On the historic Apollo 8 mission, astronauts, for the first time, were outside of earth’s orbit, circling the moon. They were looking back at the earth from space. During this mission, they were able to speak back to earth. Do you know what they said to the people on earth?
They opened a book that they packed. A book they made sure went on board with them, when they had to consider every ounce of weight, they intentionally packed a Bible and read the creation account from Genesis and prayed a prayer for the planet of people they were looking down on. (see Genesis 1)
Today, many years later, the reality of God and creation, seems like a far-fetched leap of faith. We’re constantly bombarded with different ideas and views claiming to have the answers to life’s big questions. It’s tough to find satisfying answers, and we end up asking ourselves, “Can we ever confidently know the truth? Does it all come down to a far-fetched leap of faith?”
That’s the idea for this next series of posts. We’re going to tackle six big questions over the next six weeks.
It won’t come as a surprise to you that we believe the answer to each of these questions is YES! It’s not a hesitant yes or reluctant yes. It’s a bet the farm, give your life, burn the ships kind of yes. You can have a remarkable confidence and remarkable faith in the answer to those questions.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God…” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
We believe these things on faith, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also reasoned. We didn’t come to these conclusions by not thinking or just blindly making some kind of far-fetched leap of faith.
It’s not as far-fetched as you might think.
Now just because you believe in Jesus, doesn’t mean every assumption or thing you believe about God is true, so lean in these next 6 weeks. Part of the human condition is that we want to base our beliefs around feelings.
Many people in our culture shape their beliefs around how they feel.
If you know someone with an addiction, they justify their behavior and create a belief system. They don’t feel like their behavior is hurting anyone and create a belief system that makes it okay to live the way they are living. This is an extreme example, but we all do this to some degree. We all justify the way we live or justify our life based on what feels good.
Instead, shape your beliefs around what’s real.
Follow where the evidence leads, not where you hope it leads.
Is God Real?
So what does the evidence say about the existence of God? There are a few different choices before us.
- The atheist says, “No”
The atheist considers all concepts of god as human inventions. The definition of an atheist is one who believes God does not exist.
- The agnostic says, “Maybe”
The agnostic says “I don’t know, so I’m going to investigate it” or “no one can know, so I’m going to decide not to believe anything.”
- The advocate says, “Yes”
The advocate says, God exists. That doesn’t necessarily make them a Christian, it just makes them an advocate that God exists.
All three of these are a belief system.
To believe there is no God, is a belief system. Theism vs Atheism, it’s not like one believes and another doesn’t. Both walk away believing something. We believe God exists. We believe God is real, because the evidence says He does.
There’s a creator. There are times we all feel like God is not there. There are times when we struggle to connect with Him. There are times of disappointment because He didn’t answer a prayer the way we wanted Him to. It’s okay to wrestle with those things.
In the midst of all of that, there are some things to come back to, that can’t be explained without God.
Why We Believe God is Real
Here are three reasons or evidences why we believe God is real.
1. The evidence from the universe.
This is called the cosmological argument for the existence of God. This argument says that every effect must have a cause. For a long time, the prevailing thought was that the universe always just was. Then a scientist by the name of Hubble came along, and went against that way of thinking.
Hubble came up with a theory that has grown into the big bang theory. It says the universe has a beginning and it’s expanding. So the universe had a beginning and as the energy that propels it in motion wanes, it will have an ending. Hubble’s discovery doesn’t contradict scripture, it aligns with it. Everything has a cause. Something never comes from nothing. Something always comes from something.
It’s not so far-fetched.
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20 (NLT)
2. The evidence from design.
This is called the teleological argument. When we look at creation, it’s ordered and designed. What we know about our world, living organisms and humans DNA is incredible.
The leading scientist who mapped the human genome the first time, Francis Collins, says if you took the DNA out of a single cell amoeba, there’s enough information in the DNA code to fill 30 encyclopedias. That’s how complex living organisms are. That doesn’t just happen. It’s not so far-fetched to believe there is an intelligent designer who did that within us and designed a place for us to live in the universe, to sustain life.
“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 reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV)
3. The evidence from morality.
This is the moral argument. The dignity of humanity. We refer to it as human rights. It’s the idea that every person, just by virtue of being a person, has inherent worth and value that can’t be trampled upon and shouldn’t be violated. Even if you don’t always live by it, every person believes humans have worth just by virtue of being human. How do you explain that?
