(un)Apologetic Week 10: I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
How do you know that Jesus is actually God? What happens to the people that never hear about Jesus? How can a loving God send people to hell? If God knew that Adam and Eve would sin, why would He even bother creating them? Why would God create the devil if He knew he would rebel? How’s it possible God has no beginning and no end? Why should I believe the Bible if God Himself didn’t write it? Can God and evolution both be true? What if I don’t agree with some stuff the Bible says?
So, why was God okay with slavery? Why does He seemingly allow wars? Where was God when I needed Him? If God is loving and all powerful, why is there evil?
Chip: Well, good morning to everybody, and good morning, also, to the those who watch via the internet and the mobile app. You, here at Grace, and you who watch via the mobile app and internet, are in for a really big treat. I'm not going to go into a lengthy biography. You can just go online and Google Dr. Frank Turek and you'll realize that he is all that he is cracked up to be. I can tell you this: It is just going to be a treat for our church to get to hear him today. He is a sought after apologist, one of the best known in all of Christianity. Prolific writer, prolific speaker, and an incredible, incredible, teacher and presenter. You're in for a treat. So, Grace, could we just give a huge, warm welcome to Dr. Frank Turek?
Frank: I love Pastor Chip. He just needs more energy. What do you think? Do I have him nailed or what? I want to start going back to September 29th, 2006. That's when Petty Officer Michael Monsoor, a United States Navy Seal, was standing on a roof in Ramadi, Iraq. He Is standing in front of a doorway to this roof and he has two Navy Seal colleagues lying in the sniper prone position next to him. They've already taken AK-47 fire and a rocket propelled grenade, but they're not exactly sure where the enemy is.
Insurgents have blocked off the streets in Ramadi, and there's someone on the loudspeaker in the town mosque saying, “Kill the Americans.” As Monsoor and his team are looking for the next attack, an insurgent from an unknown location throws a grenade up on the roof. It hits Monsoor in the chest and it falls to his feet. He has a split second to make a decision. He can leap through the doorway behind him and save himself, but if he does, his two Navy Seal colleagues lying on the roof will surely die.
Monsoor yells, “Grenade!” But instead of jumping backward to save himself, he jumps forward, chest first onto the grenade. It detonates. Thirty minutes later, twenty-five year old Michael Monsoor is dead. His two Navy Seal colleagues only receive minor injuries because Monsoor’s body muffled the blast. One of the survivors said, at Monsoor’s funeral, “Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, ‘You will not take my friends. I will go in their stead.’”
I've never seen a United States president cry until April 8th, 2008. That's when President George W. Bush invited Monsoor’s parents into the East Room of the White House to give them their son's Medal of Honor posthumously. The president couldn't even get through the citation without breaking down. Since then, Monsoor’s high school in Garden Grove, California built a new stadium. They named it Michael Monsoor Memorial stadium. The Golden Trident that the Seals wear dominates the 50 yard line.
This January, in Coronado, California, the United States Navy Commissioned the USS Michael Monsoor, the newest guided missile destroyer in the fleet, Zumwalt class. This is Monsoor’s mother, Sally, being escorted onto the ship, named in honor of her son. Now, why did they do this? Because Michael Monsoor literally sacrificed himself to save his friends. There's no greater love than to sacrifice yourself to save your friends. Michael Monsoor died for his friends. The question is, would anyone die for you? The answer is, someone already has. His name is Jesus of Nazareth. But in today's culture, many people don't think the story is true. They think it's invented. They think, “How can we believe in miracles? We don't believe in miracles. How can a resurrection occur? That doesn't happen. By the way, this was written down by religious people. Maybe they embellished it. We know religious people make things up. How can we believe in the story of Jesus of Nazareth?”
I actually think it's quite easy to show that the story's true. You only need to answer four questions in the affirmative. In other words, if you investigate these four questions, I think you'll realize that the answer to these four questions is yes. And if the answer to these four questions is yes, then Christianity's true. What are the four questions? Here are the four questions.
Now that is some pretty groove in music, isn't it? Yeah. That's actually from our TV show, which is on every Wednesday night at 9:00 PM and 1:00 AM, if you're an insomniac, on DirecTV channel 378. If you don't have DirecTV, it's on Roku. Do you guys know what Roku is? If you've got Roku, it's on the NRB channel on Roku, National religious Broadcasters. If you don't have DirecTV and you don't have Roku, it's on this new technology sweeping Sarasota right now. It's called the internet. Have you guys heard of this? Yeah. We actually stream it on our website right there, CrossExamined.org. We're also on radio every Saturday morning on a number of stations around the country. If it's not local, you can listen to it on iTunes. You can listen to it on our app. Two words in the app store: Cross Examined. It's also on a podcast. What we do is we present evidence for Christianity and we cross examine ideas against it.
