The God Who Answers By Fire
And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “ Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (1 Kings 18:36-39)
I truly feel compassion for those who are wrestling with the great questions of life, especially those dealing with the question of the existence of God. Not everyone was raised in a Christian home where faith in God was so woven into their worldview that it became an intricate part of their mental makeup and belief system. On the contrary, many have been raised in an environment where answers were sought from a purely academic point of view, which naturally led them to science, which by its very methodological processes excludes the possibility of the transcendent altogether. They are taught that what cannot be discovered through empirical means simply cannot be a part of the discussion in regard to seeking answers to the mysteries of the universe. They see talk of “God” as a cop out; a lazy way of attributing what we don’t understand to some “higher power.”
In fact, I have heard the argument that each time science uncovers another mystery that can be explained through natural processes, it lessens the room that can be found for God. For example, they will say that once upon a time man thought that lightning was the result of the anger of the gods. People trembled and revered the gods and paid them homage, lest they should suffer the retribution of the angered deities. Of course, since we now know that lightning is the result of purely natural processes, we’ve eliminated one more place for the “fiction” of God, or the transcendent, to hide. Soon, atheistic scientists assume, all the remaining mysteries will be discovered, or at least sufficient of them, to prove that there is no God hiding behind anything anywhere, and that He does not, in fact, exist.
The truth is, I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. The discoveries of science in more recent times have uncovered the tremendous complexities of the cell. What was once considered the “simple” cell has been proven to be anything but! In fact, the systems in a single cell are so intricate and complex that it’s creating more and more difficulty for the naturalist to explain through Darwinian Evolution. The DNA molecule is composed of a four letter alphabet, so information rich that it contains billions and billions of characters that tell the cell how to divide and what to become. What no one seems to want to ask is who determined what those characters or letters mean? After all, a “seven” is only a seven because we assign that value to it. How does the cell know how to “read” and understand those characters? If you and I were to happen upon a beach that had a message written in the sand saying, “Hi, Randy, I hope you have a tremendous day” would we for one moment believe that those words appeared by chance over the space of billions of years? No! We would immediately infer intelligence. Yet this message I have suggested on the beach is but a trifle compared to the incredibly complex message the DNA molecule communicates to the cells to tell them how to form to make a human baby.
Sir Fred Hoyle, a brilliant cosmologist, explained the impossibility of life beginning on earth through naturalistic processes by saying,
“Biochemical systems are exceedingly complex, so much so that the chance of their being formed through random shuffling of simple organic molecules is exceedingly minute, to a point where it is no different from zero … For life to have originated on earth it would be necessary that quite explicit instructions should have ben provided for its assembly.”
Nobel Prize Laureate, Sir Francis Crick, who discovered the double-helical structure of DNA, said,
“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.
The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (1020)2,000=1040,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.”
These are not theists or Christians postulating about the improbability of life starting from naturalistic means. These are atheists and scientists with enough honesty to say that this simply did not happen by chance. When pressed further, however, to explain what he did believe was the mechanism that started life, Crick fell back on the impossibly ridiculous theory of panspermia, which is to say that an extraterrestrial civilization from another solar system “seeded” our planet with the necessary ingredients to form life. So, essentially, we’re here because ET jettisoned his space junk in a puddle of goo here on earth (folks, I can’t even make this stuff up). Hoyle expressed the same belief, keeping the explanation as far away as possible from the God of the Bible.
Of course, this doesn’t answer the obvious question, “Who made the aliens that seeded our planet?” Assuming they also exist, one still must answer the problem of the impossibility of life forming by chance (even if it happened on Vulcan). So Hoyle postulates that there must indeed be a Supreme Being out there whom these aliens serve by performing this task of spreading life throughout the cosmos. He further says that since it is they who serve Him and not us, we are under no obligation to this Higher Being. That’s a pretty fantastic story to create just to avoid accountability to God.
Listen, I like Star Trek as much as the next mad scientist, but seriously? This is not a bunch of crazies waiting in line to attend the next Comic Con. These are Nobel prize winning scientists and their peers. By the way, for more information along this line, I would strongly recommend a book like The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. He goes into much greater (and, I’m sure, more accurate) detail than I have here. But the point I am making is simply that design is screaming out from the microscopic to the massive in the universe, declaring that God is the Creator.
I have shared this to present a scientific base for those who do not accept the authority of the biblical text as proof of God. But for me, and millions who do believe in God, these discoveries are merely the predictable backdrop of a Christian worldview that already presupposes the existence of God. For me, the prophetic fulfillments of scripture, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, not to mention the impact He has singularly made on the course of human events, is sufficient evidence for solid faith. We can declare that not only is there a God, but He came to earth as one of us. Yes, life indeed came from an extraterrestrial source. The Bible tells us as much.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
Not only did Jesus, the Living Word, create the Universe, He got personally involved with you and I when He came to earth as a man, born of a virgin, to take upon Himself the sins of mankind and die on our behalf, thus balancing the scales of divine justice and redeeming us back to God. This Jesus, God raised from the dead in an act of power no less majestic than when He spoke the worlds into being. He is alive, and, as a living God, He still makes the lightning in the sky. He is the first cause of every natural process and the superintending agent of the universe. He is God Most High, to Whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord (see Philippians 2:5-11).
In Elijah’s day, that fire fell from the sky and consumed the sacrifice on Mount Carmel, bringing an entire backslidden nation to God. In my own life and ministry, I have seen the power of God heal the sick and restore joy to the barren womb. I have seen the incurably sick receive word that their disease miraculously disappeared, and I have seen those oppressed, in the very literal grip of the devil, instantly set free through the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. I could show you dozens of testimonies from India that tell of a Jesus who revealed Himself alive to men and women of a different faith altogether, healing their bodies and even restoring to wholeness those who had been developmentally disabled.
My favorite testimony tells of a humble Indian family whose young daughter, Jasmine, was admitted to the hospital with brain fever. She was in agony, despite the good doctors’ best efforts to relieve her suffering. Because they were regular viewers of our television show, they went home and took some recorded healing messages to play at the hospital to strengthen their faith. As they played the videos and prayed in faith, their daughter was raised up and began praising God. They shared how not only she, but the patients in the two adjacent rooms were also healed by the simple power of the gospel.
How is this possible? Because our God is the God who answers by fire. He is the eternal, transcendent first cause of the Universe Who bent so low as to completely identify with us at our lowest and take upon Himself the sins of the world. Having secured our deliverance, He stands ready to save all who will simply believe and call upon His name. No, friends, my faith is not in an alien civilization on some distant planet, but in the God who makes His home in the heart of the redeemed. If you will call upon Him, even to simply ask Him to show Himself real to you, His lightnings will flash once more from heaven to illuminate your heart to the reality of the living God. If you are truly looking for reality and want to understand the greater mysteries, go to the One who is the true source of it all. He is real, He is love, and He is waiting to reveal Himself to you.