The Evidence for God

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
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Re: The Evidence for God

#16

Post by ryanbouma » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:52 am

Where did the vacuum come from?

See where this is going?

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Re: The Evidence for God

#17

Post by 1over137 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:16 pm

And where are physical phenomena from?

To FL: i mean e.g. person without fingers and then miraculously healed and having them back.
To Thadeus: you meant links by linky?
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

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Re: The Evidence for God

#18

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:21 pm

1over137 wrote:
To FL: i mean e.g. person without fingers and then miraculously healed and having them back.
Sorry...but this seems like a magic trick. :roll:

FL
Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

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Re: The Evidence for God

#19

Post by 1over137 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:35 pm

That's ok fl.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: The Evidence for God

#20

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:36 pm

I don't think the OP would have any trouble finding scientific arguments for God if he bothers perusing the main page. You guy are also doing a fine job walking through the question of origins, which is perfectly appropriate, and frankly, I don't have the energy or time to get into a drawn out argument over classical arguments for God's existence. If the OP is interested, click on "Some Paper's I've Written" in my sig, go to "Divine Simplicity Reconsidered," and read chapter one.

With that said, I'd offer three quick anecdotal strands of evidence for God's existence.

1. I wasn't supposed to be born. My mother has severe endometriosis, such that by the time she was 20, her fallopian tubes were so blocked with scar tissue that the doctors could not even get one bit of dye through them. She prayed to have children anyway, and God blessed her with three of us. By the third, she'd had enough blessing, so she asked to have her tubes tied. The same doctor who made the original diagnosis was the one who tied her tubes, and he was shocked to tell he that she had "the healthiest fallopian tubes [he had] ever seen." There was absolutely no scar tissue at all. One can argue that the original diagnosis was wrong, of course, but that's really nothing more than a flat denial of evidence. The question I would have would be, "On what basis would you say the doctor was wrong?" The presumption must be that things like that simply don't happen (healing of scar tissue), and therefore the original diagnoses had to be wrong, but that is a circular argument, of course.

2. My great-grandfather was illiterate. To the day he died, he signed his name with an X and could not read the newspaper. He was a crossing guard at a local school, and yet God called him to preach. From the day he accepted the call, he was able, to the day of his death, to read every word of the Bible. He could pick the Bible up and read but could not read the newspaper next to it. I have talked to several of his children (my grandfather included) as well as several people who knew him who have confirmed this is true. Several of them (that I talked to) tell stories of how they tried to teach him to read but to no avail. And according to them he did not have the Bible memorized. He would go into the pulpit unprepared, open to a particular a text, and begin to preach. As an aside, I have the last Bible he preached from. Oddly enough, there is not a single note in it anywhere, a truly odd thing for a preacher's Bible! Again, anyone is free to regard the story as a fabrication, but I would question their warrant for doing so.

3. Several years ago when serving as a youth minister, we had an all night prayer vigil. As part of our service, we asked God to protect us from any evil, demonic influences that might hinder our prayers (thinking of Dan. 10). Not a few moments into that prayer, we began to hear doors violently opening and closing upstairs. As we continued to pray, we heard what sounded like a loud fight being dragged down the hallway just above us and then it sounded as if someone were thrown down the stairs. There was a loud "THUD" on the landing just a few feet in front of us. We then heard what sounded like heavy footsteps running to the front door of the home, which opened on its own and then slammed shut. After that, the house was perfectly peaceful, and the following time spent in prayer was some of the most moving and confirming prayer I have ever been a part of. That year, the youth group nearly doubled as we worked to execute the vision we believed God had given to us that night. Now, perhaps one could insist I am making this up or was delusional--perhaps all of us were that night--but I would know such assumptions are rooted in a preexisting commitment to the non-existence of God's existence (a commitment I strongly doubt is nearly as warranted as my own belief that He does exist).

