(un)Apologetic Week 4: Confident Faith – Part 1
Did the Jesus as described in the Bible actually exist? How can a loving God send people to hell? How is it possible that God has no beginning and no end? Why would God create the devil if He knew he’d rebel? What really makes Christianity better than all the other religions? Does the Bible really decide ethics and morals in your daily life? If God is real, why is there so much war, sickness, death? Christianity is exclusive and judgmental. Everyone should determine truth for themselves.
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 those who watch via the mobile app and the Internet. I'm going to tell you this: We are in for a treat this morning we have flown in, from Denver, Colorado, one of the top apologists in the world. He was a Minister of Evangelism at Willow Creek for 15 years, when they went from probably 6,000 or 7,000 to 15,000 or 20,000. Him and Lee Strobel are attached at the hip. Good, good friends. Lee Strobel, obviously, The Case for Christ. We watched the movie and did all that Downtown.
This is a guy that is able to take the really difficult concepts and bring them into a way that we can all understand. He’s a bestselling author. You can Google this guy. He is absolutely fantastic.
At the end of service, he will be meeting everybody, if you'd like. If you want to buy some books, he'll sign them and take pictures. Whatever you would like. But I've also convinced him, which is really cool — I've convinced him to not only do this weekend for us, but to also do next weekend for us. So, listen to me, you want to bring everybody you can next weekend because you're going to see this weekend and you’re going to go, “Man, this guy's got a lot of information, and my neighbor and friends and ‘frenemies’ and whoever else needs to come in here and be a part of this.”
I promise you we're going to be blessed. If you do not — this is important. Please. If you do not have the funds to get the books, tell them Pastor Chip sent you. They'll make a mark. The church will cover it. I don't want anybody to go without because these materials are hugely important for you and me, because I am absolutely committed to this series, to getting everybody in this church equipped so that we can share our faith and be confident in our Christianity. So, Grace, would you please give a huge Grace welcome to Mark Mittelberg? Come on, Mark. Come on up, buddy. Go get ‘em, man.
Mark: Thank you. Well, thank you so much. It is great to be here. And I say that with all sincerity because, in Colorado, we had a snowstorm about a week ago. So, it's really great to be here. I got off the plane on Friday and it's just — it's like heaven. I mean, is it always this perfect? Does it ever get hot or humid or is it just always perfect just like this? Okay. I'm going with perfect. Okay. Because I'm coming back next week and I'm bringing my wife and daughter, so I want to really — it's got to be like this again next weekend. Okay? Can you work on that?
By the way, this is my fourth service to speak at, so I guess that makes me like a member already. So, welcome to my church. I'm also thrilled with what you're doing here with this series, Unapologetic. You know? Saying, “We're not afraid, we're not ashamed, we believe that what we believe is true, This is not some blind leap of faith or a leap in the dark.”
This is not, as Mark Twain said, believing something even though you know it can't be. This is believing something because it's true and because it makes sense. The talk I'm going to give is based on a book I'll tell you more about toward the end of the talk, but it's called “Confident Faith,” and that's what we've called the talk. That's my goal. If you're a believer, if you're a follower of Christ, I want to help you reach a point where you can hold your head up and be confident and say, “Doggone it, this is true. It makes sense. Science supports what we believe.”
We're going to talk about science this week. And then, next week, we're going to talk about history, archeology, miracles, fulfilled prophecies, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and changed lives of apostles. And it goes on. I have 20 arguments I'm presenting. Five today and fifteen next week. It's a fire hose of information, but at the end you're going to say, “That was overwhelming.” And it's like, “That's my goal.” We have overwhelming evidence for the Christian faith.
But today, we're going to focus on science, and each of these, what I call, “arrows” of truth. And let me just say, as I jump into this, and I know you've heard this, you've probably felt it: More and more people in the skeptical world are saying science is defeating religion. The more we learn about how things really work in the world through science, the more superstition goes away. Therefore, religion is going down. Science is going up. And I want to tell you that is a total myth. Yes, science is learning more and more. That's great. And the more it learns, the more it points to the same truths that we've learned through scripture.
