Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Absolute Existence of God 4

Does God Exist?

Our insistence on the Absolute Existence of God, although a bit tongue-in-cheek, has also drawn some comment in Twitter.  Here is the whole conversation.

M:  That's what makes it more of a delusion.  Humans created that give each other comfort.  Like Santa and the tooth fairy to kids.

R:  Comment was made in another language.

M:  Not true.  It's comforting it's poetic but it's not true.  Doesn't make it true just because it is comforting.

R:  Comment was made in another language.

M:  I see the evidence that refutes the existence of god.  Thus, he doesn't exist.

HS: This evidence is faulty because your sight is not ubiquitous.  Your evidence is merely your opinion.  You’re welcome to it.

M:  "This evidence" pointing to what?

HS:  Evidence that refutes the existence of God.

M:  So you don't believe in evolution despite the clear evidence?  What about how old the earth is?


A Fundamental Error

You have committed the logical error of jumping to a conclusion.  Actually, I do believe in scientific, special evolution.

The Necessity of Defining Terms

Since you have failed to define your terms, I shall define them for you.

There are two kinds of evolution.  Scientists, Christians, and many others frequently fail to distinguish these two kinds of evolution: which leads to a great deal of error and unnecessary misunderstanding.  While we are on the subject of evolution, there are also at least two major forms of Darwinism, which need to be addressed separately as well.

Special Evolution

Special evolution is that scientific theory which claims that random variation does occur within species.  This theory is easily demonstrated and is fundamental to our contemporary understanding of all biology and zoology studies.  The experimental evidence is so often experimentally replicated and repeated that one would be a colossal fool to doubt it.  The odds of false conclusion are in the trillions to one or better.  Denying the existence of special evolution is a statistical error of the magnitude of claiming that the Sun doesn’t exist.

General Evolution

General evolution is that speculative theory which claims that random variation occurs outside of species and across species boundaries.  Granted that the scientific definition and identification of exactly what a species is, is no small matter.  This theory has never been demonstrated and it is fundamental to nothing.  The experimental evidence is so completely absent that one would be a colossal fool to believe it.

One Source of Debate

Much of Darwin’s struggles over the impossibility and possibility of variation crossing species boundaries is driven by a theological question.  Nowadays, Presbyterian and Reformed Christians are pretty much the only ones that pay attention to these things.  The question is, “Does variation among creatures stem from God’s Creation or from God’s Providence?”  This is no easy question to answer; in fact, it is impossible to answer with any human certainty.  For Darwin this proved perplexing when so many of his observations as a naturalist seemed to defy the conventional wisdom of his day.  Darwin was hardly the only naturalist of his day to be so perplexed, and rightly so.

We, as well, should observe this seemingly endlessness of myriad variegation and stand in awe of its majesty.  Are the many variations of Finches (the bird) in all their wondrous variegation due to God’s Creation or God’s Providence?  It seems preposterous to believe that God created each of these distinct variations as distinct individuals in the Garden of Eden, so long ago.  When we consider that these variations come and go randomly within the species we find it difficult to believe that each was created distinctly.

Nevertheless, we know, or think we do, what Darwin did not know: that genetic code hidden in DNA strands (evidently) within all living beings allows for a great deal of seemingly random variability.  There is simply no good reason not to believe that such variability did not come from an intelligent designer we call God.

Physical Darwinism

Darwin speculated about many things based on his puzzling observations.  Intelligent informed speculation is what scientists do.  This is what inductive reasoning is.  Hopefully, a scientist[1] has observations with which to begin.  In general, man has three kinds of reasoning available: abduction, deduction, and induction.[2] [3] Abduction is that field of logic where one starts without any relevant observation whatsoever and is compelled to formulate a first hypothesis based only on raw guess or speculation.  No one wants to be caught in this predicament for very long, even though it happens to us all.  Deduction is that field of logic where one starts with well-established guidelines and works forward.  Engineering and medicine are common examples.  Induction is that field of logic where one starts with observations, carefully constructs a hypothesis, and proceeds with many, many experiments with all their replications and repetitions until the hypothesis is either probably established or disproved.  If no substantiating evidence is forthcoming, the hypothesis is abandoned as a lost cause, and the scientist moves on to new quests.  Darwin's many speculations make him an excellent inquisitive scientist.  They make him neither inerrant nor anti-Christian.  The fact that Darwin is buried in Westminster Abbey, not far from Sir Isaac Newton, ought to warn us not to falsely accuse Darwin of wrongdoing.  It also ought to serve to remind us that most of this wonderful world of scientific discovery is due to inquisitive Christians, who never lost their sense of awe over God’s Created Universe.

Social Darwinism

Social Darwinism is that field of speculative philosophy, which asserts the superiority of various aspects of humanity, and is falsely attributed to Darwin.  Social Darwinism has led to many destructive and evil movements and corrupt social abuses: for example, the false claims that men are superior to women; one race is superior to another; etc....  It has led to movements of ethnic cleansing, racial extermination, and widespread prejudicial abuses.  It explains much of Adolph Hitler’s rise to power, many of the pogroms found in Communism, along with the cruel suppression of American blacks, Germans, Hispanics, Indians, Japanese, etc.  It results in people who continue to fight the Civil War, WWII, and other conflicts.  It caused the denial to many of equal opportunity at law, as well as their resultant poverty.  Even so, it is still commonly found in practice among us.

How Old is the Earth?

Only God knows how old the earth is.  I find it a difficult fact of life to choke down, that otherwise credible scientists have loaned their voices to this useless speculation.  All of the so called, reigning theories: namely, Big Bang and/or any other are just a load of speculative garbage.  We should abstain from discussing what we cannot and do not know.  To formulate a credible scientific theory of origins requires a credible scientific observer, an eyewitness.

