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Eric Metaxas makes the case for God

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Eric Metaxas makes the case for God – American Thinker

March 27, 2022


On April 8, 1966, Time magazine shocked its readers by running a cover story asking “Is God Dead?” The cover — named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the magazine covers “that shook the world” — was of course a reference to the famous 1882 quote by Friedrich Nietzsche.

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At the time, the vast majority of Americans were church goers. But elite opinion was coming to the view that scientific discovery was increasingly eliminating the need to believe in God as the explanation for the universe.

Now, more than 60 years after that iconic cover, author and radio host Eric Metaxas has turned the tables, asking Is Atheism Dead? Metaxas has authored dozens of books, including much-praised biographies of Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and William Wilberforce.

The Time article was a “premature secularist triumph,” Metaxas argues. Since then, he contends, there has emerged “inescapably compelling evidence” for God’s existence. “The evidence began to come in slowly, but steadily,” Metaxas writes, “and has only increased as the years and decades have passed.”

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But Metaxas is vexed that this mounting evidence is still underappreciated, even by many believers. His mission in writing this book, he says, is to share this little known but paradigm-shifting news. Though the subject matter is decidedly heavy, the book is nonetheless highly engaging.

In the first and most compelling part of the book, Metaxas draws on a compendium of scientific findings, much of it fairly recent, to show how science increasingly makes the case for God. First and foremost was the discovery of the Big Bang, which established a clear beginning of the universe — about 13.8 billion years ago. Prior to the discovery of the Big Bang, the prevailing theory was that the universe had always existed. We now know that the universe had a beginning point from which all matter and energy and all the laws of physics, including time, emerged.

Before the Big Bang, Metaxas writes, “we could always say that the emergence of life out of non-life had an infinite amount of time to happen and theoretically, given infinity, anything could happen. But suddenly that infinity shrank to 13.8 billion years, and there was no longer forever for life to emerge. The breathing room of an infinite past had vanished.”

Even more astounding, the underlying forces unleashed by the Big Bang were precisely calibrated to foster life and conscious being. The evidence of the “fine-tuned” nature of the universe has been increasing with each passing decade. For instance, Metaxas notes, the values of the four fundamental forces unleashed in less than one-millionth of a second by the Big Bang — gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak nuclear forces — are so precisely calibrated that if there were even the slightest alteration in any of them, the universe could not exist. “Nature has no intelligence capable of working things out, nor any will or intention to create anything,” Metaxas writes. The universe, he contends, could no more have happened randomly than could the plays of Shakespeare or the Roman Coliseum. They all required an intelligent designer.

What’s more: not only is the universe fine-tuned, but so is planet Earth. Alter just one of its innumerable variables — make it just slightly larger or smaller, alter its place in the universe, alter its moon — and life becomes impossible.

Then there is the issue of how life emerged from inanimate matter. Here Metaxas isn’t talking about evolution — how complex creatures evolved from simple one-celled organisms. No: he’s talking about what happened to bring about life in the first place. It’s something science has not been able to explain. And it turns out that the “simple” one-celled organism isn’t very simple at all; in fact, it’s inconceivably complex, akin to a supercomputer.

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In the second part of the book, Metaxas pivots to archeology; specifically, evidence unearthed that supports the Bible as a historically accurate guidebook to the past and not merely some collection of folktales. These include the discovery and identification of biblical Sodom and the discovery of Jesus’s childhood home in Nazareth.

Finally, Metaxas meditates on the theory and practice of atheism and the implications of a materialist world without God: a meaningless existence that ends when you die. It is no accident, Metaxas contends, that this amoral worldview produced Mao, Hitler, and Stalin, and the most murderous regimes in history.

Serious atheists like Camus and Sartre understood and were troubled by the bleak worldview of atheism and eventually found it unbearable. Metaxas contrasts those men with what he calls the “New Atheists” (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens) who he regards as facile and unserious thinkers.

While Metaxas is himself an Evangelical Christian, the book does not seek to defend Christian theology. He does not offer an explanation of the Trinity or proof of the Resurrection. The book sets the more modest goal of convincing the reader only that dogmatic atheism is untenable.

Metaxas concedes there is room for doubt. “Agnosticism,” he writes, “can be perfectly logical. We can have questions. We can wonder at much of what the Bible says, not understanding or agreeing with it. But to leap from this to the idea that we can know that there is no God and can say that belief in God and in the Bible is irrational is itself irrational.”

The dyed-in-the-wool atheist is unlikely to be persuaded. But an openminded reader might be moved to experience awe and wonder at how science reveals the miracle of Creation and conclude, at the very least, that reports of God’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Image: Salem Books

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