Now, why are these the four questions? Truth, God, miracles, and the New Testament? This is kind of going to serve as our outline here today. The first question: Does truth exist? Quite obviously, if there's no truth — and you hear people say things like this. You know? “There's no truth. You’ve got your truth. I’ve got my truth. All truth is relative.”
You hear people say things like this. If there's no truth, then Christianity can't be true. Of course, if there's no truth, then atheism can't be true either, right? In fact, nothing could be true. Second question: Does God Exist? Obviously, Christianity can't be true if there's no god, but I hope to show you today that there really is a theistic God. What's the theistic God? That's a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, moral, personal, intelligent creator who created all things and sustains all things to this very moment. We're briefly going to look at three arguments for this being. These arguments are taught in the Bible, but you don't need the Bible to know them. In fact, we're not even going to refer to the Bible when we talk about question number two.
Question three: Are miracles possible? Obviously, Christianity can't be true if miracles are not possible, but I hope to show you today that not only are miracles possible, but the greatest miracle in the Bible has already occurred and even atheists are admitting the data for this miracle. We'll see that here this morning.
And then the key question is this: Is the New Testament true? The New Testament doesn't have a prayer if there is no truth, no god or no miracles. But if truth exists, if God exists, if miracles are possible, then we can see if we have a reliable enough collection of documents to conclude that one particular event occurred in the first century, and that is the resurrection of Jesus. Because if Jesus rose from the dead, game over. Christianity is true. Of course, if Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then game over. It's false. You might as well sleep in on Sunday and do what you want the rest of the week. Right? Well, actually, I think the evidence shows that Jesus did rise from the dead. I know Pastor Chip covered some of this last time.
Now, some of you are going, “Wait a minute. Wait. Hold on, Frank. What about the Old Testament? Do you believe the Old Testament is true?” Well, look, if the New Testament is reliable, you get the Old Testament thrown in. Why? Who is in the New Testament that can authenticate the Old Testament? Jesus. Yes. Yes. If you're ever in Sunday school and you don't know the answer, just say Jesus. You'll probably be right.
“The answer is Jesus, Pastor.”
If Jesus really is God, as the New Testament documents claim He is — now, that's a big “if.” But if He really is God, whatever God teaches is true. Jesus taught the entire Old Testament as the Word of God, so if the New Testament is reliable, you get the Old Testament thrown in. Now, we don't have time to actually go through all four of these. We're going to cover point one briefly, and then two thirds of point two, and the rest of this you're going to have to work out on your own. In fact, we've got books on the book table. We may run out of the books, but we've got a few more left. “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.”
There is a 12-part, 12-lesson DVD series that goes through all this in detail, and you can actually get workbooks and curriculum that go with it if you want to go further. And then the new book, “Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case.” I've noticed that when atheists are arguing that there is no god, they're actually stealing aspects of reality that would only exist if God existed in order to say He doesn't exist. In effect, they have to sit in God's lap to slap His face.
Now, by the way, all the proceeds from the sale of the books and the DVDs will go to feed needy children. Mine. Okay? Just so you know. I’ve got three sons, so I need some help. Actually, I was in the Navy for eight years — which, by the way stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself. My sons were smarter than me because two of them went into the Air Force. In fact, the oldest one, right now, is an intelligence officer. In fact, he's reading your email right now. You shouldn't be emailing in church. The second son is a KC-10 pilot. Do you guys know what a KC-10 is? KC-10 is a big plane that refuels other planes in flight. You know? You've seen the planes with the boom coming out of the back that the smaller planes come up and get gas from?
So, what we say about our middle son, Spencer, is that every day he flies up to 30,000 feet, he sits around and he passes gas. And he gets paid for it. This is every man's dream. If I got paid to pass gas, I'd be a multimillionaire already.
The third son is not in the military, but he is out of the house, so my wife and I are now empty nesters. Yeah. Do we have any empty nesters in here? Yeah. It took us a while to get used to that. About 10 minutes. That's how long it took to change the locks.
Anyway, this entire PowerPoint presentation I'm going to show you, I'm going to send to you in a PDF format. If you just text the word “EVIDENCE” to 44222. Text the word “EVIDENCE” to 44222. In fact, I'm only going to be able to show you like 5% of this PowerPoint presentation. You'll get the whole thing if you text the word “EVIDENCE” to 44222. We'll also give you the first chapter of Stealing from God. We're not going to share your email address with anybody else, but you'll get it if you text that word “EVIDENCE” to 44222.
We’ve got to move on though. We've got to do point one. Does truth exist? Are you guys ready to go? Alright. Three of us are. Are you ready to go? Whenever you start talking about truth, you always have to start with Jack Nicholson. Right? Because Tom Cruise got him on the witness stand and he said to him, “Colonel, I want the truth.” And Nicholson said...?
Audience: You can’t handle the truth.”
Frank: If he had said it that way, the movie would have gone nowhere. “You can’t handle the truth.” That's not how we said it. This is how he said it:
“I want the truth!”
