This series of sermons takes a look at the biggest objections to the Christian faith. The resources were originally produced by Hal Seed and Dan Grider. I have used much of their material and adapted them for our congregation at Woodbine United Methodist Church. Two links are listed below to go a little further into the subject.
This is the first and formost question that any person should ask and answer: Is God Real?
To answer this question we will look at three pointers to God’s existance.
The Existence of Stuff
If nothing exists, we don’t have to explain it. But, the minute we acknowledge that something is real, then we have to come up with an explanation for it.
The universe exists. It’s real. We live in it. We see it, hear it, feel it, and breathe its air. Where did all this stuff we feel, hear, breath, smell come from?
Here’s a principle we all understand intuitively: The nature of cause and effect: For every effect, there has to be a cause.
For every effect, every thing, there has to be something that caused it. So what is the first cause of everything in the universe?
The Nature of Stuff
The universe is a huge, complex, marvelously well-ordered place. Since it exists, you have to explain where it came from.
One possible explanation for how something got here is that it was self-created. It came from itself. That doesn’t follow logically. Scientists and philosophers tell us that something cannot come from nothing. A thing can not cause itself.
Everything in the universe is contingent.
The universe is dependent on other things in order to exist.
Everything in our universe is contingent on something else for its existence.
Nothing we observe around us seems to be absolutely self-caused or self-reliant. In fact, it’s easy to conclude that everything we can see around us did not exist at one time, and probably will not continue to exist forever.
So, if everything we observe is dependent on something else, and not independent or self-caused, the principle of dependency leads us to ask, If all that exists is dependent, fragile, and temporary, who or what is responsible for all these dependent objects and beings?
Philosophers go through all sorts of complex arguments and intricate proofs to try and answer this question. Let’s simplify it for a moment. In your mind, get way, way away from the universe, zoom out from it, and then take everything in the universe and draw a circle around it. All the galaxies, solar systems, planets, black holes. Shrink the whole thing down to fit inside a small circle. The circle represents our universe and is about 25 billion light-years in diameter. By comparison it is 9 light minuets to the sun. It would take the space shuttle 7 months to fly there. It would take our fastest rocket 70,000 to get to the nearest star. If our solar system was the size of this quarter, our galaxy would be the size of the United States (100,000 light years). The nearest star would be 2 soccer fields way.
Everything inside the circle is dependent. It relies on something besides itself for existence, and because of the principle of entropy it’s slowly headed towards non-existence.
So the big question is, where might the thing that caused all this dependent stuff to exist in the first place be located? Inside the circle, or outside of it? If everything inside the circle is fragile and dependent and reliant on other objects inside the circle, how likely is it that the cause of all we see originated inside the circle of contingency?
A thinking person would have to conclude that everything that exists inside the circle must have been created by something outside the circle. And by definition, whatever is outside that circle must be independent, absolutely self-caused and self-reliant.
This would make it eternal. Unlimited. All powerful.
Which is why the Bible says in Psalm 19:1, ” The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
See what God is saying here? “Open your eyes and see. I am all around you. I have left pointers to my existence all over the universe!”
The Design of the Universe
The universe we live in also reflects the marks of a designer. In fact scientists tell us that there are no less than 154 (Reasons to Believe) aspects of the universe that are finely tuned to the point that if one of them were off by a fraction, life would not be possible. This fine tuning is evident in the physical constants of the universe: the average distance between galaxies, gravitational forces, orbits of planets, the decay rate of protons and even waters heat of vaporization.
Remember how Psalm 19 said that the heavens declare the glory of God? I would argue that the tropical jungles do too.
Hints to God’s nature
To design something so intricate and delicate and beautiful and superior as this, whoever created this universe must be smart and thoughtful and creative and superior. He must be loving, because He designed His creation around the needs of His creatures.
And if you want a verse to share with a friend, should they ever ask you how you know there is a God, you can turn them to Romans 1:20, where the Bible says:
[Ro 1:20 TNIV ] For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
If they just stop and think.
3. My sense of right and wrong.
All people everywhere have an innate sense of right and wrong. We have within us a sense of right and wrong. A sense that certain things are right and should be done, and certain things are wrong, and shouldn’t be done. Anthropologists tell us that that is a universal phenomenon. Morals vary from person to person and culture to culture, but every person has them.
Now, here’s the interesting part: how many of you have ever done what you believed was wrong? You betrayed your own sense of morals? Anthropologists tell us that that is a universal phenomenon as well; that all people admit that they have within them a moral standard, and that they haven’t lived up to their moral standard. Because their moral standard is actually higher than they are.
How do you explain that all of us have within us a sense of morals that are beyond us? The only reasonable way to explain universal ideas of right and wrong is that our morals were not self-invented, but came from a higher moral source.
The Bible recognizes that as well: [Ro 2:14-15 NLT ] Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law
Now, let’s put all of this together.
The circle of contingency leads us to conclude that the universe was created by an uncreated creator. An unlimited, eternal, all-powerful being.
The fine tuning of the universe shows us that that creator is very smart, creative, thoughtful, and cares about his creation. He put great beauty and care into His creation. So He must be smart and beautiful and creative and caring.
Our own hearts demonstrate to us that the creator surpasses us in morals, or He wouldn’t have been able to create morals that were higher than we are.
Put all those together and you have an eternal, powerful, smart, beautiful, loving, moral creator. And that comes very close to a working definition of God, doesn’t it, friends?
And really, what are the alternatives? Random chance and circumstance? Which takes more faith? Which is more intellectually honest?
I would argue that it takes more faith to believe that there is no God than to believe that there is one.
Below are some links to investigae this further:
Hugh Ross catalogs 154 aspects of the universe that are fine-tuned to allow life to exist.
William Lane Craig’s extended essay “Does God Exist?”