The Verse That Divides

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

If you really believe God created, you can only acknowledge Him as supreme, the One who must be obeyed.

If you don’t believe God created, you may think you are in charge of your life, and are making your own decisions, but you must eventually yield to death.  If there is no Divine Creator to be obeyed, then Death is the All-Conquering Supreme Power of the universe.  You will either face Almighty God or you will face Inexorable Death — no one has ever found a third alternative that works.

The only logical conclusion of atheism is despair, for atheism has (perhaps unwittingly) chosen death as its supreme master.

Hope is not the province of atheism, but of theism, the possession of those who have placed their trust in an active Creator.  If He loved enough to create, knowing what His created beings would do, of course He would love enough to rescue, to bring His lost ones from hopelessness into love, joy, and peace.

Ephesians 2:12-13

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Thus, perhaps more than any other verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1, ‘In the beginning God created,’ is ‘the verse that divides.’  It tells of an all-powerful, active God.

Believe it, and all that necessarily follows from it, and you have an eternal hope, a hope that looks beyond the grave, an inheritance reserved in Heaven for you, one that never tarnishes, fades, or grows old.

Reject it?  Ultimately all that’s left is hoping to stave off all-conquering death long enough to eek out a few temporary pleasures, before your eyes finally close forever.  Of course, you’ll also hope against hope that your atheism is right, that you won’t have to answer, for all eternity, for rejecting Another Supreme, greater even than death.  A forlorn hope indeed, but it’s all you have if you reject Genesis 1:1.

Next:  The Verse That Divides — the Moral Imperative

Third:  The Verse that Divides — One Way of Salvation

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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18 Responses to The Verse That Divides

  1. jim- says:

    no one has ever found a third alternative that works” this is complete rubbish. There are many alternatively beautiful options if you care to look. It isn’t found in the prepackaged dogmas of the big box store religions.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Nope. There’s no escaping death, no matter how many ‘alternatively beautiful options’ you check out. Either God wins, or death wins. You might get a little more than threescore and ten, but it’s coming. All you can do is try to invent an alternative god of some kind or other, dub it ‘alternatively beautiful,’ and hope it works, but those inventions have far less evidence than the God you choose to deny.

      • jim- says:

        I haven’t chosen to deny anything more than I can choose to believe. What good would it do to choose to believe? Mere thought convictions without evidence of anything. You act like death wins. That is fear talking. Death is merely part of this happening we call universe. Life is this little segment of not knowing. The only thing that could possibly entertain infinite beings such as my self are these little trips into not knowing the outcome. There is fear created by your faith. That’s funny because the natural man, the indigenous societies your faith destroyed, never feared death nor do I. That’s your doing and it’s a pathetic way to live this little vacation from our normal existence.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        ‘Death is merely part of this happening we call universe. Life is this little segment of not knowing. The only thing that could possibly entertain infinite beings such as my self are these little trips into not knowing the outcome.’

        Perhaps I might say these are ‘mere thought convictions without evidence of anything.’

        This is the verse that divides. If God created life, then He can do so again. Life is explained by a Being who made it, and if a Being made it, that Being can conquer death and give life again, temporary life or eternal life. You may not like it because there’s no proof, nor do I claim there is such proof. But it is a coherent philosophy of life with a clear explanation of how there can be life after death.

        If you don’t believe in a Being strong enough to create life, you have no coherent reason for expecting anything beyond death. You claim to be infinite, and that you are in a ‘little trip into not knowing.’ Well, it’s an idea. Ultimately, you are claiming that instead of God being stronger than death, you are. You’ll win the battle with death by moving into the ‘knowing’ phase. Neat. But you’ll still die. You aren’t strong enough to stop that, nor has anyone else. Your infinite beings are pretty puny, after all — none of them ever beat death. What makes you so sure they’ll manage to actually win and come out the other side into ‘knowing’? Nothing. You say you haven’t chosen to deny or to believe, but you have. You’ve chosen to believe in your own infinity. You state it with great certainty even though most atheists wouldn’t even adopt it.

        Your faith forces you to say silly thinks like natural man never feared death. Your anthropology is pretty weak, I’m afraid. People have always feared death and done all they can to prevent/avoid/delay it.

