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Sunday, January 5, 2014 am                Back to Basics Index

 

BACK TO BASICS
January – Why I Believe in God
The Case for God

 Today we begin the first of our studies dealing with the basics.  We begin with the most fundamental of doctrines – Does God exist? 

Roughly 15-16% of the world’s population declares themselves as either atheist or no religion (agnostic, non-believers in God, humanist, etc.).  In the United States of America, that number is between 3-9% (exact numbers are difficult to get).[1]   In the United States this group is the 2nd largest (behind the conglomeration of faiths that follow Jesus at approx. 76.5%). In the world, this group is the 3rd largest (behind believers in Jesus and Islam)[2].  But this group is also one of the fastest growing groups. 

I realize I am “preaching to the choir” today, but we live in times where the question needs an answer.  We are living in a secular society that makes no apology for trying to remove God.  All around, secularism is assaulting our beliefs, especially belief in the Bible as God’s exclusive, inerrant word.  We need to be ready to “give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you”. (1 Pet. 3:15)   Furthermore, our children ARE being introduced to these concepts both in our public school system and the media, sometimes subtly and at other times blatantly. 

Discussing this with my son Joshua, he gave me a quote from a gospel preacher - Questions not answered well do NOT go away!  The point is if we sweep something under the carpet or give an dismissive answer to a question, it will come back.

So let us take some time to address the subject of God.  Today we will examine the question from external evidence (because until you convince someone that God does exist, a study of the Bible is meaningless.).  However, we WILL appeal to scriptures to show that the Bible does address some of these subjects. 

Next week we will talk about the God of the Bible.  Next Sunday night, we are going to discuss Theistic evolution (and the day-age theory).   ON 1/26 we want do briefly examine the character of the God of the Bible and we might address some criticisms of God.

I could spend much of a year dealing with evidences for the existence of God and who God is.  This lesson is a simple and brief introduction. 

 I.                    Scientific arguments

a.        Design demands a designer – also known as the teleological argument. 
You know that when you see something with design, there has to be a designer behind it.  For example, when you see a car you KNOW without question that someone had to design and make that car and all the parts in it.  It didn’t just appear.  Nor did a natural disaster cause the car to come together (e.g. a tornado in a junkyard puts a working car together).
The same is true with the universe.  And what is remarkable is that science, as it continues to improve (shall we say evolve?) rather than disproving a designer, it is presenting stronger evidence that what exists was NOT by accident. 
Consider the simple example of a snowman.  When it snows, does a snowman just appear or is it assembled?
A study of DNA reveals a complex system - as we learn more and more about DNA, we find a complex system that stores code and distributes information which thereby determines structure and function.  It functions very much like a super-computer which processes information, error correction, data retrieval and reassembly, and has a filing system with multiple tiers of files within folders.  As I understand it, DNA processes proteins in much the same way.  And the MORE we learn about DNA which is in every living thing, the more we see design behind it.
The placement of planet earth – The size of the earth is just right.  If it were larger or smaller, it could not support our atmosphere which is necessary for life.  If it were any closer to or further away from the sun, the earth would be too cold or hot.  The earth is tilted at the right angle, if it were not then water would flow to the poles and stay there – in the middle would be vast desserts.  The earth is rotating at the right speed (ca. 1000 mph), circulating around the sun at the right speed (70k mph), etc.   If the rotation of the earth around the sun were halved seasons would be twice as long and unable to support life.  If the rotation speed were doubled the earth could not grow enough food to feed its population.  So many more details could be added to this to demonstrate that our placement here was no mere accident!  Someone had to be behind it!

