THE GOSPEL: If not from GOD from whom?

 

 

Jesus on Cross

 

I believe we can boldly assert that no man of all the myriads that have ever lived – let him be as wise as Solomon, the very best as Job, could have possibly invented from his own “thoughts” the GOSPEL.

Paul says as much in Galatians 1:11 “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.”

It was absolutely impossible for such a plan of salvation ever to be devised by man’s thoughts. It is utterly at variance with those thoughts. It is infinitely to intricate in all its marvelous adaptations to all the involved problems that have to be met , so that no careless, thoughtless one could ever have conceived it. He would cease to be careless. But that eliminates most of us, for indeed aren’t most of us careless? But could a proud man, let him be ever so thoughtful and intelligent, have invented it? I don’t think so, for it humbles him to nothing , telling him that he is ungodly and without strength and only as in heart confessing this can he be saved. He would have to cease being proud in order to have conceived it, to have been its author.

There only remains the poor is spirit, the confessed sinner. Could such have invented the idea that the Creator of all, glorious in holiness, that so high, so Holy a One should  give up His dearest Treasure to bear the sins of one like himself, so conscious as he is of his unworthiness? Would it be likely a humble mind to invent such a plan? He would cease to be humble to have invented it. In fact how blasphemously proud would such a person be!

Then I would suggest, it is proved that since no man – careless or thoughtful, proud or humble, bad or good – could have conceived it, it must have been a divine revelation, the result of God’s thoughts and not man’s.

“For My thoughts are not as your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declared the Lord.”

 

Can you come to a belief in God purely from the evidence?

There is A God by Anthony Flew

HERE IS WHAT THE WORLD’S MOST NOTORIUS ATHEIST  SAYS IN HIS BOOK.                                                                               

Professor Antony Flew, former Professor of Philosophy, Oxford University.

“Can the origins of a system of coded chemistry (DNA) be explained in a way that makes no appeal whatever to the kind of facts that we otherwise invoke to explain codes and languages, systems of communications, the impress of ordinary words on the world of matter?” p. 127
He pointed out that natural selection can’t explain the origin of first life. Ultimately, a vast amount of information is behind life, and in every other case, information requires an intelligent source, so it is only reasonable that there be a Source behind this information as well.

He is adamant that his conversion to theism does not represent a paradigm shift, because his paradigm remains simply to follow the argument where it leads.

“I must stress that my discovery of the Divine has proceeded on a purely natural level, without any reference to supernatural phenomena. It has been an exercise in what has traditionally been called natural theology. It has had no connection with any of the revealed religions. Nor do I claim to have had any personal experience of God or any experience that maybe called supernatural or miraculous. In short, my discovery of the Divine has been a pilgrimage of reason not of faith.”

“There Is No God” was published in 2007. Professor Antony Flew died in 2010 at 87, hopefully before he died he met the true God who he had discovered through Natural Theology, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

New BBC Series “Wonders of Life” How Life First Began

9221Wonders-of-Life
Extract of article by Dominic Stratham:
Professor Brian Cox particle physicist at Manchester University UK is set to takeover from David Attenborough as BBC’s popular science presenter.
It seems he has all the right credentials: in 1990’s he played keyboard for the pop group D Ream, he is considered the best looking physics professor around and he has no time for the God of the Bible.
This latest series by the BBC unequivocally promotes the naturalistic world view as scientific with statements about evolution prefixed with phrases such as “We Know” and What’s certain”
The good news is that there are so many unscientific arguments presented by Dr Cox that this programme is very reassuring for creationists: if this is all they can come up with then we have very little to fear. The tragedy however is that for the general public it just reinforces what they have been fed by the secular media and educational establishments. To read Dominic Statham’s full article go to http://www.creation.com

