cannot be reproduced, which is absolutely essential for a scientific hypothesis to become scientific knowledge. These are theories, at best—and not great ones, due to their gaps in logic and their defiance of well-established scientific principles. So, to accept this view of the universe, I must make a leap of faith. A giant leap of faith. The trouble is, I don’t have that much faith. In fact, as we discuss later, faith requires “substance” and “evidence,” which are sorely lacking in our secular discussion of the creation of our universe.
Okay, because the Big Bang Theory doesn’t really meet scientific muster, how does the Creator “theory” work out for us? First, let me say that I agree with great minds who have conscientiously brought their big brains to this question. Carl Sagan, for instance, followed the Big Bang Theory, but said:
“If the general picture of a big bang followed by an expanding universe is correct, what happened before that? Was the universe devoid of all matter and then the matter suddenly somehow created; how did that happen? In many cultures, the customary answer is that a God or gods created the universe out of nothing. But if we wish to pursue this question courageously, we must of course ask the next question: Where did God come from?” Carl Sagan, Cosmos.
We understand Carl Sagan’s question, and we have no satisfactory answer. Unlike scientific theory and inquiry, we know God only because He has reached out to us and introduced Himself to us. We only know what He reveals to us about Himself. We know nothing beyond that. He has provided some information about Himself to us, but we know that there is so much that He has not revealed to us—so we have many questions.
How does God reveal Himself to us? That is a very good question, and the answer is multi-pronged.
First, today we sit in our chair and realize that most of what we understand about God comes from what we have come to call the Bible. Therefore, many would answer that we know God through the Bible. Let’s dig down on that a little, to gain a better understanding of our source of knowledge about God. If we open the Bible and start reading, we begin with the record of the prophet Moses. How did Moses receive his knowledge about God? That’s a great question.
In fact, the Bible is a collection of books and writings by a number of prophets. The very word Bible literally means “library.” Every first-year Spanish student knows the word biblioteca, as she learns the phrase, Donde esta la biblioteca? Where is the library? Biblioteca means the place of the books: the biblio – teca. “Bible” means books, plural, or library. Indeed, as we look at the Bible, we see that it is a vast collection of written books that spans a period of 1,400 years, but speaks about events predating the first man and woman, and projects its discussion far into the future, at least 1,000 years beyond the Second Coming of Christ. That’s at least 4,000 years of history up to the life of Christ and the apostles, plus 3,000 years after the last book of the Bible was penned. The important thing to know about all of these books and writings is that they were penned by men who received knowledge about those matters from God.
Moses was a man, called of God to be His spokesman to all humanity, through whom He revealed matters about His nature and about the creation of our world. He also revealed to Moses, and the long line of prophets that followed, the nature of our existence on earth, and what it is we are supposed to do with the lives God has so graciously given us. In addition to those revelations, Moses received knowledge of the history of the children of God, from Adam and Eve, all the way up to the time of Moses. Some of that knowledge was given through revelation, and some was passed on in books and writings from prior prophets.
Some may doubt my last statement, but let me provide some clarification. We know that there were prophets who were called of God to preside over His children on earth from the very beginning. Moses tells us many of their names—Adam, Seth, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc. Some of these prophets are well known, and some are not. It depends mainly on how much of their writing was preserved and incorporated into what later became our Bible. Nevertheless, God revealed himself to these prophets, and they had a great deal of practical, valuable information—which we can only wish had been preserved. However, at some point those words and writings became lost to mankind. Here’s a case in point. The seventh from Adam was a great prophet named Enoch. The holy writ tells us this tiniest bit about Enoch: He “walked with God: and he was no more; for God took him.” Wow—that had to have been a great chapter in human history, but it is gone—lost somehow. That doesn’t mean it was always lost. We know that Enoch’s writings existed at the time of Christ and His Apostles, because the Apostles quoted ancient scriptures about Enoch.
Either Paul, or one of the other apostles wrote, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5.
Similarly, we read of Enoch in the New Testament: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 14-15 (Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James)
The point of sharing these scriptures is to illustrate the fact that God speaks to his children on earth through his servants, the prophets. He has done so since the very beginning. He has told us about Himself, about His purposes, and about what He expects from us if we are to fulfill our purpose on this earth. Many of these writings are preserved in the Bible. Many we no longer possess. However, within the pages of the Bible we learn many things about God. For instance, we know that He existed before the creation of the things in our ‘world.’
