Is God Involved in the World?
So is God involved in the world or not?
Deism is the belief that God created the world, and then stepped back and is not involved. He wound the world up like a clock and now just watches everything run down. In this worldview God doesn’t concern himself with day to day activities and miracles cannot occur. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist. He famously cut out of the Bible all the miracles of Jesus.
Many people have a difficult time believing in miracles. They are outside our normal range of experience. We like seeing stories about them in the movies, but tell someone that Mary was a virgin and got pregnant by the Holy Spirit without sexual relations, and they’ll just smile and shake their heads.
The problem behind disbelief in miracles is a view of God who’s too small. We are human and finite. We simply can’t conceive of and get our heads around the power and abilities of a Being who could create the universe in a single instant, who’s infinite, eternal, omniscient, and omnipresent.
Ronald Nash gives an illustration that helps us understand the difference between a naturalist (also atheist) worldview and the Christian worldview. Imagine the universe is a box. For the atheist, the box is all there is. Somehow it just popped into existence. No one created it because it’s always been there. Inside the box we find all the stars, galaxies, planets, and this little green place called earth. Outside the box there’s simply nothing. Zip. Nada. Nyet. And everything inside runs according to a finely tuned set of rules—but let’s not talk about who created the rules. Inside the box no one can break the rules. Thus, miracles are impossible.
The Christian worldview, on the other hand, says that God created the box. Not only that, he created the rules that govern what happens inside the box, rules such as gravity, the speed of light, laws for momentum, etc… And because God created the box and the rules that govern it, he has the ability to reach inside once in a while, and temporarily change things for his own purposes. Thus are miracles possible.
Science, via the Theory of Relativity, supports the view that the universe had a beginning and was created. (By the way this is the most tested and verified theory in physics. Scientists are finding new proofs for it all the time.) Logic dictates that whatever had a beginning must have a cause. And God is the name we give to the Being who was the First Cause of the universe.
Think about it. If God could create the universe, including time, space, matter, energy, and the laws of physics, then surely he can temporarily tweak his creation for his own purposes. Thus can miracles occur.
The question for our next post is why. Why would God want to create miracles?