“You can’t handle the truth!”
Frank: Alright. Let's try that again. I want the truth!
Audience: You can’t handle the truth!
Frank: Alright. Alright. The 10:15 wins. That was good. That was good, Pastor Chip. Well, you know, there are a lot of people that can't handle the truth. They're saying, “You’ve got your truth, I’ve got my truth. There is no truth. All truth is relative.” Well, if you don't get anything else out of what we talk about here today, this is going to be the most important thinking skill we're going to talk about. In fact, I think it's the most important thinking skill you can learn. In fact, if you get this thinking skill down, half of what you need to know to defend the Christian faith, you'll already know. Why? Because this thinking skill will show you how to avoid what is false, and half the battle is avoiding what's false. There's so much out there that is supposedly put forth as true, yet it really is false. And this thinking skill will help you expose false statements.
It’s so simple, by the way. Once you get your mind around it, you're going to become a fearless defender of the Christian faith. The easiest way of showing you this thinking skill is to give you an example of using it. If someone were to ever come up to you and say something like, “There is no truth,” you should ask that person a question. What should the question be?
Yeah. If somebody says there is no truth, you ought to say, “Hey, is that true?” Is it true that there's no truth? Because if it's true that there's no truth, the claim that there is no truth can't be true, but it claims to be true. Did I say that right? I know that can give you intellectual constipation if you think about it long enough. But that's because this is a self-defeating statement. What's a self-defeating statement? That's a statement that doesn't meet its own standard. It would be like saying, “I can't speak a word in English.” If I were to say that, what would you say? “You just used English to say it.” Or it’d be like saying, “My parents had no kids that lived.” Or it'd be like saying, “My brother is an only child.”
Right? These are self-defeating statements. Once you get good at identifying self-defeating statements, you're going to be able to avoid error. And that's important. Why? Because if you start orienting your life according to false statements or false beliefs, you're going to smack into reality someday and it's going to hurt. So, you've got to get good at identifying false statements. And here's the tactic that you use. What you do is you turn the claim on itself. Turn the claim on itself. So, let's apply that to a few other statements. Someone says there's no truth. You're going to say, “Is that true?” Right? Someone says, “All truth is relative.” If you turn the claim on itself, what are you going to say? “Is that a relative truth?”
Right? No. It's an absolute truth. You're saying all truth is relative, and yet here you are uttering an absolute truth. How about if somebody says, “There are no absolutes?” Say, “Is that an absolute?” Or you might want to say, “Are you absolutely sure?”
Right? How about if somebody says, “You can't know anything?” How do you know that you can't know? How about if somebody says, “All truth comes from science?” You hear this a lot, right? If you turn the claim on itself, what would you say to the person? “Does that truth come from science? Can you prove that in the lab?” No. In fact, you can't do science without philosophy. Science is built on philosophy. In fact, so is the Bible. You can't understand the Bible without philosophy. In fact, there's a chapter in the book, Stealing from God, about science. The title of the chapter is this: “Science Doesn't Say Anything. Scientists Do.”
Science doesn't say a word. It's scientists that say things. Why? Because all data needs to be gathered, all data needs to be interpreted and that involves philosophy. You've got to figure out how to interpret the data right. So, don't bind this idea that all truth comes from science. In fact, most of the stuff that is important to you doesn't come from science.
“Honey, do you love me?”
“I don't know. Let's run an experiment.”
No! How about this? You hear this a lot too. “You should doubt everything.” What do you say? Turn the claim on itself. Somebody says, “You should doubt everything.” What are you going to say? Should I doubt that? Why are skeptics skeptical of everything but skepticism? Have you ever noticed they don't doubt that? Now, how many people in here, whether you're a Christian or not, anywhere in between, how many people in here sometimes doubt that what you believe is true? Look, if you don't have your hand up, you're probably not thinking much. Right? I mean, look, I wrote a book called “I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist,” and sometimes I wake up in the morning and I go, “I don't even know if this is true.”
Do you ever do that? But when I start thinking about the evidence and my doubts, I realize that my doubts are emotional. They're not intellectual. In other words, the evidence for Christianity is quite good. What's changing is me. I mean, sometimes, when I'm having a good day, everything's fine. Bad day? Don't know. Good day, fine. Bad day, don't know. Good day, fine. Bad day, don't know. What's changing, me or the evidence? I'm going up and down. In fact, my friend, Greg Koukl, who has a great book called “Tactics” that you need to get, he says, “Before I have my first cup of coffee in the morning, I'm an atheist. After I’ve had my first cup, I'm a Jehovah's Witness. After I get my second cup, I'm back to being a Christian.”