Philosophically, there is only One such credible scientific observer possible.  Since you, sir, cannot possibly see or hear Him, you are left without any reasonable solution.  Since your eyes and ears are physically incapable of searching anywhere and everywhere in time or space, you are incapable of solving your own riddle.

Any evidence[4] that I might produce to the contrary will only fall on deaf ears, so you are doomed to die without knowing any answer, but only an endless and infinite uncertainty.  Sorry, there is no answer for your predicament; it is hopelessly lost in the infinite void, the abyss.  Sorry.

[1] For a thorough discussion of the Scientific Method please see
[2] The ever-popular Elementary TV series in which Sherlock claims to deduce is incorrect.  Sherlock induces, but if he said that, no one would know about what Sherlock is talking.  It is, after all, a minor aggravation in the popular misuse of words to which we all fall guilty somewhere or other.
[3] The well-informed student of logic will not neglect the exploration of apophatic and cataphatic reasoning, the causes and kinds of logical error or failure, and the full-orbed pursuit of statistical probabilities.  Since this path is strewn with so much error we all ought to listen carefully to the warnings expressed by O’Connor, Rory, Friends, Followers and the Future, City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, 2012, 285 pages; and by Seife, Charles, Proofiness, Viking, New York, 2010, 295 pages.
[4] For example:,,  The very credible evidence is found in the Old Testament, but I have no hope whatsoever of ever getting folks like this to even read the Old Testament, let alone believe it.  For those who will believe it, the evidence has been there for thousands of years for all to examine.  If you will, come and meet the Glory, Three Living Persons who love you and seek your love in return.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Absolute Existence of God 3

Does God Exist?

Our insistence on the Absolute Existence of God, although a bit tongue-in-cheek, has drawn some comment in Facebook.  Here is the whole conversation.

BW Posts

“The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’  So, Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died.  Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.’ ”-John 6

HS Responds

“The indispensible evangelism text.”

JY Writes

“Hurray for cannibalism?!”

HS Replies

“That accusation was resolved centuries ago!?”


“Yeah, in that if you eat the flesh of ones own species you are practicing cannibalism.  But hey if eating human flesh is your thing don't let me cramp your style.  All I ask is don't try and twist definitions and logic around to make yourself feel better.  Lying to yourself never helped anyone.”


“Ravi Zacharias addressing a group of Christians said, ‘The anger with which they[Atheists] speak about God you would not speak against the Tooth Fairy.... Something in the back of their minds tell them – “He’s REAL and we’re ANGRY!”  Why use the time and energy to attack a God that “doesn't exist”?’ ”

“Why do you hate God [JY]?  Or if you won’t answer that, why do you hate the idea of God?”


“Lol The idea that I would actually possess hatered towards a fictional being is absurd.  That being said the existence of your God in particular is a interesting one because wether I like it or not it's believers think it can tell me and others how to live by affecting public policy.  As I've already said, I find your traditions of eating the living flesh of your deity odd but I would never try and change anything about you or how you live.  That is something missionaries in Africa or Asia can't really say now can they?”


“Since there are at least two distinct topics involved here, we need to separate them in order to make any sense out of the conversation.

For a thorough proof of the existence of God, please consult  Look forward to the-absolute-existence-of-god-2, soon to come as well.  The clear, sure evidence for the existence of God is sufficiently manifest for all to see.  However, some folks want to pretend they cannot see it; in reality, they will not see it.  Denying the existence of God is a logic error on the order of denying that the sunrise took place this morning.

As far as the ancient claim of cannibalism is concerned, Christ’s outrageous sermon offended nearly everyone in earshot.  Evidently, Christ intended to offend those listening.  Many of His hearers had a cold, dead, rule bound idea of God; for these, God was nothing more than a set of demands (not the Ten Commandments, not even the other regulations handed down through Moses, [these were] extra manmade ceremonial rules).  God was no longer a person to them.  Christ demands that we consider what our relationship to Him is.

What is our relationship to Him?  If we were related to God as carnivore and kill, or as manslayer and victim to be devoured, the John 6 picture would indeed be too much to tolerate.  However, this does not describe our relationship to God.  Rather, He is Creator and we are creation, He is Groom and we are bride, He is Head and we are body, He is Vine and we are branches.  In all of these metaphorical relationships, the essential sustenance of life is passed from God to man, which is to say that it is eaten and drunk, without any event of kill or cannibalism.  Man cannot live without God.  Indeed, ‘Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’

The relationship of Groom and bride is especially fascinating.  In the beauty and mystery of the marital, sexual relationship, bodily fluids are transferred between man and wife, and new life is created.  This is indeed wonderful, but it is not close to being cannibalistic.  It is not accidental that God calls this relationship, ‘one flesh.’  In redemption, we become one flesh with the Theanthropic (or Theandric) Person: we who are mere men, become men-gods through our relationship with the God-man.  Nor is it accidental that the woman is named Eve (or Zoe in Greek), which means life.

Since there is no direct role model other than these metaphorical relationships, humanity must be content with embracing this mystery of our relationship with God as something logically outside of our grasp.  The metaphors show the logical possibility of such relationships, but do not tell us directly how this plays out between God and man.  So, we must be content to accept them by faith.

There may have been some excuse for the cannibalism accusation in the first century.  Nowadays, it simply displays unbelievable ignorance.”


“Firstly there is no conclusive evidence for or against god's existence.  Even as a atheist myself I understand that science is the study of the natural world and sense your god in particular is WAY outside the natural order it would be impossible to properly study or judge a being that can warp time, space, matter, and even the very laws that govern each at will.  ANYONE who claims to know or prove the existence or nonexistence of such a being is a delusional imbecile of the highest caliber.

