A non-Christian friend of mine asked me to check out this website:
there is a "scientific" project based out of Princeton which deals
with the question of "global consciousness," basically concluding that
there is some kind of cosmic oneness through quantitative measurements
of "randomness" occuring throughout time.
My friend is someone very dear to me, and I desperately desire to see
him come to Christ, yet he blindly states that he is an atheist, that
science explains everything, that there is no meaning and everything
that happens is random and without purpose. So it is very interesting
that he is fascinated by this project which seems to suggest
He is waiting for my response from a Christian worldview, and I wanted
to seek some guidance before answering. Would somebody check out this
site and show me some insight. I don't know really what to think of
this, but I do know this is a great way to dialogue with my friend
about spiritual matters. On one hand, I think this project shows that
there is indeed a cosmic meaning and design and purpose, which would
then have to point to a force that is behind this cosmic meaning. But
on the other hand, behind the scholarly facade, as I looked at the
philosophy and supporters of this project, I noticed that it is being
driven by a very New-Agey philosophy. How can I use this finding in
this project to help point towards an Intelligent Designer, if at all?
Thanks very much!
The Paraclete Forum consists of a team of men and women working
together to answer email and to pray for people. Therefore you may
well hear from more than one of us in response to your inquiry. Thank
you for writing us.
The Global Consciousness web site you referenced presupposes the
basic goodness of man, and man's supposed innate ability to solve his
own problems and to achieve global harmony and prosperity. There are
New Age undertones in the web site--it seems to draw upon eastern
pantheism rather than a Judeo-Christian world view. It is hardly an
atheistic web site! "Global Consciousness" is usually another name
Long ago the lie of the Destroyer to Eve was that we could be our own
gods and control our own destinies. In spite of the fact that all of
human history so far proves that this promise of Satan is utterly
false, the old myth "you shall be as God knowing good and evil" is
renewed every generation in some new form.
Becoming a Christian is really a moral issue not an intellectual one.
That is why people hate God so much and resist His constant overtures
of love and forgiveness.
Notice that Paul brings this out--his basic appeal is to the
conscience of the listener, 2 Cor. 4:2 "We have renounced
disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to
tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we
would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of
God has ordained to save men by the announcement of the good news of
God's love, of Christ's death for us on the Cross, and the offer as a
free gift of God's forgiveness. People will listen to this message
only after the Holy Spirit has softened and prepared their hearts.
This is especially true in this country where counterfeit
Christianity is so obvious to everyone.
Modern Christianity is crucially weak at three vital
points. The first is its compromised, deficient understanding
of revelation. Without Biblical historicity and veracity
behind the Word of God, theology can only grow closer to
Hinduism. Second, the modern Christian is drastically weak in
an unmediated, personal experiential knowledge of God. Often,
what passes for religious experience is a communal emotion felt
in church services, in meetings, in singing or contrived
fellowship. Few Christians would know God on their own.
Third, the modern church is often pathetically feeble in the
expression of its focal principle of community. It has become
an adult social club, preaching shop, or minister-dominated
group. With these weaknesses, modern Christianity cannot hope
to understand why people have turned to the East, let alone
stand against the trend and offer an alternative.
... Os Guinness, The Dust of Death 
Therefore the place to begin (after God shows us that he is concerned
for a particular individual) is prayer. We should start praying and
keep at it. It may take years before we see answers. God can change
the circumstances in the other person's life anytime He chooses, but
the timing of a person's salvation is entirely in His hands. However,
all of those elected by God WILL find salvation (John 17).
Our loving, consistent Christian life styles are next in importance.
St. Francis said, "Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary
It is possible your friend would be willing to read a book like "Not
a Chance" by R.C. Sproul which I recommend highly. Sproul shows that
causality underlies the universe and always points to God. C.S.
Lewis is good for intellectuals: Screwtape Letters, the Great
Divorce, Mere Christianity.
But your friend may just want to argue and that is not an affective
route to follow in most cases. See how Paul deals with this!
"Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know
that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be
quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing,
correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that
they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from
the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."
(2 Timothy 2:24-16)
It is good to feed Christian literature to a person who has a
genuinely inquiring mind because this indicates the Spirit of God is
already at work. But in general apologetics is usually most helpful
after someone comes to know our Lord. At least that is my opinion.
The first three chapters of First Corinthians were critically
important to me 40 years ago when the Lord was bringing me to Himself.
Thank you so much for your response. It is very helpful and brings
much needed perspective to a confusing issue. But this whole issue
of wanting my friend to come to Christ opens a whole can of worms for
me. I attended PBC during my college years, and was very devoted
to sharing Christ with others. Then a dear friend of mine passed
away, without knowing Christ, and I have been very bitter/confused
about the issue of how one comes to faith for a number of years. I
know that the only way one comes to Christ is through prayer, and I
appreciate your suggestion to me to just pray for my friend as
opposed to arguing/debating with him. But my question is, what else
should I be doing? I grew up with a mother who constantly nagged at
my fatherr about knowing Christ, and I saw how it drives him further
away, but her theory was that if he was bombarded with it enough, it
would force him to look at the issue. I know that's not the way, but
prayer alone just seems so little! (that statement shows my lack of
faith, I know!) As someone who is a go-getter, it is very hard for
me to sit still and trust God.