God tells us that He is eternal in nature, and more powerful than anyone else. “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” Isaiah 43:13. In fact, God makes many statements in the Bible that tell us that He is the supreme being in the universe, and that He created everything that exists in the universe. He doesn’t tell us all of the details. Therefore, we can’t argue with a scientist about the details of God’s creation, any more than a scientist can argue with us about the gaps and flaws in the Big Bang theory. Whichever path one walks, it is walked by faith. For those of us who walk with a foot on each path, we walk by faith just the same.
Believing in God Requires Less Faith than The Big Bang
In my opinion, it is easy to exercise faith in a superior Being who has reached out and revealed Himself to us, and continues to reveal Himself to us in his daily providence, and in the way He continues to share the manifestations of His spirit with us. What do I mean by this? I mean that those who open themselves up to the reality of God have daily communication with Him. This communication is through two sources. The first, is the Spirit of Christ, which is a ‘spirit’ that God shares with those who accept Him as their Heavenly Father, and seek to draw close to Him through their behavior. “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9. In addition to this Spirit, which communicates the presence and love of God to all who genuinely seek Him, there are those who receive the special gift of the Holy Ghost.
Christ first gave this great gift to His closest apostles, suddenly appearing to them in a locked room following His crucifixion and resurrection:
“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.’” ~ John 20: 19-22
It was through this gift of the Holy Ghost that the Apostles received revelation and instructions directly from God, many of which are included in our New Testament of the Bible. The Apostles also received authority from Christ to bestow this marvelous gift on others. As Peter and other Apostles were teaching the mission and sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the people of Jerusalem, they were touched in their hearts by the message.
“Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” ~ John 20: 19-22
We see that those who believed the testimony of the Apostles were told that their next steps were to 1) repent of their sins, 2) be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and 3) receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The Apostles had received authority from Jesus Christ to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost on those who repented and were baptized. We learn more about this in The Acts of the Apostles.
“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” ~ Acts 8:14-17
The Apostles had authority given them by Jesus Christ to lay their hands on the heads of those who had repented of sins and been baptized, to bestow on them the gift of the Holy Ghost. Onlookers wondered what this practice was about, because it was not an ordinance performed by the Jewish religious leaders. There was a man in the audience who was known by the people to be a “sorcerer,” whose name was Simon. Simon was always looking for another bit for his act, so he thought he might purchase the power to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost on people.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. ~ Acts 8:18-21
Again, we see that the gift of the Holy Ghost can only be conferred on a person who has repented and been baptized. Then, an Apostle who has received authority from Jesus Christ lays his hands on the head of the person and bestows on him the gift of the Holy Ghost. The ability to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost cannot be purchased, but must come directly from God.
We are considering the Spirit of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost in light of the questions of God’s existence and His status as our Creator and the author of our eternal salvation. We can’t prove God’s existence through a scientific experiment, yet each of us has the ability and privilege of receiving communication from Him, and knowing for ourselves that He is, and that He watches over us. This is a great and marvelous gift. Not all receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, but all are entitled to the Spirit of Christ, which is the light of the world. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12. The Apostle John explained of Jesus and the Light of Christ, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” John 1:9.
By seeking this light, and this personal revelation that Jesus is the living Christ, the Son of God, we enter into a different level of understanding about our origins and our place in the universe. We are not mere monkeys on a rock, orbiting the sun endlessly without purpose. We are, in fact, sons and daughters of God, and are here for a specific purpose. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:14-16. “Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, or all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:25-27. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” John 1:12. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, . . .” 1 John 3:1-2.
Indeed, God has called us His children, and more. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17. And if we are faithful and follow Him, we can receive eternal life, as Christ clarifies in this prayer He offers up in behalf of His followers. “For You granted Him [Christ] authority over all humanity, so that He may give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only TRUE God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” [emphasis added] John 17:2-3. In order to know God and Jesus, we must receive communications through the Spirit, Who speaks directly to our souls and teaches us that which science is incapable of teaching or examining. Also, we must become like them to the extent it is humanly possible in this life, by trying to do the things that they do. What is it that they do? They love, and help humanity to achieve eternal life. If we are to become in any small degree like them, then we too must love, and assist humanity in achieving eternal life.
We have some idea what we can do to show increasing love to others. What is it that we, as mere mortals can do to help others receive eternal life? Here’s something interesting that Jesus shared with us.
“Then the King [Christ] will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’ ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’” ~ Matthew 25:34-40
Christ is above us. He alone has the power to lift us up and bestow eternal life. Yet, as we seek to become more like Him, by doing the things we have seen Him do, like the Apostles of old we too reach down our hand to those who have not yet been elevated to our fortunate status, and we offer them a lift up, ever closer to the Savior. We lift one another and bear one another up as we stumble and grieve. “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:12, 14. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27.
