Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith

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Overview

In the quest for the truth, you need to know what you believe and why you believe it. Who Made God? offers accessible answers to over 100 commonly asked apologetic questions. Bringing together the best in evangelical apologists, this guide is standard equipment for Christians who want to understand and talk about their faith intelligently.

Part one answers tough questions about the Christian faith such as:
• Who made God? • How can there be ...

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Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith

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Overview

In the quest for the truth, you need to know what you believe and why you believe it. Who Made God? offers accessible answers to over 100 commonly asked apologetic questions. Bringing together the best in evangelical apologists, this guide is standard equipment for Christians who want to understand and talk about their faith intelligently.

Part one answers tough questions about the Christian faith such as:
• Who made God? • How can there be three persons in one God? • What is God’s ultimate purpose in allowing evil? • Where did the universe come from? • How long are the days of creation in Genesis? • Did Jesus rise from the dead? • Are the records of Jesus’ life reliable? • Does the Bible have errors in it?

Part two answers tough questions about other faiths, including Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, Yoga, Reincarnation, Buddhism, and Black Islam. Relevant stories, questions for reflection and discussion, and a comprehensive list of suggested resources help you dig deeper so you can be prepared to give careful answers that explain the reasons for your faith.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310247104
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 266,881
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Ravi Zacharias is President and Founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). Their global outreach grew from humble roots in 1984 and includes fielding a team of itinerant speakers who operate from offices located around the world including the U.S., the UK, Romania, the Middle East, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Canada. The Hallmark of Ravi’s heart is his strong evangelistic and apologetic that manifests itself from a position of compassion.

Norman Geisler (PhD, Loyola University) is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and author or coauthor of over fifty books including Decide for Yourself, Baker’s Encyclopedia of Apologetics, and When Skeptics Ask.

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Read an Excerpt

Who Made God?

And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith

Zondervan

Copyright © 2003 Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler
All right reserved.


Chapter One

Tough Questions about God

* * *

My daughter Ruth, a pastor's wife, told her oldest son, Samuel, who was then about four years old, "Go ask your grandfather." A moment later I was confronted with this tough question: "Grandpa, where is the mind in the brain?" This question is easy enough to answer for a college or seminary philosophy student who knows what a category mistake is, but how do you explain it to a four-year-old?

As parents and church leaders who have ministered to small children know, the toughest questions typically come from the youngest members of the congregation. Often these are about God-such as, "Daddy, who made God?" More than a few parents have heard this question before, but only a few can answer it.

We must be prepared to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15) to every sincere question we are asked (Colossians 4:6). Here are some of the toughest ones I've been asked over the past fifty years of ministry. I will try my best to answer them so that even young boys and girls can understand.

WHO MADE GOD?

Who made God? No one did. He was not made. He has always existed. Only things that had a beginning-like the world-need a maker. God had no beginning, so God did not need to be made.

For those who are a little older, a little more can be said. Traditionally, most atheists who deny the existence of God believe that the universe was not made; it was just "there" forever. They appeal to the first law of thermodynamics for support: "Energy can neither be created nor destroyed," they insist. Several things must be observed in response.

First, this way of stating the first law is not scientific; rather, it is a philosophical assertion. Science is based on observation, and there is no observational evidence than can support the dogmatic "can" and "cannot" implicit in this statement. It should read, "[As far as we have observed,] the amount of actual energy in the universe remains constant." That is, no one had observed any actual new energy either coming into existence or going out of existence. Once the first law is understood properly, it says nothing about the universe being eternal or having no beginning. As far as the first law is concerned, energy may or may not have been created. It simply asserts that if energy was created, then as far as we can tell, the actual amount of energy that was created has remained constant since then.

Further, let us suppose for the sake of argument that energy-the whole universe of energy we call the cosmos-was not created, as many atheists have traditionally believed. If this is so, it is meaningless to ask who made the universe. If energy is eternal and uncreated, of course no one created it. It has always existed. However, if it is meaningless to ask, "Who made the universe?" since it has always existed, then it is equally meaningless to ask "Who made God?" since he has always existed.

If the universe is not eternal, it needs a cause. On the other hand, if it has no beginning, it does not need a cause of its beginning. Likewise, if a God exists who has no beginning, it is absurd to ask, "Who made God?" It is a category mistake to ask, "Who made the Unmade?" or "Who created the Uncreated?" One may as well ask, "Where is the bachelor's wife?"

