Just a Pile of Shells? (Why I Believe in God)

 

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Recently I found myself reading quotes from some rather famous personalities regarding their lack of belief in God. To quote a few, following are some excerpts:

There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either. – Angelina Jolie

When I got untethered from the comfort of religion, it wasn’t a loss of faith for me, it was a discovery of self. There’s a peace in understanding that I have only one life, here and now, and I’m responsible. – Brad Pitt

Organized religions in general, in my opinion, are dying forms. There are people who interpret the Bible literally. Literally! I choose not to believe that’s the way. – Bruce Willis

A few other well-known atheist film stars include Katherine Hepburn and Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame. This is only a small, partial list. What is it, one wonders, that makes the rich and famous so prone to atheism, but, that is a topic for another day.

John Lennon penned the lines of this famous song:

Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try

No hell below us, above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today.

Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too..

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

The telling line in this song is “imagine all the people living for today.” Brad Pitt seems to echo that sentiment…”I have only one life, here and now.” But what if there is more to life than just the here and now? What if life is truly never ending, and there is such a thing as eternity, and you squandered all your wealth, talents and energy on only 70 to 80 years of it? Jesus poses the question this way,

“What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

Jesus also shared the story of the rich fool who had accumulated so much in the way of crops and produce, his barns were too small to contain it all. He boastfully bragged that he would build a bigger barn to store all of his excess, that he might spend the rest of his years in ease and comfort and just sit back, eat, drink and be merry…enjoy life. The only problem with this plan was, that very night God required his soul of him. All the accumulation of his wealth was left to someone else. The larger, looming question was, what reward did he have awaiting him?

George Clooney was quoted as saying, “I don’t believe in heaven and hell. I don’t know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won’t allow this life – the only thing I know to exist – to be wasted.” Once again, we see the emphasis on THIS LIFE, but what about the next? He claims he “doesn’t know.” At least he’s honest enough to admit he’s not sure.

So, why take a chance?

Bertrand Russell, the famous atheist, mathematician, pacifist and political activist (1872-1970), was once interviewed and asked what he would say when confronted with the Almighty. His response? …

“Sir, why did you not give me better evidence?”

As a side note, I find it interesting that, although he did not believe in God, he had a question prepared for Him. I don’t have to imagine God’s response as He has already addressed this question in the Holy Scriptures. Let’s take a look:

King David clearly recognized the evidence of God in the natural world around him: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)

The Apostle Paul wrote: “Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”(Romans 1:20)

If you’ve ever looked up at the stars on a clear night and not felt a hushed and reverent Presence of the Almighty, you, my friend, have a hardened heart. Have you never walked an ocean shore, admired the beauty of a sunset, heard the thundering crash of the waves and not felt a deep stirring in your soul? Have you never wondered who set the boundaries for the ocean, and a million other questions?

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It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.  Robert Louis Stevenson

I’ve always enjoyed beach combing and looking for shells. I remember one time that I chanced on a sizeable pile of shells against a sea wall that had been washed up by the tide. I sat down and combed through the shells for over an hour, totally entranced. I was in awe at the intricacies of design and color. There were perfect cone-shaped spirals of translucent white; shells with red, brown and yellow Indian blanket designs; other shells with every color of a tropical sunset. I had hit the jackpot! I was wishing I could bring in a backhoe and a truck.  I left with a small bag of treasures that I still display in a jar to this day. I will never forget thinking this pile of magnificent shells, of such amazing artistry was hidden under an ocean of water, never seen by human eyes before mine…. God had treated me to a private peek into His art studio just for my own personal joy and pleasure. I walked away with such a sense of the love and Presence of God. How could anyone not believe, I wondered?

 Even the sand beneath my feet was the exquisite work of an artistic hand. Miriam Drennan describes this phenomenon well:

“Have you ever seen photographs of individual grains of sand blown up 250 times their actual size? Some grains look like red gem stones, others look like icicles; some resemble speckled yellow and brown eggs, and still others seem shaped like corncobs, snowflakes and precious gems. Some grains are square, some spherical, and some flat. No two grains are the same – in fact, you’d never know you were even looking at grains of sand if no one told you.”

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The magnified image of grains of sand

 That kind of artistry is humanly unfathomable. It resides in the realm of the supernatural; the same supernatural force that scattered the stars through the heavens and hung the Milky Way.

 Thousands upon thousands of books, poems and songs have been written about the glory of God as seen in nature. Man truly is inexcusable.

Albert Einstein once stated, “I do not believe in a personal God, and I have never denied this, but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious, then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. “

 Yes, even Albert Einstein left a big, gaping IF….the structure of the world was something he admitted he had to admire. Can one admire such structure and beauty and still believe it all came about through sheer happenstance?

Yes, I choose to believe in God because of the evidence I’ve seen with my own eyes of that which He has created. It’s overwhelming. It’s incontrovertible. Is this the only reason I believe? No, but it is one very big reason!

“They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.” Psalm 65:8 (NASB)

Just count me as one who stands in awe of His signs…one who stands in awe of a pile of seashells.

sea_shells_sand_beach_marine_animal_gastropod_molluscum-592419

To see a world in a grain of sand

And heaven in a wildflower

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour. – William Blake

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