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 (4)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 4/28/2013
If you’re a guest here this morning or you just missed a couple of Sundays, we are now on week four of a five-week series examining the evidence for God’s existence—the case for a Creator.
I began this series telling you about a debate that was held twenty years ago at Willow Creek Community Church in Algonquin, IL, between Christian author and apologist, Dr. William Lane Craig and atheist biology professor, Frank Zindler. Throughout the course of this debate, Dr. Craig produced such a compelling case for the existence of God that an overwhelming 82% of the atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers voted that the evidence for Christianity had won the night. I also mentioned that the debate was thought up and organized by one of the pastors there named Lee Strobel.
Lee has an interesting story of his own. Educated at Yale Law School, Lee was an award-winning legal editor at the Chicago Tribune and a confirmed atheist. That is, until his wife became a Christian. As her faith and involvement in church-life grew, he saw so many changes taking place in her that he was afraid that he was losing her. So he set out on a mission to investigate Jesus Christ. His goal at first was to prove to his wife that Jesus was not the Son of God, but things didn’t go exactly as planned. He used his resources at the Tribune to contact scholars and historians from around the globe, investigating the reliability of the gospels and other outside sources for the life and works of Jesus, but everything hinged on the resurrection. If Jesus really died and came back to life three days later, then it would seem Lee had a divine miracle on his hands and proof that God does exist and Jesus was everything he claimed to be.
Unfortunately, most people don’t have the resources or determination to investigate the evidence for God’s existence the way Lee Strobel did, and that’s why we’ve seen a rise in atheism here in America, especially over the past seven years. Earlier this year CNN ran a story about a mommy blogger who is raising her kids to be atheists.
Now, I realize that if you’re here today, odds are pretty good that you already believe in God, you’ve put your faith in Jesus, and you may not need any further convincing. But you also know that there are millions of people sitting in college classrooms today who have lost their faith in God. You have friends, relatives, associates and neighbors who don’t believe in God and have no relationship with Jesus at all.
The Bible challenges us to be able to articulate good reasons why our faith makes sense. Our anchor verse for this series is: “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16 HCSB).
In keeping with this command, I want to equip you five good reasons to believe in God so that you can gently and respectfully defend your faith. I want you to think of these as a series of lights. And if you or someone you know is skeptical about God’s existence, then these five lights should light 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 evidence from Cosmology, Creation and Conscience give us compelling reasons to believe in a transcendent God who created and fine-tuned the universe for life and who is the source of moral rightness. But to get from a Creator God specifically to the God of the Bible, we need that fourth light—the light of Christ. As Lee Strobel rightfully surmised, the case for Christianity hinges on Christ!
Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in history. More songs have been sung to him, artwork created of him, and books written about him than anyone who has ever lived. As H.G. Wells once said, “I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history.” But Jesus was more than just a historical figure. He taught not only that God exists, but that he himself was God’s Son in human flesh. As confirmation of this claim, Jesus carried out a ministry of miracle working, healing and exorcisms. But the supreme confirmation of his claim was his resurrection from the dead. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then all of his claims are validated and, therefore, God must exist.
If we put this in the form of a syllogism, it would look like this: