Summary: Augustine’s 5 Ways...
Title: Pleasing God
Text: Heb 11:4-6.
Main Point of the Text: Pleasing God requires that we believe in him. That means living like it!
FCF: To the extent that we are unwilling to live as if God is in charge, we deny our own faith in him.
SO: I want people to live like God is around. One practical expression of this is simple evangelism.
The two boys – “Where is God?” (“God is missing and they think we took him!”)
Romans 11:33, 36
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
Introduction: (Joke about the two boys)
Before I begin, I want to read you a little snippet of something from Arthur C. Clarke’s book, The Fountains of Paradise. I read the book last summer, because it is the story which, about fifty years ago, introduced the idea of a “space elevator.” The basic idea is that rather than using a rocket to launch people into the stars, you would build an orbiting tether that you could simply climb into space. What’s amazing is that with nanotechnology – specifically something called “carbon nano-tubes,” we are actually getting very close to being able to build this thing. People have estimated that with one of these you could reduce the cost of getting into orbit from the current $60,000 per pound of mass to a mere $1100. Can you imagine the immense reward that would accrue to anyone who could bring this thing into existence?
Anyways, the author – Arthur C. Clarke, is a staunch atheist, and he is a fiction writer. In the book, he weaves several random stories, and one of them had an insight about religion that is pretty profound. Background – in his story, there is this massively intelligent space probe from another solar system that encounters earth, and engages in conversations with our scientists by means of trading information. The probe gives carefully selected pieces of information about other worlds in exchange for us uploading information. For instance, Clarke shows off his hatred for Christianity, when he has this space probe send back a message. He writes:
‘ I have analyzed the arguments of your Saint Thomas Aquinas as requested in your message 145 sequence 3. Most of the content seems to be sense-free random noise, and so devoid of information, but the print out that follows lists 192 fallacies expressed in symbolic logic. Fallacy 1:’
And then, Clarke breaks it off, because as he knows its actually very, very difficult to argue with St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas, for instance, gave us what is sometimes called the five arguments for God:
First Way: The Argument from Motion
1) Nothing can move itself.
2) If every object in motion had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover.
3) This first mover is the Unmoved Mover, called God.
Second Way: Causation of Existence
1) There exists things that are caused (created) by other things.
2) Nothing can be the cause of itself (nothing can create itself.)
3) There can not be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist.
4) Therefore, there must be an uncaused first cause called God.
Third Way: Contingent and Necessary Objects
Basically, there has to be at least one thing that doesn’t require something else to come into existence. That’s God.
Fourth Way: The Argument from Degrees And Perfection
Here, Aquinas suggests that you can always tell degrees of perfection. For instance, you might say that one statue is more beautiful than another. You can only say this if there is a perfect standard by which all such qualities are measured. These perfections are what see in God.
Fifth Way: The Argument from Intelligent Design
Basically, if you’re walking along the beach and see a watch, you know that the high order in it had to come from an intelligent designer. That couldn’t have happened by chance. Fast forward 700 years from Aquinas and we see DNA – something amazing coded. There is so much order that even after 80 years, a staunch atheist like Sir Anthony Flew has to admit there must be at least some type of Intelligent Designer.
You might wonder why I’ve spent so much time arguing for the existence of God in this sermon and my last. The reason I’ve done so, is because, as the author of Hebrews reminds us, one of the pre-requisites of faith is that we have to believe he exists.
Now, let me suggest to you this – however. Believing that he exists is more than a simple mental proposition than the existence of God. You see, we know that the devil believes in the existence of God. The real question is, do we live in such way that we evidence the fact that God exists?