I could go on and on with those kinds of stories. Those three are not the most dramatic I could tell (I know others more dramatic still). They're just three random ones I thought were interesting. Some things simply convince me of the supernatural. Some convince me of the existence of God in particular. Some are deeply personal and some happened to people I know personally. Some can be explained away as mere coincidence, others not so much. There have been tiny things that could be explained away any number of ways (last week I lost my keys. I was about to be late and, knowing God knows where they are, I asked Him. The next moment I figured I should check the closet, which is odd, because they have never been there--sure enough, they were). There have been huge, more dramatic things (I was called into a dying man's room last year to pray for him and his family as they removed life support. We prayed that if God willed and would allow that He continue to live, but if not, for continued strength. Much to the doctor's amazement, after extubation he began breathing on his own, which was particularly unexpected since patients who do that (as it does happen sometimes) tend to already be breathing "over" the tube, which he was not. He was discharged and sent home next day). I say all that to say simply that God's existence is not an abstract idea that I affirm because of tradition or my heritage or because it makes me feel good or even because I took a class on it. God is as real to me as this computer I'm typing on. That sounds cliche, but it's absolutely true. God is a part of my daily life.

I'd finish by saying that, despite these fantastic stories, my belief in God is not even rooted in them, although I am hardly surprised when I see God act in some mighty, very obvious way. He is, after all, God, and He takes delight in surprising us. Rather, my belief in Him is rooted in and founded upon a daily relation I have that is just real. I confess that this is absolutely subjective, and I don't mention it as any form of apologetic or argument whatsoever. I'm just pointing out my own basis for belief. That my beliefs are further confirmed by rigorous philosophical analysis, strong scientific confirmation, and personal experience is nothing more than unsurprising. Truth, after all, is not determined my experience, but by its nature it is the kind of thing that is experienced.

That's my $.03. 8)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: The Evidence for God

#21

Post by Silvertusk » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:23 pm

Jac. Thank you that was an awesome testimony. Praise God.

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Re: The Evidence for God

#22

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:30 pm

Silvertusk wrote:Jac. Thank you that was an awesome testimony. Praise God.
I second that. You are truly a blessing.

FL
Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

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Re: The Evidence for God

#23

Post by Fruitloops007 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:55 pm

Jac3510,

Thank you for your $.03. I appreciate the stories you shared. For the most part, I found them touching or emotionally moving. I too have had similar accounts as a believer. For instance, I prayed over someone who had cancer and he got well a week later. One time as someone was praying with me, I felt a weird electrical sensation go through my body which at that time I attributed to God.

However, I started to demote these experiences one by one to simpler naturalistic explanations. I recognized that other cancer patients did not get better even with prayer involved. And I learned more about the power of the brain's effect on the human body from modern psychology.

I know these stories are very significant to you. Nonetheless, they are not credible to me. Imagine someone tells you a vivid story of how aliens visited him/her. Or another person states that he/she witnessed amputated fingers growing back on a human hand. Would you not be skeptical?
"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." Galileo Galilei

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Re: The Evidence for God

#24

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:26 pm

Thanks FL and ST. I figured some people here would be blessed by them. :)

And Fruitloops, to answer your question directly, I would be skeptical of aliens because I think there is very strong empirical and statistical evidence against the possibility of their existence. That is, I have firm reasons to believe that they don't exist. If you have firm reasons to affirm the non-existence of God (rather than the typical, 'i jes lack beleef dat a god xists!"), then you would have the same right to be skeptical. As it is, you don't, and so I don't think much of your skepticism. As to people having fingers grow back or other such miracles, it would just depend on the credibility of the person. I've heard stories at least as dramatic that have directly happened to people I regard as very trustworthy, and were they to report such events, I would have no problem believing them.

Anyway, as I said, you can feel free to search for naturalistic explanations to what happened to me. I would simply point you to your warrant for doing so. You are, after all, going to have to look very hard to explain the disappearance of scar tissue from mom's fallopian tubes. Chances are, you'll have to say that the disappearance didn't happen at all, that there was some misunderstanding (or perhaps argue that my mother and father lied or perhaps that I am lying). That's not finding a naturalistic explanation, though. That's just ignoring evidence, which is circular. The "argument" would go something like this:

1. Anything that qualifies as evidence for God cannot be reduced to naturalistic explanation;
2. Anything that cannot be reduced to naturalistic explanation is to be rejected as impossible (based on misunderstanding or lying or whatever);
3. Therefore, there can be no evidence for God.

You'll forgive me if I'm less terribly impressed by your reasoning than you are with my anecdotes.