Right? Now, what's changing, the evidence or him? He's changed. In fact, people come up to me and they say, “Frank, you know, I've lost my faith.” Now, I don't mean to be unkind, but since I'm originally from New Jersey, sometimes I am. You know? I want to say to them, when they say I've lost my faith, I want to say, “So? Because your psychology changed, does that mean God no longer exists? How does that follow? Your psychology doesn't change the existence or nonexistence of God. Your psychology isn't going to tell you whether or not Christianity is true. The evidence will. So, concentrate on the evidence. If you concentrate on the evidence then you'll realize it's true.”
You see? Because the evidence is quite good. I’ve got to start doubting my doubts, because if I start doubting my doubts then I'm back to knowing something for sure. Have you guys thought about doubting your doubts? I doubt it.
How about this? You hear this a lot. “You ought not judge.” Someone says, “You ought not judge.” If you turn the claim on itself, what are you going to say? Then why are you judging me for judging?” Because it's a judgment. You said, “Wait a minute, Frank. Didn't Jesus say, ‘Don't judge.’” No, He didn't. And this is going to sound maybe even crazier. You can say, “What's in Matthew 7:1?”
Yeah, but it doesn't stop there. Do you know there are no verses in the Bible? There are no verses in the Bible. The verses were put in there. The numbers and chapter divisions were put in there about 500 years ago to help us navigate the text, which is a good thing because it's a really long book. The problem is that we tend to think because there's a number in front of it, we can just yank it out and have it stand alone; take it out of context. You can't do that. Read the whole passage in Matthew 7. What does it say?
“Judge not, lest you be judged. By the same standard you judge others, you will be judged by that standard.”
So, before you try and take the speck out of your brother's eye, you hypocrite, take the log out of your own eye first. Then you'll be better able to help your brother. Is Jesus telling us not to judge here? No. He's actually telling us to judge. He's telling us to take the speck out of your brother's eye. That involves making a judgment. He's simply saying, “Get that problem out of your life first so you can better help your brother.”
So, this is not a command not to judge. It's actually command on how to judge. Don't judge hypocritically. You've got that problem? Fix it and then go help your brother. But it would be completely ridiculous to say, “Don't make judgements.” Why? Number one: It's a judgment itself. Number two: You wouldn't last very long if you didn't make judgments. You’d be dead already. Right? You made 100 judgments just getting over here today. In fact, everybody makes judgments. Atheists make judgements. What judgements do they make? “There's no god. Jesus didn't rise from the dead. There's no objective morality. Bible's faulty.”
Those are all judgments. The question isn't whether or not you can make judgments. The question is, are your judgments true? Now, I will say this: Jesus did save a very stern rebuke for people who were judgmental. And who were the judgmental ones in His day. The Pharisees. Who were the Pharisees? What was their job? They were the religious and political leaders of Israel. They helped run Israel. Some of them are on the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. Are you telling me Jesus got involved in politics? Yes. And He wasn't so nice doing it, by the way. He went after these political leaders. In fact, if you think Jesus was a sweet guy who has never said a bad word about anyone, you have not read John 2, John 8 or Matthew 23.
What does Jesus do in John 2? He makes a whip, He goes into the temple and He jacks people up. “Sweet and gentle Jesus did this?” Yes. Then, in John 8, He's having an argument with these Pharisees, He gets to the point in the argument where He says, “Your father is the devil.”
“Jesus, you can't say that. That's not very Christ-like.”
“Excuse me, I am Christ.”
Can you imagine you have an argument with somebody and you go, “Your father is the devil?” That's what Jesus did. And then, in Matthew 23, He's talking to these same people and He says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you brood of vipers. You snakes. You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Oh, you look great on the outside. You’re whitewashed tombs. But on the inside, you're full of dead men’s bones. You go a mile to make a convert, and then once you make them a convert, you make them twice as much a son of hell as you are. How will you avoid being condemned to hell?”
“What? Sweet and gentle Jesus said this?”
Yes. Jesus was not Barney.
“Can't we all get along, boys and girls?”
“No. I came to bring a sword. It’s going to divide mother and daughter, father and son.”
He was not Mr. Rogers. “Can you say kindness, boys and girls.” I mean, look, he was kind most of the time, but He certainly didn't go around saying, “This sermon brought to you by the letter E.” No. Jesus was tough. Don't buy into the wimpified version of Jesus. Read the text for yourself. In fact, why was Jesus killed? Number one: Because He claimed to be God. Number two: He spoke truth to power. He was tough.
By the way, I've noticed one other thing about judging. Have you ever noticed that when you compliment somebody, which is a judgment, nobody gets upset? Like, if you say to your best friend, “You know, I really love you. You're such a wonderful person. I wish it could be like you.” Do you think your friend is going to go, “Who do you think you are? Are you judging me? You think you're worse than me?”
