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Why God?: Week 1

Why God?: Week 1

Why God?

Why the series? Why does this subject matter? People are lost.

  • Most of us would acknowledge that someone else is taking the facts and rearranging them because they have their own agenda. (MSNBC, Fox News, etc.)
  • The Media is creating stories embedded with agendas that people miss: Marketing.
  • We acknowledge as parents we need to be careful with our kids’ choices of friends because who our kids choose to be around will shape them. Think Garbage, in Garbage out.
  • Our job as parents is to get our kids ready for the world. Christians call this discipleship.
  • As a church, the 20/Twenty Vision is about helping our kids by helping reach kids, and then through the kids, the parents, and then through the parents, in partnership with the church, the kids are ready.

Additional Resources: J. Warner Wallace (Cold Case Christianity, Forensic Faith, God’s Crime Scene), Lee Strobel (Case for Christ, Case for Faith, Case for a Creator), Turek and Geisler (I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist), Gonzales and Richards (The Privileged Planet: How our place in the cosmos is designed for discovery), McDowell and Dembski (Understanding Intelligent Design), Michael Behe (Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution), Josh McDowell (More than a Carpenter), Ben Stein’s video Expelled, CS Lewis (Mere Christianity), Anthony Flew (There is a God), Francis Collins (The Language of God)

The Bible declares that the world is evidence enough.

Psalm 14:1–3 (NIV) 1The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. 2The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Psalm 19:1–4 (NIV) 1The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

Romans 1:18–20 (NIV) 18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

The Bible tells us that we need to be ready, as believers, to answer questions.

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

Understanding the world we live in, and its agenda, is essential.

  • A vast majority of people have always believed there is a God, in part because the world and humans exist.
  • We either exist because someone or something created us. We have evidence of existence. “Where do we come from” is one of the most basic questions you can ask.
  • Charles Darwin gave the world an alternative explanation: Evolution.
  • Macro- versus Microevolution: Microevolution is small changes over time.
  • Macroevolution: common descent from a single cell organism as a result of random undirected processes. The main agents are natural selection and mutation (decent with modification).
  • Evolution was not designed to explain how God created the universe but to explain away a need for God all together .
  • Here’s a quote from Darwin’s Theory of Evolution website on the Origin of Species:

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is the widely held notion that all life is related and has descended from a common ancestor: Darwin’s general theory presumes the development of life from non-life and stresses a purely naturalistic (undirected) “descent with modification” . That is, complex creatures evolve from more simplistic ancestors naturally over time. In a nutshell, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism’s genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival — a process known as “natural selection.” These beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation. Over time, beneficial mutations accumulate and the result is an entirely different organism (not just a variation of the original, but an entirely different creature).    

                                     -www.darwins-theory-of-evolution.com by AllAboutScience.org                                                                                                                          [emphasis added]

Gerd Ludemann, Director of the Institute of Early Christian Studies at University of Gottingen, and professor at Vanderbilt University, wrote:

If the idea of resurrection both in Hellenistic Judaism, and in early Christianity is dependent on a particular concept of God and a particular picture of the cosmos, it is credible as long as that concept of God and that picture of the world are credible. If that concept of God and that worldview lose their credibility, ideas and beliefs that are dependent upon them lose their credibility as well. And that, in fact, is what happened with the coming of modern scientific knowledge about the physical and natural world. … And thanks to Darwin and his successors, we have come to see ourselves as the offspring of a long, evolutionary process who occupy a particular and highly significant place in that process, namely the point at which the evolutionary process has become conscious of itself…. In short, the ancient worldview on which the idea of resurrection is dependent, has been replaced by a modern worldview based on the finding of modern science. And with that profound change in worldview, the literal statements about the resurrection of the dead and the resurrection of Jesus have lost their literal meaning. [emphasis added]

                                      -Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figmt, IennverVaristy Press, 2000, p.141-142

Evolution has been used as a tool to explain away God and to discredit the Bible as Truth.

This week: Four reasons I believe in God (following God’s Crime Scene)

  • Cosmological argument: The Universe had a beginning: either The Big Bang, or God spoke.

Paolo Saraceno, astrophysics researcher, wrote “The discovery of the background radiation, together with the observed abundance of helium, was a mortal blow to the theory of a stationary universe; only an initial fireball could have produced it –this meant that the universe had an origin.” -Beyond the Stars, 2012, p.26

Robert Jastrow, astrophysicist, wrote “At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” -The Enchanted Loom: Mind in the Universe, Simon & Schuster, 1981, p. 19

Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, wrote “The big bang cries out for a divine explanation. It forces the conclusion that nature had a defined beginning. I do not see how nature could have created itself. Only a supernatural force that is outside of space and time could have done it.” -The Language of God, 2006, p.67

He also wrote “All together, there are fifteen physical constants whose values current theory is unable to predict. They are givens: they simply have the value that they have. This list includes the speed of light, the strength of the weak and strong nuclear forces, various parameters associated with electro magnetism, the force of gravity. The chance that all of these constants would take the values necessary to result in a stable universe capable of sustaining complex life forms is infinitesimal. And yet those are exactly the parameters that we observe. In some, our universe is wildly improbable. -The Language of God, 2006, p.74

Stephen Hawking wrote “The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the big bang are enormous… I think there are clearly religious implications” -Universe, p.109

Freeman Dyson, physicist, wrote “The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.” -Disturbing the Universe, 1979 p.250

Arno Penzias, Nobel Prize winning scientist, told the New York Times “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.” -March 12, 1978

Paul Davies, Physicist at Arizona State University, was quoted by J. Warner Wallace in God’s Crime Scene as having said, “The odds against the level of fine tuning related to dark matter alone has been likened to 10120 to 1—Davies likened these odds as unlikely as flipping a coin and getting heads no fewer than four hundred times in a row. Odds this great stretch the imagination and make explanations unreasonable.”

