Welcome to Defender’s Voice. I am Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Defender’s Voice is all about answering the most challenging questions of our time. Please visit our website www.doctorpaul.org. You can make a tax-deductible donation to this ministry to meet our ongoing needs. Lot of people have asked me these questions: Does God really exist? Why did you become a Christian? In today’s episode, I would like to answer these questions.
Why do I believe in God? Why am I following Jesus? I would like to give you five reasons for why I believe in God and why I believe in Jesus as the incarnation of God. I call these five reasons, 5 Ms.
First, Mathematical Nature of the Universe
When I was a boy, my mum used to grow a garden behind our home. She was so fond of the beautiful plants and their flowers that blossom and blanket the garden. She was working in a hospital and she used to ask me to water the plants in her absence. I used to spend some time observing those beautiful flowers as I watered them. Enjoying the perfumes of these flowers, I noticed their amazing symmetry. No matter how I rotated these flowers, they would retain their symmetry. Sometimes, colorful butterflies would come and enrich the beauty of these flowers. The brilliant symmetry in the wings of these butterflies also caught my attention.
One day my dad took me to the beach. That was the first time I ever saw the sea. It appeared like a huge blue mountain stretching as far as the eye can see. I stood there in complete amazement. Then as I was playing on the beach, I came across lots of sea creatures like sea stars, octopuses and sand dollars. I saw beautiful symmetry in those sea creatures.
As I was going to school, my dad got me a tutor in mathematics. I spent a lot of time studying mathematics under his guidance. I noticed lots of symmetry in geometry – all those triangles, squares, cubes, and spheres showed profound and elegant symmetry. Then I started learning trigonometry with cosines, sines and tangents. Then came calculus, pythagorean theorem, logarithms, quadratic equations. I wondered in my heart – why is there so much symmetry in mathematics?
I used to spend the afternoons in the chemistry lab. The assignments given to me were to understand the structure of atoms and molecules. I noticed a beautiful symmetry in those chemical substances. When I saw the periodic table for the first time in school, I wondered how all the elements in nature could be arranged in such an orderly fashion.
As a boy I loved Vijayawada because of the river that flows through that city and also the mountains around it. My dad took us to the planetarium on one of those mountains. They showed us many celestial wonders: the earth from space, the solar system, the stars and galaxies. Finally, they showed us the Milky Way galaxy. A mellifluous voice told us: our journey ends at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. What a stunningly beautiful structure! I was amazed by the rotational symmetry so magnificently displayed in the galaxy.
Back in the school, my teacher started to teach us physics. Newton’s laws of motion, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, and Maxwell’s laws of electromagnetism. I spent considerable time on Maxwell’s laws of electromagnetism and his famous equations. I was puzzled by the beautiful symmetry in those equations.
Then our teacher talked about Emmy Noether, who in 1915 explored the relationship between symmetry and laws of nature. Emmy Noether showed us that every symmetry of the laws of physics leads to a conservation law and every conservation law arises from a symmetry of the laws of physics.
The law of conservation of energy
the law of conservation of momentum
the law of conservation of electric charge….they are associated with symmetry.
That was one of the most shocking things I learned from his lectures: The most important property of any scientific theory is its symmetry and Every law of conservation is associated with a symmetry in the equations that govern the laws of the universe.
Our teacher explained how the symmetry theorem influenced even Albert Einstein. His special theory of relativity and general theory of relativity arise from deep symmetrical principles embedded into the universe.
Then I went to medical school. I used to spend hours and hours dissecting human bodies in the anatomy lab. I spent two months dissecting a human brain. The symmetry I noticed in the human brain amazed me. Research shows that the human brain has an innate network to appreciate and understand the symmetry present in nature. When we look into the living cell, we see the beautiful symmetry in the structure of DNA, genes and chromosomes. Watching a dance program, we see the symmetry in the rhythmic movements of the dancers. Listening to Beethoven or Bach, we enjoy the symmetry in their music.
