Be still, and know that I am God!

Whilst I am not ‘religious’ in any sense of the word, despite years of adherence to a particular faith; as I ‘saw the light’ quite a number of years ago; I accept that religion, and an accompanying belief in one sort of Supreme Being or another gives solace and meaning to billions upon this planet. When my wife and I married, we stood before an altar, and made a vow; and that vow, despite leaving the church, still means everything to me!

Everyone else has just as much right to adhere to one form or another, although some of the rituals and beliefs are, to a rational mind; just a tad absurd: but hey, who is authoritative enough to state categorically that Mohammed did not fly from the Dome of the Rock towards heaven on the back of a flying horse: or that Jesus was in actual fact not born of a Virgin; or that when the Eucharist is taken during a service, this is not the very essence of the Son of God; or that Siddhārtha Gautama was not a Deity?

 

When you look upon the Universe, and behold its wonders; could it be that all this was achieved by the Hand of God; and of what shape was that Hand?

slicedlife

39 comments for “Be still, and know that I am God!

  1. Penseivat
    February 2, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I believe it is all a matter of scale. If you are small enough, the atoms in a grain of sand may look just like the observable universe. If you are tall enough, that universe may look like a grain of sand. Those who have seen the first ‘Men in Black’ film may recall the ending where the camera panned back to show one universe was a speck in a larger universe, and on and on, until it ended up with two alien children playing marbles with all the ultimate universes. On the other hand, it has recently been said that all existences is part of a cosmic computer game, a bit like the Matrix without the blue pill. Fortunately, my mind is incapable of comprehending a humongous Sinclair ZX Spectrum being played by two alien children (or 2 chavs in a bedroom in Essex).

  2. graham wood
    February 2, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Hi Mike. What an interesting question you raise, and by implication a hundred other potential questions with it!
    As a Christian I appreciated the truth of your quotation from Psalm 46.. “Be still…etc.
    But your question was: “When you look upon the Universe, and behold its wonders; could it be that all this was achieved by the Hand of God”. My answer, and that of other Christians who believe in God as creator (not all Christians do so sad to say) is that observing the “observable universe” – the amazing sight of the night sky on a clear night how can it be otherwise than from God?
    In turn it would provoke many to wonder ‘where or how did all this arrive?’. How did it get here? As Frank Turek in his superb little book (Stealing from God) points out – “There are good reasons for positing God. If space, time, and matter had a beginning then the cause must transcend space, time and matter”.
    If so, then logically that “cause” must be God, for there is nothing in the universe big enough or powerful enough to bring such a scene into being. Agree?
    One of the most powerful arguments for the truth of Christianity is that of God as Creator, and shy should that premise be unreasonable?
    Conversely, if there is no God, why is there something (matter) rather than nothing? That is a question which atheist Richard Dawkins and others cannot answer alongside equally important questions such as “why” the existence of so much evidence of intelligent design of the universe, and us as humans?
    Big issues you raise – but that will do for now!
    Graham

    • Voice of Reason
      February 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      “There are good reasons for positing God. If space, time, and matter had a beginning then the cause must transcend space, time and matter”.
      If so, then logically that “cause” must be God, for there is nothing in the universe big enough or powerful enough to bring such a scene into being. Agree?

      Certainly, it leads to a hypothesis that the universe came into being due to causes outside. Invoking God does nothing to help that, since it leads to the question of the origin of God. Answering ‘God always existed’ is the philosophical equivalent of the parent’s ‘because’. It is logically inconsistent, since there is no middle point to eternity.

      • Erik
        February 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        Broadly, if you try to trace causes backwards, you are led to one of three options:
        -End of story: there’s a first cause which was not itself caused
        -Infinite regress: everything was caused by something else for ever
        -Loop: the causal chain goes in a circle and something in our future will cause something in our past

        “God always existed” is the first type, and there is nothing internally inconsistent about it. It is inconsistent with an eternity, but eternity is a matter of the second option. The third allows for a little of both by having a fixed amount of stuff happen an infinite amount of times over and over again in a great cycle.

        • Voice of Reason
          February 5, 2017 at 2:49 am

          But the ‘first cause’ argument negates the reason for positing the existence of God at all.

  3. Richard
    February 2, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Who is authoratitive enough? Anyone who understands about flight, biology, Papist claptrap, or the Buddha himself who didn’t believe in a creator God.
    I’m not saying you’re wrong about God, there is a good argument in favour but your examples are myths; a horse would have a poor power to weight ratio even if he had wings plus there were no witnesses, and so forth.

    • Ed P
      February 2, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      The horse moved in a mysterious way – that’s the point of faith.