No. Your friend’s never going to say that. Right? Because I've noticed that people don't really have a problem with judging, they just have a problem with judgements they don't like. And if you say something to somebody that's true and they get angry with you, you just helped convict them. As Augustin said, we love the truth when it enlightens us, we hate the truth when it convicts us. A few military people in here, you always get more flack when you're over the target. If you say something to somebody and it's true, and they get upset with you, they're shooting back at you, you're over the target. They don't want their evil deeds exposed, and probably everybody in this room has done this in the past 24 hours. You've gotten angry with somebody who told you the truth. It was probably getting over here this morning, wasn't it? You knew they were right, but you just didn't want your evil deeds exposed.
So, don't buy into this idea that you can't make judgements. You have to make judgments. You'd be dead already if you didn't make judgements. We’re to be making judgements without being judgmental. In fact, somebody put it this way: Evangelism is just one beggar showing another beggar where the food is. Without Christ, we're no better than anyone else. Alright? Now, we could go through many more self-defeating statements here, but we don't have time. I just want to point out, can everyone see that this statement shoots itself? You got it? Alright. If you’ve got this tactic down, then you're going to become a fearless defender of the faith. And so, what we're saying here, if our reasoning is good here, truth does exist, which means Christianity could be true, atheism could be true as well, and we’ve got to move on to the next question — Does God exist? — in order to see which is right now.
If point one is true, and it is, that means relativism and postmodernism are false. Why? Because they say it's true that there's no truth. Don't buy into that.
Alright. Let's go to the next. Does God exist? Now, I mentioned there are three arguments for the existence of God that we're going to talk about. The first argument is the argument from the beginning of the universe, known as the cosmological argument. Now, “cosmos” is a Greek word meaning a “universe.” This is the argument that says the universe, if it had a beginning, it must've had a beginner. The second argument is the argument from design known as the teleological argument. “Telos” is a Greek word meaning “design” or “purpose,” and it says that if there's design in the universe and design in life, then there must be a designer.
Now, these two arguments have scientific evidence behind them. The third argument is not a scientific argument. It's more of a philosophical argument, yet it's the argument we've all known since we were very small children. It's the argument from morality known as the moral argument. It says if there's one thing morally wrong out there, just one — like it's wrong to torcher babies for fun, or it's wrong to murder six million people in a holocaust, or it's wrong to torture children and crucify them like ISIS does — then there has to be a god. Why? Because if there is no standard beyond humanity, then that's just your opinion against the baby torturers opinion, or your opinion against Hitler's opinion, or your opinion against ISIS’ opinion.
Well, we all know these things are not just a matter of opinion. If that's the case, there must be an external standard beyond humanity, a standard of goodness, righteousness, and justice, and any deviation from that standard is what we would call evil. That standard is God's nature. If God doesn't exist, everything's a matter of opinion, and everyone here knows those aren't just matters of opinion.
Now, we don't have time to go into the moral argument. We just have a little bit of time to talk about the first two. So, let's talk about the cosmological argument right there. Now, you must admit that little move right there was worth coming out here today, right? I mean, look at that. Let's look at that again. Look at God just move right on up there. That's worth getting up in the morning, isn't it? Now, we’ve got to point out that this argument, the cosmological argument, is the argument that many say points back to the Big [explosion sound]. Now, some of you are going, “Frank, you know, we're Christians in here. We don't believe in the Big Bang.”
You guys don't believe in the Big Bang? I believe in the Big Bang, I just know who banged it. In fact, the evidence for the Big Bang is so good that you even have atheistic scientists admitting it. Stephen Hawking was the most well-known physicist in the world prior to his death last year, and here's what he said. Despite being an atheist, he said this: “Almost everyone now believes that the universe and time itself had a beginning at the Big Bang.”
Now, Hawking tried to come up with another explanation other than God to explain this. He failed, but he's admitting the data that space, time and matter literally had a beginning. What we call the universe came into existence. Now, if the universe actually did come into existence, and all the evidence shows that it did, then what could have caused it? Think about this. If space, matter and time had a beginning, whatever caused space, matter and time can't be made of space, matter and time. Right?
In other words, the cause must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful to create the universe out of nothing, personal in order to choose to create. Why personal? Because to go from a state of nothingness to state of creation, someone had to make a choice. And only persons can make choices. Impersonal forces don't make choices. Also, the being would have to be intelligent in order to make a choice. Now, ladies and gentlemen, when you think about a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, personal, intelligent cause, who do you think of? God. You say, “Well, time out, Frank. How do you know it's the Christian God?”
We don't — yet. We haven't done enough research yet. No argument gets you all the way there. I mean this could be Allah, right? Or some other theistic god. We're only saying it could be the Christian God. How do we discover if it is the Christian God? You've got to keep going through the questions until you get to Jesus. And if it is in fact true that Jesus rose from the dead — and I know Pastor Chip talked about this last week, maybe he'll do it again next week. If Jesus really rose from the dead, then you realize that the same being that walked out of the tomb 1,986 years ago is the same being in whose divine nature created the universe out of nothing. But we're not there yet. Right?
