Our belief in God and our faith is being attacked from many sides today. Are you prepared to defend what you believe? Is your faith and your personal relationship with God strong enough to withstand the relentless attacks from our modern culture?
The Bible speaks of times, when men will not hold to the knowledge of God. We are living though such a time. You need to examine your concept of God and you need to know the true God of creation.
Join us on Beyond Today as we answer the question: How Big is Your God?
The Bible says, "Only a fool says in his heart, 'there is no God.'" (Psalm 14:1-3). Well, today the foolish who declare their unbelief, are getting a lot bolder in the public eye.
In Europe, a region known for its secular indifference, religion is emerging as a big issue. Part of this is due to concern with the growing Muslim populations and a fear that faith is leading to strife and terrorism. Those who feel that religion is causing this strife are gearing up for a "final battle" against what they call "theological hocus-pocus."
In America, several books have recently been written by prominent atheists. These books include such titles as, The God Delusion, The End of Faith , and God is Not Great. Now all these books spent months on the best seller list. And while atheists remain a distinct minority in America, and in Canada, it is important to note the popularity of these ideas. Though America and Canada are very religious countries, many do remain "under-educated" about religion and the Bible.
Now your faith is important, and so is your belief in God. We on Beyond Today want to help strengthen your understanding and your belief in God, and especially the true God of creation and the one described in your Bible.
Does God exist? Does it really matter to you to find an answer to that question? Well it should. It is the single biggest question you and I will ever face. Proving God exists is not an academic question that you can just answer by sitting back in an easy chair. You see life is real. Life has real problems that sometimes shake us to our foundation. Illness can threaten your life. You can lose a job. Your marriage can be breaking up and your whole life can be changed. At those times, a mere academic belief in God will not be enough. You will need rock solid, unshakeable belief to see you through the tough times of life.
You and I must have conviction. A conviction that's based on solid evidence that there is a God behind the universe who created, preserves and sustains all that we see and who is interested in your life and mine. Our conviction must be so secure that no one, no scientist or atheist, no matter how brilliant, can shake it.
Let's talk about one such scientist: Stephen Hawking, a famous scientist who taught for years at The University of Cambridge in England. Now by any measure, Stephen Hawking is the most influential man in science today. He writes a lot of books. For decades Mr. Hawking has written his views about the origins and the workings of the universe.
His well-known book, A Brief History of Time , was published in 1988 and it sold millions of copies. This is my own personal copy of it. You know this book remains one of the most unread books of all time since it was pretty complicated for a non-specialist? Now I admit to having my own copy of it, but you know, it's not a book that I've read and could really understand. It was quite a bit above my head. Except for the last section, where he made a famous statement about God.
Now here is what he said, in that section: "If we find the answer to that"--meaning the question of why the universe exists--"it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason-- for then we would know the mind of God."
His statement, which I have used here on Beyond Today , left many people thinking that Mr. Hawking had come down on the side of God's existence, or at least was leaving it open as a possibility.
Now, Mr. Hawking has published another book. This book is called, The Grand Design . Now this book makes a case for the existence of time and the universe without the need for a creator God. Asking the most basic questions of the universe's existence, Stephen Hawking says, "Some would claim the answer to these questions is that there is a God who chose to create the universe that way. It is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God. In this view it is accepted that some entity exists that needs no creator, and that entity is called God. This is known as the first-cause argument for the existence of God. We claim, however, that it is possible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings." (page 172)
Stephen Hawking goes on to assert this, he says, "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to…set the universe going." (page 180)
And so it seems, Stephen Hawking has concluded God was not needed for the universe to exist. Hawking seeks to design a "grand design" without a designer. Now it is not my point to argue the merits of his analysis of physics and cosmology. Believe me, other experts will do that. Science is continually increasing its knowledge of the known world and ideas and theories of how it all works are constantly evaluated, modified and updated. No doubt, this will continue as research and exploration discovers additional facts of the universe.
Stephen Hawking argues that science actually does have an answer to the question of origins. He explains, in his newest book, the physical universe within a theory based on mathematics, scientific observation and reason. There is no room in his explanation for the Creator, since there is no need for Him. The laws of physics, he says, do it all by themselves.
Now, if Mr. Hawking is right, the answer to the question, "What created the universe?" is the laws of physics. But what created the laws of physics? How is it that these strange and powerful laws, and these laws alone, apply to our world?
There are those who will say that the question has no answer--that it lies at or beyond the limits of human thought. And there are those who will say that the question has an answer, but that it is answered not by reason, but by faith.
Even some scientists will admit faith must play a role in coming to a conclusive answer about the existence of God.
When it comes to faith and the search for answers about God, we have one place to go to begin our search. It is the book called the Bible, which claims to be the exclusive source of revelation about God and the creation.
