Archives for October 2017

Does God Exist?

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“Carl Sagan once told a parable of a man who comes to us and claims:  “There is a dragon in my garage.” Fascinating! We reply that we wish to see this dragon—let us set out at once for the garage!

“But wait,” the claimant says to us, “it is an invisible dragon.”

Now as Sagan points out, this doesn’t make the hypothesis unfalsifiable. Perhaps we can go to the garage, and although we see no dragon, we may hear heavy breathing; or perhaps footprints that mysteriously appear on the ground; and instruments show that something in the garage is consuming oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.

But now suppose that we say to the claimant, “Okay, we’ll visit the garage and see if we can hear heavy breathing,” and the claimant quickly says no, it’s an inaudible dragon.”

We propose to measure carbon dioxide in the air, and the claimant says the dragon does not breathe. We propose to toss a bag of flour into the air to see if it outlines an invisible dragon, and the claimant immediately says, “The dragon is permeable to flour.”

To secularists, God is the dragon; invisible, inaudible, and non-existent.   They say that he is un-provable because he does not exist.  Today in our series called, “We Believe” in God, we are going to discuss – What do you say to the person who does not believe in the existence of God?

The book of Romans has some very straight forward things to say to the world of skeptics, agnostics and atheists.  And the point of this passage is to point out the obvious: Yes Virginia, there is a God.  I want to take you through the conversation that Paul had with the imaginary atheist of his day, in a question and answer format.  We will ask and answer 5 questions that Atheists ask.  And by the time we are finished, I hope you’ll be soundly convinced that there is evidence for the existence of God.

  1. Why don’t atheists believe in God?

I did quite a bit of reading this last week, and watched a number of videos from Atheists.  Here is what I found.  There is a wide variety of reasons that skeptics give for disbelief.  They rank God up there with fairy tales and unicorns.  They struggle with the injustice of the universe that God would correct if there was a God.  They complain about the many supposed contradictions in the Bible.

But one thing I heard over and over was that the burden of proof was on the believer, because, they say, there is a complete lack of evidence for the existence of God.  So they say it is up to us to convince them of the evidence.

The Bible gives a completely different reason why people don’t believe in God.  In verse 18 it claims that it is because of the “ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”  While skeptics may give many reasons for unbelief, the underlying motive is that they want to live how they want to live, and they don’t want some real or imaginary god telling them what to do!  This is a universal problem.  Neither men, women or children want to submit to God.  We are rebels at heart who bristle against anyone who dares to challenge us to tell us what to do.

Romans 1:18 claims that even though they know deep down inside that God exists, they purposefully suppress the truth.  Not only do they not like the truth, they suppress it in order to convince others that religion is nothing more than an imaginary fairy tale.

  1. Where should I look to find the evidence?

Verse 19 says that, “what may be known of God is manifest.”  Manifest is a word which means really “obvious, something clearly seen, easily observed, universally known.”

If you want to know where the evidence for the existence of God is, just look around.  Evidence abounds everywhere you look.  It is in a child’s smile, in a starry sky, in a mountain stream, in your DNA and fingerprints.  It is in the sunshine as well as in a thunder storm.  The existence of God is staring out at us from every atom in the universe.  It has become so ordinary and everyday that for those who fail to look, they cannot see it.

But let’s just say that that your Atheist friend suggests that believing in God is like believing in leprechauns.  Don’t buy it for an instant.  Believing in leprechauns is unjustifiable.  They are based on fabricated tales told to children.  But Believing in God is like believing in atoms.  Why do you believe in protons and neutrons?  Have you ever seen one?  I have not.  But you believe in them?  How did you come to that conclusion?  You followed the evidence of what you can see to believe the existence of something you cannot see.

Here is my proposal to you:  I challenge you to look closely at everything in life, and if you do, you will discover evidence of a loving God who is there.  Ask God, “Please show yourself to me.”

  1. Why doesn’t God just show me he exists?

He has!  Verse 19 concludes, “God has shown it to them!”  Now I told you that evidence for the existence of God is universally available and knowable by anyone who wants to see.  So now I’m going to get specific about where you can find it.

