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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Refuting Carl Sagan

Not too long after our family watched “God’s Not Dead”, I saw the following quote:

“If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why’s he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there’s one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He’s not good at design, he’s not good at execution. He’d be out of business, if there was any competition.” – Carl Sagan

I feel compelled to refute this. If someone were speaking negatively or offensively about someone I loved, I would stand up for that person – that includes my Heavenly Father. Speaking up against this quote is not something that is easy for me. I’m not a scientist, philosopher, or theologian, but I am a firm believer in the God who created us. He has not promised that my life would be easy!

Matthew 10:32-33 says, “Therefore everyone who confessed Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in Heaven.”

The quick answer to the first question Carl Sagan posed is – God did! But I know that simple answer will not appease.

God did start the universe the way He wanted it. He created a perfect world in the Garden of Eden, providing everything His creatures needed. The catch is that He also gave humans the gift of free will.

The Oxford Dictionary of English defines free will as “the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion”. God wants us to choose Him, but not because we are forced to do so. He wants us to come to Him freely. He already knows who will choose Him – those names are written in His Book of Life. He knows all – beginning, middle, AND end!

As to the second question, I don’t see God complaining, but yes…He is repairing. He knows we’re going to make mistakes & choose sin over His path for us. God allows those mistakes/sins, but has also given us a great tool that He uses in reparation – the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The last three sentences are the ones that truly offend me. 

“…if there was any competition.” There is no competition because there is no one greater than God. Never has been & never will be!

Sloppy? Not good at design or execution? I beg to differ! I see God in the beauty all around me – the palette of color in the sky at sunrise & sunset, the flowers & greenery that emerge each spring, the nighttime sky lit by those “billions & billions” of stars. Look at the miracle of childbirth, when a woman labors in pain – pain that is soon forgotten when that precious baby is laid in his mother’s arms.

How about the man in a nursing home lobby? He sits with his dementia-ridden mother who cannot speak. He rubs her knees & back, speaks tenderly to her with encouraging words, he brings her to her feet & carefully moves to the music only the two of them can hear.

God is not sloppy! Everything he has created falls in His grand design & plan. He has given animals & plants ways to adapt for survival – fur to keep warm, colors to blend in & be protected from predators, scents or special features to ward off danger (porcupine quills, poisonous skin oils on a poison dart frog, pine branches pointing downwards so that snow doesn’t weigh them down & also forms a protective home for various animals).
There is the cycle of life – conception to death, seasonal changes – all orchestrated by God, down to the tiniest detail.

Omnipotent – having unlimited power; able to do anything (Oxford Dictionary of English)
Omniscient – knowing everything (Oxford Dictionary of English)

Yes – God IS omnipotent & omniscient. What Carl Sagan misses is the fact that, even with these two descriptions, God still has given us free will. We can choose God & His ideal for our lives or we could choose to make our own path. What we need to learn (some of us more than once in our lifetimes) is that our choice to go against His plan keeps us from His Heavenly Kingdom. That Kingdom is the way He wants it to be & no one will enter until they have been perfected in God.

For those of you who have turned away from God, it’s not too late for you. Reverse your course & choose to follow Him. He wants nothing more than your love & willingness to follow Him.


Colleen said...


Great post. And of course, I totally agree. I do not know how any one can say what Carl Sagan said. I have always been in awe of just how perfect this world is. Right down the littlest creature. Whatever is wrong with this world, has to do with us humans. And that is because, as you said, our free will.

Do not worry about speaking your mind and your heart. This was beautiful.

Handygramps said...

I printed this "joke" in our May 31 bulletin. It pretty much sums up what you said.

A Sunday school teacher was examining her pupils after a series of lessons on God's omnipotence. She asked, "Is there anything God can't do?"

There was silence. Finally one lad held up his hand. The teacher, disappointed that the lesson's point had been missed, asked resignedly, "Well. just what is it that God can't do?"

"Well", replied the boy, "He can't please everybody."