And I know if you're not a believer, you may say, “That's a big claim.” Well, let me spend the rest of the time trying to show you why I think it's true. I'm not just preaching here. I'm going to give you reasons and evidence. By the way, I'm not really teaching from the Bible today. I hope that's okay with you. I know that's normally what you do in church. What I'm doing is showing you reasons from things the culture can understand that point to the truth of the Bible, so that at the end of the conclusion next week, we can really land back here.
But, you know, what we're doing in this whole series is we're trying to relate to people in the culture that don't believe what we believe. So, what you have to do is start where they start. And many of those people already don't believe this book, so if you just quote from the book, they're going to say, “Well, okay, that's your thing.”
You know? But if we can give reasons to believe, reasons from science and all of these other areas, that point to what we believe, then they're going go, “Oh, okay. Well, maybe I should take this book more seriously.”
So, I believe this book wholeheartedly. I can't wait to talk about it some next week. But today, we're talking about science. And one more thing I want to say before I dive in, and I want to show it to you visually, is the world has changed. The world I grew up in, where many people did believe and support what we believe — I mean, a lot of them still do, but more and more people in our culture have gone the other way, and it's symbolized in the signs a bunch of skeptics paid to put on buses in England about 10 or 15 years ago.
And they thought, “Well, we've got these big buses. Lots of places to advertise. Let's kind of inform the diluted, superstitious, religious masses, who are confused about reality — let's give them the truth.”
And that's the way they viewed this, so they bought the signs. “There's probably no god.” And you’ve got to give them credit for a little humility here. “Probably” no god. See? They're admitting they have faith too. But, “So, stop worrying. Just enjoy your life. Don’t get all uptight about this.”
And that was a message 15 years ago. If you watch any of the atheist sites on the internet, or if you dare, like I do, to go on Twitter and talk about your Christian faith, you find out it's gotten a lot uglier than that. There's mocking and ridicule and shaming. It's just getting really weird out there. And that's the world we live in, and that's the world we're sending our young people into. And that's why we need to do series like what we're doing here at the church, right now, to learn how to stand and defend our faith.
So, that's we're going to do, and now I'm going to jump into my first argument, which is kind of a mix of science and just observation and logic. But this one says, “Design in the universe points to an intelligent designer. Design in the universe points to an intelligent designer. And what we're going to be drawing is up on a chart here. Each of these arguments is represented by a red arrow; an arrow of truth. And so there's our first arrow. We're going to kind of build a cumulative case — or, if you like lawyer speak, a preponderance of evidence — that points to the middle here somewhere. It's not absolute proof, but it's, I think, like I said, a preponderance of reasons to believe what we believe.
So, what do I mean when I say “design in the universe points to a designer?” Well, first of all, wherever you see design, design doesn't happen on its own. Right? Where there's design, there's a designer. So, let's just go to the classic example. It goes back to a book written in 1802 by William Paley. It was called “Natural Theology.” And you've probably heard this. It's the classic illustration. You're walking along a path and you see something on the path. You go, “What's this?” and you pick it up. What is it? Anyone know? A watch? Yes. Classic example. And you pick up the watch and, with a flash of insight, you say, “Watches don't happen on their own.”
You don't pick up a watch and say, “Praise the cosmos! Looked what accidentally happened. Time plus chance threw this thing together.”
No. You don't do that. You say, “Cool watch. I wonder whose it was. I wonder who made it.” Because watches need watchmakers. There's design. They needed a designer. And I think the logic is solid on that. And I think it's a great illustration of the universe around us. But I like what a friend of mine, Cliff Knechtle, an author and speaker says. He says, “Well, if you have a wristwatch on, take a look at that. That watch needs a watchmaker. But then look an inch over at your wrist. Guess what? Your wrist is more complex than your watch. The design of your wrist is amazing. So, if watches need watchmakers, wrists, need ‘wristmakers.’”
