Belief in God Is a Choice

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Belief in God Is a Choice

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Consider the powerful words of the apostle Paul: “Ever since the creation of the world [God’s] eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made” (Romans 1:20 Romans 1:20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
American King James Version×
, New Revised Standard Version throughout).

Paul’s words remind us that we can look at the miracles of the world around and see evidence of God’s handiwork, understanding not only that He is the Creator but also glimpsing some of His nature and character.

Let’s take a look at a particular flower, an orchid with the scientific name of Coryanthes. Although the scientist’s language is a little technical, it is important that you read the account in the author’s own words as he describes his findings and those of another scientist, a Dr. Cruger. It is well worth reading!

An orchid with a bee bath

“This orchid has part of its labellum or lower lip hollowed out into a great bucket, into which drops of almost pure water continually fall from two secreting horns which stand above it; and when the bucket is half full, the water overflows by a spout on one side. The basal part of the labellum stands over the bucket, and is itself hollowed out into a sort of chamber with two lateral entrances; within this chamber there are curious fleshly ridges. The most ingenious man, if he had not witnessed what takes place, could never have imagined what purpose all these parts serve [emphasis added throughout].

“But Dr. Cruger saw crowds of large humble-bees [bumblebees] visiting the gigantic flowers of this orchid, not in order to suck nectar, but to gnaw off the ridges within the chamber above the bucket; in doing this they frequently pushed each other into the bucket, and their wings being thus wetted they could not fly away, but were compelled to crawl out through the passage formed by the spout or overflow.

“Dr. Cruger saw a ‘continual procession’ of bees thus crawling out of their involuntary bath. The passage is narrow, and is roofed over by the column, so that a bee, forcing its way out, first rubs its back against the viscid stigma [the sticky part of the flower that receives pollen] and then against the viscid glands of the pollen-masses. The pollen-masses are thus glued to the back of the bee which first happens to crawl out through the passage of the lately expanded flower, and are thus carried away…

“When the bee, thus provided, flies to another flower, or to the same flower a second time, and is pushed by its comrades into the bucket and then crawls out by the passage, the pollen-mass necessarily comes first into contact with the viscid stigma, and adheres to it, and the flower is fertilized. Now at last we see the full use of every part of the flower, of the water-secreting horns, of the bucket half full of water, which prevents the bees from flying away, and forces them to crawl out through the spout, and rub against the properly placed viscid pollen-masses and the viscid stigma.”

The design reveals the DESIGNER

These design details are fascinating, for they show us the complexity, variety and even a touch of humor in God’s creation. Several scriptures confirm that we can learn of God through His creation. One such reference is found in Acts 14. The apostles Paul and Barnabas made quite a stir in the city of Lystra by healing a man who had been crippled, unable to walk, since birth. Idolatry was rampant in Lystra, and the instinctive reaction by the citizens of the city was to worship these ministers. God’s servants gently corrected the people and directed their worship to the Creator God.

“Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good—giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy” (Acts 14:15-17 Acts 14:15-17 [15] And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach to you that you should turn from these vanities to the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. [17] Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
American King James Version×
).

An orchid that shoots straight

Here’s another remarkable example of carefully planned design in the natural world from the same author cited above:

“The construction of the flower in another closely allied orchid, namely the Catasetum, is widely different, though serving the same end; and is equally curious. Bees visit these flowers, like those of the Coryanthes, in order to gnaw the labellum [lip]; in doing this they inevitably touch a long, tapering, sensitive projection, or, as I have called it, the antenna.

“This antenna, when touched, transmits a sensation or vibration to a certain membrane which is instantly ruptured; this sets free a spring by which the pollen-mass is shot forth, like an arrow, in the right direction, and adheres by its viscid [sticky] extremity to the back of the bee. The pollen-mass of the male plant (for the sexes are separate in this orchid) is thus carried to the flower of the female plant where it is brought into contact with the stigma, which is viscid enough to break certain elastic threads, and retaining the pollen, fertilization is effected.”

Isn’t that a marvelous illustration of God’s handiwork? However, not everyone sees the evidence of creation in the same way. The scientist who penned these observations of the wonders of the world around him was none other than Charles Darwin, and the quotations are from his book, Origin of the Species (The Modern Library, Random House, Inc., pp. 142-143).

Does this surprise you? It should! Darwin used these examples to show the ability of plants to adapt and to vary rather than to show the variety in God’s design. Why?

Same evidence, different conclusions

Charles Darwin is not the only scientist in his time who interpreted what he studied in creation as evidence of life without a creator. There were many others. Why is it then, that what we see as inspiring, undeniable data of God’s handiwork they see as evidence that God was not involved? We find the answer to that question in the first chapter of Romans.

“So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles” (Romans 1:20-23 Romans 1:20-23 [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.
American King James Version×
).

Here we read that viewing creation is a portal through which we can see the Creator. While everyone sees the same evidence, each of us makes a choice as to how to use it. The early proponents of evolution made a conscious choice not to believe in God. They chose to interpret their studies in a way that would exclude God.

We all have an important choice to make about the evidence of a Creator God. Even though the evidence is strong, each of us must choose whether or not we will believe it. Our choice will have a profound effect on our lives.

If we see God in what He has made, then we have a constant reminder of His ability, His care, His humor, His purpose. If we do not see God, then we are not reminded of any purpose He has for us and are subsequently “freed” from a potentially troubling conscience that might cause us to question a wrong thought or action.

 

To choose belief is to choose behavior

The rest of Romans 1 makes it clear that there are serious consequences for failing to see God in His creation. Human judgment becomes the substitute guide for a person instead of God’s Spirit and His Word. Human judgment leads to bad choices on how to live and decisions that lead to degenerated lifestyles. Confirmation of this fact is found in the Psalms, “Fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good” (Psalms 14:1 Psalms 14:1The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.
American King James Version×
). This verse, like Romans 1, implies that people who choose not to believe in God see no need to abide by a divine code of conduct.

However, as the next verse tells us: “The LORD looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God” (verse 2).

God is able to guide and bless those who wisely choose to accept the evidence and believe in Him. Let’s make the right choice!

Recommended reading

Choosing to see God within His creation, or even acknowledging His existence, can be a difficult issue for many people. For further reading, please see Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? and Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?

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