The first statement made in this book, the Bible, gives an answer to the questions about origins of time and space and our known universe. You can read it in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Now here is a direct statement that demands a response from anyone who reads it. It is the starting point for the ultimate question that Stephen Hawking and all other scientists have.
What does it mean, "In the beginning…"? Was this the beginning of time and space as we know it?
Was it the point that scientists call the Big Bang? You know, in 1929, a scientist named Edwin Hubble, looked through a telescope and he observed that the universe was expanding in every direction one could look. He concluded that at an earlier time, objects would have been closer and at some time in the distant past, all matter was at one location--that it was all together in an infinite mass. Now this much is accepted today as fact by science.
You know, today only a few scientists persist in believing in an infinitely old earth and universe. There is just simply too much evidence against it. The vast majority of scientists have come to acknowledge that we live in a universe that had a beginning.
And that admission, that there was a beginning, raises uncomfortable questions for many scientists. What force, power or laws existed before the beginning of the universe to bring it into existence? What was the cause of its existence? Now our rational minds tell us, the universe could not have come from nothing. That defies not only logic but the known laws of physics.
And yet, questions remain. What was before this event? When did the expansion begin? What forces governed this expansion and how can it be explained? Will the expansion stop and the universe collapse back upon itself and come to what some might call "the time of an end"? What, or who, caused the universe? And why was it brought into being? That last, is probably the most important question of all.
Well we'll come back to that and some of these other questions in a few moments. But let me pause and take a moment to explain the free booklet that we are offering on the program today. It's called Life's Ultimate Question: Does God Exist?
This is a full color booklet that gives an answer to the question, How Big is Your God? It gives you solid research and conclusions of eminent scientists who have spent decades studying the universe. Together, this booklet and this Bible, will make a compelling study that will strengthen your belief and challenge any assumptions you may have.
This booklet talks about the beginning of the universe and the evidence of God all around us.
You'll want this booklet as a resource for your own personal study and you'll want it to share with family because it makes an excellent tool to use with your children or your grandchildren to teach them about God and His role in creation.
We offer you this booklet free of charge as an educational service. You can read it online at BeyondToday.tv . Or you can call 1-888-886-8632 and request your free copy. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or go online at BeyondToday.tv. You'll want this booklet to be sure. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Now, let's return to our discussion of beginnings. We were talking about the Big Bang, and the fact the universe had to have a beginning.
This determination, the idea that there was a Big Bang, that the universe must have had a beginning, it shook the scientific establishment. A scientist named Robert Jastrow, who was the founder of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies wrote this: "Few astronomers could have anticipated that this event--the sudden birth of the Universe -- would become a proven scientific fact, but observations of the heavens through telescopes have forced them into that conclusion."
Jastrow also said: "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in the first instant…It was literally the moment of creation ." ( Journey to the Stars: Space Exploration—Tomorrow and Beyond, 1989)
At this point, science stops in its tracks because as Jastrow explains, "A sound explanation may exist for the explosive birth of our Universe; but if it does, science cannot find out what the explanation is. The scientist's pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation…We would like to pursue that inquiry farther back in time, but the barrier to further progress seems insurmountable. It is not a matter of another year, another decade of work, another measurement, or another theory; at this moment it seems as though sciencewill never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation."( God and the Astronomers, 1992, pp. 106-107).
Now some scientists draw incorrect conclusions from these facts, assuming that, since science can't discover what took place before the universe was formed, nothing could have happened before it was formed. This tells us nothing about God's existence or nonexistence, but it does say a lot about the limitations of the traditional scientific approach. We rather must seek a source other than science to understand who or what existed before the origin of the universe. Only one source offers a truly believable and rational explanation and that source is the Bible.
There is only one alternative to the biblical claim of supernatural creation by a Supreme Intelligence. Atheists now may argue that the entire universe came from nothingwithout a cause. They must insist on this unfounded, unsupportable assertion because there is no other way to avoid the existence of a First Cause.
Yet their most basic assertion is fundamentally flawed. The beginning of the universe has been proven to be a specific event. We all know from years and years of experience that one of the most fundamental truths is that events have causes. This fundamental truth underlies the laws that govern energy and matter. Nothing happens without a cause. The beginning of the universe is an event that had a specific cause.
Now let's take a pause here. Thinking about God is a pretty deep and involved exercise. It really stretches the mind.
Let me ask; are the arguments against God from the new atheists or from scientists anything really new? Have they come up with new insight or knowledge that undeniably proves God does not exist? I don't think so. Even Stephen Hawking's latest work only adds really another layer to his position that the universe can be explained without the idea of a creator.