There is no debate, regardless of what you believe, that each life has worth. The idea of worth and dignity came from the Bible. The civil rights movement was based on the “imago Dei” concept. That’s latin for the image of God. That’s the basis for human worth, because God made you!
“God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NLT)
We don’t think robbery is wrong because we dislike it. We dislike robbery because it’s wrong. There’s something in us that is repulsed by certain things. Things like murder. The people who think murder is okay, we call wicked or sociopaths. They have a moral construct that’s not connecting with what human beings believe is right and wrong. This is what makes us different than animals and why evolutionary theory doesn’t have a good explanation for morality. If there’s such a thing as moral values there has to be a moral law giver. God stitched right and wrong into your heart and mind.
Evolutionary thinking says our moral constructs come from decisions we made when we were animals. But when a cheetah kills a giraffe, we don’t call that murder. When a shark forcibly copulates with with another shark, that’s not called rape. If our species is supposed to be the most advanced animal, where did we come up with the idea that those things are now wrong?
If all of our morality was developed through evolution, you would never come to the conclusion that the things you hate, like racism and genocide, are wrong. They are all just illusions if there’s no God. We’d never even get that category in our minds if our morality was a conclusion of nature. Genocide wouldn’t be a bad thing, it’s just nature. It’s the strong eliminating the weak. That’s the belief that fueled the holocaust. That’s the reason we’re repulsed by it. If your morality was a product of nature, there would be no reason to be repulsed.
“How could that trait have come down by a process of natural selection? Such people would have been less likely to survive and pass on their genes. There is some supernatural standard of normalcy apart from nature by which we can judge right and wrong.” -Tim Keller
There’s something aside from nature that came in and said you don’t get to decide these things based only on nature. If mankind is only a biological creature, why do we have a sense of moral obligation? Theism gives us the answer. God gives us the answer. We have an inner, moral witness placed there by God.
“When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman.” Romans 2:14-16 (MSG)
The Christian faith is not just about believing something, it’s about knowing Someone.
It’s about knowing God. The goal of this series is introduce you to someone. God wants to be found. God wants to be out in the open.
“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
It’s believing something, but it’s more than that. It’s seeking and being rewarded by finding God himself.
Check in on some of the next steps each other have taken. Maybe there are new people in the group. Get to know each other. Maybe you haven’t met in awhile. Get to know each other again. What’s life look like right now?
Hear the Word
Those who believe there is a God, believe in Him by faith, (Hebrews 11:6) but it doesn’t have to be a far-fetched blind leap of faith. It’s reasoned. There’s evidence. The invitation laid out in this series is for each of us to follow where the evidence may lead, not where we hope it leads or how we feel it should go. Many people shape their beliefs around what they feel. It’s wise to shape your beliefs around what is real.
1. As a kid, were you quick to question things or did you generally believe whatever was presented to you? How has this tendency evolved for you as an adult?
2. What was the attitude toward God in your house growing up? Did you parents lean you toward faith or away from it?
3. How did you arrive at the place you’re at today spiritually? Are you an atheist, agnostic, advocate, Christian?
This week we looked at three of the many fields of study that present rational arguments and point to a place of reasonable faith.
Cosmology Argument: This is what we know about our universe. It had a beginning. We know we live in a cause and effect world. Something can’t come from nothing. (Romans 1:20, Job 38.)
Teleological Argument: There is a strange and mysterious complex design to the universe, our planet, and our human bodies. The complexity it takes for our planet to sustain life, the complexity of living organisms, and what we now know at the DNA level make the step toward a God, an intelligent designer, a relatively small leap of faith. (Psalm 19:1-4)
Moral Argument: This is the philosophical argument around humanity’s sense of right and wrong, justice and injustice. This argument also considers how nearly every culture and people group throughout history has felt there is a greater being above them or around them. (Genesis 1, Romans 2:14-16)
1. Of these three arguments, which one jumps out the most?
2. While some people don’t find themselves wrestling with big questions of faith, what good might come from a Christian who embraces questions? How might an informed faith, enhance and enrich someone’s beliefs?
3. Tell us about a season of your life when you wrestled with the question “does God exist?” If you are in that season now, you can be honest about that.
4. If morality, cosmology and the design of the universe do not point toward a creator, what do you think they point toward?
Tell Someone Else
Who can you share this life-giving message about the existence of God? You could send them to rockbrook.org/sermons, our iTunes podcast channel or Google Play. More importantly, who could you have a conversation with about the existence of God?