Everything Bears Witness of God
As we look around us, we see that the world, all living things, the solar systems and galaxies are all marvelous and indescribably impressive. They are all living in harmony and balance, at all levels—from the subatomic particle/wave to the super galaxy. Like tiny children, we are only now beginning to understand the vastness and complexity of the universe, and the vibrational ‘dance’ that all matter and energy share. We are in the infant kindergarten of quantum physics and quantum mechanics, the ‘science’ that underlies what we believe we ‘know’ about the makeup of the universe.
For millennia prophets have attempted to explain how God, angels and spirits live in a dimension different than our own. They have referred to the spirits (wave) of mankind, which occupy the same space as our material (particle) bodies, and are separated at the time of death—at which time the spirit body continues to exist intact in another dimension. They have likewise described the spirit world, which occupies the same space as our own world, yet we cannot readily interact with one another. These things were mere foolishness to scientists—until they began to detect, and mathematically posit that different objects of different material types may indeed occupy the same space at the same time—oblivious to one another.
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” John 1:5. By this and other declarations we learn that light is an aspect of God. What type of light? We don’t know. In fact, there are many types of light—an infinite number of types—all of which are determined or categorized by the frequency of their vibrational rate. There is white light, infrared light, x-rays, gamma rays, microwaves, etc. In fact, there are billions of types of light, each just slightly different because it’s frequency (vibrational rate) is slightly varied from the next. They are all energy (waves), but interact with particles, in some instances, providing their tangibility. What I mean by this is that certain light frequencies are known to interact with various types of atoms—hydrogen, helium, carbon, oxygen, and in fact, every atom on the periodic table. Light waves interact with the atoms to stabilize the electron cloud shapes around atoms. In other words, light interacts with elements to produce solid matter—it is the universal glue that holds molecules together.
Does God (Who describes Himself as Light) interact with matter? We are told that, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 That is extremely interesting and informative. The scriptures additionally tell us that there is “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:6. It shouldn’t surprise us then that Moses tells us that the initial creation of our universe was centered in “Let there be light,” and how it interacted with hydrogen and other particles to create matter. Even with this limited understanding, I’m not suggesting that my current understanding of quantum theory is sufficient to ‘prove’ there is a God who directs every aspect of the universe. I’m just saying that if we care to make a logical or scientific inquiry into the ‘intelligence’ that many believe lies behind the workings of the universe, we can certainly find much to appreciate and discuss.
I also find it very interesting in our discussion of dimensions of existence based on frequency of vibrational rates, that the word used by the prophets and apostles to describe being transported from this earthly plane to another plane of existence is “quickened.” “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just [Christ] for the unjust [humanity], that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison [spirit world]; who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah . . .” [emphasis added] 1 Peter 3:18.
Let’s consider a few additional instances of “quickening” in the scriptures:
Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. ~Psalm 71:20
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. ~Romans 4:17
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. ~Romans 8:11
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; ~Ephesians 2:1
I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, ~1 Timothy 6:13
For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. ~John 5:21
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. ~1 Corinthians 15:45
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. ~John 6:63
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. ~Romans 8:11
It’s not hard to see a pattern in these descriptions of transforming matter (particle + wave) to an elevated state of existence. The light (Spirit) of God “quickens” the mortal body (particle/wave) to elevate its existence to a higher level—perhaps a different dimension. I also find it interesting how the Apostle Paul described his experience as he was overcome by the Spirit of God and quickened to another plane during a revelation experience. He refers to himself in the third person. “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.” 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. In this elevated state, while quickened by the Spirit, Paul could not perceive whether he was still part of his body or not.
As we begin to truly understand how the universe actually works, we also begin to comprehend how marvelous the creation truly is. There is so much more to it than mere happenstance and coincidental merging of atoms—trillions of trillions of trillions of trillions of tons of matter that erupted into existence from a singularity of nothingness. It’s a little funny to think about this theory—that everything suddenly erupted from nothing—because in the early days of the Catholic Church, its leadership came up with the creation doctrine (dogma) creatio ex nihilo, which is Latin for “creation from nothing.” Under this dogma, God created everything (except Himself) out of nothing. Apparently, He preexisted all matter and energy. During the Renaissance and the age of reason and scientific methodology, modern thinkers scoffed at the antiquated and simplistic notion of creatio ex nihilo. Then, as astronomers began to measure the expansion of the universe, which can be thought of like a giant explosion from a central point in space, they were stuck with the nagging conclusion that the entire mass of existence had to have begun at that single point. Hence, the Big Bang Theory. Like Carl Sagan, they had to deal with the question, What were things like a second before that explosion from a single point that is only a tiny fraction the size of an atom? And, How did that tiny pinpoint of nothing become the tremendous amount of something that fills the universe today? Creatio ex nihilo!
