A Reasoning Faith — Lesson 1
Is There A God? The Proper Perspective
Suppose a young man sends to his girl friend an expensive diamond ring, packaged in a little case (which the jeweler threw in for nothing). How strange it would seem to him if she said when he met her later, "Oh, that was a neat little box you sent. I'll take good care of it. I promise to keep it wrapped up in a safe place so I won't lose it."
Rather ridiculous, isn't it?
Isn't it just as foolish for men and women to spend so much time and thought on their bodies, which are no more than cases for the real self. The Bible tells us, the soul will still exist long after our bodies have crumbled to dust. The soul is of inestimable value. Longfellow expressed it this way:
"Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream,
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real, life is earnest,
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul."
In Mark 8:36 our Lord Himself asks, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
In Christ's estimate, man's soul is more valuable than the whole world. It is my desire, to lead you in thinking about matters which relate to your eternal soul. For instance:
Is there a God?
Is there a Creator who has claims to your soul?
Is the Bible true?
Is man accountable?
Does he have a responsibility to himself, to others, to God?
Is there divine forgiveness?
Can anything be done about man's failure to meet his responsibilities?
These are some of the questions that most perplex those who think seriously about their eternal souls. So let's consider question number 1. Is there a God? Or, can I know that there is a God?
No matter how my intellect tried in the past to produce reasons proving that there was no God, that "still, small voice" came to me again and again saying that God exists. I have an innate conviction that He exists. I knew, that at least for me, there was a God. And as I looked at others I realized how many were seeking in "religion" to recognize the same "voice" that spoke to me. They also were looking for God. That same voice has probably come to you, in the quiet of life's more sober moments.
I know there are some men who call themselves athiests, who say they don't believe in God. I am persuaded that their problem of unbelief in God to be greater than the problem of belief. To believe that dead matter unaided produced life, that living matter produced mind, that mind produced conscience, and that the chaos of chance produced the cosmos of order as we see it in nature, seems to me to call not for faith, but for credulity.
The Evidence Of Statistics
The president of the New York Scientific Society once gave this example as a reason why he believed there is a God.
"Take ten identical coins and mark them one to ten. Place them in your pocket, and then take one out. There is one chance in ten that you will get number one. Now replace it and take another. The chances that number two will follow number one are not one in ten, but one in one hundred. With each new coin taken out the chances that it will follow in the right order are multiplied by ten. So, the chance of all ten following in sequence is one chance in ten billion."
George Gallup, the American statistician, says,
"I could prove God statistically. Take the human body alone; the chance that all the functions of the individual would just happen is a statistical monstrosity."
Surely no thoughtful person would wish to base his eternal future on a "statistical monstrosity." Perhaps that's why the Bible says in Psalm 14:1:
"The fool has said in his heart, there is no god."
Consider the problem from another viewpoint.
Design Demands A Designer
If you and I stand together on the runway of an airport and I say to you:
"A lot of people think that a jet is the result of carefully designed plans, but I know better. There was really no intelligence at work on it at all. The metal, by some mysterious process, gradually came out of the ground and fashioned itself into plates; slowly holes were formed in the edges of these plates, and rivets appeared. They flattened themselves out on either side and after a long time, by this same evolutionary process, the engines were in place, and one day some men found the plane finished and ready for flight."
You would probably consider me a lunatic! We both know that where there is a design there must be a designer, and, having seen countless other products of the human mind just like the aircraft, you know that it was planned by human intelligence and built by human skill.
Yet there are highly educated, professionals who tell us that the entire universe came into being by chance, that there was really no higher intelligence at work on it. They tell us they know no God but nature.
On the other hand there are many thoughtful, just as highly educated persons, who believe that God is and that He reveals Himself in two primary ways. One is in nature itself for its orderly laws and principles are expressions of His power and wisdom. The second is in His written Word, the Bible.
All that atheists can offer us is the riddle of design without a designer, creation without a Creator, and effect without cause. Some might contend that we cannot explain God and therefore cannot believe He exists. But I cannot explain electricity and, probably, the greatest scientists cannot really define it. Still, I have no doubt of the existence of electricity, and I affirm my belief every time I flip a switch, listen to a stereo, or start my car. And so do you. I may even be badly mistaken in what I believe about electricity. But it still exists. Similarly, I believe that God exists because I see the effects of His existence, His handiwork all about me. And however little I know of Him, however mistaken or confused I may be, I am still forced to a belief in God's existence.
Dr. Arthur Compton, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, has said:
"For myself, faith begins with a realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence. An orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered- `In the beginning God.'"
Dr. Wernher Von Braun, states:
"It has been frequently said that scientific enlightenment and religious belief are incompatible. I consider it one of the greatest tragedies of our times that this equally stupid and dangerous error is so widely believed."
The late Professor Edwin Conklin, a noted biologist, very aptly said:
"The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the Unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop."
The Basic Problem
God exists whether or not men may choose to believe in Him! The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much because it is intellectually impossible to believe in God but because belief in God forces the thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God. Most of those who take refuge in athiesm or agnosticism do so because it is a convenient "escape" from the stern reality that man is personally accountable to his Creator. It is usually not so much a case of "I cannot believe" as it is a case of "I do not want to believe."
Will you honestly face these issues and all that they may mean to you as you study the following lessons?