What I will address however your arguments where science is involved.  How on Earth do you see the sharing of genetic material to make offspring and consuming the flesh of others to be equal?  You even throw in a marriage metaphor which btw makes it sound like eating a spouse is justified as you are ‘one in the same’.  To be fair in the natural world cannibalism is not very uncommon (albet rare for mammals like ourselves and less so for reptiles and insects).  We as humans tend to view it more taboo then murder, rape, or incest because of this wonderful thing called empathy which allows us to understand and conceptualize what we are putting another sentient being threw.  Hell thats why most vegetarians are who they are because they apply that to non-human beings.

Lastly I want to address the HUGE amount of mental gymnastics I see in your explanation.  Just because you or your church has decided that eating the flesh of Jesus isn't cannibalism doesn't mean it actually is not cannibalism.  If you want it not to be cannibalism then ask Websters to change the definition because your tradition still meets the current criteria.  Your opinions have ZERO weight behind them if all you have to justify yourself is philosophical bullshit that is meaningless to anyone who doesn't think exactly as you do!  You say humanity ‘must’ embrace this mysterious relationship with god when it simply doesn't.  How many billions currently live honest peaceful lives without giving your god a second thought?  Do you understand how insanely arrogant you sound when you say such things?”


“It is difficult to believe that you read the proof of God's existence.  Science has nothing to say about this.  History is too large to put into a test-tube.  The Jews claim that their ancestors met continuously with a Person named I Am, over a period of 860 years.  If this claim were based on the observation of one Israelite, we might have cause to doubt the evidence.  If this claim were based on one occurrence, we might suspect illusion or delusion.  That several million people observed this Person, and built a nation in obedience to His commands is virtually indisputable.  That this nation was destroyed, only when this Person abandoned the Jews because of their sins, is remarkable.  The credibility of the documentary evidence is unimpeached (it is a credible diary, or logbook kept over many generations).  Numerous tests of personality are all met.  By your argument millions of Jews throughout history are, ‘delusional imbecile[s] of the highest caliber.’

With regard to ‘You say humanity ‘must’ embrace....’  We have no intention of coercing your conscience, or telling you what to believe.  You can, may, and will believe what you wish: it is a free country.  However, we did not attack you or intrude ourselves into your conversation.  Rather, you intruded yourself into our conversation and began to attack us.  Nevertheless, we welcome such uninvited involvement in the interests of pursuing Truth.  Having said that, there are unavoidable cause and effect relationships involved here.  You have chosen your own path, and you will (you must) live with the consequences of that choice.

As far as the cannibalism claim [is] concerned, this is just so much flogging of a dead horse.  The discussion lost philosophical importance over 1500 years ago.  I’m amazed that anyone thinks it is any longer important.  For example, see:  Notwithstanding the opposing claims of, the argument is absurd.  If you wish to believe this sort of thing, it’s a free country, you may believe whatever you wish to believe.  That does not give you the right to lay this at our doorstep.  We do ‘understand how insanely arrogant you sound when you say such things.’

As far as the credibility of our arguments is concerned, we never intended to persuade you to begin with.  We know full well that, ‘A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.’  You will continue to believe what you wish to believe.  Our arguments serve only one real purpose.  They serve to support those who already believe, and to encourage those who are seeking to believe.”


“First of all I never attacked you and still haven't.  At most my ‘hurray for cannibalism?!’ was playful ribbing at best.  It was merely a joke.  It's the same way ‘zombie Jesus’ is mocking the similarities between the two.  If that offends you then learn to get a sense of humor; this is the internet.

Secondly the church does impose itself on others and you are LYING if you say otherwise.  If we had this conversation in Europe 400 years ago my very life would be in danger for sharing these opinions.  People In this very country have been burned alive for witchcraft in the name of your religion so don't you dare say Christianity doesn't force people into its way of thinking because it has and to a degree still does to this day via the fear of becoming ostracized or eternal hellfire.

Thirdly, this has nothing to do with science?  Why the f@&k not?!.  Thousand year old slips of paper written by desert nomads who had about as much traditional education as a modern 1st grader have more credibility then Math, Gravity, and other replicable experiments you yourself are able to do right this very instant?  Are you mad?!  If building cities, cultures, and keeping records is all one takes to legitimize a Deity then please explain the illegitimacy of the Hindu, Muslim, Greek, and Mayan gods because I would love to hear it.  Also this notion that because multiple authors wrote about something around the same time means thats actually the truth is absurd.  For thousands of years everyone on Earth thought the Sun revolved around the Earth and from the evidence they had that was a reasonable assumption however does that mean they still wernt under an illusion?  Of course they were, even if that explanation made sense and was excepted world wide it was still WRONG.  Please, all I ask is that you look at the world from not from one angle or even two but from five or six different ways.”


“You could have fooled me.  It sure does look like an attack to me, looking at it from seven different ways.  You’re talking about my King.

Actually, it is scientifically correct to say that the Sun revolves around the Earth from the perspective of an observer on Earth.  The language of the ecliptic is still appropriate and useful scientifically.  It is equally, scientifically correct to say that the Earth revolves around the Sun from the perspective of an observer on the Sun (hard to accomplish in reality).  Scientifically we do not know, nor cannot find the absolute center of the universe, because our measurements are all relative to an assumed origin.  So actually, the idea that the Sun revolves around the Earth is not and never was wrong.  What is wrong here is your understanding of science.  The point of discussion always depends on the arbitrary choice of Cartesian coordinate systems.