On a final note, going back to the alien example, if I came across dozens or hundreds of people who all reported similar stories independently of one another, and those stories were not one-off events but were rather regular, normal occurrences in their lives, I would be far less skeptical. I would, then, revisit my presumption that aliens do not exist. You, of course, are not willing to revisit your presumption, so no evidence would ever be good enough anyway. In short, it could be that I'm just more honest than you. *shrug*

edit:

As an aside, I'm thrilled that God seems to have answered one of your prayers regarding a cancer patient. I don't know what an electrical feeling has to do with God's presence (you'll notice I didn't appeal to any such feelings), and I am even less impressed by your suggestion that because God does not heal everyone we pray for that therefore we ought to reject the fact that He heals some we pray for. Not only is that just plainly irrational (go ahead, try to put it in a syllogism! That's an honest challenge for you--not rhetorical), but it's just plainly unbiblical. There are people God chooses not to heal, and there are instances in which God does not answer our prayers, e.g., prayers not according to His will, prayers offered from sinful motives, prayers offered in doubt, prayers coming from an unrepentant heart, etc. You can,of course, complain that makes the claim that God answers prayer unfalsifiable because in any given case that God says "no" I can show any number of reasons that could be the case. To that objection, I would just shrug and make two quick points. First, your naturalism is just as unfalsifiable. You have absolutely NO evidence that my mother was not miraculously healed, and yet you would have me just assume there MUST BE some naturalistic explanation. And second, the stories aren't apologetically oriented in the first place. Sometimes God answers prayers. In those cases, He did. Those who accept the premise that God answers prayers can receive those stories gladly and see them for what they are. Sometimes God does not answer our prayers. In those cases, those who accept the premise can receive that as truth as well. For you who reject the premise, it doesn't matter one way or the other. You choose to focus on the times God does NOT answer prayers rather than focus on the evidence of when He HAS answered prayers. And if you're just going to ignore evidence, there's nothing much for us to talk about anyway.

For those of us who do not reject God a priori, however, we have lots to talk about. Ask FL and ST above. I think they'd be quick to confirm that point. :)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: The Evidence for God

#25

Post by Thadeyus » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:49 pm

1over137 wrote:And where are physical phenomena from?

To FL: i mean e.g. person without fingers and then miraculously healed and having them back.
To Thadeus: you meant links by linky?
A link of some sort to this event/happening, that's all.

Much cheers to all.

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Re: The Evidence for God

#26

Post by Fruitloops007 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:42 pm

Jac3510 wrote: And Fruitloops, to answer your question directly, I would be skeptical of aliens because I think there is very strong empirical and statistical evidence against the possibility of their existence. That is, I have firm reasons to believe that they don't exist. If you have firm reasons to affirm the non-existence of God (rather than the typical, 'i jes lack beleef dat a god xists!"), then you would have the same right to be skeptical. As it is, you don't, and so I don't think much of your skepticism.
Fair enough Jac. Here I will provide reasons for the nonexistence of God (Yahweh). The bible declares that God is all knowing, omnipresent; intervening with human affairs. Thus, God participates in the universe in a very detailed way. He listens to every thought, moves every particle, and can supersede the laws of physics. If this is true I should be able to discover God by prayer or revelation.

There have been prayers studies done by reputable institutions such as Harvard, Duke, and Mayo Clinic. These studies could have provided the evidence needed to show God intervenes with humans. Unfortunately, the prayer studies failed to show that prayer had any effect. "Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found." - The New York Times

Revelation could also be evidence for God. Revelation is something that can definitely be tested. If someone obtained some revelation (information that could not have been known naturally) that would give verifiable evidence. It would be very interesting if someone just woke up with the idea on how to cure all cancers without any prior biology training. Equally impressive is if someone could foresee the next ten natural disasters in complete detail (time, date, location).

Also, if God participates in the universe as the Bible suggest, science should be able to gather evidence for him (even other than the prayer studies). With my science background, I have searched for it from many fields such as physics, biology, psychology, and in particular archaeology. Modern archaeology refutes many biblical passages such as the Exodus. Archaeologist have discovered absolutely no Israelite camps in the Sinai Peninsula (which is perhaps the most excavated land in the world). Interesting enough though is that archaeologist have discovered camps sites from civilizations thousands of years earlier back into the Neolithic Age.

Another reason that can be argued about the nonexistence of God is that if he did exist he would be a very complex being. A being who could do anything and everything would be more complex than we could possibly imagine. That complexity had to evolve from simplicity. It would be much harder to explain the origins of God than to explain the origins of the universe.

