As I mentioned before, I am carrying on a conversation with a young friend who is wrestling with his world view. I admire anyone who is willing to question what he/she has thought and ask others questions about their own belief system. I too must take stock of my world-view and “take captive every thought” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). I invite you once again to listen in on the conversation.
In my 49 year lifetime I have considered a number of philosophies and world-views. In fact, I find myself continually reassessing and considering whether or not my belief systems make sense. I want to be sure that I am constantly growing in my knowledge and in my fair assessment of life. My understandings are based upon personal experience, the experience of others, and the things I learn from reading, meditation, and prayer.
So, I continually ask questions such as the one you now ask. “Must I include God in my world-view?” The way I assess this is by considering the alternatives. I believe the basic alternatives to the existence of God would be:
1. a universe without a cause; that is, a Big Bang that just happened, there was nothing before this and nothing caused the Big Bang,
2. an eternal universe; it has always existed,
3. a universe that is an illusion and does not really exist; some Hindus and some Buddhists would say that the universe exists only as a dream in the mind of Brahman.
The first of these is probably the most popular in our culture and yet even as I consider it I find myself asking, “If there was a beginning, what was before the beginning.” The second of these has some credibility especially when we consider that some scientists suggest that the universe will expand to a certain point at which time it will then begin to collapse back upon itself and reverse back to the singularity that was the Big Bang. Then the process would begin all over again. What we then have is an eternal expanding and collapsing universe within which we humans make a brief appearance. The third possibility is plausible but opens up a lot more questions and is unsatisfying to me.
So, in my reasoning, I find myself equally torn between the concepts of “a universe that is eternally expanding and collapsing” and “a universe that has a creator.” I am at a stalemate. Either one might be true. I must look for ways to get past this stalemate.
One point of agreement we have is that deism is unsatisfying and was really just a philosophical cop-out. Thus, if God exists, we would anticipate that He (and here I will use “He” for the sake of simplicity but please know that the use of a male gender is simply a short-hand way of describing the ultimate Creator Being) would interact with the creation and would communicate. So, one way past this stalemate is to look to see if I can find any evidence of communication from a Creator Being. This may be the crux of your question. Do I experience things that indicate a creator God is communicating with me?
More to come.