Please don’t lecture me about what science can and cannot do.  I’ve given over 50 years of my life to the study and application of science.  That includes advanced studies in statistics, measurements, scientific method, and error evaluation.  The practice of science depends on the repetition and replication of experiments.  In terms of practical practice, no single scientist can handle an experiment lasting more than a month; the human memory is just not that good.  Hence, long experiments require extra controls.  Replication requires building a new apparatus, or at least tearing down the old one and putting it up again.  We all know what repetition is.  Repetition and replication are important because they expose error factors caused by unknown variables.  The study of this error leads to new discoveries.  It is simply impossible to replicate or repeat any sizeable event of history such as Slaughterhouse-Five (  Science can be used as a tool to evaluate historic artifacts, but even this can be misleading, especially in the case of radiometric dating methods, which are notoriously inaccurate.  In such evaluations the experimental tests can be repeated, or replicated with differing apparatus until the artifact is consumed.  Since no one wants to see the evidence consumed, this sort of experimentation is usually restricted.  The artifact itself is far more valuable than any experiment that can be performed on it.  Science is a very small and limited tool, totally inappropriate for the study of art, history, literature, poetry, or music.  The best that science can do is pick away at minor peripheral details of these subjects.  Science must not be confused with evidence.  The studies of art, history, literature, poetry, and music all require evidence.  However, each of them also requires its own specialized principles of evaluation and controls for verification.  Science has nothing to say about any of this, because science is simply too small an instrument.

Now that we have created the seventh dimensional vector space that you require, let’s explore further.  By the way, are you equipped to handle the algebra and calculus of the seventh dimensional vector spaces you insist that we explore?  The artifacts involved are not thousand-year-old slips of paper; they are two thousand-year-old parchment (leather) and papyrus documents, some of which are almost perfectly intact (  Other pertinent artifacts are five thousand-year-old monuments.  These ‘uneducated desert nomads’ mastered astronomy, invented alphabetic writing, built civilizations, developed the sciences of embalming and ceramics to unexcelled heights, mastered bronze and iron metallurgy, and had a command of mathematics that would stump most modern collegians.  Your idea of ‘first grade education’ is simply arrogant and ill informed.  We urge you to apply your own medicine and ‘look at the world from not from one angle or even two but from five or six different ways.’

The merits and claims of Hindu, [Muslim], Greek, and Mayan civilizations all hang on the artifacts they left behind.  Muslim civilization is late, only arising after 570 AD.  Science has no more to say about these civilizations than it does about Babylonian (Sumerian), Egyptian, Canaanite, Hittite, Philistine, Hebrew, Edomite, Syrian, Assyrian, Neo Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, Christian, English, or American civilizations.  That’s nineteen different perspectives.  On which of these are you a subject matter expert?  Which of these civilizations has artifacts that disclose meeting with a Person named I Am, who is also called God?  If you really want to go there, produce the evidence and let us compare the credibility between the Old Testament evidence and the evidence of other civilizations.  You know where my evidence is found.  You made a claim.  Where is your evidence?

The church and christianity (please note that the capitalization is deliberate) have done some incredibly stupid and inexcusable things.  Please note the Christian New Testament claim that the Church has always been infiltrated by wicked people.  Moreover, becoming a Christian does not immediately remove a person’s sins, so real Christians also do stupid things (like continuing this conversation).  No, the arrest of Galileo, the wars of the sixteenth century, and the Salem Witch trials are not Christianity's brightest hour.  However, I do not sit in judgment of my ancestors, they were people of their times.

Let’s talk about water boarding.  Are you willing to accept your responsibility for the practice of this act in our civilization?  We may not condemn an entire civilization for the corrupt acts of a few.  We may not condemn the German people for Adolf Hitler.  We may not condemn the United States for the bombing of Dresden.  We may not condemn you for CIA water boarding.  And we may not condemn Christianity for Vladimir III.

As far as coercion of individuals is concerned, let’s talk about what God has done.  God created man with a free will, a perfect intellect, and uncorrupted emotions.  You have nobody to blame but yourself that your will is now enslaved to your pet sins, your intellect is less than flawless, and your emotions are so tangled up that you cannot even understand yourself.  You were made to be a free man, and because of Jesus Christ, you have the potential to be free once again.  It is irrelevant that people do or do not coerce you, or that you feel coerced.  God wants you to be free.  You are not free because you don’t want to be free.  You chose your own brand of slavery.  What are you going to do about that?

If you want to believe that Jesus Christ giving His life in a cruel Roman crucifixion for you constitutes an act of coercion against you, so be it.  I will never dissuade you, and I’ll never try.  I can’t stop you from feeling coerced either, you decided to be that sort of victim, and coerced you will continue to be, even if it’s only in your own mind.  Is your life in danger now?  Why not?

As far as other angles are concerned, what other angles did you have in mind?  It’s your move.

By the way, your jokes aren’t very funny.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Absolute Existence of God 2

Does God Exist?

Our insistence on the Absolute Existence of God is a bit tongue in cheek.  It is impossible for man to know anything absolutely.  Absolute knowledge belongs to God alone.  Nonetheless, how good is our evidence?

Suppose that we met today for the first time, shook hands, exchanged names, and walked away.

The Reality of Identity

What would you know about the reality of my identity?  I could have given a false name.  We would need some method for testing the populace for the probability of giving a false name under such circumstances.  Lacking that, let us just say that the odds are one out of two: I could be lying or I could be telling the truth.  Most likely, the odds are much better than this, because we commonly believe that most people avoid lying far more than fifty percent of the time.  We have begun with a very conservative statistic.

However, if in our meeting, I wanted to cash a check or make a credit card purchase from you.  You would normally require that I produce photographic identification: for example, a driver’s license.  For transactions that are more serious additional identification would be required: a birth certificate.  Even if such documents were easily forged and sloppily controlled, the odds of my identity being false would surely be one in eight or better, still a very conservative estimate.

