My Dad would disown me for writing the above, my friends will ostracize me and atheists will welcome me like the churches welcome their first timers and possibly even continue the first-timer treatment for ever. Everyone that reads the length of this piece will be left refreshed and possibly perplexed – the former I promise, the latter we shall see. I promise nothing else. I am not one of those freaked by new knowledge, who are left confused by the logorrheaic effect of incoherent learning.
To write this piece, I subjected myself to months of mental torture and wahala. I started out purging myself of all that I had known and been fed with as to the existence of God over the years and decided to learn anew, relearn or and/or unlearn. I moved out of the bustle of Lagos to a quiet, empty house on the city’s periphery where I had to make do with my own cooking something which to me is almost like a Samuel Peter daring a Vladimir Klitschko, but which had to happen if I had to join the ends of the converging and contrasting theories in my head as Samuel had to fight to make ends meet.
I was left mentally drained, my inner being felt like in a void and the God-inquisition ended with a re-adoption of one of the names I was called weeks after my birth. My research has paid off as I can write on the existence ( or non-existence) of God without leaving both men of reason and men of faith in confusion at the end of my effort at putting my wisdom to words. Be careful not to make a conclusion before my conclusion as that could render you a ‘s…inner’.
I grew up without religion. My Dad was strictly a money man. He worked and worked and only observed the closest thing to serving God by organising a mega party for all and sundry on every Christmas day. It was a celebration that literally brought everyone together. No invitations were needed to share in the meals and the gifts. Those years, I regarded Christians as poor people who excused their poverty on the fact that they’d live as rich folks in heaven. I never ever wanted to be a Christian. I asked several questions and one particular one that haunted me even till this century, ‘‘who created God!?’’, which no one gave a sensible enough answer to, so I went on discovering the answers myself. I haven’t found the answers to all of my questions but the answers have been provided.
Life has no void or gap as every gap has been filled. There is no where on earth or in the galaxy or the entire cosmos where you will find nothing. Nothing does not exist! What is nothing? You can’t define it a hundred times without mistaking it for something. Life has no gaps and there’s no nothing. Time, space, matter and knowledge fill every seeming void. Where it seems men do not have an answer, it is because they haven’t found it not because it is not somewhere either in the past, the present or the future.
Whenever I heard them talk about ‘‘Jesus is coming soon’’, it always sounded vague and stupid to me. The older ones saw me as intelligent enough despite my age so I was always allowed to share in the regular arguments and episodes about the still elusive Christ, hell and heaven. I still have much older people as friends today and still engage in what my tribesmen will refer to as oro agba (words of the aged) – a kid that knows to wash his hands will dine with elders. I dine with elders and that means I know more than the average man – it is not the time for modesty, it is the time for the truth.
At King’s College, Lagos (JSS1-JSS3), the only time I went to church was when we were forced to attend by the cries of Mr. Ibiam! Mr. Ibiam! – a name that meant pain at the centre of the head and possibly even suspension or expulsion from the hostel. My first visit to the school fellowship ended before it had started as I joined the service at its conclusion – during the sharing of the grace. Sunday mornings were for pillow fights and wrestling matches after the hugely popular loaf and egg breakfast.
When a certain Haluchi Ezeiruaku introduced Christ to me, I told him I’d be ready to hear the gist and possibly even ‘‘give my life to Christ’’ in 1997. This was in late 1995. My attendance record markedly improved at the Annex in Victoria Island at the senior school and I even got born again when Evangelist Kenneth Mulzach made enough sense for me to reason out the possibility of The Christ and his salvation gift.
The years have since gone by and I have by myself searched through literature for insights into the existence (or non-existence of God). I decided to search places where religion would rather have me not search…
Atheists hold one thing to be the basis of any arguments about God and that is reason. That I believe is reasonable enough. I will descend to that level even though I deal at much higher levels. One phenomenon that has used logic to great effect and results is Science. Few people argue against the existence of science because science settles virtually every argument against itself. Logic and Reasoning are scientific. The problem with science is that science has not solved the arguments it puts to itself. Some of those arguments the common man may be aware, most of those he has no idea. Logic they say should guide our identification of consciousness but what happens to that identification if logic fails? Or may be logic never fails.
Albert Einstein, arguably the greatest scientist said a ‘‘cosmic religious feeling’’ was his strongest motivation for research. I do not take that to mean God because I do not equate religion with God. They are two different phenomena even though men have lost the boundary that separates both. People who do not know and want to prove their lack of knowledge point to science as their arbiter of truth. When you look at it critically though, you will find that science is just a logical arrangement of what seem at a certain time to be facts and turns out at other times to be faulty theories. Modern scientists are baffled by the uncertainty principle, chaos theory, indeterminism, and vacuum fluctuations. They still cannot say without a doubt if Schrodinger’s cat is dead or alive. Modern scientists know a kazallion exabytes of information more than those of previous centuries but while those of previous centuries thought they were close to knowing everything, modern scientists are puzzled by the fact that they seem to know nothing for sure and despite new breakthroughs, more questions remain unanswered as answered ones even raise more questions. It is almost like a shadow chase, except it is worse.
Roger Shepard of Stanford says ‘‘we may be headed toward a situation where knowledge is too complicated to understand.’’ That is a point that has been referred to as the ultimate scientific plateau – a point where intellectual, technological and financial capacities are exceeded. Scientists who have pushed beyond that limit have found that they were delving into realms beyond science to something like metaphysical mysticism. The precision of the mathematics of the universe, the bizarreness of the subatomic world, the mind boggling situation of a particle also being a wave, the elusive ‘‘theory of everything’’ or ‘‘grand universal theory’’, and more apt to this work, where did everything all come from in the first place?
Scientists claim to eschew religion, but it dominates their thoughts to the degree that God dominates the mind of atheists. You want your mind to know that something does not exist, which makes that thing nothing, yet your mind dwells on this nothing more than things it holds to exist. It is a paradox but scientists are more bothered about thoughts of God and religion than even the clergy. It is as a result of the fact that they see more than logic can allow the mind sees. They see what logic cannot see yet what they see is true because they can identify the existence and are conscious of that identification.
Take the formation of the human for instance: when the math was computed, unbelieving astrophysicists were spiritually stunned. ‘‘A delicate match between the energies of helium, the unstable beryllium and the resulting carbon allows the last to be created.’’ Explains Harvard astronomer Robert Kirshner. ‘‘Without this process, we would not be here.’’ The carbon resonance match is both dramatic and extremely precise, it was scientifically impossible to achieve. Science is here literally saying human formation in terms of its chemical substance was illogical yet the physical composition of man looks the easier part to form were we to try to create man because I can’t imagine how we will create his spirit and his soul. May be there are no Spirits and no Souls because we can’t see them. I ask, what was the highest mount in the world before the discovery of Mt. Everest? Don’t be too certain you know the answer because would have said something other than Mt. Everest at the time and based on its premises would have proved itself to be correct. Would that have been correct?
Every matter in the universe is influenced by four forces. These forces can be measured, they can be monitored and have even been manipulated. The fundamental forces of the universe are the gravitational force, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. Each of these forces works with different strengths on different particles over vastly different distances. If a small change in the strength of one of these forces with respect to another were to occur, life as we know would not be possible.
Of the four, gravity is by far the weakest while the strong nuclear force is the strongest. Hawking suggested that the universe was formed out of forces of gravitation and Newton seemed to agree albeit more poignantly he says ‘‘So then Gravity may put the Planets in Motion, but without the divine Power it could never put them into such a circulating motion as they have about the sun; and therefore for this, as well as other Reasons, I am compelled to ascribe the Frame of the System to an intelligent Agent…The cause of Gravity is what I do not pretend to know.’’ Gravity is the most familiar of the four forces and the first to be investigated scientifically. Though the weakest of the four (over a trillion trillion trillion times weaker than the strong nuclear force), Gravity’s importance is not measured by its strength though but because it controls the balance of power in the entire macroscopic universe. While the nuclear forces exert their powers within the tiny confines of the atom itself, gravitational force extends to infinity. Though clarified by Sir Isaac Newton several hundred years ago, it remains a mysterious force. If we drop a pencil, it falls to the floor. Why? Is there a rubber band connecting the two? Obviously not. Why does the pencil drop? At the deepest level we do not know, yet if the law of gravity were to be suspended, we would need a steel cable six hundred miles in diameter to hold the moon in place.
One possible explanation for gravity is found in the theoretical gravitons. It is postulated that gravitons are tiny energy quanta that function within gravitational fields in a way similar to that of photons carrying light. But if so, how exactly do these gravitons constitute an attraction between earth and moon? We don’t know. ‘‘We do not understand what mechanism generates mass in the basic building blocks of matter,’’ observed the president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Interpretation: we do not know why there is gravity.
Science knows a lot of things but the thing is the more it knows, the less it seems certain of, and the more it needs to know. It is like a catch-me-if-you-can game between science and something which seems to hold the information. When British physicist Stephen Hawking was asked his opinion about the biggest unsolved problem in physics today, he did not equivocate: ‘‘The theory of everything…We feel we are near, but we never get there. It always seems just over the rainbow’s edge.’’
Hawking’s concluding paragraph in his best-selling A Brief History of Time reads: ‘‘If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God’’. Hawking by the way does not believe in a personal deity or an afterlife.
I do not want to delve into the world of quantum mechanics because if it is profound enough to leave scientists dumbfounded, I can’t imagine its effect on the man whose understanding of science is as basic as Force, Load and Fulcrum. Forget quantum mechanics because in reality scientists have decided it is better left to solve itself over the course of time – almost like a trial and error method. ‘‘It is clear by now that ALL interpretations of quantum mechanics are to some extent crazy,’’ says cognitive scientist and consciousness expert David J Chalmers.
‘‘Whenever man tries to probe into the universe’s dimension of time, he will finally be confronted with eternity. Where he tries to understand the dimension of space, he will finally be confronted with infinity. And where he tries to understand matter by separating it into ever smaller particles, he will always discover something that is even smaller, and be confronted with the fact that there is no final smallest particle.’’ These are the words of Gerhard Staguhn, a renowned German science writer. To men of certainty and logic, this is gravely discomforting but for men whose reasoning ability allows them also the liberty of faith it is endlessly exciting.
The universe is far more exciting than first suspected – scientifically and spiritually. To reduce the existence of God to reason, first you must reason out all the possibilities the universe is capable of, you must tell us all that we don’t know about logic-universe – failure to do this, men of reason accept the limitedness of their logic. Logic by the way is the least level of consciousness. Even Albert Einstein agrees Imagination beats Knowledge hands down.
A boy who could not get a bicycle after praying grows up into an adult that begrudges the God who did not provide that bicycle. As that God continues to seemingly abandon him, he begins to find reasons to cloud his previous knowledge of God till God is logically reasoned out. How sad!
My birthday comes soon enough on the 3rd of October and I have asked God for a Bold 3 BlackBerry phone and a writing contract. If I don’t get those, then God does not exist! Dear Lord, why are we humans so weak and limited in our ability to think, reason and imagine. If there is bad leadership in Nigeria God is at fault, if President Obama turns out to be just another human president then God cannot be in existence. You won’t miss out on an atheist saying if God exists then he should strike him to death and I asked when God has fallen for human temptations. If a pastor rapes his church member, then God cannot exist, if pastors engage themselves in political and media battles then God cannot exist. If your pastor uses a plasma or 3D TV and he forbids you the usage of television let alone a black and white TV then God cannot be in existence. Man’s inadequacies and shortcomings cannot establish nothingness – the nothingness that there is no God.
