Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WHY (the idea of) GOD

Last Sunday I began a new sermon series, "Answering the 'Why' Questions."

They're probably not the FIRST 'why' questions you and I would ask, but they ARE the 'why' questions that are ultimately behind most of our other questions about what's happening in our every day lives.

In other words, if you keep asking 'why' after every answer to your initial questions (like a child does - always when you seem to have the least mental energy to explain!), you eventually end up here, at these "first order" questions.

So...question #1 is: "WHY (the idea of) GOD?" Why even "believe in" God? As I said Sunday, there are a number of compelling CLUES that God is there, I'll briefly summarize a few here:

1. More and more scientists subscribe to "The Big Bang" theory of the creation of the universe, and most of them acknowledge that there had to be a Creator - a Thoughtful Initiator of the actual beginning, the "big bang". Among many contemporary scientists who agree that there must be a creator are theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and geneticist Francis Collins, who has mapped out our human DNA with the Human Genome Project.

2. We live in a world that is welcoming to life as we know it. For human, animal and plant life as we know it to exist, the fundamental regularities and constants of physics—the speed of light, the gravitational constant, and many other physical, chemical and biological factors—all must have values that together fall into an extremely and almost impossibly narrow range.

The probability of this perfect set of factors happening by chance is so tiny as to be statistically negligible. Add to this our growing understanding of the complexity of our world - everything from the earth's balanced eco-system to our own human bodies, and the evidence of intelligent design keeps mounting.

3. Along with complexity clue mentioned above, is the consistency clue: when I boil eggs this morning, they will boil at the same temperature they did yesterday...no matter what day of the week it is, if I put my hand on the stove right after I boil the eggs, I will get burned. Scientific forces operate in a consistent, measurable, knowable way. Therefore life can be lived by an understood pattern. This is a clue that some intelligent force is at work in the universe; all is not chaos.

4. There are many other clues that have been given, but I'll end with this one: we have inner longings, unfulfilled desires, that nothing in this world seems to be able to fulfill - we long for knowledge of who we are and where we came from and why we are here. We have other longings, and those longings can be fulfilled: we get hungry, there is food to take care of that, we get tired, so we sleep. We desire other things, like sex, intimacy with others, friendship - all of these desires can be fulfilled.

And yet, even when these desires are ALL met, we are left wanting something more - why? Why would we have a desire for something more if that "something" where not real, did not exist, or could not be attained? This is another important clue that there is a God, a Creator with whom we desire connection, and from whom we seek purpose and fulfillment.

We have come to label this part of life or existence "spiritual." It is difficult to describe, but we know it is "there," we sense it, we wonder about it, yes, we even desire it.

I believe God created us with that desire...something that could not be fulfilled by sex, food or other earthly means...so that our lives here would be restless, and so that we might discover the Grand Design for which we were created.

Only then can we be "fulfilled" in the deepest sense of what that means.

I'll try to answer a few questions I've received in my next blog here, probably tomorrow. For now, I want to remind you that our topic for next Sunday, September 20, is "WHY (believe in) JESUS?." I look forward to seeing you then!

I mentioned several books last Sunday that you might find helpful related to the topic of "WHY (the idea of) GOD?" Here is the information for these, and I'll try to add some relevant books to each week's topic.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller (2008, Riverhead Books/The Penguin Group)

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Dr. Francis S. Collins (2006, Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster)

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (1952, current edition, 2001, Harper/San Francisco)

Love God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul by J.P. Moreland (1997, NavPress, The Navigators)

Stay connected...

Pastor Mike

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