Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time (Col 4:5).
Lesson 1: GOD IS REAL!
Read Acts 17:1-34.
How can we now for certain that God really exists?
Wouldn’t it be great if He would manifest His glory to everyone and proclaim, “Here I am.” Ask Christians why they believe God exists and you may receive the following:
1) I just know He does.
2) I have seen Him at work in my life.
3) He has answered my prayers
4) I just feel He does.
These are all good answers, but when seeking hard evidence, these answers are not quite sufficient. They are merely subjective. They relate to personal convictions and experiences, but none are based on hard objective evidence.
In order to genuinely submit our lives to God, we must have rock solid, undeniable, objective evidence. (This is why many have so easily fallen away from their faith.) If God really does exist, and indeed created us, He must have made sure to reveal Himself to us in some way; if not in a personal manner, then at least through His creation—the world around us. It would seem logically inconsistent that God would exist and not communicate to His creation.
Main Views Of World Religions
Where did it all come from, how did we get here, where are we going? The answers to these questions have been sought and debated for generations. And while many ideas have been circulated, only three serious alternatives have ever been proposed:
1) We’ve always existed and will always exist.
2) We were created by a Creator.
3) We are the product of natural process solely influenced by chance and time.
These three explanations of our existence mesh perfectly with the main views of world religions: Pantheism believes we’ve always existed; Monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam believe we were created by a Creator, God. And Atheism rejects the existence of any intelligent force (Creator) in the universe.
Understanding How We Really Came To Be
We can start by eliminating the first alternative view—that we’ve always existed. Through astronomy we know as a virtually undisputed fact that the universe, our solar system and our planet have not always existed and also that our sun and earth at some point in the future will cease to exist. We can also prove that the universe is expanding, showing that there was some central point of beginning. Also through paleontology (studying early life on earth) and archaeology we know that mankind has not always existed on earth but has only been around for a relative short period of time.
Chance Is Not An Objective Answer
Scientist A. Cressy Morrison, wrote several books and articles showing why he, as a scientist believed in God. The following quotations are from his book Man Does Not Stand Alone.
“By unwavering mathematical law we can prove our universe was designed and executed by a great engineering Intelligence. Suppose you put ten pennies, marked from one to ten, into your pocket and give them a good shuffle. Now try to take them out in sequence from one to ten, putting back the coin each time and shaking them all again. Mathematically we know that your chance of first drawing number one is one in ten; of drawing one and two in succession, one to one hundred; of drawing one, two and three in succession, one in a thousand, and so on; your chance of drawing them all, from number one to number ten in succession, would reach the unbelievable figure of one chance in ten billion.
By the same reasoning, so many exacting conditions are necessary for life on the earth that they could not possibly exist in proper relationship by chance. The earth rotates on its axis one thousand miles an hour; if it turned at one hundred miles an hour, our days and nights would be ten times as long as now, and the hot sun would burn up our vegetation each long day while in the long night any surviving sprout would freeze.
Again, the sun, the source of our life, has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and our earth is just far enough away so that this ‘eternal fire’ warms us just enough and not too much! If the sun gave off only half of its present radiation, we would freeze and if it gave half as much more, we would roast.
The slant of the earth, tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, gives us our seasons; if it had not been so tilted, vapors from the ocean would move north and south, piling up for us continents of ice. If our moon was, say, only 50 thousand miles away instead of its actual distance, our tides would be so enormous that twice a day all continents would be submerged; even the mountains would soon be eroded away. If the crust of the earth had been only ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, without which animal life must die. Had the ocean been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetable life could exist. Or if our atmosphere had been much thinner, some of the meteors, now burned in space by the millions every day, would be striking all parts of the earth, setting fires everywhere.
Because of these and a host of other examples, there is not one chance in millions that life on our planet is an accident.” (A. Cressy Morrison, “Seven Reasons Why a Scientist Believes in GOD,” Reader’s Digest, Dec., 1946 and Oct., 1960. The article has been printed in book form under the same title and is a summary of the book Man Does Not Stand Alone).
Dr. John Cleveland Cothran, mathematician and chemist, shows that it is impossible that chaos, chance and haphazards could be the cause of our orderly universe. He concludes the inescapable conclusion that God is the cause of all things:
“Now the material realm not being able to create itself and its governing laws, the act of creation must have been performed by some non-material agent. The stupendous marvels accomplished in that act show that this agent must posses superlative intelligence, an attribute of mind. But to bring into action in the material realm, as for example, in the practice of medicine and in the field of parapsychology, the exercise of will is required, and this can be exerted only by a person. Hence our logical and inescapable conclusion is not only that creation occurred but that it was brought about according to the plan and will of a person endowed with supreme intelligence and knowledge (omniscience), and the power to bring it about and keep it running according to plan (omnipotence) always and everywhere throughout the universe (omnipresence). That is to say, we accept unhesitatingly the fact of the existence of the supreme spiritual Being, God, the Creator and director of the universe…” (“The Inescapable Conclusion,” The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, pg.42).
Just For Thought
Have you noticed how many people tend to think that if there’s a chance something can happen, it actually will occur? The statistical probability might be very small, and all odds are against it, yet many still are willing to wager. That’s the idea behind gambling. The odds are against us—we all know that—but we might be lucky. So many folks are willing to bet their money on it. Casinos and lotteries capitalize on this tendency of many to think that if they only try, and keep trying, they have a good chance at winning.
Evolution is an identical concept. This idea is that, even if its chances are tiny, it could happen, and if you just try enough times it will happen; that’s exactly the idea behind evolution. That’s probably why it appeals so strongly to so many.
Theory of Evolution: We are the product of natural process solely influenced by chance and time.
What is evolution exactly? According to the Theory of evolution, the entire universe is considered to have evolved by natural process and random selection into its present state of high organization and complexity. In this approach the universe began in a state of pure randomness. Gradually it has—by “survival of the fittest”—become more ordered and complex. The idea continues that, in order for the complex structure of the universe to have been produced by natural processes, a vast amount of time was required.
The Bible teaches, “In the beginning God created” and “In the beginning was the Word.” A simple way of explaining this basic principle is to say that a divine intelligence existed before anything else and that intelligence was responsible for the origin of life and for the existence of all living things, including human beings. No matter how much time we might allow for evolution to do the necessary creating, the evidence shows that the process would never get started, because all evolution can do is to further minor variations in organisms that are already living, without any change in their basic classification. When the Bible says, “In the beginning God created” (Gen 1:1), it is presenting us with a fact, which we need to know to understand everything else, including what we were created for and how God wants us to live. The Bible also says that God created men and women in His own image (Gen 1:27). That, too, is a fact. If it were not true, there would be no science, because no theory of evolution can demonstrate how intelligence came into existence, including the intelligence of misguided people who misuse science to try to explain creation without allowing any role to God.
“In the beginning was the Word.” The Bible says it and, properly understood, the evidence of science confirms it. Anyone who says otherwise is sowing fantasy, not fact.
God Has Revealed Himself: General & Special Revelation
A certain amount of information about God can be learned by observation of the material universe:
1) Psalm 19:1-6: The heavens declare God’s glory. This is General Revelation, creation itself displays all the hallmarks of a Superior, All Mighty, and Intelligent designer. In Rom 1:18-20, the apostle Paul argues that certain invisible things of God can clearly be seen by observing the things made. Man looks at the things which were created—the cosmos, universe. In it he sees purpose, order, design, intelligence. This allows man to see (perceive) invisible things: God’s power, divinity, and moral attributes (love, goodness etc.).
Power: that which brought into existence the universe and now controls it.
Divinity: supreme intelligence and will which directed and continues to direct the power.
Moral attributes: all things were created “very good” (no evil, harm, or deceit) for man’s pleasure, peace, happiness, and wellbeing. This is a direct reflection of the Creators nature and character. Man is without excuse if he does not obey and submit to God’s plan. But General Revelation offers no power to change his heart. It does not tell of Christ; it prepares the way for Him. It brings diagnosis, but offers no remedy.
2) Psalm 19:7-14: Describes the revelation of God in Scripture (the Law).
This and all other forms of manifestations and communications within Scripture constitute Special Revelation. More importantly, God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. Christ declared (“to unfold”) the Father; Jn 1:18; Jn 14:7-9. One cannot learn the will of God for their lives apart from Special Revelation in Scripture.
We Know God Is Real Because:
1) There is no scientific, evolutionary explanation for the cause of the Big Bang. How could something come out of nothing? How could the universe come to exist without a cause? The sudden occurrence of a Big Bang event and the “popping into existence of space and time can be explained only as caused by a Creator who Himself is beyond and outside space and time.
2) The natural laws that govern the universe and our world are perfectly fine-tuned. Even minor changes in the constants of these laws and/or the natural or chemical properties of the elements critical to life would have destroyed life before it existed. How can these natural laws be so perfectly balanced and designed without a designer?
3) Even if a one-celled life form could have started by natural process alone, there is no mechanism for this life form to “evolve” into more complex life forms. All familiar evidences for evolution into more complex species demonstrate natural selection (variation within one species) and not genetic mutation (new DNA as a result of errors during cell duplication resulting in additional, better characteristics for the life form).
Walking In Godly Wisdom, Lesson 1 Questions
1) What reasons have some Christians given for believing God is real? Why are these not sufficient?
2) Describe the 3 Main World Views of Religion. Are they sufficient enough to give an objective explanation as to how life came to be? Explain your answer.
3) Why is it that “chance” fails to be an objective explanation for our existence? What are some good solid reasons? What two things are impossible for the material realm to accomplish on its own?
4) How has God revealed Himself? Explain the significance of each one.
5) What are some good factual reasons why the Big Bang and evolution are false and impossible.