Probability on top of probability: the casino of life. The odds of each of the 15 aspects of the universe being what they are times the next and so on… then you must add the odds of each of the biological constraints…

  • Biological design -Video with Micheal Behe

Sir Fred Hoyle, Originator of the Steady State Theory of Evolution

According to Fred Hoyle’s analysis, the probability of cellular life’s arising from non-living matter (abiogenesis) was about one-in1040,000 . (Evolution from space) He commented “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable to the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.” -“Hoyle on Evolution”, Nature, Nov. 12, 1981, p.105

He also wrote, “The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it… it is big enough to bury, Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.” -Evolution from space p.148

He also wrote, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.” – “Let there be Light”, Engineering and Science, November 1981 p.8-12

Sir Francis Crick, Co-discoverer of DNA, wrote “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge—available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life—appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have—been satisfied to get it going.” -Life itself: Its Origin and Nature, 1981, p.88

Dr. James Tour, synthetic organic chemist at Rice University, wrote, “Those who think scientists understand the issues of prebiotic chemistry are wholly misinformed. Nobody understands them. Maybe one day we will. But that day is far from today. It would be far more helpful (and hopeful) to expose students to the massive gaps in our understanding. They may find a firmer — and possibly a radically different — scientific theory.” – “Animadversions of a synthetic chemist”, Inference: International Review of Science, 2018

    • Note that “prebiotic chemistry” refers to the chemistry that occurred on earth before life existed.

“The ‘take home’ message is straightforward: We have no idea how some of the most basic molecules necessary for life could have been produced by unguided processes.” -Jay Wile, “Dr. James Tour Tells Us How Little We Know About the Origin of Life,” Proslogion, Aug. 16 2016

  • Human Consciousness
    • Awareness of self and the ability to choose rather than the laws of nature or instinct deciding.
    • Free will—if all we are is a combination of chemicals, we would not have free will, but would have to do what our biology (machine-like functions) demands.

Anthony Flew wrote in There is A God – How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind,

Let us perform a thought experiment, “Think for a minute of a marble table in front of you. Do you think that, given a trillion years or infinite time , this table could suddenly or gradually become conscious, aware of its surroundings, aware of its identity the way you are? It is simply inconceivable that would happen. And the same goes for any kind of matter. Once you understand the nature of matter, of mass energy, you realize that by its very nature, it could never become aware- never think, never say “I”. But the atheist position is that at some point in the history of the universe the impossible and the inconceivable took place. ….Over the last three hundred years, empirical science has uncovered immeasurably more data about the physical world than could have been imagined by our ancestors. This includes a comprehensive understanding of genetic and neural networks that underlie life, conciseness, thought, and the self. But beyond saying that these four phenomena operate with physical infrastructure that is better understood than ever before, science cannot say anything about the nature or origin of the phenomena themselves. [emphasis added] (p.163)

  • Natural Law
    • Humanity has an embedded moral sense of right and wrong that is universal—not in a detailed sense, but generally in overall categories.
    • Natural law says that we have embedded in our hearts/minds a standard of right and wrong.
    • Evolutionists try to argue that it has come from evolution itself, but the moral standards we see in humans are altruistic— people do the right thing even if it leads to their own death (rather than only if it helps them survive).
    • So where does this come from? The God who created us embedded it within us.
    • They can choose to follow it, but don’t.

J Warner Wallace wrote in God’s Crime Scene, “Humans throughout history have recognized the universal transcendent objective nature of a variety of moral codes even though some behaviors can be defended under certain circumstances.”

Francis Collins, Head of the Human Genome Project and scientist wrote, “What we have here is very peculiar: the concept of right and wrong appears to be universal among all members of the human species (though its application may result in wildly different outcomes). It thus seems to be a phenomenon approaching that of a law, like the law of gravitation or of special relativity. Yet in this instance, it’s a law that if we are honest with ourselves, is broken with astounding regularity.” -The Language of God, p. 19-28

CS Lewis wrote, “If a man will go into a library and spend a few days with the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, he will soon discover the massive unanimity of the practical reason in man. From the Babylonian Hymn to Samos, from the laws of Manu, the Book of the Dead, the Analects, the Stoics, The Platonists, from Australian aborigines and Redskins, He will collect the same triumphantly monotonous denunciations of oppression. Murder, treachery and falsehood; the same injunctions of kindness to the aged, the young, and the weak, of alms giving and impartiality, and honesty.” -“The Poison of Subjectivism,” Christian Reflections, Eerdmans, 1967, p. 73

 

Final point: Why are we giving ground to things that cannot be established as fact if there is still honest debate about it?

What am I asking you to consider doing?

1. Get ready with an answer. Take responsibility for knowing what the enemy is doing.

2. Lead. you were given the role to share your faith with unbelievers who will listen and teach those who you are responsible for.

Discussion Questions for home, or Life Group:

Passages to discuss: Psalm 19, Romans 1:20

1. What has been your understanding about how the world began?

2. What about those around you, outside of your church family—how do they think the world began?

3. Have you ever, or do you, wonder about Christianity’s claim that God created everything? A) What causes you to wonder? B) What has helped you in believing that God is Creator?

4. What in creation, nature, or interaction with people fills you most with a sense of God’s glory, presence, or ability to create?

5. How does believing that God created everything change how you view life situations, feel about people, or make decisions? (Or does it?) A) What might change if you thought regularly about God as Creator?

6. What steps do you need to take to be more prepared to talk about God as Creator with your family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers?

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