      • Richard
        February 3, 2017 at 10:05 am

        The good Samaritan story is religion at it’s best. Tall tales of mythical beasts are just tall tales.

        • graham wood
          February 3, 2017 at 11:39 am

          Agree Richard. But the story of the Good Samaritan in the New Testament assumes the existence and validity of Jesus Christ and his teaching through the Gospel records.
          One point of the story, and there are several, is that God is personal, and cares intensely for people as did the Samaritan for the man who was mugged, injured and robbed.
          Which brings us back to Mike’s original text from the Psalm “Be still and know that I am God”. In other words God is personal, and is knowable for he has revealed himself through his creation and pre-eminently through the history of Jesus Christ.

          • Voice of Reason
            February 5, 2017 at 11:38 pm

            It’s also a re-write of a Buddhist story, and Buddhism does not require a God at all.

  4. Gregory Tingey
    February 3, 2017 at 10:25 am

    What empty bullshit.

    If any form of BigSkyFairy exists….
    Then why is he/she/it/they not detectable, either directly or indirectly?

    Answers on a postcard, please

    • graham wood
      February 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      You ask: Why is he/she/it not detectable?
      Answer: It is. God has revealed himself in the created universe, in the world we see around us, in matter.

      That is why I asked the question: “if there is no God, why is there something (matter) rather than nothing?”

      Atheists have no explanation and yet science, logic and everyday observation tell us that everything had a beginning and therefore a cause. (Thus the word “genesis” as the first book of the Bible).

      In fact, at the foundation of science is the law of causality. The Bible’s explanation is simple but profound, namely:

      “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”.
      You choose not to believe that? That is your choice – but then you are left without an explanation for the highly ordered and finely tuned world in which we live. In reality we have only two choices for this order and rationality: Either they arose from a pre-existing supernatural intelligence, or they did not.

      The fact that the human mind appears to be designed specifically to understand something of the universe we see around us and to interact with it, suggest the alternative of the supernatural intelligence is the right one. In other words we too have intelligence, rational thought and the capacity to understand something of the nature of the universe – hence the laws of science/physics/astronomy etc.

      • Gregory Tingey
        February 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm

        Human Mind designed” – NOT EVEN WRONG
        Correct version is:
        Human Brain Evolved, OK?

        What is this “mind” of which you speak?

        Next up, if you look at “the bible” it’s clear that in the earlier Bronze-Age bits, BigSkyFairy (BSF) is hiding just out-of-sight, on top of the mountain or behind the cloud.
        By the “NT” Classical knowledge had started to penetrate, it was obvious the world was “round” & BSF had retreated to just out of sight, beyond the blue sky.
        By the time you get to Dante (1300 ish ) BSF has retreated still further to beyond the crystalline sphere of the heavens to the “Empyrean”.
        Now we can see a lot further, in both directions (Larger & further away & down to sub-molecules, & what a surprise, BSF has retreated again … except it isn’t a surprise at all.

        Now then, I made a falsifiable claim.
        Prove me wrong.
        ( Scientific evidence only, remember )

        OR STFU
        OK?

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        That is why I asked the question: “if there is no God, why is there something (matter) rather than nothing?”

        Assumption based on no evidence.
        Why should not things exist without a BSF?

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

        “Atheists have no explanation”
        For what?
        I am content to rest on the Laws of Physics & the perpetually-renewed assumption or belief that:
        As yesterday, so today & also tomorrow, which underlies all science, including the computer-network we are using to communicate
        And I can test that assumption by picking up a pebble & letting it drop, can’t I?

        • graham wood
          February 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm

          Greg. Your reference to the “laws” of physics etc is interesting because many such laws were first discovered and explored by Christian scientists (they were not original called scientists but “natural philosophers).

          Thus the law you quote in your question : “And I can test that assumption by picking up a pebble & letting it drop, can’t I?” is a case in point.
          “When Sir Isaac Newton (Christian believer)discovered the universal law of gravitation he did not say: “I have discovered a mechanism that accounts for planetary motion therefore there is no agent God who designed it”
          Quite the contrary. Precisely because he understood how it worked he was moved to increased admiration for the God who had designed it that way.

          The same goes for nearly all early scientific thought and exploration by other Christians such as Galileo, Kepler, and Newton himself and hosts of other Christian believers.
          They also rightly posited the view that human reason was important as a God given faculty in order to explore
          the physical world. Thus some of them came to the conclusion that God is a wonderful mathematician, artist, craftsman, and powerful creator etc.
          Incidentally that is why the first universities were all without exception Christian institutions which had as their immediate objectives to explore God’s natural world.
          The point is they had a world view that presupposed God as creator, and that He designed a rational and logical universe with a consistency of natural laws.