One day I went to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. I spent a few hours looking at its stunning architectural symmetry. It appeared to me as a synthesis of mathematical truth and beauty. I thought within myself, ‘some architect with a brilliant mind must have designed and constructed this Taj Mahal’. After looking at it from various viewpoints, our universe looked to me as a gigantic Taj Mahal with beauty and truth in every corner. I thought within myself, ‘There must be a mathematical genius behind this universe’. Galileo said, ‘the universe is written in the language of mathematics’. If there is a written language, there must be a writer. If there are laws, there must be a law giver. Those were my first thoughts about God.
Moral Nature of Humanity
Then, the moral nature of humanity also made me think about God. After medical school, I started to work in a hospital in New York City. I used to see patients from almost every country in the world. The medical ethics that guided me was, I should treat all my patients with fairness. There should be no discrimination based on caste or race or region of people who come to me for treatment. I felt like the invariance or symmetry I noticed in mathematical laws of nature is also etched into the moral laws that govern the universe.
We say no person should be discriminated against based on his or her skin color.
We say no person should be sexually violated anywhere in the world.
We say no child should be abused anywhere in the world.
We say no one should die of hunger or starvation anywhere in the world.
No matter where they live, it does not matter. Any continent, any country, any region, any religion, any language – it does not matter. Moral laws must be absolute. Moral laws are conserved no matter how many differences you put before them. Just like mathematical laws, I felt like the symmetry of the moral law is associated with its conservation across the millennia. Unless there is a God, moral laws cannot be universal absolutes and conserved across millennia.
On the weekends, I used to take a bus from New York City to Washington DC. As a history buff, I would choose to visit historical landmarks. I stood where Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous speech I Have A Dream. When segregation was the law of the land, white people and colored people were separated in every imaginable way. They had to sit in separate places, drink from separate water fountains, eat in separate restaurants, work in separate places, use separate restrooms and attend separate churches. Fighting for civil rights with nonviolence, Martin Luther King Jr gave this speech. Standing there, I read his speech. At one point, he says,
I have a dream that my
four little children will one day
live in a nation where they will
not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.
Those words brought tears to my eyes. He said, ‘Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children’. He ends his speech with the words, ‘that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last’.
I realized that the only basis for human rights is God. The only basis for human equality is God. Unless we are all children of God, there is no justification for believing in human equality.
Then I walked over to Lincoln Memorial. President Abraham ruled the United States during its Civil War. He preached against slavery. He fought to preserve the United States during the Civil War. In 1862, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation giving freedom to slaves. It would cost him his life by an assassin’s bullet. Emancipation Proclamation cites ‘Almighty God’ as the basis for freedom.
Why did Lincoln make God the basis for human dignity and freedom? Because they have no other justifiable foundation beside God.
Without God, there is nothing evil about slavery
Without God, there is nothing evil about racism
Without God, there is nothing evil about casteism
Without God, there is nothing evil about supremacism
There is nothing evil about anything. Everything is natural, subjective and relative. Without God, there cannot be moral absolutes. There cannot be universal moral precepts. All moral judgments are reduced to personal opinions and beliefs. My faith in God grew considerably after that point.
Message of the Bible
Then, why Christian God? For many years, I did not take the Bible seriously. I used to tell my friends, ‘There is no God, the Bible is just a human book’. Then one day, I started to read about Albert Einstein. Einstein was born in a secular Jewish family. I realized there was something Jewish about his science. The Jewish people had a universal outlook on nature. I started to read the Bible with an eye on this Jewish worldview.
The father of the Jews was Abraham. When he was hundred years old and his wife was 90 years old, they had a son, whom they named Isaac. A 90 year-old woman giving birth to a child: that is so unusual.
Abraham’s grandson was Jacob. Jacob had 12 sons. These 12 sons developed into 12 tribes of Israel. In the ancient world, they had a very high infant mortality rate and a very low life expectancy. But all 12 sons survived and became the forefathers of 12 tribes of Israel.
These 12 tribes grew into a population of hundreds of thousands of people and were trapped in Egypt in oppression and hard labor. Moses went to liberate them from Egypt. He would call ten plagues over the nation of Egypt. The tenth and final plague was the most terrible of all judgments over Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die: the firstborn son of Pharaoh, the firstborn son of a slave, to the firstborn of even animals. No one else died except the firstborn. You can find a natural explanation for other 9 plagues, but not for this one. The death of the only firstborn child in every home except the Jewish homes would be possible only if God exists.