I hope those reasons are a step-up from the "i jes lack beleef dat a god xists!" for you. :ewink:


Jac3510 wrote:On a final note, going back to the alien example, if I came across dozens or hundreds of people who all reported similar stories independently of one another, and those stories were not one-off events but were rather regular, normal occurrences in their lives, I would be far less skeptical. I would, then, revisit my presumption that aliens do not exist. You, of course, are not willing to revisit your presumption, so no evidence would ever be good enough anyway. In short, it could be that I'm just more honest than you. *shrug*


I find it extremely distasteful that you just simply assert, "You, of course, are not willing to revisit your presumption, so no evidence would ever be good enough anyway." You have absolutely no proper authority to state that. Imagine if someone on the internet whom you hardly know asserts that you are incapable of being a good youth minister. Would you be slightly repulsed?

I am constantly evaluating my thoughts and beliefs based upon new data and evidence. In fact,I tell people who actually know me that I enjoy being wrong. It gives me an opportunity to learn and grow.
"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." Galileo Galilei

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Re: The Evidence for God

#27

Post by 1over137 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:11 pm

Thadeyus wrote:
1over137 wrote:And where are physical phenomena from?

To FL: i mean e.g. person without fingers and then miraculously healed and having them back.
To Thadeus: you meant links by linky?
A link of some sort to this event/happening, that's all.

Much cheers to all.
There is no link. There is for me credible person behind it.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: The Evidence for God

#28

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:11 am

Fruitloops007 wrote:
1over137 wrote:Where is nebula from? Where is galaxy from? Where are physics laws from?
The universe borrowed energy from the vacuum to create vast amounts of matter and antimatter in nearly equal numbers. Most of it annihilated and filled the universe with photons. Less than one part per billion survived to form protons and neutrons and then the hydrogen and helium that make up most of everything there is. Some of this hydrogen and helium collapsed to make the first generation of massive stars, which produced the first batch of heavy elements in their central nuclear fires. These stars exploded and enriched the interstellar clouds that would form the next generation of stars. Finally, about 4.6 billion years ago, one particular nebula in one particular galaxy collapsed to form a star called the Sun with its planetary system.

from: Carroll, B.W., and Ostlie, D.A., 1996, An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Addison-Wesley Pub. Comp. Inc

The laws of physics are an invention from the minds of humans. They are merely mathematical formulas to approximate physical phenomena.
I'd appreciate it if you could kindly detail exactly where this nebula that caused the existence of our universe came from? You'd also be helping to answer the crux of 1over137's own questions, which I think you might perhaps be avoiding in your response here.

If matter, energy, space and time are bound to our universe, and our universe had a beginning, then I really don't see how you are answering the main point to 1over137's questions. Where was this nebula that existed outside of our universe? Are you proposing some nebula within our universe caused our universe, or some form of multiverse idea?

Finally, whatever you are proposing, can you please provide some evidence for Multiverse as I am very interested in hearing it. I personally don't have much faith is such a scenario due to the absence of evidence. However, maybe you can demonstrated any evidence I may have missed?
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: The Evidence for God

#29

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:43 am

Fruitloops007 wrote:
Jac3510 wrote: And Fruitloops, to answer your question directly, I would be skeptical of aliens because I think there is very strong empirical and statistical evidence against the possibility of their existence. That is, I have firm reasons to believe that they don't exist. If you have firm reasons to affirm the non-existence of God (rather than the typical, 'i jes lack beleef dat a god xists!"), then you would have the same right to be skeptical. As it is, you don't, and so I don't think much of your skepticism.
Fair enough Jac. Here I will provide reasons for the nonexistence of God (Yahweh). The bible declares that God is all knowing, omnipresent; intervening with human affairs. Thus, God participates in the universe in a very detailed way. He listens to every thought, moves every particle, and can supersede the laws of physics. If this is true I should be able to discover God by prayer or revelation.
I'm not sure how this logic follows. Just because God exists and have intervened, doesn't mean you should be able to discover God by prayer or revelation -- because God may simply for His own good reasons not reveal Himself to you.

In fact, Romans 1 classically states that God gives us over to our own ignorance based on our turning away from Him. It's our own hearts that cloud our vision and dim our spirits. He isn't going to pamper up to us like a spoilt child.