          That regularity and consistency of the “laws” of nature, and their consequent logic are vital for modern science which could never progress without depending upon them – as in the law of gravity to take but one example.
          So yes, you can count on your pebble always dropping, not as a repeated “accident” but because God’s law of gravitation will always hold.

          As Rodney Stark points out in his ‘How the West Won’, “the pursuit of knowledge about the natural world became central to the medieval university curriculum and led ultimately to the rise of Western science.”
          In the historical context therefore there is no real conflict between real science and belief in God.

          • Voice of Reason
            February 5, 2017 at 11:40 pm

            The fact that scientists are religious is irrelevant. What matters is whether they use that set of beliefs in their work, and the answer for every successful one is no.

  5. Penseivat
    February 3, 2017 at 11:52 am

    “If there was no religion, you would still have good men doing good things and bad men doing bad things. To have good men doing bad things, you need religion.”

    • Erik
      February 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      “No you don’t.”

      • Gregory Tingey
        February 4, 2017 at 8:14 pm

        Oh yes you do.
        Start with the Crusades the Inquisition, Jean Calvin (euw) etc …

  6. February 3, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Gregory Tingey is making too much of a simplification here, assuming that the BigSkyFairy concept is the only or a likely instantiation of God as creator of the universe.

    It strikes me that a modest amount of thought indicates that we have no adequate understanding of the concept of God. Investigations over time have also shown we have no adequate understanding of the universe – which makes it rather difficult to claim we understand anything about its putative creator. Our science-based understanding of the universe is increasing – but our understanding of God, by comparison, seems rather stuck.

    One of the problems is the view that holy books are the very word of God and valid and sufficient for all time, rather than them being the writings of those presumed to be merely inspired by God – and being alive many hundreds if not thousands of years ago, so having even less understanding of the universe than we do now.

    Another problem is that there is not enough of being still – by those who think they have most to contribute to the issue.

    As for my understanding: it is that the self-acknowledged extent of my ignorance just goes on increasing.

    Best regards

    • graham wood
      February 4, 2017 at 9:50 am

      “One of the problems is the view that holy books are the very word of God and valid and sufficient for all time, rather than them being the writings of those presumed to be merely inspired by God ”

      With the conspicuous exception of the Christian New Testament, the genuineness and integrity of which has never been seriously questioned by Biblical scholars.
      The difference between the NT and all other “holy” books” you mention is that it is a well authenticated historical book(s) written by those who were eye witnesses of the life and death of Jesus Christ. It is therefore unique.
      Incidentally, the evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning.

      “As for my understanding: it is that the self-acknowledged extent of my ignorance just goes on increasing.”

      That sounds like defeatism, or else the view of a sort of self inflicted intellectual eunuch! It need not be so

    • Gregory Tingey
      February 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      “Investigations over time have also shown we have no adequate understanding of the universe ”
      Cobblers
      We have a much more adequate understanding of the universe than we did even compared to when I was at school (started 1950), never mind the Bronze-Age goatherders of the early OT.

      Please stop waffling such nonsesnse?

  7. Penseivat
    February 3, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    According to the Bible, God made man in his own image. God ruled in heaven, or paradise, whichever you prefer. By it’s nature, paradise is perfect, so cannot be improved upon. This means that, for all those believers living in heaven, there can not be curiosity. They can not progress, improve, query, or otherwise question what lies beyond. In other words, they stagnate. That same bible states that Satan was an angel who was cast out because he defied the word of God. What it doesn’t say is how. Did he ask a question, or wonder what would happen if he stepped over a hypothetical line? Perhaps he just asked, “Why?” and instead of simply explaining why, God kicked him out. Some gentle, wise, loving, and peaceful man he is.
    So where did man get curiosity and the thirst for knowledge from?
    At the time of the first scriptures, dogs were feral, wild, creatures which scavenged to stay alive. Then suddenly, in the King James version, greyhounds are mentioned in a good way. Greyhounds as a breed didn’t exist at the time of Christ, so that particular part of the holy book is not the very word of God and valid for all time but rather the very word of a cunning printer who wished to curry favour with his monarch. Who knows, perhaps the next version will have mention of American pit bulls or Shitzus.
    Organised religion is an artificial concept devised by cynical chancers who seek fame, fortune, and shedloads of sex. Since the days of Baal, and probably before that, the high priests were important people who lived a better life than the common man. Tribal elders, then small town councils, city authorities and even governments listened to them, whether their God was Baal, Ra, Odin, God or, more recently thanks to a failed science fiction writer, Zenu.
    My grandfather fought in WWI and, as a German speaker, was often involved in intelligence gathering. He would relate that while the British, French, or Belgian priests were telling the Allies that their cause was just because God was on their side, a couple of hundred yards away, a Lutheran priest was telling the Germans exactly the same thing. We all know how that went. That’s why I referred to religion having an involvement in good men doing bad things.
    Mind you, when I pop my clogs, I’m going out with the Bible, the Koran and the collected works of Ron L Hubbard, just to be on the safe side.