The question of God's existence has been debated by every generation. In this case there is nothing "new under the sun." Every generation has seen attempts from every form of religious and philosophical persuasion to explain the universe and the existence, or the non-existence of God. Modern science has added its considerable weight of knowledge and discovery to this discussion. But as we have seen, the question is never settled and brilliant minds on every side come to different conclusions based on the same evidence.
In fact, some who were atheists, changed their thinking and came to believe in a God. Now, granted, who or what this God is in their minds may be different from the God of the Bible.
The fact is the question of God is central to every generation. The arguments against don't change much. The proofs for God's existence are also the same, but what one person demands as proof, can be different from that of someone else.
Let's take a moment and look at some of the proofs for God's existence. These are well documented and accepted by people of faith as reasonable methods to examine the question of God.
The first could be called the Evidence of Nature. This is the approach that says there is a cause for all we see in the universe. A cause for what we think in our mind. This approach is at the basis for the proof that creation demands a Creator or that law demands a Lawgiver. It has many good arguments for proving God's existence.
Another is what is called the Proof of the Universe. This is an argument that the universe came into being at the hand of a Supreme Being. This is a surprising view held by some scientists today.
In Romans chapter 1,:19-22 the Apostle Paul does point to the creation as proof. He says that God can be understood by the things that are made. He says there is no excuse.
Psalm 19:1 says, "The heavens"--the universe, the stars and all that we see--"declare the glory of God."
Another proof, is that, is called the Proof of Design. There is design in nature by this idea. Now this approach says the creation shows order and purpose. It's really the watchmaker approach. The idea that a watch --a very intricate, finely created piece of craftsmanship-- could not put itself together without a Great Designer.
Indeed, Psalm 139:14 says, speaking of man, "...I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Another proof is what is called the Moral Proof. That certain things are true. It seems wrong to lie or steal. Our morals had to come from somewhere. Therefore the answer is God.
And then there is the religious approach. Some people have a very deep spiritual experience; a vision perhaps. Something they cannot explain by the normal physical processes and it triggers a religious search that ends in a belief in God through faith.
These are all ways by which you can prove God exists. But in the end, it may be that the way by which we prove God exists in our mind, beyond any shadow of a doubt, may be the most important of all. We'll talk more about that in a moment.
There's a lot more to discuss about this topic. Up in a few moments we're going to be talking with the Beyond Today panel. But first, I have a special free offer for you today.
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You don't have to prove God's existence to anyone and you don't have to accept an atheist's arguments and rants against God and religion. In fact, you can examine their point of view and then decide for yourself whether or not God exists as a personal God who knows you, is concerned for your life and has a purpose for your life. You can know this God who reveals Himself in your Bible.
What we have discussed provides some convincing reasons for you to believe God exists, but none of them alone is enough. The final conviction and proof must come from a different way. The ultimate proof is from faith and action.
Now with me to discuss these keys of action are fellow Beyond Today hosts, Gary Petty and Steve Myers.
Does the Bible give us some direction in proving God's existence?
You know Darris, it's interesting, this book claims to be inspired by God. And there are many places in here where God actually challenges human beings. He says: Prove me! Test me! See if I am real. So if this book is the inspired Word of God, then the challenge from God is to read it, understand it, live by it and prove if God really is God.
One of the great things about the Bible is that, it gets down to the basics. Sometimes God deals with us even at the most elementary levels. In the Psalms, it says "the heavens declare the glory of God." And so we can look up into the creation and begin to realize it took someone, some design, or some Creator to form everything around us. So we can begin to test the fact that God does exist by looking around us.
Even in the New Testament, in Romans, it talks about the invisible things of God are clearly seen in the creation. So it's a great thing that God deals with us even at that level.
Yeah, you know Steve, I think that is one of the more compelling proofs for God's existence of the creation that you talked about earlier in the program. I remember one time visiting the Mt. Palomar telescope in Southern California at Mt. Palomar Observatory, and the guide who was taking us through, who had seen a lot of scientists come through looking through that giant telescope out into the heavens at the stars and the universe, had come to the conclusion. This person said, everyone who comes through here develops some type of a belief in a God or a Creator behind that.
There is a certain awe and respect that comes when you realize the vastness of the universe.
I think that's one of the most compelling aspects of proof one could really delve into, as many scientists come to find out. Can we prove God by obeying his laws?
You know one of my favorite verses in the Scripture, I'm going to borrow your Bible here. Is in the book of Hebrews. And Hebrews, we have what is called the "faith chapter."
In Hebrews 11:6, the writer says: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
It's just not believing that God exists. It's also seeking God and if we spend our lives seeking God and we find God, the God, the Creator God, the God of this Bible, then we want to respond to Him. We want to obey Him. We want to trust Him. And in that trust, that faith is rewarded in a relationship with God. So, yes, it's not just faith, it is following God that we truly find and understand and discover God.