If I continued in the community for any length of time, my check cleared the banking system or my credit card paid the debt.  You would become more confident in my identity: at least one in sixteen odds.  With each ensuing transaction, confidence in my credentials would go up.  If I remained in the community for forty years, conducting thousands of transactions a year, the likelihood of my identity being false would be too small to calculate practically: it would in effect become zero.  There would be absolutely no chance of my having a false identity.

Not only would there be absolutely no chance of my having a false identity, it would no longer matter.  My actions and character would have established my identity within the community, and it would not matter what people called me.  In fact, I may have gathered any number of nick or pet names.  I might be Sure-Shot on the golf course, Strikes at bowling, Sultan-of-Swat in the baseball league, Trout-Master while fly-fishing, and Bicycle-Grandpa to my grandson.  I would be known by my behavior, rather than by my credentials.  The odds of being accurately, well known would be one hundred percent.

The Reality of Existence

What would you know about the reality of my existence?  I could be a hologram, a “second identity,” an illusion, or a mirage.  Yet, you spoke with me and shook my hand.  Let’s be conservative and generous.  Let’s say that there is one chance in a thousand that I don’t really exist.

However, a friend comes along; he meets me too, shakes my hand, and speaks with me.  Neither you nor your friend use hallucinogenic drugs.  Both of you are of sound mind, and you concur that I in fact exist.  The odds of your both being wrong at the same time are now one in one million.  As this existence is confirmed day-by-day with more and more people throughout the community, the probable reality of my existence would become one hundred percent at a much faster rate than my identity.

If I were unusual looking, or became famous, it would become impossible for me to hide my existence or identity.  The community would know everything I did and every place I went at a considerable loss of my personal privacy.  Like a movie, music, sport, or TV star, I could not even hide from the ubiquitous eye of the community.  The odds of my existence would be overwhelming.

The Historic Scenario

Around 1446 BC an escaped murderer, a failure in life, a person of no reputation except that he used to live in the Egyptian royal household, until he disgraced himself, is wandering around in the Sinai desert tending his father-in-law’s flock, when he meets a very unusual Person at mount Horeb.  The man is named Moses.

What we first know of this Person is that He has the unusual appearance of a fire that burns, yet does not consume.  The fire talks, listens, carries on an intelligent conversation, sees and is seen, and otherwise demonstrates characteristics normally associated with personality.  This Person is finally introduced with the Name, Am, I Am.

At this point, there is no especial reason to believe that Moses is not hallucinating, except for the fact that Moses has not hallucinated previously, generally acts rationally, and knows how to survive in the desert.  Such desert survival usually requires the ability to distinguish mirage from reality, and otherwise avoid danger and deception.  If Moses were the sort of person who characteristically allows himself to hallucinate due to hydration, he would have died in the desert long before now.  The fact that Moses is still alive demonstrates that he has the sort of survival skills that we call street smarts nowadays.  Moses is not a tenderfoot or greenhorn; consequently, he is not easily deceived.

Moreover, this flaming personage claims to know Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and claims to be their God.  He has comprehensive knowledge of Israelite conditions in Egypt, and unveils His plan for their deliverance.  In pursuit of this deliverance, He gives explicit instructions, all of which come to pass.  In addition, He provides Moses with His indisputable credentials in the form of manipulation of creation.  A common inanimate wooden staff is changed into a living serpent and back again.  Then, Moses’ perfectly normal hand is turned leprous, and whole again.

It is becoming less and less likely that Moses is dealing with a hallucination, Who has identified Himself with a fraudulent identity.  This would require that Moses be in some deep dream or trancelike state, and is having a nightmare.  There is no evidence of such a nightmare taking place.  Sane people do not act based on nightmares, let alone have them actually become realities.  For the sake of argument, we conclude the odds that “I Am” is a false identity are less than one in eight; and the odds of a false existence are less than one in one thousand, from the perspective of a single observer named Moses.

The Mathematical Necessity

If you don’t agree with these probabilities, pick probabilities for identity and existence with which you are comfortable.  It does not make any difference what probabilities you assign unless to assign probabilities of one.  This is the assumption that Moses is absolutely, totally deceived in every detail all the time; yet, this is not a reasonable assumption.  Moses most certainly saw something and met Someone.  If you assume that Moses is absolutely, totally deceived in every detail; you will eventually need to assume that an entire nation involving millions of people over hundreds of years was equally deceived.  Such mass insanity is extremely unlikely.

However, if you allow any probability for reality of identity and existence, even if it’s only a chance of one in one hundred, or even one in one thousand, our proof will still stand.  The proof stands because it is exponential, and even odds of nine hundred ninety-nine out of one thousand vanish to nothing with the presence of millions and millions of other witnesses over a period of eight hundred sixty years.

The Ensuing History

In the following months, this Flaming-Smoking reality, named I Am, meets two and one half million Israelites, Pharaoh and innumerable Egyptians, fights and defeats these Egyptians, and leads these Israelites in a march around the Sinai desert for forty years.  He also establishes law and government in a form of worship centered on the Tabernacle.  In this period a following generation is born, also on the order of several million people.  These all witnesses this Flaming-Smoking presence, which we have elsewhere called the Shekinah Glory.  Throughout these forty years, the Glory not only leads, but feeds, and provides water for this hoard of millions.  Shortly after 1406 BC, the death of Moses, this unusual Glory, named I Am, leads Joshua and the Israelites across the Jordan River, then He miraculously attacks and demolishes the City of Jericho without the assistance if Israelite arms.

In due time national existence takes shape under Joshua, a system of worship is set in order, and the Israelites disperse to occupy the land on both sides of the Jordan.  Even so, three times a year worshipping adults assembled at the Tabernacle, first at Shiloh,[1] and later at Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.  We have no way of making an exact count, but after eight hundred sixty years, roughly twenty-one or more generations have passed.  In a populous, thriving, growing nation, an overall population in excess of fifty-four million people have witnessed the Glory three times a year, throughout their lives.  Moreover, the High Priest and his staff witnessed this Presence every day.  Even the division priests, who only served one month every year, beheld the Shekinah a minimum of thirty days a year, throughout their lives.