WHY COULDN'T THE WORLD ALWAYS HAVE EXISTED?

Christians naturally believe there must be a God because the world had a beginning. And everything that had a beginning had a beginner. But the tough question to answer is how we know the world had a beginning. Maybe the world always existed.

Famous agnostic Bertrand Russell presented this dilemma: Either the world had a beginning, or it did not. If it did not, it did not need a cause (God). If it did, we can ask, "Who caused God?" But if God has a cause, he is not God. In either case, we do not arrive at a first uncaused cause (God).

The answer to this tough question is that it, too, asks a meaningless question: Who made God? To put it another way, it wrongly assumes that "everything must have a cause" when what is claimed is that "everything that had a beginning had a cause." This is quite a different matter. Of course, everything that had a beginning had a beginner. Nothing cannot make something. As Julie Andrews once sang, "Nothing came from nothing. Nothing ever could." So God does not need a cause because he had no beginning.

This being the case, we need only to show that the universe had a beginning, to show that there must have been a cause of it (i.e., God). Two strong arguments will be offered as evidence that the universe had a beginning. One is from science-the second law of thermodynamics. The second is from philosophy, namely, the impossibility of an infinite number of moments.

According to the second law of thermodynamics, the universe is running out of usable energy. But if the universe is running down, it cannot be eternal. Otherwise, it would have run down completely by now. While you can never run out of an unlimited amount of energy, it does not take forever to run out of a limited amount of energy. Hence, the universe must have had a beginning. To illustrate, every car has a limited amount of energy (gas). That is why we have to refuel from time to time-more often than we like. If we had an unlimited (i.e., infinitely) large gas tank, we would never have to stop for gas again. The fact that we have to refill shows that it was filled up to begin with. Or, to use another example, an old clock that gradually unwinds and has to be rewound would not unwind unless it had been wound up to begin with. In short, the universe had a beginning. And whatever had a beginning must have had a beginner. Therefore, the universe must have had a beginner (God).

Some have speculated that the universe is self-winding or self-rebounding. But this position is exactly that-pure speculation without any real evidence. In fact, it is contrary to the second law of thermodynamics. For even if the universe were rebounding, like a bouncing ball in reverse, it would gradually peter out. There is simply no observational evidence that the universe is self-winding. Even agnostic astronomers like Robert Jastrow have pointed out: "Once hydrogen has been burned within that star and converted to heavier elements, it can never be restored to its original state." Thus, "minute by minute and year by year, as hydrogen is used up in stars, the supply of this element grows smaller."

If the overall amount of actual energy stays the same but the universe is running out of usable energy, it has never had an infinite amount-for an infinite amount of energy can never run down. This would mean that the universe could not have existed forever in the past. It must have had a beginning. Or, to put it another way, according to the second law, since the universe is getting more and more disordered, it cannot be eternal. Otherwise, it would be totally disordered by now, which it is not. So it must have had a beginning-one that was highly ordered.

A second argument that the universe had a beginning-and hence a beginner-comes from philosophy. It argues that there could not have been an infinite number of moments before today; otherwise today never would have come (which it has). This is because, by definition, an infinite can never be traversed-it has no end (or beginning). But since the moments before today have been traversed-that is, we have arrived at today-it follows that there must only have been a finite (limited) number of moments before today. That is, time had a beginning. But if the space-time universe had a beginning, it must have been caused to come into existence. This cause of everything else that exists is called God. God exists.

Even the great skeptic David Hume held both premises of this argument for God. What is more, Hume himself never denied that things have a cause for their existence. He wrote, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause." He also said that it was absurd to believe there were an infinite number of moments: "The temporal world has a beginning. An infinite number of real parts of time, passing in succession and exhausted one after another, appears so evident a contradiction that no man, one should think, whose judgment is not corrupted, instead of being improved, by the sciences, would ever be able to admit it." Now if both of these premises are true, it follows that there must have been a creator of the space-time universe we call the cosmos-that is, God exists.

HOW CAN GOD MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING?

If God and nothing else existed prior to the creation of the world, the universe came into existence from nothing. But isn't it absurd to say that something can come from nothing? It is absurd to say that nothing caused something, because nothing does not exist and has no power to do anything. But it is not absurd to say that someone (i.e., God) brought the universe into existence from nonexistence. Nothing cannot make something, but someone (i.e., God) can make something out of nothing.