Having been liberated from Egypt, the people of Israel walked toward the wilderness of Sinai. The mighty Red Sea stood before them as an insurmountable obstacle. Then Moses lifts his hand over the Red Sea, a strong wind comes over the sea and divides the waters. The people of Israel would cross the Red Sea over the dry ground. How could a Sea open up before a group of people when their leader lifts his hand over it? There is no natural explanation for this event. There must be a God to do something like that.
Moses who was an eyewitness to these events recorded them in the Bible. The list of miracles goes on. As the people walked in the wilderness, there was no food. Every morning, a grain called ‘manna’ showers on the camp to feed them adequately. What about the water supply? A rock follows them to provide them with a continuous water source. Then on the outskirts of their promised land, Joshua opens up River Jordan before them. Their battles start as they occupy the Promised Land. During one of those battles, Joshua stops the sun and moon to delay the sunset. Only God can stop the sunset.
Then I started to study the prophets of Israel. Their predictions were fulfilled with stunning accuracy. Prophet Jeremiah predicted that Jews would spend 70 years in Babylonian Captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12). Exactly after 70 years, the Jews returned to Judea.
Prophet Isaiah predicted that this would happen under Persian Emperor Cyrus. What is astonishing about this prediction is that Isaiah told the world even the name of this emperor, over 150 years before his birth. Only God can do something like that.
When the Kingdom of Tyre was a prosperous nation, Prophet Ezekiel predicted its demise. Surely in 332 BC, Alexander the Great decimated the kingdom of Tyre to the ground.
Prophet Daniel predicted the line of superpowers that would rule the ancient world. First the Babylonian Empire, then the Persian Empire, then the Greek Empire, and then the Roman Empire. A mind boggling amount of unpredictable events play a role in the formation and dissolution of superpower empires. Yet, Daniel predicted their formation with stunning accuracy. That clearly shows us the supernatural intelligence of Daniel.
A prophet gives a prophecy, it comes to fulfillment and attains its objective. This happens so many times in the history of Israel. You will notice a beautiful symmetry in those prophetic fulfillments. After studying the prophecies of the Bible, I was convinced that God is real.
Miracles of Jesus
Then the miracles of Jesus also convinced me about the existence of God. The Jews spent 70 years in Babylon. IN 538 BC, Daniel made his famous 70 week prophecy. He said that from the reconstruction of Jerusalem till the coming of the Messiah, there would be 69 weeks. Then the Messiah would be cut off. Also the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. You should realize that when Daniel wrote these words, there was no temple in Jerusalem.
Each week in this prophecy denoted 7 years. If you multiply 69 by 7, you will get 483 years. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given on March 5, 444 BC by King Artaxerxes. Add 483 years to that date, you will get March 30, AD 33.
What happened on March 30, AD 33?
Jesus entered Jerusalem mounting on a donkey. Not missing a single day, Jesus entered Jerusalem for one final journey. He was cut off as predicted by Daniel. The temple was also destroyed according to his prophecy.
You will see a beautiful pattern in the prophecies. Mathematics is the study of patterns. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10….. What is the next number? You say 12. How do you know? Because you recognized the pattern in those numbers. Similarly, there is a pattern in the prophecies of the Bible.
The prophets of Israel predicted the coming of a Savior of Israel. He is called the Messiah. The predictions made about the Messiah are called Messianic prophecies.
Jacob predicted that the Messiah would be born in the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10)
Samuel predicted that the Messiah would be born in the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
Moses predicted that Messiah would be a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)
Isaiah predicted that Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
Micah predicted that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
David predicted that the Messiah would be killed (Psalm 22)
All those Messianic prophecies were wonderfully fulfilled in Jesus with breathtaking precision. The disciples of Jesus did not believe Him blindly. They saw how centuries old Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
The miracles of Jesus added extraordinary weight to his divine claims. One day, people ran out of wine at a wedding. Jesus turns water into wine in a fraction of a second.
Wine making is a lot of work. You have to harvest the grapes. Then prepare the grapes for fermentation. Then press the wine. Then store it for aging. It takes many months to years for the whole process of wine making. People run out of wine, and Jesus turns water into wine in a fraction of a second. Only God can perform such a miracle.
