I’ve been asked so many times how an atheist could possibly become a theist. Atheists cannot believe one of their own would change his or her mind and Christians have a hard time believing an atheist could change. Once they get over the shock of talking to a believer who used to be a dreaded atheist, Christians want to know what they can say to atheist family members or friends to convince them there’s a God. That’s why I’m sharing my personal story – for Christians, atheists and agnostics.
This story begins in 1966 when I determined that God did not exist. It has a second beginning in 1971 when I determined that God did exist.
My path of atheism became stronger and angrier between 1966 and 1970. By 1969 I was using my radio talk show as a powerful platform to preach an anti-Christian style of atheism. I grew up in a Christian environment, so I knew its shortcomings well. I thought I had been duped by the Christian worldview and saw radio as a way to warn people about falling into the traps of Christianity. I ridiculed Christians and what they believed and mocked their God daily on my show.
What I didn’t expect was what happened in early 1971 when I invited a Christian on my program because he believed in a worldwide flood and was leading a search to find Noah’s Ark in Turkey. My purpose in inviting him to the radio program was to ridicule his beliefs and show the audience the absurdity of believing the myths and legends that filled the Bible. My surprise was meeting someone who knew a lot more about science than I did and presented strong, reasonable answers to my questions.
Every atheist I know who came to faith in Christ has a similar story with slightly different details. I believe that’s because of the Personality of the Holy Spirit. He is so Loving and Creative in the way He draws people to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31). Every believer’s story is unique because the Holy Spirit is Unique.
The good news is that God can and does reach hardened unbelievers. He’s been doing it for thousands of years. However, reaching them can take a lot of time and patience. It also will take a special love that’s hard to muster on your own. I said some bad things to good people when I was an atheist. Some of them gave up on me – some didn’t. I don’t hold anything against those who gave up because it’s hard to hold on to someone who can be very mean in what they say and do to you, but I am thankful to people who kept loving me even when my responses were purposely offensive.
I’ve already shared how the Cosmological and Teleological arguments affected my thinking as an atheist, but they weren’t enough on their own to convince me there’s a God. God knew that and had more strong arguments to come. One of them is known as the Law of Causality.
- Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first.
- The law of causality states that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause.
- If every material effect has an adequate antecedent cause, and if the Universe is a material effect, then the Universe had a cause.
As it was explained to me the Law of Causality is a fundamental principle of science. Science is a search for causes. That’s what scientists do; they search for causes. In the Science of Physics this search for causes is known as Causality – describing the relationship between cause and effect. We see this law all around us – gravity, for instance. Gravity is a force that attracts objects toward the earth. Gravity is the cause – force and weight are effects of the cause. If I jump out of a tree and there is nothing between the tree limb and the ground, we all know what will happen. I will hit the ground at a force determined by mathematics and physics. If I am standing on the ground and step onto a scale, gravity will act upon my body in such a way as to reflect a certain weight on the scale. If I am standing on the moon, the gravitational force on the earth has little effect on me. Instead, the gravitational force on the moon will determine my weight – which will be substantially less.
The Law of Causality is also a fundamental principle of journalism. When something happens, whether good or bad, journalists ask several basic questions which are based on the law of cause and effect: who, what, where, when, why and how. Journalists ask those questions because that process leads to answers to fundamental questions of interest. Who shot the sheriff? Who died in the fire? Who won the spelling bee? Who did people elect to be our next mayor?
The Law of Causality – relationship between an event (cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first.
- We know someone shot the sheriff because the sheriff was shot.
- We know someone died in a fire because there was a fire, a body was found in the fire, and the medical examiner determined that the fire was the cause of death.
- We know someone won the spelling bee because a spelling bee was held and there was a winner.
- We know someone will be our next mayor because an election for mayor was held, voters cast their ballots, and one of the candidates won the election.
Simple, but profound. Most of us know things happened because something “caused” them to happen. It’s logical. It makes sense. That’s the Law of Causality.
The Bible is filled with examples of the Law of Causality – the science of cause and effect. Take Hebrews 3 for example –
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” Hebrews 3:1-6
The Law of Causality – “For every house is built by someone.” When I drive through a neighborhood and see house after house after house in row after row after row on street after street after street, I know that somebody built those houses. I don’t wonder how those houses got there. It’s not a mystery to me. I know someone built them because they were built.
The Law of Causality – “but He who built all things is God.” When I look at the earth and the sea and the sky and the moon and the sun and the stars, I know that someone built them. I don’t wonder how the earth and sea and sky and moon and sun and stars got there. I know Someone built them because they were built. I believe that Someone is the Creator God. The Apostle Paul said it so well – “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) Paul made a statement of logical cause and effect. Another way I’ve seen it explained is –
- Since the Universe exhibits design, it must have had a Designer
- Since it exhibits intelligence, the Designer must have been intelligent
- Since it exhibits life, the Designer must have been living
- Since it exhibits morality, the Designer must have been moral.
But, atheists will argue, what does the Law of Causality have to do with proving the existence of God? Go back to the first step in the Cosmological Argument – “First, whatever begins to exist has a cause.” Atheists will use the Law of Causality to argue that God cannot exist because He would have to have a cause. But read it again – “every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause.” Two things – 1. God does not need a cause because He did not have a beginning, 2. God does not have to have an adequate antecedent cause because He is not material. The existence of God cannot be explained away by any true law of science because God established all scientific laws. And because God established all scientific laws when He “built all things,” He will be found in those laws by those who do not suppress the truth of those laws.
In our next study about the existence of God – we will look at three of those scientific laws – The Laws of Thermodynamics.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence