Why is Belief in a God So Pervasive?
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Is There a God? Best Mind’s Viewpoints
Transcript of a clip from the talk, IS THERE A GOD, by Rev. Ernest O’Neill.
What do some of the “giants” say in answer to the question? What do intellectual giants like Darwin and Einstein say in answer to the question “Is there a God”? We have our thoughts, but are we in line with those who have brilliant minds? Here is Einstein’s own statement, “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior Spirit who reveals Himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds, that deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.” (Einstein’s quote is one quoted by Paul Little in his book, “Know Why You Believe”).
Probably no man has understood the complexity or the beauty and the order of our world, as Einstein has. And yet he says himself, “Of one thing I am absolutely certain. This carefully designed universe is the result of the activity of a mind that is far superior to any of ours and it’s that mind that I regard as God.”
What about Darwin? A lot of us think of his “Origin of the Species” for what it is — an incredible book and an incredible breakthrough in thinking. Yet, we automatically say, “Well, of course Darwin destroyed any idea of God that we ever had.” Darwin ends his book “The Origin of the Species” like this.
“There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one.” (Creator is a capital “C”. It’s no idea of an élan vital or an impersonal force. It’s a capital “C”.) “…having being originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one. And whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from some simpler beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved.” Of course Darwin saw the theory of evolution just as that, a theory; a hypothesis of the way the thing might have developed after the Creator created. And whether you and I are arguing for evolution or not, we ought to see that Darwin, who is regarded as the father of evolution, wrote that sentence, “There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one.”
In fact it doesn’t matter how far back you go. If you go to 400 B.C. and go with Plato and Socrates, you’ll find them absolutely certain that there is a God, with no doubt in their minds at all. You go further back to 4000 B.C. in Mesopotamia, and you will find that people are talking in the same terms. They are talking of a God who is real and personal. Here’s one of the most ancient engravings we have, “A man must truly proclaim the greatness of his God, and a young man must wholeheartedly obey the command of his God.” That’s from 4000 B.C.
So, throughout the world’s history, in whatever place you go, among whatever people you travel, there has always been this unquestioned assumption that there is a God, there is a supreme being. And not only an unquestioned assumption that there is such a being but there has gone along with it a worship and respect of that being. Among every tribe and every nation, among all peoples there has been a general unquestioned assumption that there is a God who created the universe.