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It’s been called by one Christian minister and author the emerging question of our day, one that defines us.

I’d assert it’s probably the most significant riddle any of us attempts to solve when we begin examining our lives in a critical sense until our final breath.

Is a creator behind this mysterious state of shared temporary consciousness and the precisely balanced physical world and cosmos?

Being neither theologian nor philosopher, I have only the observations of a journalist and educator who for decades has written about human joys, heartaches, gains, losses and experiences. In the process, I have formed an opinion. That’s the best any of us can hope for when it comes to exploring the ultimate controversial question.

My view is yes, our physical, mental and spiritual selves, along with the mystery of consciousness that allows us to relate to everything in this place, is the product of intelligent design, or the divinity we agree in our diverse ways to call God.

There certainly are those who believe otherwise. But doesn’t almost everyone in the contentious world we’ve created disagree on much of everything today?

I’m speaking of my own beliefs and opinion which, while Christian, also leave room for rationale and the searching advocated in the biblical.

Seems to me many seekers look outward from our spirits and see endless horrors and troubles surrounding us, which naturally leads to asking why a benevolent God allows the stuff of nightmares to continually occur.

The nature of a divine creator, by definition and science alike, must exist on a plane beyond the realm of time and space our consciousness can perceive. And it must have an origin we can’t possibly fathom.

This also means the true nature of any creator must lie within ourselves, inside our minds and spirits made in his image, who enter this world as clean slates with knowledge of right from wrong in the ways our free will allows us to interact with each other.

In other words, the ways we think, feel and act will determine what we consider positive and negative results in our lives.

While skeptics dismiss near-death experiences (NDEs) as artifacts of a dying brain, I’ve come to believe they represent something far more spiritually valid for the millions who’ve reported them over the decades.

Scientists with the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, based on a 1991 Gallup survey estimating about 13 million Americans reported NDEs, determined that 774 Americans experienced NDEs daily. Today the Internet contains many accounts of such deeply personal experiences and lives dramatically changed for the better. The common denominator in the positive NDEs, most experiencers emphasize, is the importance of sharing love.

Is this why we respond so powerfully from our earliest years to love? Such programming must come from a creator’s instruction manual installed within our individual DNA to distinguish good from evil and maintain balance as we pass through this beautiful yet challenging and troubled physical world we create for ourselves.

What is it inside us that prompts natural responses to this profound need for love? Why do we even feel empathy and compassion for others, if not from the divine wellspring of those human traits?

Creating anything begins in the place where thoughts are birthed as electrical impulses then converted to action in order to create our reality (I must imagine a chair to build one). Love, empathy, compassion, sharing, kindness, and sympathy also stem from the purely spiritual dimension of prayer and dreams and, I also believe, our consciousness at birth.

Besides the internal nature of a divine creator, science takes note of the fact that our planet and the universe itself have incredibly finely tuned ingredients of elements and molecules to create and sustain life. For example, the earth has the proper atmospheric pressure to maintain liquid water at the surface and the precise amount to have seas, oceans and continents.

We are at exactly the right distance from the sun to create and maintain temperatures that promote and sustain life. Earth’s exact 23.5-degree axial tilt provides our changing seasons.

Christian author Ken Boa writes: “[F]or life on earth to exist, molecules must exist, and for molecules to exist, atoms must be able to bond to become molecules. This molecular bonding requires just the right amount of electromagnetic force. If this force were only 0.3 percent stronger or 2 percent weaker than it is on earth, molecules could not be formed, and life would not exist.”

The universe’s existence depends on its expansion rate, the author added. If it happened any faster or slower, “the universe either would have immediately collapsed in on itself or it would have spun off so fast there would have been no galactic formation at all.”

The list of these absolute necessities for you and I to exist is lengthy, stretching far beyond the boundaries of chance. The incredible complexities of a human cell or an eye are enough to make me believe in a guiding hand.

And so debates continue between believers in an orderly creation of consciousness and life as we know it versus nonbelievers who favor chance evolution of life emerging from ancient seas.

While making scientifically persuasive arguments for the existence of a divine creator, many books on the matter all seem ultimately to reach one conclusion. It all leads to matters of individual faith and personal spiritual experiences that defy physics and/or chance.

If you’ve had such a GodNod experience (as I call them), be sure to share it with me.

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at

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  • Dogpatch
    July 21, 2018 at 3:19 a.m.

    It’s amazing that the Democrats boo God but think their allowing liberal ideas is Right and perfect. I know that God doesn’t support a LBGQT lifestyle. It’s written in the Bible that says this is wrong. Abortion is wrong. But we get all these women shouting it’s their choice, their body. Well if that’s the case we need to release all the drug sellers and users. Hey, it’s their body and their decision to sell and ingest drugs. See how stupid that is? But Democrats always come up with wrong answers to their questions. You Democrats have tried to make people believe that sinning is alright. They have liberal ministers who preach this. We’re taught that these false teachers would teach us wrong. There’s a bunch in Harrison ministers teaching us that sin is alright. You will have to answer to that one day.