In fact, if the universe had a beginning (as demonstrated earlier), then there was once no universe and then there was-after God created it. This is what is meant by creation "out of nothing" (Latin, ex nihilo). It does not mean that God took a "handful of nothing" and made something out of it, as though "nothing" were something out of which he made the world. There was God and simply nothing else. Then God brought something else into existence that had not existed to that point.

Or to put it another way, creation "out of nothing" simply means that God did not create out of something else that which already existed alongside himself, as in certain forms of dualism in which there are two eternal substances of entities. This is really creation ex materia, that is, out of some preexisting matter outside of God. The Greek philosopher Plato held this view.

Neither did God create the world out of himself (i.e., ex Deo). That is, God did not take part of himself and make the world out of it. In fact, the orthodox Christian God has no parts. He is a simple whole that is absolutely one. Thus there is no way God could have taken part of himself and made the world. God is infinite and the world is finite. And no amount of finite parts can make an infinite, since no matter how many parts or pieces one has, there could always be one more. But there cannot be more than an infinite. Hence, no amount of parts would ever equal an infinite. So God could not have created the world out of part of himself (i.e., ex materia).

The world came from God but is not of God. He was its cause but not its substance. It came into existence by him, but it is not made of him. However, if the world was not created out of God (ex Deo) or out of something else (ex materia) existing alongside God, it must have been created out of nothing (ex nihilo). There is no other alternative. God made something that before he made it did not exist, either in him or in anything else.

The only place the world "existed" before God made it was as an idea in God's mind. Just as a painter has an idea of his painting in his mind before he paints it, so God had an idea of the world before he made it. In this sense, the world preexisted in God's mind as an idea before he brought it into existence.

WHAT WAS GOD DOING BEFORE HE MADE THE WORLD?

Another tough question often asked about God is this: What was God doing with all his time before he created? The famous fifth-century A.D. Christian teacher Augustine had two answers to this question, one humorous and one serious. The first answer was that God was spending his time preparing hell for people who ask questions like this! The serious answer was that God didn't have any time on his hands, since there was no time before time was created. Time began with creation. Before creation, time did not exist. So there was no time for God to have on his hands. The world did not begin by a creation in time but by a creation of time. But, you may think, if there was no time before time began, what was there? The answer is, eternity. God is eternal, and the only thing prior to time was eternity.

Further, the question implies that an infinitely perfect being like God could get bored. Boredom, however, is a sign of imperfection and dissatisfaction, and God is perfectly satisfied. Thus, there is no way God could be bored, even if he had long time periods on his hands. An infinitely creative mind can always find something interesting to do. Only finite minds that run out of interesting things to do get bored.

Finally, the Christian God has three persons who are in perfect fellowship. There is no way such a being could get bored or lonely. There is not only always someone to "talk to," but someone of perfect understanding, love, and companionship. Boredom is impossible in such a being.

HOW CAN THERE BE THREE PERSONS IN ONE GOD?

How can God be three and yet one? Isn't this a contradiction? It would seem that God could be one and not three, or three and not one. But he cannot be both three and one at the same time. It would be a violation of the most fundamental law of thought, namely, the law of noncontradiction.

First of all, the Christian belief in a Trinity of three persons in one God is not a contradiction. A contradiction occurs only when something is both A and non-A at the same time and in the same sense. God is both three and one at the same time but not in the same sense. He is three persons but one in essence. He is three persons but only one in nature.

It would be a contradiction to say that God had three natures in one nature or three persons in one person. But it is not a contradiction to claim that God has three persons in one nature. God is like a triangle. At the same time it has three corners and yet it is only one triangle. Each corner is not the same as the whole triangle. Or, God is like one to the third power ([1.sup.3]). 1 x 1 x 1 = 1. God is not 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, which is tritheism or polytheism. God is one God, manifested eternally and simultaneously in three distinct persons.

God is love (1 John 4:16). But to have love, there must be a lover (Father), a loved one (Son), and a spirit of love (Holy Spirit). So, love itself is a tri-unity.