And, by the way, I can testify because I tore a ligament in my wrist last summer, and last December I had surgery. And the guys up front, you see the scars right there? I and I had a cast on for most of 2019. I just got it off and I'm getting my strength back. But do you know what? I had one of the best doctors in Denver using state of the art equipment to do what? To try to get back to the original design of my wrist. Isn't it interesting? With the cutting edge medicine, medical community and all this money — and believe me, money. I'm still paying. They don't say, “Well, we're going to do a better wrist. We're going to improve on...”
No, no, no. They're just trying to get back to what the wise designer built into it in the first place. And that's what medicine does. And that's why so much of what we do is just try to restore what was already put there. By chance? No, but by a designer.
So, wrists need wristmakers, but let's go one step further. Get out a microscope — and you can wait and do this later. You don't have to do it right now. But get out of microscope and look really close at your wrist, or any other part of your body, to the point where you're looking at the cells. So, you’ve got it at that point. You look at a cell. Guess what you discover? The design of a cell blows away the mechanical design of a wrist. I mean, it's just — it's astounding. In fact, I want to read you a quote from a molecular biologist, Dr. Michael Denton. And here's what's really interesting and I think important for you to know about Dr. Michael Denton. He's not a Christian. So, this is not a believer arguing from a Christian worldview. This is just a scientist who's being honest with the data he’s studying.
So, here's what he says. You’ve got it magnified. He says, “To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is 20 kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant air ship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York.”
And you know, we've all seen that movie, right? Independence Day, where you see this big spaceship that covers New York. Well, imagine you've magnified to cell to that size, so you're looking at it like that. Then he says this. He says, “What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell, we would see millions of openings, like the portholes of a vast spaceship, opening and closing to allow in a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. And if we were to enter one of those openings, we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity.”
And then I love the honest question this agnostic scientists asks. He says this. He says, “Is it really credible to think that random processes could have constructed this reality, which is complex beyond our own creative capacities; a reality which is the very antithesis of chance; a reality that goes beyond, in every sense, anything ever produced by the intelligence of man?”
Does that make sense? I mean, basically saying the cell has more design than the space shuttle and you think that just happened through random chance? And it's at this point where I look at it and I have to quote the title of a book of a friend of mine, and that is, I don't have enough faith to be an atheist. I mean, to look at the design — I mean, just follow the logic through. Watches need watchmakers. Wrists need wristmakers. Cells need cellmakers. And we could go on. What about the atom? The subatomic level? And it's just mind-blowing stuff. And how does it all hold together and how did it get that way?
To think that happened without a designer, I just — I don't have enough faith. I think that's a blind leap of faith. And, by the way, you can turn the microscope around and look through a telescope, and then we've got a whole different set of designs that are equally mind-blowing. In fact, Robert Jastrow, another non-believing scientist, who was one of the top scientists at the jet propulsion lab in Pasadena, California, just through his study of astronomy, the order and the beauty of the universe reached the point where he said, “There's got to be a God.”
In fact, he wrote a book — not as a Christian, still, but as a theist; someone who believes in God. He wrote a book called “God and the Astronomers,” and I’ve got to tell you a quote in this book. This isn't verbatim, but a quote that became famous from this book. He said, “Scientists over the centuries have scaled the mountain of knowledge, getting more information, ever trying to get to the point where they really understand how things work.” And he said, “Modern science has finally reached the point where they've clawed their way to the top and they've pulled themselves up over the precipice only to find a band of theologians who have been there for centuries.”
And I think that's what's happening. You know, the design in the universe, it's forcing a lot of open-minded scientists, who are willing to follow the facts where they lead, to the point of saying there must be some kind of God or creator or designer out there. And more and more are reaching that point.
Well, let me go onto the second argument, which is a cousin to the first. Okay? This one is fine tuning points to an intentional fine tuner. And on our arrow, here is a second arrow that we've added. Go to one more. So, what are we talking about here now? Fine tuning? What do you mean? Well, this is not just design. This design on steroids. Okay? What this one says is there's a bunch of factors in the universe that had to be just so. They had to be right the way they are in order for life to be here — or, to put it more personally, in order for us to be sitting in a church thinking about this stuff, these factors all had to be just the way they are.