      • jim- says:

        I don’t believe any of this. These are just ideas off the cuff that are better evidenced than your contradictory lying book that has produced more misery, not less with your fake belief. You act like you can bend a (moderated) spoon with your faith. Show me a sign. Signs follow them that believe. You seem like an imposter.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Please read the comment policy before commenting further. I don’t allow profanity or disguised profanity, for several reasons including the fact that children read this site.

        I am willing to engage with those who don’t share my faith or disagree with things I write, as long as they do so respectfully. If you aren’t interested in engaging on those terms, I’d suggest the Internet is a very big place and you can find sites which are more open to that form of interaction than this one is.

  2. Archon's Den says:

    There’s no escaping death…. Death wins…. So what??! Death is a fact of life. The non-religious don’t ‘invent any alternative gods , because they don’t believe in them. They work, to make it work, to produce the best existence that they can, for themselves and those around them.
    What they deny, is YOUR unfounded definition and description of God. 😯

    • Jon Gleason says:

      I think I answered this in my final paragraph in the article, thank you for reaffirming it. All you have is hoping to stave off all-conquering death to ‘produce the best existence that they can.’

      For those who believe in Genesis 1:1, they believe in a God who, on His own terms, as an act of His will and power, gave life. As such, they believe that same God, on His own terms, as an act of His will and power, can give life after death. And they believe that He had enough interest in His creation to tell us what He had done, and thus they believe He has enough interest in His creation to make that eternal life available.

      So it’s the verse that divides. I actually think you’d agree with that statement.

      You may say that the non-religious don’t ‘invent any alternative gods’, but the guy above you has come up with his own infinity. You’ve come up with your own moral imperative. It’s not what people usually think of as a ‘god’ but it’s your moral authority and drives your philosophy, when you obey it. You probably feel a measure of guilt when you violate it at times, too. Effectively, it’s your god.

      There’s no compelling reason for another atheist to adopt your moral imperative as their own, and many don’t. If no God created, then why should they have to? Yours is no doubt better for your neighbours than some of the things other atheists have adopted, and it may be better in practice than some who claim to be Christians do. But still, it comes back to the fact that you are the one who has decided it, and it has no answer for death. You are supreme while you are alive but you will submit to death, so your supremacy is limited. Death is supreme for you — you claim supremacy now, but you know it is only temporary.

      • Archon's Den says:

        I realize that it makes you feel better to phrase statements like this, in a way that reinforces your stance and beliefs. Of course there is no compelling reason for anyone to accept my beliefs except me. Each person should be free within their own mind. There is no dogma among Atheists, as there is in Christian churches. This whole statement seriously disturbs me. People who compel others are – at best, bullies – at worst, criminals.
        This appetite for compulsion and competition is worrying. Life is not a game, to be lost or won. Rather, we all should do the best we can with what we have. I make no claim of supremacy, whether over Death, or anyone else, and I have no answer for Death. It is inevitable. Life, indeed, is temporary. Make the most you can of it while you have it. Don’t wait for God to (maybe) iron out your wrinkles, once you’re gone.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        You are obviously a skilled wordsmith, so you know what you’ve done here. But just in case anyone ‘listening in’ on our conversation missed it: ‘compelling reason’ is a term referring to a logical case being so solid that people are strongly moved to assent to it. It means you’ve made a really strong argument. To say ‘no compelling reason’ means ‘not particularly persuasive.’ You know that is what it means. You’ve flipped that to talking about the need to be free, no dogma, and compulsion. Of course, none of that was what I was talking about when I said ‘no compelling reason.’ Let’s avoid that kind of rhetoric. I’ll try to interact with what you actually said and ask you to do the same.

        ‘Rather, we all should do the best we can with what we have.’ Why? Who are you to say what someone else ‘should’ do? If there is no God, no after-life, no judgment, why is there a ‘should’? Who can say ‘should’ to anyone, in that case?