  8. Richard
    February 4, 2017 at 9:56 am

    In answer to the question “Why isn’t the sky fairy detectable?” you could ask, in a country where there weren’t any car crashes, why isn’t the highway code detectable? Such a country is possible if everyone loved and respected the highway code.
    Therefore, would the world be better or worse if everyone followed twelve not unreasonable instructions and loved their neighbours as themselves?
    The undetectable nature of the author in both cases, is beside the point if the laws ensure safe progress.

    • Gregory Tingey
      February 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Totally false analogy
      Nice try, no banana

  9. Richard
    February 4, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Mr Graham Wood, thanks for your reply.
    I don’t know if you are right or wrong but here’s a story.
    My small son fell into a patch of nettles and tearfully asked me why God made nettles. To which I replied “to teach people to watch where they’re going and to know how to look for docking leaves”
    I don’t know if docking leaves really reduce the pain of stings but they seem to work. Nevertheless the cure, if such it is, can be found alongside the “bad” vegetation. Seek and ye shall find. Best, however, to mind how you go, son of mine.
    If that’s not a good analogy then what is?

    • Gregory Tingey
      February 4, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      Which proves to me, at any rate, that you are a cruel lying shit.
      You aren’t a priest by any chance, are you?

      BSF didn’t “make” nettles.
      They are flowering plant & they EVOLVED, ok?

      • Richard
        February 5, 2017 at 12:03 am

        1. You’ve resorted to name calling so you lose, as well as entirely missing the point.
        2. No, I’m not a priest. I have a scientific world view.
        3. I already knew that nettles are evolved flowering plants (see point 2) so your clarification on this matter did not really come as a shock.
        Be a good chap and try to see other people’s point of view, like I did with a little stung fellow who, with his unsophisticated intellect, was at that time incapable of appreciating a discourse on evolution. His graduate thesis on genetic evolution in bacteria was well-received seventeen years later and it landed him a £100k job so no harm done, eh?
        If you can’t be civil and/or like making an arse of yourself that’s your problem. Keep it up if it makes you happy. I don’t care. Water off a duck’s back.

  10. February 4, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I’m not entering it this time. Am reading though, Mike.

    • Graham Wood
      February 5, 2017 at 9:32 am

      “Which proves to me you are a cruel, lying shit”. (Tingey)
      Richard I think you are quite correct to object to this sort of gratuitous nonsense and insult within a civilised discussion.

      James. We believe in liberty, but not licence to unnecessarily denigrate others. Time to exercise your prerogative of moderating those who cannot speak without being insulting.
      Liberty to speak on this or any other site is not an invitation to verbally defecate all over it.
      It would be a pity if this site went the way of so many others because of a lack of discipline and sunk to a level of mere name calling as a feature. Hope you agree?

  11. Gregory Tingey
    February 5, 2017 at 9:28 am

    1. No, you were deliberately cruel & also lied to your son.
    2. LIAR
    Nettles WERE NOT MADE
    They evolved, OK?
    3. In which case, why did you lie?

    • Richard
      February 5, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Sigh… Here we go again for the last time. You still don’t see the point and I suspect that you lack the capability to do so. But anyway, let’s see if we can help you to join the dots and see the picture. Settle down, forget about the BSF, and – here we go:
      1. I didn’t push him into the nettles so there was no cruelty.
      2. Nettles were made to sting by natural selection.
      3. He didn’t understand that, and at age 4 was unlikely to grasp the precepts of Darwinian evolution. Therefore he framed his question according to his worldview at that time and got an answer which comforted him at that time, suitable to his intellect.
      That wasn’t too difficult and most people would have got the point the first time.
      I’ve given you two polite replies out of respect for OOL and Mike who started this conversation. There won’t be a third as I don’t like to engage with rude people so have a nice day.

      • Henry Kaye
        February 5, 2017 at 4:49 pm

        Thank you Richard for being so polite to a really obnoxious person. I was enjoying the various comments about a truly vexing puzzle – several people giving careful thoughts to an impossible question – and then he spoiled it!