Another illustration of the Trinity is that God is like my mind, ideas, and words. There is a unity between them, yet they are distinct from each other.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Who Made God? Copyright © 2003 by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface.......................................................................................................................13
Acknowledgments...............................................................................................................15
Contributors..................................................................................................................17
Part 1: Questions about the Christian Faith
1. Tough Questions about God Norman Geisler..................................................................................23
Who Made God?.................................................................................................................23
Why Couldn't the World Always Have Existed?...................................................................................24
How Can God Make Something out of Nothing?....................................................................................27
What Was God Doing before He Made the World?..................................................................................28
How Can There Be Three Persons in One God?....................................................................................29
How Can a Good God Send People to Hell?.......................................................................................30
How Can God Be Both Loving and Just?..........................................................................................31
2. Tough Questions about Evil Ronald Rhodes..................................................................................33
What Is the Origin of Evil?...................................................................................................36
What Is God's Ultimate Purpose in Allowing Evil?..............................................................................37
Wouldn't It Be Better If God Did Away with All Evil Immediately?..............................................................38
Does the Existence of Evil Prove That God Is Finite?..........................................................................39
Is Evil Just an Illusion?.....................................................................................................40
Can New Age Pantheism Account for Evil?.......................................................................................41
Do We Create Our Own Realities?...............................................................................................43
Does Reincarnation Explain the Existence of Evil?.............................................................................44
3. Tough Questions about Science William Lane Craig..........................................................................49
Are Science and Christianity Allies or Adversaries?...........................................................................49
How Should Theology and Science Relate?.......................................................................................51
How Does Modern Science Describe the World?...................................................................................52
Where Did the Universe Come From?.............................................................................................54
What Does the Fine-Tuning of the Universe Mean?...............................................................................58
What Does the "Many Worlds" Hypothesis Mean?..................................................................................60
What Explains the Actual Origin of Life?......................................................................................63
How Long Are the Days of Creation in Genesis?.................................................................................66
Is the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution True?................................................................................68
4. Tough Questions about Christ Lee Strobel..................................................................................73
Are the Records of Jesus' Life Reliable?......................................................................................75
Did Jesus Ever Claim to Be God?...............................................................................................81
5. More Tough Questions about Christ Lee Strobel.............................................................................87
Did Jesus Really Perform Miracles?............................................................................................88
Did Jesus Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies?...................................................................................93
Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?.................................................................................................97
6. Tough Questions about the Bible Norman Geisler............................................................................105
Where Did the Bible Come From?................................................................................................106
Who Wrote the Bible?..........................................................................................................106
Were the Biblical Authors Mere Secretaries of the Holy Spirit?................................................................108
What Was a Prophet in Bible Times?............................................................................................108
Could Prophets Add Their Personal Thoughts to God's Message?..................................................................109
How Did the Prophets Get Their Messages from God?.............................................................................110
Were the Prophets Permitted to Change the Words God Gave?.....................................................................110
What Do You Mean When You Say "The Bible Is the Word of God"?.................................................................111
How Else Does the Bible Claim to Be the Word of God?..........................................................................113
Does the Bible Actually Claim to Be the "Word of God" in So Many Words?.......................................................113
Does the Bible Claim to Have Divine Authority?................................................................................114
How Far Does This Divine Authority Extend?....................................................................................114
What Do You Mean When You Say That the Bible Is Inspired?.....................................................................114
Are the Very Words of the Bible Inspired by God, or Only the Ideas?...........................................................115
Does the Bible Claim to Be Inspired on All Topics or Just Spiritual Ones?.....................................................116
How Do Some People Misunderstand What Is Meant by the Inspiration of the Bible?...............................................117
How Do We Know These Misunderstandings Aren't Part of What Inspiration Covers?................................................118
Isn't the Bible Also a Human Book?............................................................................................118
Does the Bible Have Errors in It?.............................................................................................120
Are There Errors in Bible Manuscripts and Translations?.......................................................................120
How Can the Bible Be Both God's Words and Man's Words?........................................................................122
Were the Biblical Witnesses Reliable?.........................................................................................123
Why Does the Jesus Seminar Reject the Reliability of the New Testament Witnesses?.............................................124
Would the New Testament Witnesses Have Stood Up in a Court of Law?............................................................126
Are the Copies of the Bible Reliable?.........................................................................................126