      • Archon's Den says:

        Dear, oh dear, how tunnel-visioned you seem. Even if your ‘God’ exists, do you honestly believe that He is the only one who will pass judgment on you – the only one you need to please? Why should you do your best? Why should you strive for constant improvement? Why should you always try to leave things better than when you arrived? Not because I said that you should!
        First, and perhaps most important, you should do it for your own pride and self-esteem. Anyone who doesn’t bother to improve himself and his surroundings, is a leach on society and a loser. After that….
        Your mother wanted you to
        The Elementary School teacher you liked, expected you to
        Your High School sports coach told you that you should
        Your Armed Forces drill instruction sergeant ordered you to
        Your boss said, “Raise?? If you don’t pull up your socks, you’re fired!”
        Even your pastor might quote Philippians 4:3 – I can do all things through he who strengthens Me
        Looking at the Naturalistic side…. Evolution has molded Mankind as a social animal. Individually, we are not all that strong, but as a pack we can flourish. The more of us who work to make living conditions better for the group, the more youngsters will survive, and be available to support me when I grow old. It’s the perfectly selfish reason driven by my cultural imperative. If you (and many others) improve the communal lot, there is more of it that I can partake of. Do unto (for) others, so that they will do more unto (for) me.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        So, pragmatism. I ‘should’ do stuff because of pragmatism. That’s a glorious moral principle!

        What about the person who doesn’t care about what his pastor thinks, whose mother is dead, who has loads of money and doesn’t need supported by the youngsters, didn’t do High School sports, and already has more self-esteem than is good for him? Why ‘should’ he do better? Your moral principles only have force to the person who cares about the things you’ve said. If someone doesn’t care about them, there’s no ‘right or wrong’, no ‘should’ about it.

        You’ve not given a moral argument here at all. There’s nothing particularly moral about any of your arguments. In fact, the morality is mostly selfish — so I can get more and feel better about myself, or so I can look better in the eyes of someone I want to impress. That’s not a moral argument.

        The pastor of my church (who happens to be me) has often said that if someone does something ‘good’ for selfish reasons you’ve marred the good with your sin of selfishness. The person who gives a million pounds to charity so he can see his name in the headlines and feel good about himself is not doing right. It’s not his fault if someone puts his name in the headlines, and it’s entirely ok to feel good about having given, but if those things are his motivation, it has no real moral worth, and in fact has probably been detrimental to him by stirring up his pride.

        A rather different view than yours. But then, I believe Genesis 1:1, and you don’t, and therein lies the difference.

  3. Friend says:

    Christ’s Love compels us to speak the truth…thank you for doing so here today.

    • Archon's Den says:

      It is true that you want to believe it. It is true that you do believe it. It is true that believing it makes you feel better…. but none of that makes it The Truth. Truth is observable – repeatable – provable. Despite thousands of non-believers asking millions of Religious for some – any – proof, I am unaware of any report that it has ever occurred. Wrap yourself in it if you wish, just don’t expect others to agree with your particular delusion. 😛

      • Jon Gleason says:

        ‘Truth is observable – repeatable – provable.’

        Can you prove that statement? Can you prove that there is no truth that is not observable?

        Is history not true if it can’t be repeated exactly? Is it only the things that we can prove now that actually happened throughout history? Or might there have been many things that happened that had only one witness, and so can’t be proven, but truly happened? Or are they ‘not true’ because they can’t be repeated, observed, or proven?

        If exactly 4,924 whales swam through the English Channel last year, and no one counted or observed them all, would that make the fact untrue?

        Your statement is not only self-defeating (it’s not provable, so it can’t be true, if it is true — Epimenedes would be proud of you), it is also absurd when one thinks about it. Lightning is electricity and it was even when it hadn’t been proven. Caesar Augustus was emperor and would have been even if we didn’t have any real evidence of his existence.

        Of course, what you really mean to say is that you will only accept as true that which is repeatable, observable, provable. That is your right, until reality hits you with a truth that you didn’t accept, and the consequences of not accepting it. One wonders if it is at all possible to live by that standard — seems unlikely. You will make many decisions based on a preponderance of evidence, not proof.

  4. Ennio says:

    Unlikely that God created the millions of galaxies which exist or is responsible for the “big bang”…Maybe like us he/They developed and became missionaries of consciousness in this vast universe…we don’t know what really is going on yet..the bible is not an infallible scientific text book…

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Ennio, tt really is ‘the verse that divides.’

      Anyone who believes in a supreme Creator-God would say that, on the contrary, of course it is likely that He created all of the universe. It is only unlikely if you don’t believe in Him, or you don’t believe He is supreme/all-powerful.

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