THOUGHT: Man often studies nature and learns from it. He CREATES and designs based upon the laws of nature.  For example, studying the pattern of flight in birds – including movement, skeletal structure and other things, that information has helps develop the theory of flight (aerodynamics) and structure of airplanes.  The reason he can do this is because there is DESIGN behind the laws of nature.[3] 

Gen. 1:1 – The Bible tells us there IS a designer.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
David said, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Romans 1:20 tells us, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

b.       The cosmological argument – something had to start it all. 
There are so many factors that science is discovering that demonstrates this universe and world had a beginning.  From the expansion of the universe – which demonstrates at some point it had to start, to the laws of thermodynamics (energy) - which state that energy is constantly being used up and will eventually become exhausted and die, to the fact that all material things eventually wear out all point to the fact that something had to start it all AND that something has to come from WITHOUT the realm of this natural universe.  NOTE: In all 3 of these examples – if matter is eternal why has it not been used up yet?
The Bible says in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth.”  The word for “created” is the Hebrew, BARA which means “to make something that has not been in existence before.” [4]

c.        The creation of life.  You cannot create life from inorganic (non-living) matter. 
Where did life come from?  Evolution generally teaches that life originated from inorganic matter.  But can they prove it?  NOT at all!  Man has tried to create life and has failed.  With all our technology and understanding of nature and science, man still cannot figure out how to create life.

Also consider this: Let’s suppose that one day, man is able to create a simple living organism in a test tube.  Would it have been created WITH or without intelligence? 
Furthermore, considering the creation of life from inorganic matter, we are talking about a very simple life form (e.g. an amoeba – a single celled organism OR maybe a protein – a component of life).  How does that explain the complexity of the various forms of life on earth?
The Bible says, Gen. 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

 II.                  Moral arguments

a.        The concept of eternity – Eternity calls for something outside of the natural realm that is greater.  We know that SOMETHING has to be eternal and it CANNOT be the natural realm.   Eternity makes a case for an all-powerful, intelligent being.
Apologist Charlie Campbell, in dealing with this subject of eternity and whether or not God is eternal said: “If nothing cannot produce something, and yet something exists, then it follows necessarily that something has always existed (in order to bring the something into existence). Think of it this way: If there ever was a time that absolutely nothing existed, nothing would exist now. Something exists now therefore, there was never a time in which nothing existed. So to answer the question, Who made God? No one. God is eternal and does not need a maker. The universe is not eternal and does require a maker.[5]
Eccl. 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

b.       Our sense of “ought” – How does man explain our sense of morality and the conscience?  It is a quality that is exclusive to humans as well.  This includes our conscience, our sense of morality, our ability to appreciate beauty, our concern for others, our ability to learn, communicate and reason, etc. 
 The extent of animal behavior outside of humanity is driven by survival, primitive behavior and trained responses. According to evolution, the survival of the fittest is the rule.  IF that is nature, how do you explain the development of these attributes of mankind?  They truly are unnatural!   The general theory of evolution or the lack of God cannot explain this.  But the Bible does!
Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
1 Corinthians 15:19 tells us, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Consider this:  The very fact that we are discussing morality means there is understanding of the need for a standard of morality. Debating it proves there is a standard.  The debate really is about - WHAT is that standard?  And that standard calls for something greater than us who gives us that standard.

 III.                The Bible declares God

a.        Genesis 1:1, as we have noted, “In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

b.       Heb. 11:3, 6,  By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV)

a.        Psalm 19:1–3, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard.

b.       Psa. 33:6-9, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

 

Conclusion: Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.”   What makes him so is his wager with eternity.  The atheist will often mock the Christian for his faith in that which cannot be proven with the 5 senses.  But I ask you to consider the faith required of an atheist as we conclude this lesson. 

By faith the atheist must:

·         Deny the existence of God, even though the majority of people believe in a divine being. 

·         Believe that matter is eternal, even though laws of science say differently.

·         Believe that life came from inorganic matter and then evolved in ways that cannot be explained.

·         Believe that man invented the concept of God because he wanted to worship.

·         Live life with the HOPE that there is nothing after it to which he must answer.

There are too many questions the atheist cannot answer to deny the existence of God with certainty.  The truth is, the atheist doesn’t like what he hears about God and doesn’t want to be accountable to him.  But that does NOT change that one day he will have to give an accounting for himself to the very God he denied – 2 Cor. 5:10.  Let us not be guilty of that!

Having presented some basic ideas to make a case for the existence of God, in our next lesson we will discuss WHO this God is.

 



[4] Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) 1997 : n. pag. Print.

[5] Campbell, Charlie; Quick Responses to Skeptics, “What Evidence Do You Have That There Is A God?” http://www.alwaysbeready.com/