It All Comes Back to God

By Alan Shlemon Published on March 22, 2018

There’s a reason the Bible begins the way it does. Notice the first verse: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). God is there before anything begins, and He starts it all. Without Him, there would be nothing. The universe and everything in it is His kingdom. He’s the King, and it’s His domain.

The rest of the Bible that follows from that verse is predicated on the idea that there is a God. Every creature is His. Every natural law is His. Every moral truth is His. Without Him, we have no foundation for our theology, ethics or values. Everything can be traced back to Him.

This has significant implications for what we believe. Nothing makes sense without first acknowledging God exists and has made all things. Remembering that can help us better understand discussions with people who don’t share our religious convictions.

I often find myself talking to skeptics about morality. They are astonished that I would uphold certain sexual ethics, for example. In one sense, I understand their bewilderment. Biblical morality can appear archaic or unnecessarily limiting if it seems to be without just cause. If there’s a God who made us, though, then His moral rules are timeless, relevant, and justified.

This is why it’s often pointless to justify a sexual ethic on its own merit when talking to a skeptic. If you want to show that the ethic is good, you can predicate its reasonableness on the existence of God. That’s because all things come back to God. Let me offer a few examples.

Abortion: Christians believe abortion is a serious moral crime because it kills an innocent human being. Many non-Christians, though, believe abortion is morally permissible. They’re mystified as to the reason we hold our view. If you think about it, though, abortion is wrong because there’s a God who says human life is intrinsically valuable. Therefore, the wrongness of abortion is ultimately grounded in the existence of God. Without Genesis 1:1, there’s no God, no one made in His image, and nothing wrong with killing an innocent human being. As you can see with abortion (or any other bioethical issue), it all comes back to God.

Homosexuality: Christians believe that homosexual behavior is sin. Most people in society, however, vigorously disagree with us. Conversations on the subject can result in a fruitless back and forth: “Homosexuality is wrong,” “No, it’s not,” “Yes, it is,” etc.

This matter, though, also comes back to God. One could ask, “If you believed there was a God who created and designed us, invented sex for men and women, and communicated His plan to humanity, would it matter to you what He said about homosexuality?” If they don’t agree, then no discussion about the morality of homosexual behavior will matter. After all, they don’t even grant that the God who made us (if they even believed in Him) would have the authority to guide their thinking on the subject. If, however, they believe it would matter what God said if He existed, then perhaps a discussion about God would be logically prior to a discussion about what He said about sex and homosexuality.

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The point I’m making is that our sexual ethics are ultimately predicated on God’s existence. If there is no God, then there are no morals to tell us how to conduct sexual expression. Again, it all comes back to God.

Is Jesus the only way? The Christian claim that Jesus is the only way to Heaven is offensive to many non-Christians. We’re told it’s arrogant to suggest that other religions aren’t also a legitimate path to God.

The claim that Jesus is the only way, however, is not a man-made claim. Christians didn’t think of it. It was Jesus who boldly proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Christians simply follow His teaching.

As you can see, even the exclusivity of Jesus comes back to God. If there is only one God, then He alone determines the terms to enter heaven. If He decides that everyone must be pardoned and the only way to receive a pardon is to become Jesus’ disciple, then that becomes the only way to heaven. If there were another God, then perhaps there would be other terms. But since only one God exists, there’s only one way.

Recognizing that our beliefs and values all come back to God reminds us that He is our foundation. It all starts with the first verse, “In the beginning, God…” and all things follow from there.

There are also practical ramifications. Sometimes we get distracted by the details of our faith when we’re talking to people who don’t share our convictions. We end up debating secondary issues (I don’t mean unimportant ones). Instead, sometimes we need to back up and talk about the more foundational belief that there’s a God and everything is ultimately grounded in Him.

 

Copyright 2018 Stand To Reason. Republished with permission.

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  • keithh81

    Even though as a Christian I agree everything begins with God, however when talking/argueing with a non believer it is best to not mention most topics in the realm of the Bible, but use secular studies as they believe to help them understand that their own science agrees with the teachings of the Bible.

    For example, stats show that people who are transgender or think they are and commit sex change surgery have a 40% suicide rate. Why is that, because parents are pushing unrealistic body ideals on children. They are pushing this sexual sex crap on kids when at that age no kid is sexual or even understands the differences between boy and girl.

    Homosexual people tend to sexually abuse kids by a larger percentage than hetrosexual people. Homosexual people also have more health problems and have to see the doctor more than hetrosexual people (no wonder why they want others to pay for their healthcare).

    We can go on and on. If a person doesn’t believe in God or religion they are not going to see your point of view if you talk strictly from the Bible. You can start out for example, you can start a discussion like health studies confirmed that being homosexual is more prone to diseases and they tend to be the ones most commonly on the news sexually assualting our kids. I believe that good number of these people are a diversion of our health care system and the safety of our children and these secular backed studies backs the Bible.

    • Trilemma

      For example, stats show that people who are transgender or think they are and commit sex change surgery have a 40% suicide rate.

