Summary: In this five part apologetics series, based heavily on the work of William Lane Craig and Reasonable Faith, five arguments are presented in favor of the existence of God: the evidence of Cosmology, Creation, Conscience, Christ, and Conversion.
The Case for a Creator (1)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 4/7/2013
Twenty years ago, back when I was attending Algonquin Middle School in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Lee Strobel was a pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Algonquin, just a few miles from my house. Lee was a former atheist and still had several friends who were atheists, including one in particular who was a national spokesmen for American Atheists, Inc. One day, Lee and his friend came up with the idea of holding a debate where the case for atheism and the case for Christianity could both be laid out and the audience could decide where the evidence pointed.
The atheists choose Frank Zindler, a colleague of renowned atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair and a former professor of biology and science. Representing the Christian view was author and apologist, Dr. William Lane Craig. The news media—amazed that a church was unafraid to tackle the toughest objections by skeptics—was quickly abuzz. The church started getting phone calls from radio stations all across the country, and pretty soon over a hundred 100 stations singed up to broadcast the event.
Traffic became gridlocked around the church as nearly 8000 people ran down the aisles to get a seat. When was the last time you saw people running into a church? William Lane Craig presented evidence from philosophy, cosmology, physics and history as he laid out the case for Christianity. At the end of the debate, the audience cast ballots. An overwhelming 82% of the atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers voted that the evidence for Christianity was the most compelling. And—get this—forty-seven people walked in as unbelievers, heard the arguments from both sides, and walked out as Christians! What’s more—No Christians became atheists.
It was a stunning affirmation that Christians have an unfair advantage in an intellectual shootout—we have truth on our side!
Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence that God is real, an increasing number of people in America and around the world don't believe in God. According to survey’s conducted by The Pew Research Center, 20% of Americans ages 18 to 25 identify themselves as non-religious, atheists or agnostics, which is nearly double what it was 20 years ago.
You may never debate an atheist. But in a world where best-selling book claim that God is a delusion and religion poisons everything, where many university professors seem bent on destroying the beliefs of young Christians, and where the media often portrays believers as shallow, bigoted, villainous hypocrites, it’s increasingly important for all of us to be able to able to articulate the reasons why our faith makes sense! In fact, God expects nothing less of us. The Bible says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).
Have you ever encountered someone who dismissed God as a fair-tale or Christianity as superstition? How do you typically feel when someone challenges or makes fun of your faith? Wouldn’t you like to be able to defend your faith intelligently? Or, on the other side of that coin, maybe you’re skeptical about the Christian faith or God’s existence. Maybe you’ve got some doubts of your own.
Over the next five Sundays, using science, philosophy, history, and a little old-fashioned common sense, I want to give you five good reasons to believe in God. I want you to think of these as a series of lights that, when lit, can illuminate the path to personal faith in God. They are:
1. The Light of Cosmology
2. The Light of Creation
3. The Light of Conscience
4. The Light of Christ
5. The Light of Conversion
The light we’ll be turning on today is the light of cosmology.
Cosmology is the study of the cosmos, or universe. And cosmology tells us not only that there is a God, but it even tells us a little bit about what he’s like! The Bible says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world” (Psalm 19:1-4 NLT).
The Hebrews didn’t have a word for universe or galaxy, so when they spoke of the cosmos they used the word heavens. The Bible, in others words, is saying that we can look to stars and learn about the glory of God without ever having to open a Bible.
So what does the cosmos teach us about God? Well, first let me put this in the form of a logical argument, with two premises and a conclusion.