Secondly, I don't want to get into this whole predestination/free
will argument, but could you clarify a wrong train of thought I just
can't seem to shake? My biggest fear is that my friend is not one of
the elect, therefore, my prayers will be in vain. Or put it another
way, my friend chooses to reject God in the end, and then will that
mean my prayers weren't enough, not fervent enough? What kind of
attitude do I have while I pray for him? Expect God to move in his
heart? Hold out hope? In other aspects of my life, I can rightfully
expect God to do great things in my life and hold tremendous hope
because of his promises, but when another person's will is involved,
where does God's power begin and end and where does my friend's will
come into play, and do I have the right to expect an answer, if at
Thank you in advance for your time!
I am asking my fellow Paraclete team members to jump in because they
will have good things to share with you on this difficult topic. I
did not intend to over simplify what is obviously not a trivial
I do have one quotation to share which helps me keep these things in balance:
The late Donald Grey Barnhouse, a well-known Presbyterian Bible
scholar gave this simple picture:
People are all standing in a room with several doors. Above one door
is a sign which reads "All who will may enter." Those who choose to
enter the door find on the back side of the door a sign which reads,
"Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world."
People are only lost because that is what they wish for most of all.
God does not send people to destruction, people are there by their
own choice. God will always rescue anyone who wishes to be rescued.
Have you read C.S. Lewis' Great Divorce? I return to that small book
again and again for an understanding of heaven and hell and the human
responses to God's love and grace.
I am one an associate on the Paraclete Forum. I am responding to
your question to him regarding praying for your friend who is not a
Christian. I have responded to a similar question in the past and I thought
that I would share that response with you. I hope it is helpful.
"Why pray if God already knows what will happen?"
I struggled with the question of "why pray if God already knows the
outcome." However, Jesus commanded us to pray time and time again. Thus,
there must be more to prayer than meets the eye. Though we do not understand
the full ramifications of prayer we must engage in it and "trust in the Lord
with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding" (Prov 3:5).
God employs us in His work, though He is not dependent upon our actions to
accomplish anything. For example, when Jesus entered Jerusalem and was
hailed with Messianic references, He told his critics that the stones
themselves would announce Him if the people did not (Luke 19:40). However,
if we neglect the things that are expected of us then we are the losers. The
wicked servant in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) exemplifies
this principle. In that parable a master entrusted his wealth to his
servants and then left on a long journey. After the master returned to
collect on his investment from his servants, one wicked servant told the
master, "I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and
gathering where you scattered no seed and I was afraid, and went away and
hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours" (Matt 25:24-25).
That servant had the impression that his master reaped where He did not sow.
He figured that God's work would be done no matter what he did, so he
thought he might as well shirk his duties. But the master showed this
servant that it did matter; the servant was the loser in the deal. If we
neglect the Lord's command, the Lord's work still gets accomplished (see
Isaiah 55:10-11), but we lose out. And when Queen Esther resisted going to
her husband, the Persian king, to intercede for the Jews, her uncle Mordecai
"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise
for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish.
And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as
this?" (Esther 4:14).
The Lord wants us to diligently seek Him. God works imperceptibly and
requires His people to diligently seek Him. People typically want tangible
rules and rulers to impose God's will so that we don't have to diligently
seek Him. But God prefers that we diligently seek Him and watching Him
intently to see His glances and know what they mean as the Psalm says "I
will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you
with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no
understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will
not come near you" (Ps 32:8-9, NKJ). And this is why Jesus said,
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door
will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son
asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give
him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts
to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts
to those who ask him!" (Matt 7:7-11).
However, we must recognize that our understanding of eternity is necessarily
restricted, being finite beings who exist in time. Let me illustrate using a
mathematical concept. If you take points in a hyper-dimensional space and
project them onto a two dimensional plane (e.g., a piece of paper) such that
the closest points in hyperdimenstional space are closest when projected
onto the paper then information will be lost, though much of the fundamental
information is retained. In the same way, we know about God through nature,
our own selves, and our relationship with others. None in them selves is
adequate to understand the fullness of God. For example, when we look at the
universe we see how vast it is and we understand, in a way, how God is vast.
But we don't see that God is loving or intimate. But then we look at
marriage and we understand that God is intimate but not that He is vast. But
even these pictures are inadequate. We then have children, which allows yet
another understanding of our relationship with God. Putting the myriad of
things we encounter in Creation together all provide various aspects of God
and His relationship to us. But even these, when all put together, must be
inadequate. Hence, I must say that I don't understand how prayer works
because I am projecting eternity into time. But I know this: that God wants
me to engage in it continually; when I don't engage in it I feel alienated
from God - I am "out of the loop"; God enjoys hearing from me; because I
love Him I want to engage in conversation with Him and please Him.
Your servant in Christ,