And not just more or less like they are, I mean precisely. It's been said they're at a razor's edge of precision. And I like an illustration someone else used. I'll borrow it. And that is it's like you have these dials in the sky. And when I wrote the book, Confident Faith, I said there's about 50 of these, all independent of each other, all these huge dials in the sky that all had to be precise. They're like huge dials with all these little, tiny calibration marks. They're all, “Click, click, click,” right where they had to be for life to exist. And the question is how did they get that way? They're all dialed in.
Well, another non-Christian scientists, Doctor Fred Hoyle, the guy who actually coined the term “The Big Bang,” which I'll talk about in a few minutes — Doctor Fred Hoyle looked at these dials, looked at this evidence, and he hesitantly reached the conclusion. He said, “You know, it's almost like someone was monkeying with the dials.”
And I'm like, “Almost?” You know, where there's monkeying going on, there's a monkeyer behind it somewhere. And, in this case, I think a very loving divine monkeyer who got it just to where it needed to be. But a lot of scientists have made those kinds of admissions. It’s like, “This is uncanny.”
It's interesting. I actually met one of the most famous atheists from the last generation, Doctor Antony Flew, who was like the Richard Dawkins of the last generation, and it was this evidence that led him to start believing in God after writing like 40 books against God. He ended up going, “I guess there is a god.” And it's like, “Good for you, but you're going the right direction.” But let me just talk a little more in detail about one of those dials.
And one more thing I want to say. I said at the beginning that the evidence is getting stronger. Well, here's what's interesting. I wrote that book a few years ago and I said there's about 50 of these dials. I give the same talk at a conference in Detroit about two years ago. There was a guy who all he does is study and teach on science. And he was there and I thought, “Whoa. He's like listening to my talk. I'd better ask him afterwards if all my information is okay.” And I asked him. He said, “Oh, no. It's great, except that you're a little out of date.”
“What do you mean?”
He goes, “Well, you're saying there are 50 of these. There are now like 250 of those.”
I'm going, “Like, my argument’s five times better now? This is awesome.”
So, you know, I'll just use an average number of 100 then. Okay? Low average. But, you know, there's a lot of this information.
Let's talk about one of those dials. I want to go to my buddy, Lee Strobel, when he was writing his book, The Case for a Creator. He was interviewing a guy, Dr. Robin Collins, who basically has given his life to studying — if I go back on the clicker here — he's given his life to studying that arrow. I mean, these guys just focus on this stuff, right? And so, he studied this and Lee interviews him in this great book called “The Case for a Creator.” And he said, “Let’s talk about one of those dials. Give me the specifics. What is it? What are the odds of it happening by chance? What do those odds look like in the real world? Give me some examples.”
He said, “Great question. Let's talk about the cosmological constant.” And in case you don't know what that is, he told us what it is. It's the energy density of empty space. You're reading about that in your devotions this morning, right? I love this. What this means is scientists give their whole lives to studying the energy density of empty space. God bless them, huh? But here's what he said. Dr. Collins said, “Well, there's no way we can really comprehend this one. The fine tuning has been conservatively estimated to be at least one part in a hundred billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion.”
That's a ‘10’ followed by ‘53’ zeros. That inconceivably precise. Now, before I finished the quote, let me just back up and explain what we're saying here — what he's saying. He's saying that one dial, the cosmological constant, this one thing that had to be just the way it is — and there are all these other ones that have to do with like the composition of the atmosphere, the tilt of the earth, the distance from the sun, the force of gravity and all these different areas. But this one's the energy density of empty space.
He said, “The odds of it getting right where it had to be so we could be thinking about it today is 1 to 10 to the 53rd power,” which is a statistical way of saying it's not possible. It's just not going to happen. I like what Lee Strobel concludes. He goes, “You know, by comparison, that makes the lottery a sure bet.”
