Q.W.A #2: Is There Any Evidence for God’s Existence?

Posted: April 28, 2015 by keystoneyouth in Q.W.A Lessons
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Introduction:

  • Refresh from last 2 weeks
  • Reintroduce Series
  • Introduce Tonight’s Lesson
  • I want you to imagine that you are in a courtroom with me tonight. I want to put before you certain pieces of evidence, and I want you to ask with me, does this evidence point us toward a God or away from a God.

 We CAN’T prove that God exists beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  • That may sound like a dumb thing to begin with in a lesson on wrestling with doubt about God’s existence, but it’s true. I can’t offer you any single proof that God exists that will may you believe in God beyond any doubt.

But, there is evidence that we can weigh, and we can ask, “Does this point us to believe that God exists, or the opposite?

  • What I am trying to do, is to lay before you several things that we know about this universe and ourselves and to ask – does this point to a God who created the world, or does it point to a world that came about by chance apart from any creator or designer.
  • I’m going to do this through pointing out some of the things we know about this world, and then point out one thing we know about ourselves. I’ll finish by pointing out the hope that is found in Christianity alone.

 Big Idea: There are clues that point us toward the existence of God.

 Passages: Psalms 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-23; Romans 2:14-16

 Point 1: God has given us evidence to believe that he exists through the world we live in.

Explanation:

  • The Bible points to creation – the earth and universe that we live in – as evidence that God exists.
  • I love the wording of Psalm 19. David pictures this world, specifically the sky and the sun, speaking about God. They proclaim the Glory of God and speak to his existence.
  • He has created the world in such a way that it’s filled with clues (or evidence) that point to his existence.
  • Imagine that you are walking into an unknown forest and you want to remember how to get back out. One-way to do this is to leave a trail of clues or signs behind so that you can follow them back out. You might put a certain splash of paint on trees as you go along, or you might drop a piece of white cloth on the ground, or some other form of sign/clue as to get back out.
  • Explanation: God has created this world in such a way that there are clues/signs that point us toward his existence.
  • So what are some of these clues?
  • Over the years people have come up with arguments that reveal what some of these clues are. I will highlight 3 of them. Keep in mind, I’m giving you a sample of these clues, specifically some of the ones that have been most convincing to me.

A sample of Clues

  • The Universe Exists (The Contingency argument)
    • This comes from the question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?”
    • See there’s really two main explanations of how the universe into existence:
      • Either it was created by someone outside of the universe…. or
      • It came into existence out of nothing
    • This clue claims that because the universe exists there must be something or someone outside the universe that caused it to exist.
    • It’s based in the fact that everything we see has a cause.
    • There was something that existed prior to what we see that led to the existence of what we see.
      • A Tree doe not just appear in your yard one day. It starts as a seed that was planted, or blown, or dropped by a bird. There is something that caused that tree to grow.
      • When you are walking along the beach and you see a wallet on the ground. You don’t just assume that wallet appeared there out of nothing. It came from someone who dropped it while they were walking or accidently took it into the ocean.
    • Everything that we see in this world has a cause and came from something. Therefore we can rightly reason the same is true of the universe. It came from something or someone. But, before the universe existed there was nothing else – empty space. So either the world came from nothing – empty space – or it came from someone outside of the universe who created it.
    • Does it make more sense that God created the world? or
    • Does it make more sense that the world came from nothing?
  • There is life (Or “The Fine-Tuning Argument”).
    • Have you ever thought about why you are able to live, day in and day out. I rarely think about this, I simply take the fact that I am living and breathing for granted.
    • But did you know, that there are many very precise conditions in this universe that are needed for us to have life day in and day out.
    • Visual Ill. Show William Lane Craig Video
    • To see the whole video go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpIiIaC4kRA#t=91
    • The main point from that is that for life to exist there are settings in the universe that have to be very precisely set.
    • Does this point to a creator – who designed the world and set the precise conditions needed for us to live?
    • Or does it point a universe that came about by chance and randomly formed together?
      • The likelihood of these conditions all coming together by chance is massive.
    • Certain things don’t change (Regularity of Nature):
      • Or there are laws of nature.
      • In other words there are things that we experience today that we expect to be the same tomorrow.
      • The sun rises today, it has risen for thousands of years, I expect it to rise again tomorrow because I know that the world orbits the Sun.
      • I boil water every morning. And every morning I can count on it boiling at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
      • I have never been able to dunk on a normal basketball hoop and I never will be able to. I can’t jump high enough and I know that gravity will prevent me from going any higher than my legs allow.
      • I expect to wake up tomorrow and see the sun or feel it’s heat… I expect to wake up tomorrow and boil water for my coffee… I expect to wake up tomorrow and when I jump, be pulled back down to the ground.
      • These laws mark our existence and our ability to understand our world.
      • Do the laws of nature point us to a God designed the order of the world and who maintains order in this world?
      • Or do the laws of nature point us to a world that came about by chance and that these laws continue to be maintained by chance?
    • The existence of beauty
      • Do you guys have a favorite song that you listen to over and over again?
      • Have you ever laid beneath the stars or looked out from a mountain and been overwhelmed by the picture you are taking in?
        • Show a picture
      • Have you ever seen a picture that you simply can’t stop looking at?
        • Show a picture
      • We are all overcome with the beauty of music, art, nature, or other things at points in our lives.
      • They make us feel that there is something more, they make us feel that the world is not just a random chance, they fill a longing within us.
      • But they can’t possibly do this if we step back and consider what beauty is if God didn’t create the world – an accident.
        • S. Lewis – “You cant go on getting very serious pleasure from music if you know and remember that its air of significance is a pure illusion, that you like it only because your nervous system is irrationally conditioned to like it.”
      • Here is other thing… beauty, love, happiness – they only temporarily fill a longing in us. They actually point us to something greater. One who completely fulfills the longings we have for beauty, love, and joy.
        • An appetizer at a restaurant is not meant to fill our hunger for food – its meant to whet our appetite and give us a taste of what’s coming with the main course.
      • The beauty, joy, and love we experience in this world is meant to point us to creator of the world.
      • Does our experience and longing for beauty and love point us to a God who created humans to experience these things and to find their ultimate fulfillment in himself?
      • Or does it point us to believe, as one atheist put it that the world is just “an accidental collocation of atoms?” That all we see is really just an accident?