And come to a proof.
Yes I think the Bible is pretty clear when it talks about knowing God, proving God, understanding more about Him. There is a great passage in 1 John chapter 2, where it says that we can know that we know. It's not just knowing God. Lot's of us say God exists, but that's the farthest it goes. But the Bible says that we can know that we know He exists. And it's interesting that it says the way to do that is by obeying His commandments; by learning them and doing them. So there is certain action that is involved in really understanding and getting to have a personal relationship with God.
And those core commandments…
Love God with all your heart, with all your mind and all your soul. And love your neighbor as yourself. And so as you learn to understand God, you discover Him--it's just not knowing of Him. You can know somebody exists but to have a relationship with them means that you actually relate back and forth, you understand. You share a love back and forth and that's what God actually wants with every one of them.
That's an odd concept too. Because I think some people say law has nothing to do with love, but God's law is all about love.
All about love.
All about it.
Speaking of relationships, does prayer have a part in proving God?
You can't prove to somebody, who has never related to God in prayer, that prayer works. It's only through the experience of it. And if you've had that experience, you know that God somehow listened. You know that God answered. And I know all of us here have seen miracles.
We have seen someone pray and we watch God heal that person. And so we've seen those miracles. We know that, and that helps our relationship with God but I don't know how you explain that to somebody who hasn't experienced it.
It's something you have to go through.
And sometimes I think we put some of these religious things in a different category and we don't really think of them in terms of a real relationship. Because if we are going to prove God, we have to have a relationship with Him and that means we have to talk to Him. We have to listen to Him. We have to get out that Bible, read what God is telling us and how to be close to Him and then pray to Him. Tell Him about our life. Talk to Him. Develop that relationship and prayer is a powerful way that we can do that.
But think how many people recite the Lord's Prayer at a church service and then wonder why they don't have a connection to God.
Well prayer takes more than just a rote memorized prayer.
That's right! We actually have to go talk to god!
Well we don't talk to each other like that.
Why would we want to God like that?
You know a relationship that we have with a good friend, with a mate, is really something that we develop, really, on a regular day-to-day basis. We can say we know our mate but if we don't have a relationship by talking with them, we are not really knowing them and same with God.
It's not going to go very far, is it?
No…The same with God, you have to know God through prayer, through study of His word and by proving what He says and taking it and putting it into practical effect.
So this takes time doesn't it?
And to get back to the actions. There's actions involved. There's doing involved. We have to be active in praying, in studying, in growing closer to Him. It's not going to happen just wishing it to be.
What are we talking here about, is really developing a personal relationship with God.
Yes. How big is God? Well God is, He's the Creator. He's the Law Giver. He's our Father and we can relate to him like a Dad. He is our, He says He is our Friend. I mean, God can interact with every aspect of our lives with His purpose and His plan and that's what this is all about. Life has meaning and it has eternity if we understand this relationship we can have.
And that's the great part about the relationship. It's not that God is just an authoritative God. It's not that He's just a corrective God or that He's a distant God out there somewhere. God is a family God! God is creating a family. Family is about relationships. It's about getting to know each other. It's about being brothers and sisters and having a father. And so just the terms that the Bible use to describe that, show that God wants a relationship with us.
Which is why I made the statement earlier that how we prove God's existence is really as important, if not more important, than the proof that we might, that it might take for us. Because it is by action; it is by putting into an application principles, laws to develop a relationship with God and developing a relationship that is that of a friend-- looking at God in that way.
That is what this program has been about as we have tried in our own small way to answer a very big question of: How Big is Your God? And to dispel some of the arguments that go against the Creator of the universe from our society and our modern culture.
Our booklet, Does God Exist answering life's ultimate question, is going to be a tremendous and valuable tool for you to accomplish that. You're going to need this booklet. You are going to also need a regular subscription to our magazine , The Good News magazine, to help you on this ongoing effort to answer the question of How Big is Your God? You can get this on BeyondToday.tv or by calling 1-888-886-8632. Go online! Call now! These booklets are going to help you answer one of the biggest questions and needs in your life!
Now, how much proof do you need to believe God does exist? Will the proof you now have withstand the angry attacks from those who deny God and His power? Only you can know the answer to that question.
And when you come to that answer, you will be ready to live with your conviction. It will change your life. You will have enough proof to live for the Kingdom of God.
You will have enough proof to endure any trial or inconvenience to prove your love, your loyalty and your devotion to God.
You will have enough proof to build a foundation that no trial and no human can destroy. You will have enough proof to make a decision to endure with God to the end.
And you will come to know the rich rewards of knowing the God of the Bible who wants to bring you into His eternal Kingdom--that's how big God is!
That's our program for this week. Thanks for watching.