Now, we're not going to go into the evidence for this. Number one, we don't have time. Number two, it's all in the book. Number three, even the atheists are admitting it. Okay? The only question is what's the best way to interpret the evidence? I think a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, personal, intelligent being brought the entire universe into existence.
By the way, I also want to point out one other thing. Do you realize that both atheists and Christians believe in miracles? Yeah. Christians believe it's someone created something (the universe) out of nothing. Do you know what atheists believe? No one created something out of nothing. Now, which view takes more faith?
Yeah. No one. The atheists have to have more faith than we have. That's why I don't have enough faith to be an atheist. Now, technically, the word “faith” in the Bible really means trusting in what you have good evidence to believe. Trusting in what you have good evidence to believe. But I'm using the term “faith” like we use in our culture today. If you don't have evidence, you have faith. That's not the true biblical definition, but that's what the title of the book is based on. Alright? You have to have a lot of faith to believe that no one can create something out of nothing, and the atheists have it. Alright?
Alright. Let's go to the next argument. The design argument. There are two aspects to this argument. Two things appear to be designed: The universe itself and life. We don't have enough time to get into the life issue, so we're just going to talk about the universe. This is often called the fine tuning of the universe. In about the past five or so decades, scientists have begun to discover that the universe is precisely designed to support life, that if you were to change any one of a number of factors about this universe, either there would be no universe or there would be no universe that could support life.
In other words, the universe is balanced on a razor's edge. Change any one of a number of factors, virtually imperceptibly, we're not here. In fact, let me start with Stephen Hawking, the atheist, who put it this way. He said, “If the expansion rate of the universe was different by one part in a thousand million, million, a second after the Big Bang, the universe would’ve collapsed back on itself or never developed galaxies.”
If you were to change the expansion rate that infinitesimal amount from the very beginning, none of us would be here. Now, you can't make any evolutionary kind of argument for this. Why? Because the expansion rate did not evolve to this speed or rate. It started there. It's an initial condition. It seems to me the same being that created space, matter and time is the same being that made the expansion rate precisely what it needed to be for us to be here. The same thing is true of the gravitational force. If the gravitational force were altered by more than one part in ten to the fortieth power, we wouldn't be here. Now, what's one part in ten to the fortieth power? That's one part in ten with forty zeroes following it. You say, “Frank, I can't get my head around that number.”
I know. Neither can I. So, let me give you an illustration. Take a tape measurer and stretch it across the entire known universe. That's a big tape measure. You can't get that at Home Depot. Alright? Set the gravitational force at a particular inch mark on that tape measure. I realize gravity's not measured in inches, but this is just give you a scale idea in your mind. If the strength of gravity were different by one inch in either direction, across the scale as wide as the entire known universe, we wouldn't be here. Now, I don't have enough faith to believe that that value just somehow landed there by chance.
And oh, by the way, when scientists use the word chance, what do they mean? I mean, does chance cause things?
“Who caused this?”
“Chance. He was just here.”
No. Chance is not a cause. Chance is word we use to describe mathematical possibilities. Chance doesn't cause anything. In fact, when scientists use the word “chance,” do you know what they really mean? We don't know. Look, there are only two possibilities. Either this value has design behind it or it doesn't. There's no other logical possibility. What seems to make more sense? Is their design behind this value? Yeah. Sure seems to be. The same being who created space, matter and time is the same being that set that value right where it needed to be.
Now, we could go through many more of these, but we don't have time. I just want to take a look at our solar system because our solar system also appears to be designed with us in mind. So, let's take a look at the solar system. Where are we in the solar system? Right here. Third rock from the sun. If we were just a little bit closer to or a little bit further away from the sun, we couldn't survive. A little bit closer to, we'd burn up. A little bit further away, we'd freeze. We are what scientists call the “Goldilocks zone.” It's not too hot. It's not too cold. It is...
Audience: Just right.
Frank: That's a lie. It's too hot here in the summer. You know it. The axial tilt, 23 and a half degrees, change that slightly and we don't exist. Earth rotation, 24 hours, change that slightly and we don't exist. Oxygen in this room right now is 21%. If it were 15%, we'd all suffocate. If it were 25%, spontaneous fires would break out. If Jupiter was not in its current orbit, we couldn't exist here. Why not? What does Jupiter do for us? Well, its gravitational force is so strong that it attracts the most of the meteors and space junk to it rather than us. In fact, if you take a close up look at Jupiter, do you know what these purple marks are right here? Those are comet fragment strikes that are bigger than the Earth. Thank God for Jupiter, because if Jupiter wasn't there, we wouldn't be here.
In fact, look at the size of Jupiter here. Check this out. Here's Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth and look at poor Pluto down there. You know, Pluto recently has been demoted as a planet. I don't know about you, but I think it's size discrimination. Take a look at this. You can hardly see Pluto. Take a look at this. That's Arcturus. That's another star in our galaxy. Here's the Sun over here. Jupiter is one pixel in size on this scale. Earth is invisible. Pluto? Forget about it. Alright. Keep an eye on Arcturus. You’ve got Arcturus here. Where's Arcturus now? The sun is one pixel in size on this scale. Jupiter is invisible. Earth? Pluto? Forgot about them. In fact, if the Earth was the size of a golf ball, Betelgeuse here — look, I don't name the stars. Okay?