Only God can feed five thousand people with five loaves of bread
Only God can stop a powerful storm
Only God can give vision to the blind
Only God can predict the future accurately
Only God can raise individuals from their graves
Jesus did all of that. I found the most powerful evidence for the existence of God in the life of Jesus. So many prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus and so many miracles attest to his supernatural powers. Standing in the middle of human history, Jesus gives a beautiful symmetry to human story. The Old Testament and the New Testament are like the wings of a divine butterfly flying over human history, a symmetry of promises and fulfillments.
Meaning of Life
Finally, the 5th M is Meaning of Life. For many years, I was perplexed by a stinging question: Is there any meaning to my life? I spent one full day in Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Over a million people were killed in this camp around the Second World War. The prisoners were put through excruciating forms of torture during their time in those camps. Is your life still meaningful if you were to be taken to a camp like Auschwitz?
As I walked around, I thought of Viktor Frankl, who was an Austrian neurologist and philosopher. His father, mother, brother and wife died in concentration camps. He was taken to Auschwitz as a prisoner. After surviving the Holocaust, he penned his book titled Man’s Search for Meaning. He wrote that modern human beings have been going through an ‘existential vacuum’. He warned that this void would produce anxiety, depression, addiction and even suicide. Modern psychotherapy has reduced individuals to nothing more than victims of nature or nurture. Materialistic reductionism stripped of individuals of their meaning, purpose, and free will.
Only a Jew can write such a book after going through enormous loss, pain and suffering in life. Yesterday in Tulsa, Oklahoma a patient went to St.Francis Hospital and killed the orthopedic surgeon who performed his back surgery. Patient did not get relief from the back pain after surgery and he decided to kill the surgeon. He shot four people dead and killed himself.
I saw a police car in front of the St Francis Hospital. Over the building there is a cross. The meaning of cross has completely lost upon our generation. On the cross, even the most excruciating pain was meaningful to Jesus because He believed that God had a purpose for His suffering. I went through my own list of pains and sufferings in life and the cross gave me strength to endure them with patience and hope.
Only God can give objective value to every human life. Only God can give objective meaning to every individual human life. Only God can give meaning to life under all circumstances.
While visiting Taj Mahal, my final destination was the grave of Mumtaj Mahal. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan lost his wife while she was giving birth to their baby. Heartbroken and grieving, Shah Jahan wanted to build a memorial to his beloved wife. Love, beauty and truth go together. There is love behind the symmetry. Our universe is also a beautiful building God conceived in love. Without God, this universe looks empty, lonely and purposeless.
In later years, Shah Jahan was deposed from his throne. His son Aurangazeb schemed a coup, declared his father incompetent to rule and imprisoned him in the Agra Fort. For the rest of his remaining life, Shah Jahan spent his time looking at the Taj Mahal from his prison cell. It reminded him of his beloved wife, Mumtaj. His pain was meaningful. Love gives freedom and makes sacrifices. Shah Jahan could have killed his son had he wanted to, but he did not. That love and freedom landed him in prison. God can annihilate the whole of humanity at any moment. But he loved human beings and gave them freedom. That landed him on the cross. God was willing to pay the price, even the price of crucifixion for the love of his creatures.
Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore described Taj Mahal as ‘a teardrop on the cheek of time’. I see the universe as a teardrop from the eye of God in eternity. It was created with love. Love preceded this universe. Love preceded human existence. Jesus said, ‘For God so loved the world’. We see a synthesis of love, beauty and truth in that sentence.
Those five things – 5 Ms – led me to believe in the existence of God and to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Mathematical nature of the universe showed God as a brilliant architect of the universe
Moral nature of humanity showed God as a Moral being who alone can give us absolute moral values
Message of the Bible shows God as a Messenger who wanted us to know about him
Miracles of Jesus showed God as the Messiah, a Savior who came to this world to save us
Meaning of Life showed God as the Meaning Giver, who alone can give objective meaning to my life and every life that ever existed.
I hope and pray that you will come to this God who manifested to us in Lord Jesus Christ.