The Statistical Conclusion

By any realistic evaluation of the reality of identity and existence, the I Am is a one hundred percent statistic.  You do the math.  Especially in the case of the High Priest and his staff, the denial of the existence of I Am is an absurdity on the order of claiming that the Sun does not exist.  The evidence for the existence of God in the Shekinah Glory, Whose Name is I Am, exceeds the evidence for any other person in history.

“But the Lord [is] in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.”[2]

“The fool has said in his heart, [There is] no God.”[3]

These statements are not so much wishful thinking on the parts of Habakkuk and David.  These are well-considered conclusions, based on well-established evidence.  The existence of God is certain.

Corollary One: The Creation

These texts and statistics concerning the Shekinah Glory do more than establish certainty of His identity and existence.  We noted before that, after a period of time, a person’s behavior does more to establish identity than any name.  This Person repeatedly shows His authority over Creation.  In doing this, He establishes Himself as an authority, fully qualified to speak about the details of Creation.  Moses was not present at Creation, and has no authority to speak about it.  However, I Am evidently was present at Creation, and has the only authority to speak about it.  As far as I Am’s veracity is concerned, we’ll just have to take His word for it, we weren’t there either.  That Moses was chosen for the honor of recording the facts of Creation through a conversation between friends is beside the point.

Corollary Two: The Nation

It is a strange fact of history that Israel-Judah are insignificant twin nations surrounded by enormous, powerful empires.  For the most part these empires could have easily squashed Israel like a bug.  Only one factor fully explains their existence over an eight hundred twenty year period.  I Am held them sacrosanct throughout that period.  When the eight hundred twenty year period came to an end, the prophets did not question the justice of dissolving Judah.  The prophet’s only question was, “How could God punish Judah with a dirty stick?”  God simply deserted Israel-Judah, because they had already deserted Him; consequently, they perished.

Corollary Three: The Canonicity of Scripture

We usually look at the issue of Canonicity from a human viewpoint.  How did human authorities decide what books to include in the Bible?  However, from the Shekinah Glory, two things are evident.  One, the writing of Scripture, that is its inspiration, is the result of the conversation between prophets and God: this conversation defines the meaning of the prophetic office.  Two, Moses commands the Levites to place the master copy of the Scripture beside the Ark in the Most Holy Place: this official act of laying up Scripture in the Presence of the Glory defines canonicity.  Nothing was accomplished without Divine supervision.[4]  Canonicity is a work of God, rather than an act of man.

Corollary Four: The Loss of Authority

When the Shekinah Glory abandons Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC,[5] all authority is taken away from Israel-Judah.  Jewish forces cannot defend the Jerusalem: it is overthrown.  They cannot protect the Temple: it is destroyed.  They cannot preserve the canonical Scripture documents, Ark, or Urim and Thummim: all are lost.  When the Jews return from Babylon around 516 BC, they are unable to replace the canonical Scripture documents, Ark, Urim and Thummim, or even some priests.  The Shekinah Glory will not return for over five hundred ten years.  The best they can do is rebuild the city, the temple, and scratch together a secondhand copy of the Scripture.  All this is accomplished by human strength alone.  There is no attendant Presence to bless their work.  The Jews weep over this reality because they realize that they have forfeited everything of real importance.  They continue to exist under foreign dominance until everything is finally destroyed in 70 AD.

The Shekinah returns around 4 BC and within a span of thirty-seven years establishes a new kingdom that will bring forth the fruit of God’s kingdom.  The Shekinah gives Himself to every member of this new kingdom when the Holy Spirit rests on each believer, beginning with the day of Pentecost.  This new kingdom is the true Israel of God.


Now apart from faith [it is] impossible to well-please [Him]: for it is necessary for the one approaching God to believe that He exists, and he becomes a rewarder[6] to those who seek him out.”[7]

“For our God is also a thoroughly destroying fire.[8]

We have sufficiently demonstrated that God revealed Himself as a person in many prominent locations, over long time periods, in the presence of millions of witnesses.  We have shown beyond reasonable doubt that God presented Himself as an historic presence with sufficient credentials and credibility to be an unquestionable authority on all matters of Creation and Revelation.  We showed that Moses received his information from conversations with his Friend.  We established that the pertinent information was recorded in credible historic documents and protected from harm.  QED

An Appendix: The Shekinah Glory

Shekinah, Ark, Urim, and Thummim

The mode of appearance of God’s presence [9] is not always clear in Scripture, but on at least one occasion in the life of Abraham (around 2000 BC) it is a “smoking furnace, and a burning lamp.”[10]  We then see God speak to Moses at the Burning Bush (around 1446 BC).[11]  Next, the Lord led Israel by a pillar of cloud and fire, as the Israelites cross the Red Sea and enter the deserts of the Sinai Peninsula.[12]

Eventually, this pillar settled on Mount Sinai at the giving of the law, took up residence in the Tabernacle, and more specifically was associated with the Ark of the Covenant.  At Sinai the Shekinah is perceived to be a terrifying apparition;[13] whereas, at the burning bush it was relatively innocuous.  In spite of this spectacular display, Moses himself is not afraid to approach God.  In this context, the Shekinah gives the Decalogue to Moses directly and personally.[14]

The presence of God at the Ark is dramatically, powerfully, and tragically revealed when Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu are killed for offering profane fire, for God appeared “in the cloud upon the mercy seat.”[15]  The Shekinah and the Ark appear to be doing the same thing: namely, leading the people of God.[16] [17]  When Jericho is defeated, the ark is again in a place of prominent leadership.[18]  Even in defeat, Joshua approaches the Ark, for it was here that he met the appearance of God.[19]