If the earth was the size of a golf ball, Betelgeuse would be five or six Empire State Buildings high. The heavens are awesome, and this is just in our galaxy. This is not outside our galaxy. This is inside our galaxy. In fact, the average distance between stars in our galaxy is 30 trillion miles, and all that distance is necessary for us to exist here on Earth. Now, 30 trillion miles, how far is that? Far. It’d take you at least two tanks of gas in a Toyota Prius to go 30 trillion miles. No. I did a little calculation after I was out at the Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona. If you’ve ever been to Tucson, Arizona, they’ve got this museum out there. If you go out there at night, on a clear night you could see thousands of stars in the sky. So, we're out there one night and the guide says, “Wow, it's so clear tonight that if we look up at 9:03, we'll see this space shuttle in orbit.”
Oh, come on. We're not going to see the space shuttle in orbit. It’s only 120 feet long. It's 350 miles up. We're not going to see it. Oh, me of little faith. At 9:03, the guide goes, “Look!” We look up in the sky and about 70 degrees above the horizon, there's an object streaking out of the western desert sky, relative to us about like this. I mean, it's really cooking. When it got right about here, it disappeared. I don't know whether Scottie beamed it up or what. Actually, what happened was despite the fact that we were in total darkness, the space shuttle was so high up that the sun was still reflecting off of it. When it had gotten out of the range of the sun, we couldn't see it anymore.
Now, when the space shuttle was in orbit, the space shuttle was traveling at about 18,000 miles an hour. That's five miles per second. You've got trouble getting to work in the morning? Take the space shuttle. You'll be there. Five miles a second. Think about how fast that is. Well, I did a little calculation to try and figure out how long would it take us if we could get in this space shuttle and go from our star, the Sun, to another star, an average distance away, at 30 trillion miles. In other words, how long would it take us to go 30 trillion miles if we could go five miles per second? How long do you think?
You've been reading the book, ma'am. You go, girl! It would take — is that you, Shirley? Shirley got it right.
It would take us 201,450 years. That means if you got in the space shuttle and started going from our star, the Sun, to another star in our galaxy, an average distance away, you've been going five miles a second for two thousand years, you'd be less than one hundredth of the way there right now. And we're going to explore space! No, we're not. We're not going anywhere in space. We can hardly get out of our solar system.
“Who would like to go to the next nearest star.”
“We'll go. Get in, kids.”
“Are we almost there yet, dad?”
“Another 200,000 years. Play some more Xbox.”
The heavens are awesome. And how many stars are out there? Do you know how many stars are out there? The number of stars that are out there are about equivalent to the number of grains of sand on all the beaches on all the earth. Check this out. This is from the ground. See that little square right there? That's this square from the Hubble Space Telescope. Those are stars. Yeah. February 1st, 2003, President George W. Bush goes into the East Room of the White House. It's Saturday afternoon. They turn the TV camera on. Every major network carries his address. Saturday afternoon. Why? The president looks in the camera and says, “My fellow Americans, this morning, our country experienced a great tragedy. Upon reentry into the atmosphere, the Space Shuttle Columbia burned up in the skies over Texas. There are no survivors. The Columbia is lost.”
The president went on to quote from Isaiah 40, beginning in Isaiah 40:25. Why Isaiah Chapter 40? Because in Isaiah 40, God is speaking. And what does God say?
“‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.”
In other words, “Do you want to know what I'm like?”
Here's what God says: “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these stars and named them one by one? Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
The president then looked back in the camera and said, “The same God that created and named all those stars is the same God that created and knows the names of the seven astronauts who perished today. While they did not return safely home to us, we can all now pray they've all returned safely home.”
Do you want to know who god is like? Most of us have the wrong idea of who god is like. We think God is a big angel. What to know who god is like? Look to the heavens.
Psalm 103:11 says, “God's love to those that fear him exceeds the height of the heavens above the earth.”
How far are the heavens above the earth? Stars equivalent to grains of sand on all the beaches on all the earth, over 200,000 years at 5 miles a second between those stars — from our perspective, infinite. That’s the point. Now, if we had time, we could go through the rest of this and see that miracles are possible. In fact, I've already told you what the greatest miracle in the Bible is. What is it? No, it's not the resurrection. It's the creation of the universe out of nothing. If God can create the universe out of nothing, and He raised Jesus from the dead, yeah, it's easy if He can create the universe from nothing. In fact, as Pastor Chip talked about last week, He actually did raise Jesus from the dead. And if you want to go further, you can. Just text that word “EVIDENCE” to 44222. Do you know what all this means, ladies and gentlemen? That someone actually did die for you. Jesus of Nazareth.