        • Gregory Tingey
          February 6, 2017 at 8:31 am

          I just get so annoyed with all this BSF lies.

          As a well & long-escaped christian, to whom a fairly good brainwashing technique was applied, but who has long-since escaped, I find it difficult to deal with supposed adults who still swallow all the bullshit.

          OK?

  12. mona
    February 5, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    GOD- what is that?I find that the concept is merely an idea, what is an idea? but a myriad of thoughts what is a thought? the working of neurones, what is a neurone, what is a neuro-peptide?. We are essentially empty space that the fools at Cerne are looking something in it called the God particle. what they are looking for will never be found, that is the boundary of inner space,, maybe god lurks there? maybe we could create GOD,, just an idea.

    • graham wood
      February 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Mona. You say that God is like “a myriad of thoughts” in our minds, and “what is a thought?…. the working of neurones”.

      What a strange and depressing view of human nature! But it is not a new idea for we know it is the prevailing view of atheistic materialists expressed by “its all in the mind” school. Depressing because it completely devalues the greatness and unique character of humans, and lowers them to mere receptacles of mindless atoms.
      This is also the familiar view of atheists like Richard Dawkins, Francis Crick and others but I suggest the theory cannot hold for a moment.
      For example, some years ago the atheist evolutionary biologist J B S Haldane said: “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true… and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms”.

      To which a Christian apologist replied “He also has no reason to trust anything he believes including atheism or evolution” .
      Likewise Francis Crick’s (co-discoverer of DNA) view of reality which destroys the concept of reality itself:
      “Your joys and sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules”.
      But the logic of such a view means that we are little different from animals and have no capacity for free will and free choices.
      We are just molecular machines.
      This is why atheism makes reason itself impossible, and which is why Christian apologist C.S. Lewis stated the logical consequence of the view: “Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true”.
      Time fails to argue such questions such as – if non-rational molecules predetermine everything, then where does the concept of conscience in the human mind come in, or the common evaluation of beauty, or love and the innate sense of moral values? These are unique to us as humans.
      Sorry Mona – without God the mind is indeed an unfathomable and unsolvable mystery, but fortunately Christian belief opens up an entirely different world!

      • Gregory Tingey
        February 6, 2017 at 8:36 am

        Out of date.

        What is this “mind” as in “All in the mind” of which you speak?

        This is why atheism makes reason itself impossible,
        Flat untrue.

        And science is true, in its findings, if not its temporary conclusions.
        And we can, through science say, definitely, that some proposed solutions are wrong, as well.
        And that future solutions will include current ones – the classic example is that “Newtonian” Physics turns out to be a “special case” of Einsteinian physics, & unless you are dealing with very large masses &/or very high velocities, you can use “Newtonian” equations with no discernable error ….

  13. February 5, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Without pointing (figuratively) any fingers, I hope that these discussions can go forwards without any more angry remarks, insults or name-calling.

  14. February 6, 2017 at 5:27 am

    As a fairly firm Catholic, I have no problem at all with an evolving universe. God made it that way. OK ?

    Someone mentioned above that heaven must be stagnant as it is ‘perfect’. That is unsupported by any dogma or doctrine. God made heaven. It is a creation. It has qualities that we know absolutely nothing off, other than we can all fit in it. It is not material, and Himself chose to live there. That is fine enough and does not impinge on my daily doings.

    Earlier the issue of ’cause’ was brought up. Aquinas ‘dared’ to approach a definition of God and stopped after ‘The Uncaused, Cause’. Be still and be content. You ain’t going to figure what came before God when it was God who created time. Duh!

    The problem that atheists seem to have is accepting that something they cannot define and therefore reject, can be bigger than their egos. I have a rooooly big ego (its a great ego; the best; everyone says so; there’s no better ego. Believe me) but am happy to think that Someone far greater exists who is not so ego-centric 🙂

    • Gregory Tingey
      February 6, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Ah the BSF is unknowable, so why bother, &/or we are going to wrap it up in mystical bullshit, so-called arguments.

      The egotism argument is inside your head, I’m afraid, & flat untrue.
      In fact, I prefer Socrates’ approach – “YOU are claiming to be the religious expert, so why can’t you give a satisfactory explanation?”

      And you can’t.

      E.G.
      “BSF made heaven”
      Where, how, when, show please?
      What is the heaven of which you speak?
      Are you referring to the standard christian after-death “heaven” or are you referring to the universe, visible through all our sensors & equipment?

      If the former, then please produce evidence to show it exists & if the latter, then produce evidence to support your assertion.

      And I’m fairly sure you can do neither

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