Our best witness for the existence of God

As outlined in the last few blogs there are good arguments that God exists but
as I mentioned in my first blog Christians KNOW God exists. Why, because God the Father sent God the Holy Spirit to indwell us. We don’t live the Christian life on our own. God (Holy Spirit) himself takes up residence in the believer. Now it is up to the believer how much He allows the Holy Spirit to direct his/her life but we and non believers can tell simply by observing the person’s life. To what degree is the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit evident in their life; Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Goodness, Kindness and Self Control? Moreover are they using any of the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit to build up the Church and themselves; Prophecy, Gift of Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues, Words of Wisdom, Words of Knowledge, Discerning of Spirits, Gift of Healing, Miracles. Sadly too many of us still want to do our own thing and the Holy Spirit is not as evident in our lives as He should be. What a different world it would be if we Christians were all truly giving the Lord His rightful place as King and meant it when we pray “your Kingdom come your will be done on earth this day as it is in heaven”.
It is important to remember our best witness to non believers for the existence of God is our life’s walk and our testimony not the arguments we can muster.

Arguments for the existence of GOD

Yesterday we looked briefly at two arguments for the existence of GOD: the Ontological and Cosmological arguments. Today we will look at the TELEOLOGICAL (intelligent design) and MORAL arguments.
TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: This argument has come roaring back into prominence in recent years. As mentioned in my first blog, eminent scientists such Dr Dean Kenyon have turned to intelligent design as an explanation for the breathtaking complexity of the DNA (instruction manual) and mico-machinery of a single cell. Evolution’s mechanism of natural selection and mutation can’t explain where the complex information (instruction manual) came from for the first cell let alone add all the new complex information to go from “goo to you”. In addition, the incredible degree of cosmic fine tuning in the universe has led scientists to conclude that such a delicate balance of physical constants and quantities as is requisite for LIFE cannot be explained in any other way than intelligent design. By “LIFE”, scientists mean that property of all organisms to take in food, extract energy from it, grow and adapt to their environment, and reproduce. In the absence of fine-tuning, not even atomic matter or chemistry would exist, let alone planets where life might evolve. Prominent atheist, Richard Dawkins’ (author of The God Delusion) red herring “who designed the designer” has no bearing on the fact that the best explanation of the obvious appearance of design in the universe is a designer. Therefore of the only three possible alternatives/explanations: physical necessity, chance or design – the most plausible of the three is the hypothesis of INTELLIGENT DESIGN.
MORAL ARGUMENT: This is a very convincing argument particularly the argument for God on the basis of the objectivity of moral values and duties.
A very straight forward formulation of this argument is as follows:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2.Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore God exists.
When we talk of moral values we mean, is it good or bad (evil) whereas with moral duties, is it right or wrong. To say that something is objective is to say that it is independent of what people think or perceive e.g. the Holocaust was objectively wrong even though the Nazis thought it was right. To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is good or evil independetly of whether any human believes it to be so.
As Richard Dawkins says “There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference …. We are machines for propogating DNA… It is every living objects sole reason for being”.
Without GOD there is NO basis for the objective moral values that do exist. We also know that God’s moral law is “written on the hearts” of all men as “their conscience bears witness to them” Romans 2:14-15. hence even the Richard Dawkins of this world know that murder is morally wrong but their world view can’t explain why.
In summary, on an atheistic , naturalistic world view, there is no basis for affirming the existence of objective moral values and duties.
In short, the moral argument brings us to a personal, necessarily existent being who is the locus and source of moral goodness.
The Moral Argument with the Cosmological and Teleological arguments provide powerful evidence for the existence of GOD.

Natural Theology

Last blog, I said I would introduce some of the arguments for the existence of God by natural theology, that branch of theology that seeks to provide warrant for belief in God’s existence apart from the resources of authoritative, propositional revelation (bible). Most of the material I am quoting today comes from William Lane Craig’s excellent book “Reasonable Faith”.

ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: Plantinga argues that “Man” has an innate, natural capacity to apprehend God’s existence even as he has the natural capacity to accept truths of perception (like “I see a tree”). God has so constructed us that we naturally form the belief in His existence under appropriate circumstances (such as moments of guilt, gratitude, or a sense of God’s handiwork in nature), just as we do the belief in perceptual objects and for example, the reality of the past. Hence belief in God is among the deliverances of reason, not faith. Many philosophers even Plato have tried to provide a rational basis for belief in God. Plantinga is only one of many that have used the ontological argument that God exists: basically if God is conceivable, then he must exist. Check them out in Craig’s book Reasonable Faith or on their website www.reasonablefaith.org.

COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: In contrast to the ontological argument, the cosmological argument assumes that something exists and argues from the existence of that thing to the existence of a First Cause or a Sufficient Reason of the Cosmos. It has been defended by great minds such as Plato, Aristotle, al Ghazali, Maimonides, Anselem, Aquinas, Scotus, Descartes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Locke and Leibniz. Quoting from al Ghazali (1058-1111) who argues for a FIRST CAUSE ” Every being which begins has a cause for it’s beginning; now the universe/world is a being which begins; therefore, it possesses a cause for its beginning (at a certain moment in time)”. Since the discovery by Hubble that the universe is expanding which led to the Standard “Big Bang” Model of the beginning of the universe, it is accepted that the cosmos had a beginning and “based on the second law of thermodynamics, it is stuck on a one way slide of degeneration and decay towards a final state of maximum entropy, or disorder. As this final state has not been reached it follows that the universe cannot have existed for an infinite time” quote from Paul Davies, “The Big Questions: In the Beginning”, ABC Science Online, interview with Philip Adams, http;//aca.mq.edu.au/pdavieshtml.
Since the universe had a first cause then its cause had to be outside of the Space, Matter, Time, cosmos that it brought into being. This being according to Aquinas; God is Pure Being itself subsisting and is the source of being to everything else, whose essences do not involve their existing. G. W. F. Leibniz (1646-1716) does not argue for the existence of an Uncaused Cause, but for the existence of a SUFFICIENT REASON for the Universe. Nothing happens without a sufficent reason – why is there something rather than nothing. He argues that the reason for the universe’s existence must be found outside of the universe, in a being whose sufficient reason is self contained. God is a metaphysical necessary being. These are the two most prominent Cosmological Arguments for God but there are others.

Tomorrow let’s look at the TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT and the MORAL ARGUMENT.

living eternal

As I mentioned in my opening blog “Why I started this blog” I know God exists because the Holy Spirit indwells my spirit, but the real issue is do you know God exists? I do know that if you honestly seek God you will find Him.
God also tells us that just by looking at HIS creation we should know that He exists. Moreover as I also mentioned in my first blog, eminent scientists like Dr Dean Kenyon are increasingly coming to realise they can’t ignore the amazing design in the universe which allows life as we know it to exist on Earth.
The founder of the probability theory, the Christian french mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) argues that when the odds that God exists are even then the prudent man/woman will gamble that God exists. This is a wager we all must make. Which then will you choose – that God exists or He does not? Pascal argues that as the odds are even then the choice should be made pragmatically in terms of maximising one’s happiness. If one wagers that God exists and he does then one has gained eternal life and infinite happiness. If He does not in fact exist then one has gained nothing. Hence the only prudent choice is to believe God exists.
There are many good arguments that God exists and it is interesting that in the secular philosophy magazine PHILO 4, No 2, 2001 carried an article by leading atheist philosopher Quentin Smith lamenting what he called the desecularisation of academy that evolved in philosophy departments since late 1960’s. He writes: “Naturalists passively watch as realist versions of theism, most influenced by Alvin Plantinga’s writings, began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today perhaps 1/4 to 1/3rd of philosophy professors in the major USA universities are theists, with most being orthodox Christians………….in philosophy it became, almost overnight, “academically respectable” to argue for theism, making philosophy a favored field of entry for the most talented theists entering academia today”.
In tomorrows blog, I will introduce some of the arguments for God exists but if you want to pursue them now may I suggest William Lane Craig’s site http://www.reasonablefaith.org or go see some of Alvin Plantinga’s videos on You Tube.