The Bible’s Viewpoint
Did God Have a Beginning?
THE skeptical Frenchman, standing ramrod straight in front of his home, looked one of Jehovah’s Witnesses directly in the eye and said: “If you can tell me where God came from, I’ll listen to you.” Unperturbed, the Witness replied: “Some very logical people have come to the same conclusion as 18th-century French philosopher Voltaire, who stated: ‘If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.’ Have you ever reflected on why a man as intelligent as Voltaire would make such a statement?”
The man admitted he had not but asked the Witness to step in. The Witness developed his argumentation along the following lines.
Let’s Be Logical
Like Voltaire, many people are of the opinion that life and the universe must have a cause. To be sufficient to produce the things we see, this cause would have to be endowed with certain powers and qualities, such as energy, organizing ability, artistic taste, love, and wisdom. Why? Because the things observable in the universe, particularly on our planet Earth, reflect these characteristics. Now, these are not the attributes of things, but of persons. So we end up with the concept of a Supreme Being—God.
“Fair enough,” replied the incredulous Frenchman, “but where did God come from?”
No Absolute Beginning
We are faced with the observable fact of a material universe and many different forms of life on earth. Where did they originate? Some scientists, although not all, say these life-forms have come about by chance. But the divergent theories of scientists always presuppose the existence of something, no matter how they name it. They say, and rightly so, that matter is a form of energy. On that basis, they feel that the material universe could have come about accidentally. But they do not explain how the initial set of circumstances came to be. There is always a preexistent something the origin of which they are incapable of explaining.
So atheists presuppose the existence of a thing, whereas believers in God presuppose the existence of a person. In view of all the natural laws, mathematical precision, organization, and wisdom observable on earth and throughout the universe, Jehovah’s Witnesses see that it is more logical to conclude that the First Cause is a Person rather than a thing, an intelligent Creator rather than a blind force. To atheism’s premise, ‘In the beginning something,’ they prefer the Bible’s opening words, “In the beginning God.”—Genesis 1:1.
“I knew you would get around to quoting the Bible,” said the inquiring Frenchman.
The truth is that Jehovah’s Witnesses find the Bible’s viewpoint on basic facts to be logical and in harmony with observable realities. Let us examine a few.
Something Cannot Come From Nothing. No scientist has been able to produce something from nothing. Man can only transform or build up existent materials. Similarly, no one possessed of his senses would suggest that a manufactured article just happened. The Bible states as a self-evident truth: “Of course, every house is constructed by someone.” Then it continues with the logical conclusion: “But he that constructed all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:4) To recognize that a house needed an architect and a builder and, at the same time, claim that a complicated atom, molecule, or cell sprang out of nothingness simply does not make sense from the Bible’s viewpoint. The Bible asks logically: “Should the thing made say respecting its maker: ‘He did not make me’?”—Isaiah 29:16.
Life Comes From Life. Although some people persist in believing that life sprang spontaneously from nonliving matter, we have yet to see factories converting carloads of chemicals into manufactured living cells. If life happened spontaneously, why cannot man repeat and develop the process? Simply because the facts show that all known living things come from preexisting living things. The Bible recognizes that the primeval First Cause must have been a living Being, stating: “From time indefinite to time indefinite you are God.” “With you is the source of life.”—Psalm 90:2; 36:9.
Matter Is a Form of Energy. The Bible is in perfect agreement with the scientifically proved fact that matter is a form of energy. Man has discovered how to release energy from matter in his atom bombs and in his nuclear power stations. The Bible shows God to be the source of the energy locked up in the material universe. We read: “Raise your eyes high up and see [bodies of the solar system, stars, galaxies]. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number. . . . Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26) “He is the Maker of the earth by his power.”—Jeremiah 10:12.
The Universe Gives Evidence of Purpose. In human experience, order never results from confusion. Is it, therefore, logical to believe that the order visible on earth, with its seasons and cycles so necessary to plant, animal, and human life, could have come about by chance? Rather, do not these things give evidence of design and purpose? The Bible states: “This is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.”—Isaiah 45:18.
A Wonderful Purpose for the Earth
The doubting Frenchman ventured: “Created or not, it looks very much as if the earth will end up uninhabited.”
His fears are seemingly justified. So the choice today is between despairing unbelief and the reasoned recognition of the eternal Life-Giver, whose written Word offers hope of living forever on earth in a global paradise. (Matthew 6:10; Psalm 37:9, 11, 29) Surely such a prospect is worth looking into.
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“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”—French philosopher Voltaire