So, he goes on. He said, “You wanted an example of what those odds look like in a real world example? Here's the example. Let's say you're in outer space and you have one dart and you're going to throw it at a target on Planet Earth from outer space. And the target is one trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter, which is less than the size of an atom. Okay? Good luck. You get one shot. The odds of you hitting, with one arrow, a target smaller than an atom on earth from outer space is roughly 1 to 10 to the 53rd power.”
See why I say I don't have enough faith to be an atheist? To think that that happened by chance? And that's just one. Now we've got about 99 other dials, or 200 more dials to talk about. They're all independent of each other and all have similar odds against them. So, how did it get that way? I think there was a very intentional fine tuner saying, “I'm going to create a world where life can be sustained, and I can create people in my own image and know them.” And I think He did that in a very precise and caring way. And I think it's powerful evidence for what we believe.
By the way, there was a non-believing journalists in Chicago — not Lee Strobel, a different one at a different paper — named Patrick Glynn who studied just this arrow and just this evidence, and it compelled him to believe in God. In fact, he did end up becoming a Christian. He wrote a book called “God: The Evidence” just about this one arrow. So, this is really strong stuff.
But let me go on to number three. This one says information encoded into DNA indicates that there is a divine encoder. And there's our third arrow. And I'll just tell you, I'm going to give you the three or four minute version of this one, but a friend of mine, Dr. Stephen Meyer, wrote a book called “Signature in the Cell.” Six hundred pages of details on that arrow. So, you want the details? You can read them. But I'll give you the cliff notes.
Information encoded into DNA indicates there’s a divine encoder coder. Now, a lot of us, you know, we've studied DNA maybe in college or biology classes. We learn kind of the physical structure of the double helix twisted thing that holds the information. And that's interesting. And you stretch it out and it's like six feet long. And I think that's all interesting, but far more interesting is what it contains. Because what that double helix thing is is basically a hard drive or a storage unit like for a computer. And it stores information that is encoded into it.
And so, let me just give you a description. Let me just back up. You may remember this. There was a project that millions and millions of dollars were poured into .Top scientists from around the world were working on. It was called the Human Genome Project. They spent many years doing what was a monumental task. Someone called it the Mount Everest of scientific research, trying to map out the complete human genetic code in complete detail. Some people thought it could never be done. They did it, and it was number of years ago. When it was finally completed, the man who was the head of it, the scientist named Dr. Francis Collins, then did a press conference along with the president at the time, Bill Clinton, and they talked about this monumental accomplishment. And Bill Clinton said something like, “We've now discovered the language with which God created human life.”
It's like, wow, what a statement. Well, Dr. Francis Collins, who was the head of that project, went on to write a book called “The Language of God,” and in that he describes the information in every cell of your body. Okay? Now, before I read his description, let me just say something about information. Information always points to an informer. Information doesn't happen without a mind. Okay? There's always an intelligence behind information. And here's my example: Before, we are walking on the path and we found a watch. Now we're on the beach. Okay? More relevant in Florida here, right?
So, we're on the beach. You go out real early in the morning when the beach — people haven't messed it up and put footprints all over. You go out real early. It's real smooth and beautiful. And you look over here and you say, “What's this? Oh, there are some beautiful ripples in the sand. Oh, that's beautiful. The wind must have done that, or the waves did that.”
Nature accounts for beautiful patterns. That's cool. But then you walk over here and you see something else in the sand. Someone was there earlier. There's a heart shape in the sand, and through the heart there's an arrow. And then, inside the heart, there are the words “John loves Mary.” And you see, again, flash of insight. You don't look at that and say, “Wow. The wind and waves were really creative last night.” Right? No, you go, “Someone wrote that.” There's information here, and where there's information, there's an informer; there's an intelligence. Maybe not great intelligence, you know? Maybe wishful thinking by a guy named John, but it's information. So, if “John loves Mary” is information. What about this?
