I’m re-posting my “Creation” series for new readers.
Why Not the Spaghetti Monster? (Creation 101: Part 4)
I get this objection all the time – this is from a recent exchange with one of my atheist friends:
“There is as much proof of the biblical god [sic] as you know him creating the world as there is a flying spaghetti monster having created the world, is there not? Yet you seem dead set on the former, when the latter is just as ridiculous…”
I’ve also heard it this way:
“How do you know you have the right god [sic]? You and your fellow Christians might think your god is the only god, but how do you know that some obscure tribe in some far-away place isn’t worshiping the real god? There’s just as much chance as them being right than of you being right.”
So how do we know it WASN’T the Flying Spaghetti Monster, huh? I will resist being really sarcastic and saying, “Ooo, you really got me there! There’s no way to know! Great point! I’m giving up on all this God and Jesus stuff RIGHT NOW!”
No, I won’t be sarcastic… But, seriously, it is a question that we followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, should be able to answer. (It actually isn’t wrong to use sarcasm when appropriate – it happens throughout the Bible). So – is our “god” only as real as a Flying Spaghetti Monster? Or are we terribly mistaken and have missed out on the wrong god?
No to both questions! Let me review my own experience: I was indoctrinated into evolution; I didn’t believe in Young Earth Creationism until I was 22 years old. Before I became a Bible-believing Christian, I had to be convinced that the Bible was what it claimed to be: the Word of the one and only God who exists. That didn’t come easy. For years before that, I didn’t accept the Bible as being true (especially Genesis 1 – that was pure myth, superstition). But the Lord – known variously as Yahweh, Adonai, Elohim, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – led me in my curiosity to try and find out what it meant. I read books like More Than a Carpenter, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, and More Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell; Mere Christianity, The Abolition of Man, and Miracles by C. S. Lewis; and several other books on the veracity of the Bible. Once I was convinced – by the myriad bits of evidence, including many fulfilled prophecies – I finally put my trust in the One who is the subject of the Bible.
Once I got saved, I had something – actually, someone – to help me accept the truth of the Bible. He is sometimes referred to as the “resident truth teacher”, the Holy Spirit. That’s one of the key truths of Christianity that outsiders don’t typically comprehend: when we “get saved” by repenting of our sins and accepting the forgiveness Jesus (God the Son) provided for us by dying on the cross, we are “baptized by the Holy Spirit.” That’s not the physical act of being dipped under water; that means the Holy Spirit (who is equally God with the Father and the Son) enters into us. Living the Christian life is essentially “walking in the Spirit” and “being led by the Spirit.” He enables us to live our lives righteously; without His help, that would be impossible. It’s not our good works that bring us to God; it’s God the Holy Spirit living inside of us that enables us to do good works.
Whoa – heavy theology there! But foundational truths are necessary for these questions. To summarize: I believe that the Bible is the Word of God – and that our God is indeed the One and ONLY God – based on external evidence (fulfilled prophesies; historical verifications of Biblical events, and so on) and internal evidence (God the Holy Spirit living inside “testifying to my spirit” that these things are true)
How about some other things:
- Providence: answers to prayers; things that have happened in my life that can’t be explained by pure chance (I have lots of stories!).
- Internal evidence in the Bible: like – why would anybody write it the way it was written? If it’s a bunch of fairy stories and lies, whoever wrote them didn’t do a very good job – you’re supposed to make your own people look GOOD. But time and time and time again, the people you would think should be pumped up and airbrushed… are not. Israel (both the northern kingdom, called “Israel” or “Joseph” and the southern kingdom, called “Israel” or “Judah” or “Jerusalem”) does not come out looking any better than any other people. In fact, they look far WORSE because they turned away from the true God even though they saw His power time and time again.
- And the New Testament? Read the gospels – the apostles look terrible. These dolts completely misunderstood just about everything they saw until AFTER Jesus rose from the dead and they were filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Peter and Judas BOTH betrayed Jesus; the only difference is that Peter repented because he loved Jesus (and was forgiven), while Judas regretted what he did, but he didn’t repent because he didn’t really love Jesus, was not forgiven, and committed suicide. (There’s an odd story in Paul’s letter to the Galatians about Peter sinning AFTER he had been given the indwelt Holy Spirit! We won’t be perfected until we get our resurrected bodies).
- Archaeology has always verified the Bible. In fact, the Bible has been used to find ancient sites or ancient peoples that hadn’t been found previously. For example, for many years, skeptics ridiculed the Bible for mentioning a group of people called the ‘Hittites”. No evidence had ever been discovered to verify their existence – until evidence was found! According to Wikipedia:
Before the discoveries, the only source of information about Hittites had been the Old Testament. Francis William Newman expressed the critical view, common in the early 19th Century, that, if the Hittites existed at all, “no Hittite king could have compared in power to the King of Judah…”. As archaeological discoveries revealed the scale of the Hittite kingdom in the second half of the 19th Century, Archibald Henry Sayce postulated, rather than to be compared to Judah, the Anatolian civilization “[was] worthy of comparison to the divided Kingdom of Egypt”, and was “infinitely more powerful than that of Judah”.
Just one more thing (as Lieutenant Columbo often said when he was about to nail the perp) – It’s the world’s best seller. Most American Christians have not just two or three, but many copies of it. The Gideons have placed copies in hotel rooms all over the world. And it continues to be translated into every language on the planet as soon as it possibly can be. People who have studied the Bible alongside other “holy” books have understood its uniqueness: it stands alone from every other book ever written in so many ways!
And you know what it says, don’t you, my atheist friends. Genesis 1:1 is not in some mysterious, backwards place where only the initiated can find it. God is never obscure; He made sure that you know: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. That sounds pretty plain to me – no interpretation necessary… and in the very beginning, too, of the book…
And if you missed that, He also reveals Himself in His Creation. The Scripture says, in Psalm 19 verse 1:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Pretty simple – for even us simpletons to understand. See – no Flying Spaghetti Monster needed!