002) A High-level Case for God’s Existence
The first words of our Bible say, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. (Genesis 1:1) If you were to walk down Main Street and ask the random person if they believe those words to be true, they are more likely than not to give you mixed signals. Most will confess with their lips they believe the account to be true, however, when you ask some deeper, more probing questions, the historicity of ‘God as Creator of all’ is lost on them. The church owes people something more than just reciting random biblical verses for them to subscribe to the faith. ‘Belief’ is a binary operation; either you do, or you do not. While many are inclined (desire) to believe, they inherently lack the understanding of biblical truth claims on which to base their belief. Together, let us look at the evidence in the case for God and test the veracity of the bold truth claim made in Genesis 1:1. Did God really create the heavens and the earth?
Perhaps the best place to start is with a deep-seated realization that the Bible is not about God’s plan for your life. (Wait, what?!?!) Most of us have been told this repeatedly throughout our lives. We’ve been told that God is omnibenevolent (“all loving and perfectly good”) and, therefore, in our meager minds, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”; it even says so in Psalm 23:6. Surely, that must mean heaven sits on pins and needles, eagerly awaiting my arrival, right? Not exactly. Jesus, Himself, gave us the single most terrifying statement in all of scripture,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
We are cautioned not to take the random Bible verse out of context; the Bible must be read and understood as whole. The Bible is not about God’s plan for you, rather it is about God and the role you play in His plan. (Pause and give this a moment to sink in.) People in our secular world do not like hearing this politically incorrect assertion. “If it’s not a prosperity gospel that pays benefits to me and demonstrates universal fairness and equity to all, then I don’t want to hear it.” That’s fine; just realize God still exists and your belief (or disbelief) doesn’t change the fact that He’s still there. Let’s take a lesson out of Job (pronounced “Jobe”) chapter 38 when God says, it was He who “laid the foundation of the earth”... He “determined its measurements”, and He “laid its cornerstone”. In other words, “God created all”. Please take the time to read the forty-one verses of Job chapter 38 and it will remind you how insignificant we really are compared to the Creator of heaven and earth. Yet, never forget that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son as a ransom for you. We are, in fact, small; yet we are treasured above all else.
William Paley’s (1743 – 1805) teleological argument (that’s the argument from “design”) is one of the strongest arguments for the existence of God. In essence, Paley argues that if he were to walk down a path and kick his foot upon a stone, he might think nothing of it. However, if he walks down that same path and finds a watch, his thoughts are completely different. The watch has a case, a face, hands, and under the face it has gears, springs, and miscellaneous parts which all serve together for a specific purpose. In Paley’s words, “(they are) regulating that motion… by an equable and measured progression, to pass over a given space in a given time.” It was designed for the purpose of measuring time, and it serves that function well. The watch necessarily requires a watchmaker; its design requires a designer. Now consider the human body which is a system of systems. A “system” is like Paley’s watch analogy; it is designed to do one thing and do that one thing well. We have the nervous system, skeletal system, muscular system, digestive system, circulatory system, reproductive system, respiratory system, lymphatic system, and many other systems in the body. Does it seem reasonable that all these systems coexist by chance? If we take away just one of these systems (just pick any one at random), we cease to exist. It, therefore, necessarily follows that if they all happened by some random chance, then they had to randomly happen all at the same time. Is this theory plausible in your mind or is it more rational that you (the creature), were created (engineered and well-designed) by a Creator (God)?
Consider, we live in an era of where nothing can be believed outside of the realm of science that we know. Therefore, “Big Bang” is considered the most likely cause of the universe. Scientist can see the universe is expanding; galaxies and heavenly bodies are drifting further and further apart as time goes on. Therefore, if we roll the hands of Paley’s watch backwards, those heavenly bodies would draw closer together and the universe would get smaller. Presumably, if we go back far enough in time, they all come together in the form of a big rock floating in space somewhere in the universe; which then exploded and sent matter all over space as galaxies, planets, stars, and other interplanetary matter. What “Big Bang” does not explain is, “What happened the day before the rock exploded?”. If we went backwards in time eternally, did the rock always exist? Asked differently, “Was there ever a time when the rock did not exist?”. Does an eternal rock seem rational and plausible in your mind? Wrap your mind around that concept for a moment… “it never NOT existed”. Where did the atoms, the elements, the molecules, the minerals come from? What cause the exploding rock to come into existence in the first place? Does science have a satisfactory answer for you? The word for this question is “ex nihilo”, which means “out of nothing”. It’s hard for the human mind to conceive of the actual concept of “nothing”. We think we understand the concept; it’s the absence of all matter. You’d imagine yourself floating in the dark abyss of space without stars, planets, or matter of any kind. But that’s not “nothing”. Where did the (now) empty space come from? You could move forwards, backwards, up, down, or side to side in this dark void; and that void is “something” (it’s space). What is the plausible explanation for something out of nothing (ex nihilo)? The Bible offers the only plausible explanation; Something outside of the confines of time, space, and matter created time, space, and matter.
For many, the supernatural is a roadblock they cannot get past. Yes, Jesus was a historical figure. Yes, He preached around Palestine. Yes, he was executed on a cross. Yes, He was dead and yes, He was buried. But a dead man walking out of the tomb is a stretch too far for some… that, after all, is supernatural. To that we have to ask, “If supernatural is not a ‘thing’, then how do you explain ‘you’?”. How do you explain the undeniable fact that ‘things’ (matter) exist all around you every day? Most important of all, how do you explain the origins of everything you see? For those, who cannot get past the supernatural, the Apostle Paul has something you should consider.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.“
The Psalmist says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” Do you have a more rational, more plausible, or non-supernatural (ie natural) explanation? If not, the Bible explains it; “In the beginning, God…”.
There is so much more to share in the weeks to come. To keep up with this series in our case for biblical truth, we invite you to follow us on the web (https://orcbc.org/) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/centralbaptistoakridge/). If you would like to participate in this study, our small group meets every Sunday at 9:30am at Central Baptist Church (130 Providence Rd behind the high school in Oak Ridge) in Room A-102; you are always welcome to join us.