      Where did you get that statistic?

  • Lisa

    Good article. I often struggle with how to be salt and light so I appreciate good ideas from wise souls.

  • Aristotle’s concept of telos, or the end or purpose of a thing, is also a powerful argument for biblical sexuality. All of God’s magnificent creation has a purpose to it, include our bodies, and it is very obvious that homosexuality does not fulfill that purpose. I will not get graphic, but everybody, every single human being on earth, knows exactly what I mean, and agrees with me whether they will admit it or not.

    • swordfish

      What is the purpose of men’s nipples?

      • What’s the purpose of stupid questions?

        • swordfish

          If it’s a stupid question, you should be able to answer it really easily. After all, you did say: “All of God’s magnificent creation has a purpose to it”. What is the answer, Mike?

          • No, it’s a stupid question because it assumes we can know the purpose of every single thing in existence, and if we can’t figure out the purpose of every single thing there must be no purpose. Is that what you’re saying, person who doesn’t have the guts to use his name?

          • swordfish

            Hey Mike, here’s another stupid question: can things have more than one purpose?

          • Hey, noname, you’re really good at this!

          • RSK

            Good at being bad at it.

          • swordfish

            Hey RSK, what is your answer to my stupid question?

          • swordfish

            Here’s yet another another stupid question: If I sit on a fallen tree trunk, does that mean it has the purpose of being a seat? No? Then maybe I just gave it another purpose it wasn’t intended to have? Mike, is it a sin to use a fallen tree trunk as a seat?

  • swordfish

    “Biblical morality can appear archaic or unnecessarily limiting if it seems to be without just cause.”

    You’re basically admitting that there isn’t any justification for Christian morality other than “God said so”. Abortion is wrong because God said so, homosexuality is wrong because God said so, and even divorce is wrong because God said so. (You didn’t mention that last one, so I thought I’d include it.)

    I agree. There isn’t any rational justification for Christian morality.

    • RSK

      So we agree that belief in God is irrational? Except, that Christians already know that. His ways are higher than our understanding, so it is simple, easy, best, to submit to the loving guidance provided.

      • swordfish

        I agree that belief in God is irrational, but many Christians, maybe the majority(?) would disagree. If you think your own beliefs are irrational, maybe you should rethink them.

        • Interestingly enough, almost all atheists admit that there is evidence for God. Daniel Dennet, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris for instance don’t deny it. They just claim that, in their opinion, the evidence is not convincing enough, whatever that means.

          • swordfish

            I’m unconvinced that you’re representing the views of the three atheists you mention accurately, let alone those of “almost all” atheists, but I agree with the position you outline. In saying there is evidence for God, I think that’s just atheists being thorough. The Bible is evidence for God, it’s just not even close to being convincing.

          • Disbelief is a belief. It is certainly not neutral. The second you adopt the position of disbelief, there are evidentiary assumptions you’ve made along with a stance adopted on that evidence and, as a result, and evidentiary burden you’ve assumed.

            As such, you need to prove your claim or risk having it and you dismissed as irrational.

          • swordfish

            1. What claim?

            2. Why would I risk being “dismissed as irrational” just because of (allegedly) making one error in reasoning? Everyone makes mistakes, even Einstien, so holding people to such a high standard is itself an irrational position.

          • Did you forget you claimed Biblical evidence for God’s existence is “not even close to being convincing”?

            What is your evidence for such an outrageous claim?

          • swordfish

            Where do I even start? I could say it’s full of errors and contradictions, contains entire books which aren’t true (Genesis), contains hundreds of impossible supernatural claims, is mostly written by anonymous authors, is contradicted by historical evidence, and was assembled from an arbitrary jumble of documents. I could also say that the gospels were written 70-110 years after Jesus died in another country, and in another language, that they lift entire passages from each other, and disagree with each other. Is that enough evidence? If not, read “Nailed” by David Fitzgerald.

          • Those are all claims, not evidence.

            What is your proof, for instance, that the Bible “is contradicted by historical evidence”?

          • swordfish

            Considering that you’ve claimed elsewhere that the fossil record isn’t evidence for evolution, I’m not sure that you understand the difference between ‘claims’ and ‘evidence’. Having said that, I’d say: To pick just one example, the Egyptians never mention any of the fantastic events in Exodus, which you’d rather think they would.

          • Argumentum ex silentio. Fischer’s “Historians’ Fallacies” categorically asserts, “Evidence must always be affirmative. Negative evidence is a contradiction in terms–it is no evidence at all. The nonexistence of an object is established not by nonexistent evidence but by affirmative evidence of the fact that it did not, or could not exist.”

            Try again.

          • swordfish

            “The nonexistence of an object is established not by nonexistent evidence but by affirmative evidence of the fact that it did not, or could not exist.”

            This is rubbish. Find me some affirmitive evidence that Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia didn’t exist. Lack of corroboration for biblical events in the records of cultures existing at the time is evidence that said biblical events never happened, like it or not.

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