 Point 2: God has placed knowledge of his existence within every human being.

  • Passage: Romans 1:18-23; Romans 2:14-16
  • Paul is saying that all people at all times have some understanding of God’s law. They have some understanding, even if it may be wrong and imperfect, of God’s standards because God has placed these standards in their conciences.
  • This is the root of what is called The Moral Argument.
  • What are morals? –Right and wrong behavior.
  • Certain behaviors are right and certain behaviors are wrong.
  • We ALL believe that there are certain things that are always wrong no matter what someone else might say.
    • Example: It is wrong for me to come up and push you to the ground and steal all the money that you have with you.
    • Example: It is wrong for me to go steal someone else’s baby and keep it as my own child.
    • Example: It is wrong for someone to treat another person unfairly just because of their race.
    • Example: It is wrong for a teacher to give you a failing grade just because they don’t like you.
  • But what are we basing this off of? Why do we think these things?
    • Because everyone agrees on them? Because it’s what appeals to us personally?
    • Not everyone agrees on these things – there have been cultures that mistreat people based on their race – yet we would not say that’s okay.
    • If your teacher said tomorrow, “I have decided I will fail whoever I don’t like and give A’s to whoever I like,” you would not respond, “Well that’s okay for you.”
    • No, you would say, “THAT’S NOT FAIR!”
    • Why? Because we believe there is a standard of behavior, a standard of right and wrong that all people are accountable, regardless of what a certain society may say or what a certain person make like.”
  • We can only rightly hold this standard if God exists.
    • Otherwise we would be forced to say, “It was okay for people to have slaves in the 17 and 1800’s because there was no law against it back then.”
    • And we would have to say that if our schools would decide that teachers can give out grades to us based on who they like and dislike, then that is okay.
    • But we can’t do this, because we know slavery is wrong even if there is no law against it, and we know that giving grades out based on favorites is unfair no matter who says its okay.
  • So either we agree that God exists and he is the one who has set the standards, or we must live as if anything is permissible.
    • Apart from God setting the standards we must say, “I don’t like that you are pushing me over and stilling my money, but I can’t tell you that it’s wrong.” “I don’t like that you are giving grades out based off who you like, but I can’t tell you it’s wrong.
  • But we all live appealing to a universal standard, even if we actively deny God’s existence.

 Our Hope: Jesus obeyed God’s standards for us.

  • Any amount of honest inward looking will tell us that we don’t live up to God’s standard, in fact, it tells us that we don’t even live up to our own standards.
  • I get angry when someone else talks about me behind my back. And yet, when I talk about someone else behind their back, “it’s only because they deserved it.”
  • When someone else calls us a jerk, they are wrong and mean. When we call someone a jerk, it’s because they really are a jerk though.
  • See we don’t even live up to our own standards.
  • Tape Recorder.
  • And we realize that we have no hope for living up to God’s standards in the future.
  • All people everywhere, can’t live up to God’s standards.
  • Enter the hope of the Gospel: The God who created this incredible universe that we’ve been talking about, who placed a knowledge of himself within us, comes into the world. He comes as a man – Jesus – to show us himself, what he is like, how he loves us. But also to obey the standards God has set.
  • Jesus lived up to God’s moral standards in your place. Jesus lived the life you couldn’t live so that you can know God and be accepted by him through faith.
  • See just knowing God exists or believing that God exists is not enough. Because if he exists and has perfect moral standards we are hopeless. But the gospel tells us he has met those standards in our place and now we can have a relationship with the same God who created the universe, designed it for life to exist, maintains it’s order day after day, and filled the world with beauty. God has shown his desire for this relationship through Jesus.
  • This is why Paul said earlier in Romans: Romans 1:16-17

 So What??

  • The world points to the existence of an amazing God.
  • God has placed knowledge of himself and his standards within each of us.
  • Because we know that we don’t measure up to God’s standards we can be gracious with people who don’t believe the same thing as us.
  • The gospel meets our need to measure up to God’s standards and shows us that he desires relationship with us.

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