  • WGT
    July 21, 2018 at 7:15 a.m.

    The endorphins were running high when this was produced! ( If there were a god, it would be like the sun. We would all realize the same source. Not a bunch of incoherent, patchwork stories of fantastical tales about people being swallowed by whales, talking snakes, the sun being created on the fourth day, massive boats carrying every species of animal over a massive worldwide flood, etc.,etc.)

  • TimberTopper
    July 21, 2018 at 7:24 a.m.

    WOW Dogpatch, I have been led to believe that Harrison was the regional center of God's universe in Arkansas. And you state that you have preachers up there telling people that it is OK to sin? Well, probably the thing for you to do is to move southwest into the region represented by that Senator Rapert. After all it was he that has had the Commanding Ten twice placed on the Capital Grounds, so he must be in compliance with your God. I feel sure it would help your ability to make this move and feel more welcomed in your new address, if you'd first send a donation that is sizable to the good Senator. Besides it will give you that warm and fuzzy feeling.

  • TimberTopper
    July 21, 2018 at 7:50 a.m.

    Dogpatch, after careful consideration of your statement regarding those preachers telling people there in Harrison that it is OK to sin, here is an angle that you might consider yourself. If they don't tell the people in Harrison that, well maybe within a week or so there would be no sin in Harrison, therefore the need for preachers would be eliminated right? So maybe their tactic is to have some job security. Otherwise the whole religious economy of Harrison would be destroyed, and I'd say that would be a fairly large portion of the total Harrison economy. Does that way of thinking ring well with you? In other words it all gets down to money.

    July 21, 2018 at 8:57 a.m.

    Dogpatch, according to the Bible, eating shrimp and wearing cotton/poly blends are sinful.

    Just saying.

  • Delta2
    July 21, 2018 at 9:23 a.m.

    Good point, ARMNAR. Slavery and polygamy were OK though. And concubines.

  • 23cal
    July 21, 2018 at 9:24 a.m.

    About "Why do we even feel empathy and compassion for others, if not from the divine wellspring of those human traits?"
    Scientific studies show all upper primates share these two "human traits". It makes a lot ore sense to understand these traits evolved as humans evolved.
    About "....our planet and the universe itself have incredibly finely tuned ingredients of elements and molecules to create and sustain life. For example, the earth has the proper atmospheric pressure to maintain liquid water at the surface and the precise amount to have seas, oceans and continents."
    Science has shown us other planets have water, too. Look up the long-debunked "fine-tuning" argument.
    Dogpatch, your attempts at philosophy are childish and uninformed. Stick to pigs, where you are much better.

    July 21, 2018 at 10:17 a.m.

    Mostly what I sense through my attachment to divine intelligence is a disapproving downcast eye toward the ruling party of the U.S. after being co-opted for purposes of the attainment of wealth and power. But dear Sister of Irony is working to restore the tarnished luster of his name and punish the heretics.

  • mrcharles
    July 21, 2018 at 11:25 a.m.

    The proof that there was no need for stars before water was created is proof of an intelligent science project. Stupid scientific research says stars had to die so heavier elements could be created. Then oxygen could be used to create real h20. Sounds silly to me.
    As to near death. Then they didn't really die. Story sounds familiar!
    My godnod was ...once low on gas , I just happened to have my Exxon credit card with me and it was a miracle there on Cantrell was an Exxon station. spooky but with no cash in my pocket I can testify to the miracle.
    Is it not a miracle more people did not die in Joplin tornado?
    Can scientist explain the clear validity of catholic doctrine over the thousands of protestant systems of celestial decoding? Think not.. so we should ignore ever changing science and become Christian scientists.
    I once had a date 50 years ago with an angel.
    Remember the boy who had not the near death experience.
    I do note donkeys in the goatherders guide to the milky way, have various roles to play .only a few will understand this.

    Thoughts to the victims in Missouri! Horrible that children died by drowning. Surely the fathers could have foreseen the danger by checking the weather instead of allowing the tragidy to occur. Seems someone should have known of the danger and kept it from happening.

  • TuckerMax
    July 21, 2018 at 11:44 a.m.

    All the physical evidence points to this: the life forms on earth are compatible to conditions on earth. Accident? Plan? What life forms are there on other celestial bodies that match their conditions? Maybe God created us. Maybe God created other life forms elsewhere. As for here, God created the haters and idiots and malcontents, too. Welcome to earth. Enjoy your stay, if you can put up with those who live there.