The story of the selection of Achan follows,[20] but many details are left out.  The Scripture does not say, but we expect that, God “took” Achan[21] using the instruments of the ephod, the breastplate, the holy stones, with the Urim and Thummim.[22]  Many authorities see this as a casting of lots, like holy dice.  We think it more likely that the Shekinah, through the operation of the Urim and Thummim made the holy stones light up to reveal His will.[23]

When the story continues the Ark is again among the Israelites.[24]  However, they are quickly deceived and act without prayer.[25]  The Ark is referenced when Benjamin commits a lewd act.[26]  The Ark is consulted again in the days of Samuel when it is brought out to the battle camp during one of Israel’s many wars with the Philistines, and is captured by them.[27]  If we are not yet convinced that the Shekinah and the Ark are closely associated, we should be now, for Eli’s daughter immediately cries out, “The Glory is departed from Israel: for the Ark of God is taken.”  Then she dies.[28]

It indeed appears that the Ark is the sedan chair[29] of God, and its purpose is pageant like, intended to communicate to all observers that the King of the Universe is a flaming fire.

Nevertheless, the Jews are using it in a very superstitious way; they see it as a talisman that they control, rather than the Living God Who rules them.[30]  The Philistines evidently see the Ark in the same way, as a talisman; but are in for a great surprise when God acts from his throne to ridicule Dagon, and persecute the Philistines.  The Ark is shuttled from one Philistine city to another, and finally returned to Israel.[31]  At last, David brings the Ark to Jerusalem by a circuitous route, and there it dwells in a temporary tent.[32]  Finally, Solomon builds a temple for it.[33]  As soon as the Ark is set in the Most Holy Place, “the Glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.”[34]  The Ark remains in the temple[35] until the time of the Babylonian Captivity (around 586 BC).  At this time, both the Ark and the Shekinah appear to be gone from Israel forever.[36]

The Necessity of Personality in the Shekinah

We embrace the idea that these revelations were relational.

“And the Lord spoke to Moses face-to-face, as a man speaks to his friend.  And [Moses] returned to the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, did not departed from the tabernacle.”[37]

We recall that Abraham was called the friend of God as well.[38]  Moreover, we believe that these warm, loving, personal relationships continued between the Shekinah and man down through the centuries.  Out of these friendships an eternal conversation developed.  Sometimes there were dreams or visions.  At times, there were spectacular events to report.[39]  Once in awhile, there was dictation.  Rarely, God did His Own writing.[40]  However, most of the time, the friends simply enjoyed the conversation, and the human partners to this great conversation kept diary or logbook records of it.  What the friends wrote, the Shekinah validated, the human partners witnessed, and Levites laid up the record master in the Holy Place.  Out of the complexity of friendship, others would eventually be drawn into the circle: the circle of God’s warmth, love, and friendship.[41]

The Return of the Shekinah

The Shekinah Glory reappeared around 4 BC in the Bethlehem Star,[42] and later at the Mount of Transfiguration.[43]  Then, in Acts, this same Shekinah is seen on the head of every Christian present,[44] and afterward at the opening of new Churches everywhere.[45]  It is abundantly clear that Jesus is the Shekinah.[46]  It is equally clear that He delegated this Shekinah to the whole Church, as He prayed that the Father would send the Holy Spirit.  The Father did send the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and the Shekinah was publically visible to all of the many witnesses present in the Temple on Pentecost 33 AD.  There can be no question from this that the Church of Jesus Christ is the rightful Temple of the Shekinah.

The Second Return of the Shekinah

“For as the lightning comes forth from the east, and blazes openly as far as the west; so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.”[47]

“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”[48]

“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”[49]

When the Lord comes again, no one will miss it for He will blaze blindingly across the sky.  The Shekinah is not invisible.