Now, when I was in the Navy, we were in naval aviation. It was fairly difficult to earn wings, but there's nothing more difficult in the United States military — any military — than to earn a golden trident. That's what seals are. Tridents are the most difficult insignia in any military to earn. You know, very few people that start Seal training make it. Those that do wear that trident with pride. It is literally their identity. So, when Michael Monsoor was buried in California, just about every Seal on the west coast showed up for his funeral. When they passed his casket, they took off their tridents and they pressed them into his casket. They took their identity and put their identity in their savior. That's what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to take our identity and put it in our savior because that is where our identity lies.
But you know our culture is going to tell you, “No. Don't put your identity in your savior. Put your identity in your political party. Put your identity in your ethnic group. Put your identity in your sexual orientation or your sexual preference. Put your identity in your spouse or your boyfriend or your girlfriend or your bank account or your job or even your church.”
No. You're supposed to put your identity in your Savior. You're never going to achieve contentment here on earth or any life to come unless you put your identity in your Savior. You were made to know Him and He came to give you that opportunity. If you've never taken that opportunity, Dr Chip Bennett it going to give you the opportunity right now.
Chip: Thanks, man. This is why we do what we do, why we do all our outreaches and all the things that we do, why we hold services on the weekend. It’s because we believe, passionately — I believe, passionately — that the God who created this universe sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross and to raise again on the third day so that you and me could have eternal life and a relationship with our Heavenly Father. You may be in here this morning and you may go, “You know, I've never settled eternity.” Today would be a great day to settle eternity. And there may be some in here today that are going, “You know, I used to be in a relationship with God. I used to be a lot more. I mean, I'm here, but man, that really spoke to me today.”
This would be a great day for you to reaffirm that. Listen, this is not about a prayer. This is about a relationship. God doesn't want us to check off a box. He wants us. He wants you and me. He wants a relationship. When He says, “Depart from me, I never knew you,” the keyword there is “I didn't know you.” He wants to know you and me. And in knowing our Heavenly Father, we can know that we've settled eternity and we can find the things that we're looking for, and every other thing in life are found in him. We are complete in Christ.
So, what I want to do is this: I want to pray for and pray with two groups of people. If you've never accepted Jesus, if you've never done that, if you've been living life your own way and today you go, “You know what? I want to settle eternity once and for all,” I want to give you that opportunity, but I also want to give the opportunity for those that are maybe struggling with their faith, or questioning some things, to really solidify that again today. So, would you bow your heads and bow your hearts with me right now?
If you want to settle eternity, or you want to figure out how to get this thing right where it needs to be — maybe you've waned a little bit, maybe you've walked away. If you're in one of those two groups, would you just put your hand over your heart with me? We're going to say a prayer. You don't have to say the exact prayer I pray, but pray something similar to this. If you find yourself today and you go, “Wow, I’ve been living life my way, Chip. I've been doing it with my own strength and never really realized that the creator God of this world loved to be like this. I want to settle eternity once and for all.”
Where you're at, with your hand over your heart, just say, “Father, I want to come home. Father, I realized You sent Your Son Jesus to die on a cross and rise again on the third day. Man, I've been doing life my way and it's not working. I want to do life Your way. Would You please forgive me for the things that I've been doing? God, what I want right now, more than anything, is to have a relationship with You.”
Right there at your seat, say that prayer. For those that maybe are struggling or feel like you've walked away, you’re not here by accident. You're here by divine appointment. God is calling and reading your mail this morning. Those watching via the internet and mobile app, He may be reading your mail, too.
“Father, I know at one time I had a lot closer relationship. It's not really where it needs to be. God, when I hear all these things, that You created the world and that You care for me, it melts my heart. God, I want to have that relationship again. Not just some doctrinal position, some intellectual position that I get right, but Lord, a real, honest relationship with You, where You know me and I know You. God, I want that to start anew and afresh right now.”
If you prayed either one of those prayers, please, would you find somebody on staff, somebody with a lanyard, somebody at the Hug in a Mug station and say, “Hey, I prayed that prayer today?”
Let us help you as a church. Walk in that relationship. Don't just leave it here. Let us help you walk in a relationship with God. Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for the ministry of Frank Turek. I thank You, Lord, for the truth of Your Word. I thank You, Lord, for the incredible evidence that we have for Christianity. I just pray, God, that You would continue to help us, as a church, keep focused on the things that matter, and that is leading people into a relationship with You.
So, Lord, as we walk out of here, I pray that You would continue to lead, guide and direct us, I pray that You would watch over us and protect us, and I pray that You'd bring us back safely to when we meet again, for Your glory. And I prayed, Lord, that You would help us, as a church, to stay focused on what You've called us to be: A church that reaches the unchurched by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ. Lord, we love You, we thank You and we praise You. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.” Give the Lord a big hand clap. Tell Him you love Him.