Summary: “Part 1 of a two-part interactive teaching-focused Bible study on Theology proper: the doctrine of God.”
Theology, Part 1: The Existence of God
November 2016 – February 2017
STARTING TEXT: Psalm 14:1
• PowerPoint or ProPresenter 6 slide presentations of this sudy are available upon request at email@example.com. In fact, I recommend using the slide presentation (and augmenting it if you wish). It will really add to the content of this study.
• Wherever you see “Q.”, it indicates a discussion question, sometimes followed with answers or suggested additions to the discussion, although many are open-ended “opinion” or “my observation” questions that do not require exact answers.
• This is a multi-week study, not meant to be rushed, with no fixed lessons. The participants will get the most out of the study if you go at your own pace, start the next week where you left off and give plenty of time for discussion.
• It is strongly recommended that you purchase and become familiar with Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box, before you get to that lesson later in the study.
Beginning today we want to look at what is technically known as THEOLOGY.
Q. Can someone give me a definition of the word “theology.”
A. The word theology comes from two Greek words: Theos, meaning “God” Logos, meaning “word” in its basic form, but when logos is combined with other words, it means “teaching” or “doctrine.” Put theos and logos together and it means “the teaching or doctrine of God.”
In a broad sense theology refers to the entire study of Bible doctrine. In this sense, all Bible doctrines is a study in theology. Preachers go to a theological seminary to study theology, meaning they go to study all about the Christian faith in general, or all that the Bible teaches in general.
But in a narrower sense, the word theology refers specifically to the study of the doctrine of God Himself. It is in this latter sense that we will study theology—the doctrine of God. In this restricted sense, we will examine God’s existence, His attributes, His nature, His names and His works.
So we begin our study of theology by examining THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
We no longer live in an age where the existence of God is taken for granted. In former times people debated such questions as “What is God like?” or “How many gods are there?” That there was a god or gods was tacitly assumed by almost everyone.
That is no longer true today. Our age has been called “the age of skepticism.” Belief in God is no longer considered necessary or, increasingly, even desirable. Christian THINKERS do not dominate the world of philosophy as they once did. Christian ART is no longer the focal point of cultural expression. SCIENCE is no longer populated by theists with an reverent awe of God’s creation. Since scientists cannot find evidence that can be scientifically measured about some being who lives outside of our physical senses, many assume He must not exist. God has not been discovered in a test tube or a telescope. Years ago, the Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, commented after orbiting the earth, “I didn’t see any God out there.”
So today people are taught that there is no God. Unfortunately, all too often there are serious ramifications if you carry the idea that there is no God to its logical conclusion.
Q. What are some of the ramifications of a rejection of the existence of God?
A. Possible answers:
• If there is no God, we are just accidents of nature—the result of chance evolution, which means that WE HAVE NO INNATE VALUE OR MEANING to our lives.
• If there is no God, we are just animals—more advanced than, but not essentially different from a dog or a cat or a snake or a slug, meaning that we ARE NOT CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE and therefore HAVE NO PURPOSE IN Life.
• If there is no God, there can be NO ABSOLUTE VALUES OR MORALS. This means that there are no standards to guide behavior. Therefore, almost anything goes. If it feels good, do it.
Illus. – Is it any wonder that two boys walked into a school in Littleton, Colorado a few years ago and indiscriminately killed thirteen young people without a hint of remorse. These two young people were most consistent in their atheism. If there is no God, their own life had no meaning or purpose, and the lives of others were similarly meaningless. On every page of Eric Klebold’s journal and web page, he expressed purposelessness, meaninglessness, valueless-ness and amorality—all of which are the natural product of a rejection of the God of the Bible.
So what about the existence of God? Is the atheist correct? Has science progressed to the point of being able to explain life and the universe adequately without reference to God? Does belief in God rest on emotion or willful intellectual self-blindness, or are there reasonable evidences for God’s existence? That is what we want to look at today and the next few weeks.