The first place to look is internally.  Eccl 3:11 states that God has put eternity in our hearts.  We cannot escape God, because we have a God consciousness stamped in our hearts.  Augustine said that there is a God shaped vacuum inside every man, and that man is restless until he finds his rest in God.  Man can intellectually argue God away, but he cannot crush the consciousness of God in his own heart.

Marilyn Adamson writes, “I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people…to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded.

To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.  I didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known.[i]

author Malcolm Muggeridge wrote, “I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued.”

C.S. Lewis said he remembered, “…night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”[ii]

  • Philosophers agree that a transcendent Law Giver is the only plausible explanation for an objective moral standard. So, ask yourself if you believe in right and wrong and then ask yourself why. Who gave you your conscience? Why does it exist?
  • People of every race, creed, color, and culture, both men and women, young and old, wise and foolish, from the educated to the ignorant, claim to have personally experienced something of the supernatural. So what are we supposed to do with these prodigious accounts of divine healing, answered prayer, and other miraculous phenomena? Ignorance and imagination may have played a part to be sure, but is there something more?[iii]

Man has the uneasy feeling that we are not alone.  Man in the depths of his heart knows there is a God.

  1. Just what is this evidence you speak of?

Verse 20 “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…”

Very simply, creation points to the creator.  The Bible states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset—all of these things point to a Creator God.

Abraham Lincoln said, “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth (with all of its evils) and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.

Here are some truths that creation teaches us.

  • Discoveries in astronomy have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning at a single moment of creation. The universe burst into being in one moment.  They call it, “the Big Bang.”  We call it Creation.  Because we know that every Big Bang requires a Big Banger!
  • Advances in molecular biology have revealed vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell, and molecular biologists have discovered thousands upon thousands of exquisitely designed machines at the molecular level. Information of this complexity requires intelligence and design requires a designer.
  • Biochemists and mathematicians have calculated the odds against life arising from non-life naturally via unintelligent processes. The odds are so astronomical they are impossible. In fact, scientists aren’t even sure if life could have evolved with some intelligent processes guiding them.
  • The universe is ordered by natural laws. Where did these laws come from?[iv]

The human body is an absolute marvel.  Take the eye for instance.  Our eyes are inset, so as to protect them.  The eyelid defends the eye from injury, wipes it, keeping it moisturized and clear, and closes in sleep.  Its vision is sharper than a camera, and has never been replaced by a newer model.  The ear is an acoustic marvel.  We can hear some 15,000 tones.  Not only is the ear for hearing, but it controls equilibrium as well.  Stretched over our body is skin, so tough as to endure a shocking amount of use and punishment, and yet so sensitive as to detect texture and temperature of most anything it contacts.  Then there is the heart.  It has its own nervous system that operates independently so that if all other nerves were severed, the heart would keep beating.  It beats some 20,000 times a day, 40 million beats per year, and over 2 billion times in a lifetime.  Most without maintenance, without rest or repair.  Even man’s best engines cannot match that.  Then there is the mouth, what can we say about that.  Some of us can talk for hours on end without so much as a single breath.  Only God could have created such an intricate and amazing creation.

God’s invisible attributes are clearly detailed in creation.  God’s eternal power and Godhead are clearly understood by what he has made

A revolutionary once boasted to a peasant, “We are going to pull down all that reminds you of God.”  Said the peasant dryly, “Citizen, pull down the stars then!”

  1. What if Still I don’t believe?

You are in trouble.  Look at the last four words of verse 20, “they are without excuse.”  You are without excuse.  Facts are stubborn things and whatever our wishes may be, they cannot alter the state of facts or history.  You may wish pigs to fly, or monkeys to be men, but wishing doesn’t make it so.

The Bible says that in the long run, we must accept by faith the fact that God exists: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply get on TV and prove to the whole world that He exists. But even then, many would not believe.  Even if one cam back from the dead, they will not believe.

“Jesus told Thomas, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believe’” (John 20:29).

[i] https://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html

[ii] https://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html

[iii] http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/does-god-exist-c.htm

[iv] http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/does-god-exist-c.htm