Pardon me if I choose to think for myself. Science is great—don’t get me wrong. I love my smart phone and turbo-charged pickup engine. Thank you, Science! But when it comes to matters of Who or What is the ultimate source of our creation and Who or What underlies the entire structure of the universe—down to the wave matrix that binds it together and constantly provides its mass—I’ll seek to better understand and intimately commune with Him Who has reached out to humanity and introduced Himself through His holy prophets, and Who sent His very Son as a divine sacrifice to elevate us to a higher plane of existence through the quickening power of the crucifixion and resurrection. That may not make a lot of sense to a scientist who has no confidence in the message from God, but that doesn’t really dissuade me from accepting that message and receiving His Spirit to enlighten me and fill me with personal, direct knowledge of Him. In fact, Science and Religion both seek the same thing—a complete understanding of the universe, how it began, how it works, and what it means. If we continue in our existence and our quest for truth, there will come a day when Science and Religion will be the same thing.
Nature Testifies of God
Hey—monkeys on a rock! Let me ask you a question that perhaps you have never considered before. From where does instinct come? Where does it reside in the body? How is it transferred from a parent to a newborn baby? Well . . . uh, I guess . . . uhm . . . that perhaps . . . uh, you could say . . . that instinct is hard-wired into the brain . . . much like the brain is hard-wired to pump blood through the heart, and cause the lungs to breathe, etc. Is that what you’ve been told? Has the subject ever come up?
To make sure we’re on the same page, the definition of instinct is:
“Innate behavior is also called instinctive behavior. Instinct is the ability of an animal to perform a particular behavior in response to a given stimulus the first time the animal is exposed to the stimulus. In other words, an instinctive behavior does not have to be learned or practiced. Instinct or innate behavior is the inherent inclination of a living organism towards a particular complex behavior.”
If you read a little about instinct, you will come across the definition that instinct is a “genetically determined behavior pattern.” So according to scientists, innate knowledge in living creatures—from the simplest to the most complex (us)—resides in our genes. Are the scientists telling us that highly complex behaviors and innate knowledge are stored not in our brains or nervous systems, but in our genes? Which genes are these? Where do they reside in the body? Are they all our genes, or only particular genes—perhaps our instinct genes?
Bees not only build complex honeycombs in exact geometric patterns and sizes, and collect nectar from certain plants to fill them at specific times of the year, etc., they also communicate the exact location of a food source through a series of dance steps—which the other bees instinctively understand. The steps of the dance indicate direction, distance and the order of the navigational instruction. In fact, all bees are born knowing everything there is to know about a bee’s life—thousands of intricate details, anyone of which could spell widespread destruction if the bees failed to perform it properly. Ants and other insects have similar abilities—as do all of the millions of animal species on the planet. When a bird builds a nest, for instance, it knows exactly how to build it without learning from another bird. It knows which materials to use and which not to use, and how to weave those materials together into a specific shape. Each species will build a type of nest specific to that species, and there are thousands of types of nests built by the various species. Across the millions of species there are millions of specific behaviors that are born with the babies. A blanket statement that innate knowledge is coded in DNA entirely fails to tell us a single thing about instinct—it is as silly as a witchdoctor saying that a rainstorm is the result of bad juju. It just throws out a theory with zero evidence, let alone any proof. In fact, I don’t buy the theory that instinct is magically coded into DNA. Our lack of knowledge about DNA does not support baseless theories about what it may or may not contain. We know there are chemicals. We know they create building blocks for tissues, etc. But there is zero evidence that knowledge, feelings and emotions are encoded in DNA.
My point in bringing up this singular subject, and there are hundreds we could be discussing that would make the same point, is that there is so much more to our universe, world and being than mere mechanics of matter. God tells us that humans consist of a body and a spirit. I believe Him. I feel my spirit living inside my body. Science would say that what I feel is my neuro net stretching throughout my body and sending signals to my brain. I understand “how” the human nervous system works, mechanically. But I also understand that there is so much more than mere material involved—we are so much more than carbon and hydrogen atoms. “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” Job 32:8. You can feel your spirit in your body as well. You think. You worry. You love. You care about others. You desire to improve yourself, and things around you. This is the fusion of your body and your spirit, working in concert to navigate this universe in which we live. Your “instincts” come from your spirit, not your genes.
