Summary: Learning to connect reason with faith in order to strengthen our faith.
This morning I’m going to begin a series entitled “Faith Has It’s Reasons.”
Several months ago…a discussion with the staff encouraged me to do a series of messages addressing the common questions that are posed in regard to knowing God.
Purpose of this series is two-fold
1) To help us communicate the reality of God to others
“… in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 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
2) Second purpose of this series is to strengthen you own faith, by realizing (or realizing again) just how reasonable it is; that faith has its reasons.
· Some of us here may not feel that reason plays a big part in our faith. Perhaps your experience of God is simply conclusive enough. I share those feelings and that experience. But I also know that all of us can become clouded in our minds and hearts; we get distracted and discouraged…our experience and emotions feel adrift…and our thinking becomes clouded…
I believe this series will strengthen your own faith…your own recognition of God…and your resolve to release your life to Him.
A word about the place of “reason” …
On a practical level… a relationship can never be reduced merely to reason;
…the mind and heart and soul all work in conjunction.
If I’m in conflict…how I feel relates to how I think and vice versa…each can open the other up or close the other…
That’s how God describes humanity’s relationship with him…hardened in heart and blinded in mind.
We see this in Pharaoh…through the process of 10 plagues…while others gave favor to Israel.
Religious Leaders…Christ was a threat to their control/power…but one (Nicodemus) came to him in the night wanting to understand more.
So it is that in recognizing the reality of God, we must consider our minds as well as our hearts.
This is especially true of recognizing and reckoning with the reality of God…the existence of God.
For God does not exist merely as part of the temporary, touchable world; but beyond it and through it.
“I Am” means the self-existent, eternally existent, one. There is a basic implication here for the role of science. Science measures matter and therefore science by nature cannot discover God, only a world consistent with the existence of God.
C.S. Lewis explains…”Looking for God-or Heaven-by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s as one of the characters. Shakespeare is in one sense present at every moment in every play. But he is never present in the same way as Lady Macbeth…
My point is that, if God does exist, He is related to the universe more as an author is related to a play than as one object in the universe is related to another.
If God created the universe, He created space time, which is to the universe as the metre is to a poem or the key is to music. To look for Him as one item within the framework, which He Himself invented, is nonsensical.
If God exists, mere movement in space will never bring you any nearer to Him or any farther from Him than you are at this very moment.”
GOD IS NOT ONE OF THE CHARACTERS, He is the creator. God is not found in creation, but through it.
Story of an atheist and Christian debating: Atheist claims “God is nowhere” to which the other simply changes a space in the letters to read- “God is now here.”
> The difference is in the space given…the space we give to recognizing him.
C.S. Lewis states, “We can ignore but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. The real labor is to remember to attend. In fact, to become awake. Still more, to remain awake.”
God’s Word, through the Apostle Paul, describes it this way…
Romans 1:20-21, 25, 32
‘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 men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened…. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. …Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.’