To correct another statement of yours, God does not intervene with human affairs, but rather God intervenes when concerned with His own affairs with humans. Big difference.
Fruitloops007 wrote:There have been prayers studies done by reputable institutions such as Harvard, Duke, and Mayo Clinic. These studies could have provided the evidence needed to show God intervenes with humans. Unfortunately, the prayer studies failed to show that prayer had any effect. "Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found." - The New York Times
There have equally been studies done that confirm prayer. Just take a look on Godandscience.org site. But here's the thing, I reject them all. Give them little weight. I don't believe God can be tested in such a manner. It's too unpredictable, and unreliable. My experience and what I see tells me God answers some prayers, and others not. Why? Again, it's according to God's own affairs not ours.

Let me just say I don't believe God exists, or that Christianity in particular is true, because I've seen prayer work.
Fruitloops007 wrote:Revelation could also be evidence for God. Revelation is something that can definitely be tested. If someone obtained some revelation (information that could not have been known naturally) that would give verifiable evidence. It would be very interesting if someone just woke up with the idea on how to cure all cancers without any prior biology training. Equally impressive is if someone could foresee the next ten natural disasters in complete detail (time, date, location).
Well, God's revelation is something I've actually been discussing with another poster in another thread.

However, I disagree. Revelation cannot be tested or proven to another. Do you have a way of experiencing exactly the same qualia and phenomenal experience of someone else? Your tests are silly.

You're wanting God, or us it seems, to jump through hoops that you set in place. You aren't really seeking and nothing we can say or do will make God reveal Himself to you. There is one test, but some how I don't think 1over137 approved of me saying it again. But nonetheless it is true that we can meet our maker in death.

I'll just sing "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound... I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see." I pray one day you'll see too. Please come back if you do so that I can add that to my evidence for prayer. :poke:
Fruitloops007 wrote:Also, if God participates in the universe as the Bible suggest, science should be able to gather evidence for him (even other than the prayer studies). With my science background, I have searched for it from many fields such as physics, biology, psychology, and in particular archaeology. Modern archaeology refutes many biblical passages such as the Exodus. Archaeologist have discovered absolutely no Israelite camps in the Sinai Peninsula (which is perhaps the most excavated land in the world). Interesting enough though is that archaeologist have discovered camps sites from civilizations thousands of years earlier back into the Neolithic Age.
This historical value to the Bible in that it has real places, real people and the like supports much of the Bible... certainly, I am quite acquainted with science and don't have the same beliefs here you do. So forgive me if I take what you say here with a grain of salt.

Further, one can still take a minimalist approach to still arrive at the conclusion that Christ lived, died and was resurrected. E.g., read over http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/garyhabermas.htm
Fruitloops007 wrote:Another reason that can be argued about the nonexistence of God is that if he did exist he would be a very complex being. A being who could do anything and everything would be more complex than we could possibly imagine. That complexity had to evolve from simplicity. It would be much harder to explain the origins of God than to explain the origins of the universe.
The short of it is logically something has to possess the quality of aseity. It must either be intelligence or some form of unintelligence such a physical matter.

You put you cards in the the latter, for what reason? And yet, we know the latter, at least, our universe had a beginning.
Fruitloops007 wrote:I hope those reasons are a step-up from the "i jes lack beleef dat a god xists!" for you. :ewink:
:ewink:
Fruitloops007 wrote:I find it extremely distasteful that you just simply assert, "You, of course, are not willing to revisit your presumption, so no evidence would ever be good enough anyway." You have absolutely no proper authority to state that. Imagine if someone on the internet whom you hardly know asserts that you are incapable of being a good youth minister. Would you be slightly repulsed?

I am constantly evaluating my thoughts and beliefs based upon new data and evidence. In fact,I tell people who actually know me that I enjoy being wrong. It gives me an opportunity to learn and grow.
I find it distasteful that you come here and try to take us for a pointless ride. Your own presumptions seem obvious, and your chosen alias I will ignore as actually being suggestive of how you see Christians here. But the mere foolishness with requesting us to prove God to you...

Forgive me for any bluntness, but there is much evidence to be found. It is all around. I suggest you go and seek it out yourself. I can't prove anything to you. Maybe 10 years from now the blinders will come off and you'll start seeing. But it's impossible for anyone right now to prove you are wrong.

Sometimes people look so closely at the thicket that they miss the trees, and everything else in between.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: The Evidence for God

#30

Post by 1over137 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:50 am

There is one test, but some how I don't think 1over137 approved of me saying it again. But nonetheless it is true that we can meet our maker in death.
I plan to ask God how he made the universe, and how he invented physical laws. What is behind them. Which principles. So curious about it. ;)
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But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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