Here's what Francis Collins said about what's in every cell of every one of our bodies. He says, “The newly revealed text was three billion letters long and written in a strange and cryptographic four letter code. Such is the amazing complexity of the information carried within every cell of the human body that a live reading...” — I really the love this. If you want to read it out loud, the information in that cell on your wrist, he said, “A live reading of the code at a rate of three letters for second would take you...” — he is going to tell you how long it takes. And by the way, this is without coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, or sleeping. Okay? No sleeping. You just keep going till you're done. Guess how long it takes to read the information in that cell?
Yeah. Thirty-one years. See why it was such a big project? Thirty-one years. And then I love this. He goes, “And if you want to print it out on your computer printer on normal bond paper and normal 12 point font or whatever, binding them all together would result in a tower.”
In other words, you put all that information on a printer, print it out, staple it together, and guess how high that's going to be? According to Dr. Francis Collins, it'll be the height of the Washington Monument, which is like 555 feet tall. I looked it up. Okay? So, basically, he’s saying the information in every cell of your body, if you print it and put it in a book, the book's going to be about the height of a small skyscraper; like 45 stories high. And so, here's my question: If a message like “John loves Mary” is information that requires an informer, an intelligence, what kind of mind-blowing mind are we talking about that encodes into every cell of our bodies a three-billion-letter-long, four-part cryptographic code that takes thirty-one years to read, and printed out is the height of a skyscraper? This is a mind-blowing mind, friends. And, by the way, that's just the human genetic code. Every living being has its own unique code.
Where did that code come from? Anyone in the computer world here? When you see code, do you ever think it just happened by itself? No. A code needs a code writer. We have the most amazing code writer. DNA points to an incredible intelligence, and it's another way science is reinforcing the belief we have in an intelligent creator.
Now, let me go on to number four. This is my favorite — in the science realm at least. This one says the origins of the universe point to a divine originator of that universe; a divine creator, a beginner. So, you look around. Here's the cosmos. How did the cosmos get here? And if you like big words, this is often called the cosmological argument. And I'm going to give you the Kalam form of the cosmological argument. Written, or at least formulated, in modern times by a guy who was one of my professors when I studied philosophy of religion in Chicago. He became a friend and colleague. I've done ministry with him. His name is Dr. William Lane Craig. Considered by many to be the greatest defender of Christianity alive today.
He formulated — Oh, I’ve got to tell you this. Here's our fourth arrow. Which one's the new one? That one. Dr. Craig did one of his two doctoral theses. He got two doctorates. One of them was just on this argument. And so, it was just incredible. He wrote a book like this big on what I'm about to tell you, but again, I'll give you the cliff notes.
Here's his short version of it. Three-part argument. Number one, the first premise, is whatever has a beginning has a cause. And that’s hard to argue with, right? Whatever has a begin — things don't pop into existence out of nothing. In fact, he says that would be magic, but he said it'd be worse than magic because at least with magic, you have magician and a hat. But to say things just pop out of nothing, that's just magical thinking. So, whatever has a beginning has a cause. Science is built on that premise, and Einstein said the scientific mind is seized by a sense of universal causation. So, that first premise is strong.
The second premise is the universe had a beginning. And in the scientific world, this is no longer controversial. It's just well-known that there was a point where the universe must have begun, because when they look at the universe and they study it through the Hubble Telescope and others, they see that it's expanding. They see what's called the Doppler effect, the red shift, which shows that everything is spreading out. So, if it's going that way now that means it was coming from this way before. You roll the tapes back far enough and they say — and again, this is Dawkins, this is Hawking, this is whatever scientists you want to think of; believers, nonbelievers, whatever. They hold to, more or less, this view: That the entire universe, the physical universe, was at one time a singular point.
It's mind-blowing. All the stars and galaxies and planets and earth and everything was right here. And they call it a singularity, and it's really almost a metaphysical concept. But anyway, it's like, here it is. This is it. And for reasons they can't explain in physics that don't exist, boom, here's the universe. It expands in a fraction of a nanosecond. And there it is. And they call that science. No. They get to it through science. They observe it through science, but they don't explain it with science. So, they're talking about something that sounds a lot more like a miracle to me in. And they tried to make it a miracle without a miracle worker, but it's like, “Good luck with that.” Because we're where there's a miracle, there's someone working miracles be. I mean, they don't happen on their own. Right?