Look at man, it is taking him years and years of study to deduce the essence of God or for some to prove God’s non-existence. Is it not ironic that despite your apparent agnosticism or absolute conviction that there is no God you read all you can, write say and think all you can to prove His non-existence? It amounts to a man spending incalculable time trying to prove the absence of nothing. If God does not exist, then God is nothing, so why bother being an atheist – an anti-God. That’s funny in every sense of the word.
I have taken care not to refer to any holy book for this work because I chose to deal with people who hold the topic of this piece to be true at their own level, the level of logic. I wanted to reason with what we both could relate with. I know a man who was born blind, yet sees God all his life because to see God is not to open your eyes, it is to open all of your self and take your reasoning beyond reasoning. No, it is not being irrational, it is being extra-rational.
I have got loads of stuff to write but it has never been in the length,depth or breadth of knowledge, it is about that knowledge being useful in understanding life and that in understanding we are wise enough to know that we are humans and while the world was created for us to live in and to do and say whatever we like, we all die in the long run. Truly, if God does not exist then his non-existence would be a miracle in itself. It does not take faith to believe in the existence of God because the truth is out there in everything you see, rather it takes faith to be an atheist because it is a refusal to see what is obvious. I’d rather die with my faith in God to discover God never was than to cease to live and realise God is.
All our days we must create things to have them. We build houses and must be careful to use the right materials and dimensions to ensure we are safe in them. We make planes, we make clothes, we make cars, toys, movies and what we don’t make from what we have we can’t have. Nothing we make can be made out of nothing. Everything is made out of something yet our universe as uniquely set as it is, we are being told it just came into being. Stupid has never been more useful a word.
See this, ‘‘The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder, to suppose that the eye, with all of its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree,’’ so says the father of Darwinism, the great evolution theorists Charles Darwin.
‘‘In man is a three-pound brain, which, as far as we know, is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe,’’ says Isaac Asimov renown scientist and author, who remained an avowed atheist until his death in 1992. He saw enough to see the complexity of the brain, but he saw too much to see the simplicity of the God behind it.
God will not prove his existence to men. He has created the world for man’s use. He created time, space, light and matter and indeed all there is but he is not subject to those. He created the brain which we use to reason and logically analyse phenomena. He is not subject to time, nor to logic, nor matter, space and all of those things. He cannot be judged by the failings of the world – whether men or matter. He has saved man once, he won’t do no more. You say God prove yourself within 7 days if you exist, He laughs and wonders because seven days creates a limit called time, God does not function under limits. He created them for man to know his place. For all of our knowledge, understanding, logic and all, we remain limited. There has to be something better than we have now and there is because God does have an insurance plan for man. Like the insurance you are used to, it is optional.
Does God exist? Do you really need me to answer that now?
As for me, my mind, my heart and all I am and will ever be, GOD EXISTS AND LIVES. It matters not what happens on my birthday, my lifetime or in the span of time. My name is Joshua or Yeshua!
Further reading: References
Jeremy Rifkin, Algeny (New York: Viking)
Schrodinger’s cat is a famous example of the indeterminism built into quantum physics. The cat is in an opaque box with a random radioactive decay switching device. If the decay randomly triggers one switch, the cat will be fed food and live. If the decay randomly triggers the other switch, the cat will be fed poison and die. Schrodinger’s point is that within the strange quantum world of random indetermi ism, the cat is both dead and alive. Once we open the box, the cat will be either dead or alive. But before we open the box, the cat is both dead and alive at the same time.
Robert P Kirshner, ‘‘The Earth’s Elements,’’ Scientific American, October 1994.
Gerald L Schroeder, The Science of God: The convergence of science and Biblical Wisdom
Robert Wearner ‘‘Newton: Man of the Future,’’ Sign of Times, 1999.
Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big to Black Holes
Richard A Swenson : More Than Meets The Eye
And several others too numerous to mention and I am glad no Professor is marking this because then I would not be allowed to submit this for bad referencing. Who cares?