Part 2: Questions about Other Faiths
7. Tough Questions about the Bible, False Prophets, and the Holy Books of Other Religions Norman Geisler.....................131
What Evidence Is There That the Bible Is Inspired by God as It Claims to Be?..................................................132
Is There Any Other Evidence That the Bible Is God's Word?.....................................................................133
Haven't Psychics Made Successful Predictions Like Those Found in the Bible?...................................................133
Didn't Nostradamus Make Supernatural Predictions?.............................................................................134
Do Nostradamus's Predictions Fail the Test of a True Prophet?.................................................................135
What Are the Tests for a False Prophet?.......................................................................................136
Did the Biblical Authors Measure Up to These Tests?...........................................................................137
Why Can't the Holy Books of Other Religions Also Be from God?.................................................................138
Isn't It Narrow-Minded to Claim That Only One Religion Has the Truth?.........................................................138
Is the Old Testament Complete?................................................................................................139
What Is the Testimony of Judaism about the Completeness of the Old Testament?.................................................139
What Did Jesus Say about the Completeness of the Old Testament?...............................................................140
What Did the Early Christians Say about the Completeness of the Old Testament?................................................141
Did the Roman Catholic Church Add Books to the Jewish Old Testament?..........................................................142
How Do We Know the New Testament Is Complete?.................................................................................142
What Did Jesus Promise about the Formation of the New Testament?..............................................................143
What Did Jesus' Apostles Say about the New Testament?.........................................................................143
What Evidence Did the Apostles Show for Their Authority?......................................................................144
Were All the Apostolic and Prophetic Writings Preserved in the New Testament?.................................................145
How Does the Character of God Guarantee the Completeness of the New Testament?................................................145
Did the Church Carefully Preserve the Whole New Testament?....................................................................146
Is the Whole Bible Complete?..................................................................................................147
Why Are Noninspired Books Mentioned in the Bible?.............................................................................147
Do Mormons Believe That the Bible Is Inspired by God?.........................................................................148
Is There Confirmation That Mormon Scriptures Are from God?....................................................................148
Are There Evidences That The Book of Mormon Is Inspired?......................................................................149
Is the Qur'an the Word of God?................................................................................................150
8. Tough Questions about Hinduism and Transcendental Meditation L . T. Jeyachandran..........................................153
Why Is There Such a High Degree of Interest in Eastern Religions among Westerners?............................................155
What Are the Main Tenets of Hinduism?.........................................................................................158
What Is Transcendental Meditation?............................................................................................163
9. Tough Questions about Yoga, Reincarnation, and Buddhism L . T. Jeyachandran...............................................167
What Does Yoga Mean and What Is the Teaching Behind It?.......................................................................168
What Is Reincarnation?........................................................................................................171
What Are the Beliefs of Buddhism?.............................................................................................176
10. Tough Questions about Black Islam Robert White...........................................................................183
What Is the Current Climate of the Church?....................................................................................185
What Makes Religion "Black"?..................................................................................................186
Who Founded the Black Islamic Movement?.......................................................................................188
Who Was Responsible for Bringing the Message of Black Islam to the Forefront?.................................................189
What Social Factors Led to the Emergence of the Black Islam Movement?.........................................................190
What Is the Unique Appeal of Islam for Blacks?................................................................................191
Why Is the Message of Islam Appealing to African-American Males in Particular?................................................192
Who Was Malcolm X?............................................................................................................194
Is Islam Becoming the True Religion of the Black Man?.........................................................................195
Do Black Muslims Have Misperceptions about the Christian Faith?...............................................................195
Does Black Islam Recognize the Deity of Jesus Christ?.........................................................................196
Should Black Muslims Be Allowed to Speak in Black Churches?...................................................................197
How Might the Church Reach Out to Black Muslims?..............................................................................199
Resources for Digging Deeper..................................................................................................203
Notes.........................................................................................................................209
Scripture Index...............................................................................................................225
Subject Index.................................................................................................................231
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Good answers

    Great reference for Christian apologetics. The only thing is that the book is not technically by Ravi Zacharias, it's actually a compilation of different authors answering different topics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    Nice read for the layperson

    Covers many topics. Many interesting chapters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

    Biography in Spanish...why?

    I'd like an answer as to why are there 2 biographies (one being in Spanish)? Is this some kind of 'test' of things to come? This IS AMERICA and the last time I checked, the language is ENGLISH! And NO! I'm not trying to simply be mean. Matter of fact- I AM OF HISPANIC ORIGIN! And in spite of that little fact, I have several reasons why this is a very slippery slope to take, made all the worse by the economic situation "America" finds herself in. Just the "COST" alone to print every kind of document you can think of into Spanish would be 'staggering!' (If for no other reason, this alone is reason enough to not cater to those who REFUSE to learn the English language)! Remember, I am Hispanic (born in America, parents both born in America, thank God), so I know a little more about this subject than those who are 'not' Hispanic!

    1 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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