When you die, will your spirit continue to live? Job 14:14. Or do the lights go out and we simply return to nothingness? The scriptures tell us that when our body dies, our spirit continues to live, in its dimension or sphere of existence—the spirit world. I’m surprised the Bible doesn’t really devote that many pages to the subject, seeing that nonbelievers tell us the only point to religion is to quell our fear of death. But Jesus did describe the state of post-mortal spirits who await the resurrection in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man.
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’
But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” ~Luke 16:19–31
What do we learn from this parable? First, we understand that it is not an actual recitation of real people or events. It is an instrument to teach principles. So, without getting bogged down in the words and details, let’s just look at the obvious concepts that Jesus was sharing about the post-mortal world. The very first thing we learn is that when the body dies and begins to decay, the spirit that infused it continues to live in a different dimension or plane of existence. Then, we learn that there are those who do good in this world, and those who do evil. They are separated in that plane, and are unable to move from region to region. We also learn that those who have been evil will not enjoy their period in the spirit world awaiting the resurrection. We also learn that there are those who have suffered injustice and deprivation in this life, and they will receive a pleasant experience while awaiting their resurrection. In that plane there is balance, which we could say is justice. Is it the final judgment? No. It is merely a waiting station for the spirits of God’s children, good or evil. Those spirits have feelings and desires, regret and satisfaction.
Within our spirit is innate knowledge. We all have a knowledge of certain things, without hearing it from someone else. I know there is a God. His spirit communicates His existence and presence to my spirit. I feel my spirit reaching outside of just my body, beyond the boundaries of fleshy tissue. I feel the joy, discomfort, pain and hunger of people and fellow creatures around me. I feel the existence of the spirits of other people, and I feel a longing to assist them when they lack something they need. My body is a tool, an instrument of my spirit, and helps “me” to navigate and interact with the material world. Most humans know this innately. There are those who do their best to talk us out of what we instinctively know—they mock and belittle—but we know what we know, and although many do their best to forget it . . . there usually comes a time in their life when that knowledge returns and engulfs them.
In addition to my own experience, feeling the reality of my own eternal spirit functioning in harmony with my material body, there are many who share their experiences of encountering the spirits of those who have left their bodies. There are also a growing number of people who share their experience of temporarily leaving their bodies during a time when their body was nearly dead. Some scoff at these experiences, but I don’t. Of course, if I suffer under the mistaken belief that there is no spiritual aspect to living things in the universe, then I must scoff when someone shares his or her personal experience with a spirit not attached to a body. But when we accept the reality that there is a spiritual plane of existence, then we can consider the experiences of others with rational discernment—meaning, not every story may come from an honest person (like fish stories, or paranormal TV shows), but many may very well be actual experiences. I don’t personally know who tells the truth or who suffers from delusions when recounting spiritual encounters, but I believe they are possible, so I have an open mind, and “feel” the genuineness of a true story when the Spirit bears witness of its veracity.
Every real experience with spirit bears an indelible testimony that there is a God, and that we are “placed” here by Him to fulfil a divinely appointed purpose. Every experi-ence with spirit is personal. You cannot photograph a spirit, or record its voice, or measure it, or weigh it—paranormal television shows notwithstanding. Does a spirit have weight? I recall reading about a doctor who asked dying patients for permission to weigh their bodies at the moment before and after death, to see if there was any difference in weight when the spirit left the body (Dr. Duncan MacDougall, Haverhill, Massachusetts, 1907). He determined that there was a consistent loss of 21 grams as each spirit departed the body. I have serious reservations about that research, but it is interesting that the attempt was made. In fact, I assume that the spirit (wave) lacks the physical makeup necessary to tip the scales even 21 grams. Nevertheless, I believe that the thousands, even millions of experiences of those who have interacted with the spirits of those who no longer possess physical bodies strongly indicate that some spirits find a way to interact with those living in the material (particle/wave) world.
What awaits us after this life? The scriptures tell us there will be a resurrection, then we will be brought to stand before God to be judged, then we will be separated into differing levels of glory for all eternity. Biblical scholars don’t always agree on the details, but I believe that the next life will be this life to the tenth power, and that God, Who gives us life and knowledge, will be gracious and beyond loving to His own children. Therefore, I feel it is necessary, for my own welfare and for the welfare of my family, friends, loved ones and the world as a whole, that I live my best life, and reach out beyond myself and encircle all humanity and all living creatures with the love of my own spirit. I would hate to miss out on those opportunities when they are here before me, as did the Rich Man in Christ’s parable or with Dickens’ Jacob Marley:
“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” It held up its chain at arm’s length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again. “At this time of the rolling year,” the spectre said “I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!”
~ A Christmas Carol