[1] Joshua 18:1; 19:51
[2] Habakkuk 2:20, see also Psalm 11:4
[3] Psalm 14:1; 53:1
[4] Deuteronomy 31:24-26; see also 1 Samuel 10:25; 2 Kings 22:8
[5] Ezekiel 3:15; 26:16; 27:35; 28:19; Daniel 4:19; 8:17-18, 27; 9:3, 7-8; 10:2; 10: 9, 15; 12:8
[6] A wage-give-away-er, a person that bestows gifts of wages where none are earned
[7] Hebrews 11:6 our translation
[8] Hebrews 12:29 our translation
[9] We are not experts on the Shekinah Glory and undertake this brief overview only to establish the existence of God, as a well-known historic person or persons.  We now know Him as Trinity, Who is present completely everywhere in the universe.  However, it is not His ubiquity, which is in view here, but rather the fact that He revealed Himself as a person in many prominent locations, over long time periods, in the presence of millions of witnesses.  Our immediate purpose is to review this extensive Presence and bring it to the front of our contemporary attention and awareness.
By this excursus, we intend to demonstrate that there can be no doubt that God presented Himself as an historic presence with sufficient credentials and credibility to be an unquestionable authority on all matters of creation and revelation.  Moreover, we plan to establish that Moses did not write on his own authority, but as the secretary of God Himself.  Therefore, what Moses wrote about creation and revelation is not dependent on his necessarily limited human perspective, as well educated as he was, but depends on his direct access to the infallible mind of God.
[10] Genesis 15:17
[11] Exodus 3:2ff
[12] Exodus 13:21-22: The Shekinah is the Angel of God (Exodus 14:19).
[13] We are not free to dismiss this apparition as normal volcanic action.  It existed before Sinai.  It appeared in both large and small forms.  It moved over vast distances.  It spoke and its speech was heard at the very least by Moses and Joshua.  It occupied Mountain, Tabernacle, Temple, and Ark of the Covenant.  It sits on the Mercy Seat.
[14] Exodus 19:9, 16, 18, 20; 20:18; 24:10-11, 15-18; 33:9-11, 14; 34:29-35; 40:34-38; Numbers 9:15-23; 10:11, 33-36; 12:4-10
[15] Leviticus 10:1-2; 16:1-2
[16] Numbers 10:33-36; Joshua 3:3, 6, 8, 11, 13-15, 17; 4:5, 7, 9-11, 16-18
[17] Joshua also meet with the captain of the Lord’s host, who says things reminiscent of the burning bush (1 Samuel 4:19-22).
[18] Joshua 6:4, 6-9, 11-13
[19] Joshua 7:6, 10 (Though not specifically stated, this verse implies that God speaks from the Ark.), 12 (Scripture does not record that the Ark went into battle that day, as at Jericho, and here states that God will not be with them, because of sin.)
[20] Joshua 7:14-26
[21] The record repeats the verb, take, many times, all of them anticipating, if not specifically stating, that the Lord is the sentence subject, “the Lord takes.”
[22] Exodus 25:7; 28:4, 6-28, 30 (When the Urim and Thummim are mentioned, the breastplate is specifically called the breastplate of judgement).  We cannot now speak of the Urim and Thummim with certainty.  A reasonable model of the ephod and breastplate might be reconstructed from the detailed description.  But we possess no such detailed description of the Urim and Thummim construction.  So all pictorial and modeled representations are without authenticity and fraudulent.  Nor do we know exactly how they are used; only a few obscure references allow us even to guess at their operation.  What is clear is that God used them to show His will to His people, and to direct them in the correct decision path.  In much the same way that the Shekinah and Ark directed their movement, so also the Urim and Thummim directed their judgement.  So we conclude that Shekinah, Ark, Urim, and Thummim must be interactive and interconnected, but we cannot know exactly how.
[23] Deuteronomy 33:2: Urim means lights.  Thummim means completion, perfection.  The connection to “it is finished” is unmistakable.
[24] Joshua 8:33
[25] Joshua 9:14
[26] Judges 2:27
[27] 1 Samuel 3:3; 4:3-6, 11, 13, 17-19
[28] 1 Samuel 4: 19-22: She is in the pangs of childbirth, in travail, she screams, she gasps out the words with her dying breaths.  Ichabod is Hebrew and translates, “The glory is departed.”
[29] Its shape and construction closely resembles an Egyptian regal sedan chair.  Its clear intent is to proclaim God with a visible symbol.  Within the Greek notion of symbol, the thing symbolized is actually present.  This is early iconography; it is sacramental.
[30] Joshua 1:7; 22:5; 23:6 (Note that the Pentateuch or Torah is already Canonical by 1406 BC, at the time of Moses’ mysterious death and disappearance.)
[31] 1 Samuel 5:1-4, 7-8, 10-11; 6:1-3, 8, 11
[32] 1 Samuel 6:13, 15, 18-19, 20 (The men of Beth-shemesh understood that looking into the Ark was equivalent to looking at God), 21; 7:1-2; 14:18; 2 Samuel 6:2-4, 6-7, 9-13, 15-17; 7:2; 11:11; 15:24-25 (Here we see that the Ark and therefore the Shekinah are closely associated with the King.  But David is aware that he has become unworthy because of his sin and sends the Ark back to Jerusalem until he is certain of his forgiveness.), 29
[33] 1 Kings 2:26; 3:15; 6:19; 8:1, 3-7, 9, 21
[34] 1 Kings 8:10-11
[35] Although it evidently made excursions (2 Chronicles 35:3)
[36] Jeremiah 3:16 (It appears that the Ark is gone, never to return); Ezekiel 10:1 through 11:25 (These verses detail the horrifying even of the departure of God’s presence from Israel forever: especially 10:4, 18; 11:22-23.):  According to 1 Ezra 1:51 the Ark was carried to Babylon.  The departure of the Shekinah from the Ark makes the destruction of the Ark possible.  This seems to be supported by Jeremiah 3:16, and by Daniel, for Daniel agrees that the golden Temple goblets are in Babylon.  All mention of the return of the Ark is conspicuously absent until John makes a point of it in Revelation 11:19.  Not only are the Ark, Urim and Thummim absent, but there is no mention of fire or smoke or any other evidence of the return of the Shekinah.  See Ezra 6:15.  Do not despair, Christ is our Shekinah,
[37] Exodus 33:11 our translation
[38] Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23
[39] Exodus 8:1 through 11:10; 12:29-33; 14:21-28 for a few examples
[40] Exodus 24:12; 31:18; 32:15-16; 34:1, 4, 28-29; Deuteronomy 4:13; 5:22;9:9-11, 15, 17; 10:1-5; Daniel 5:5, 22-28, 30-31; John 8:6
[41] For 860 years an entire nation clung to the fact that God is a Person or Persons and whose Presence was actually dwelling in their midst (Jeremiah 14:9).
[42] Matthew 2:2, 7-10; Luke 2:14 — We note that this is not a limited local event, but one that extended as far as Persia.  We should not miss the point of comparison between the Fire that led a nation, and the Star that led Persian astronomers.
[43] Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28; 2 Peter 1:17-19
[44] Acts 2
[45] Acts 10:46; 19:6
[46] What else could an expression like, “He is the effulgence of the [Father's] Glory (Hebrews 1:3),” possibly mean.  See John 1:4-5, 9, 14; 1 John 1:5, 7; 2:8-11
[47] Matthew 24:27 our translation
[48] Mark 13:26 our translation
[49] Luke 21:27 our translation