But that's what they believe. And so, let me go back to the argument. What Craig says is, you know, that's accepted. Okay? So, whatever has a beginning has a cause. The universe had a beginning. Therefore, the universe has a cause. Dot, dot, dot. And there are all kinds of implications we can draw from just good logic at this point, without quoting Bible verses.
Let me just give you some examples of what we can draw. First of all, if the entire physical universe began with this big bang, that means that the cause of the universe can't be part of the physical universe. So, the cause of the universe, logically, has to be nonphysical. What's left? Spiritual. Okay? So, the cause of the universe must be spiritual. Secondly, you read Stephen Hawking, he talks about how at the Big Bang event, time itself came into being.
It's like, okay. Do you know what that means? That means the cause of the universe is outside of time. We have a word for that. It's eternal.
Thirdly, to evoke a universe like the one we have with everything — you know, stars, planets, galaxies — out of nothing, in a fraction of a nanosecond, I mean, what kind of power does that take? I mean, I can't imagine it. I would call it omnipotence. Also, what kind of knowledge does it take to, in time span of a fraction of a nanosecond, dial in these hundred dials to a razor's edge of precision so life can exist? That's some real smarts, isn't it? I might call that omniscience.
Now, I'll give you two more. I think it was a very benevolent being, a loving being, to say, “I'm going to go through all this effort so you could be here today.” That's incredible love. And the last thing I'll say is what a creative, innovative maker. What an artist. He didn't make just black, white and shades of grey. He made color and beauty and sunrises and sunsets and butterflies and hummingbirds and flowers and, you know, rainbows. What a creative creator we have.
And, again, this is just logic from this argument, that the evidence of science and observation and logic points to a spiritual, eternal, powerful, wise, loving creator. Does that not sound suspiciously familiar somewhere? Doesn't that sound like the Bible’s description of the creator of the universe; the God we worship? Science has caught up with theology. Science has gotten over the top and found a bunch of theologians who said all along that God, in the beginning, created the heavens and the earth, ex nihilo, out of nothing.
Well, that's what the Big Bang says. And I've got to say, some Christians get real up in arms, like, “I don't believe in a big bang. I believe in a creator.” You know? Or a creation event. And I say, “I do too, but do you think it might've made a little noise?”
These are not enemy concepts. These are friends pointing the same direction. And I like what Christian theologian and apologist, my friend, Dr. J.P. Moreland says. He says, “Wherever you have a big bang, there's got to be a big banger.”
Big bangs don't happen on their own. There's something behind it. So, you see, the logic holds up. Now, I’ve just got to tell you a story. Dr. William Lane Craig, I mentioned, he defends the faith. He's just unbelievable. I hosted a debate with him, along with Lee Strobel. Lee was the moderator. I was the guy that kind of set it all up and introduced Craig, and introduced the atheist that was debating. This was at a church in Chicago, Willow Creek. We had almost 8,000 people come to that event and it was just incredible. It was a blowout. I mean, Craig just won in a big way. I wish I could go into detail on that.
It's in the book if you want to read the details, but more recently, here's the story that's really fits what I'm talking about most. A bunch of Christians in the U.K. said, “Well, let’s bring Dr. Craig over here and have him speak at a bunch of the universities and debate a bunch of the atheists here. And let's finally do the clash of the titans debate that has not happened, and that is have William Lane Craig and Richard Dawkins, the Oxford atheist who wrote The God Delusion, the guy who says we're probably mentally ill if we believe in God, let's have him debate Craig. Because, I mean, he's a big talker and Craig's a strong defender. Let's have that.”
Dawkins refused. He's refused over the years. There’s actually a website. This is kind of funny. There's a website that keeps track of all the contradictory reasons that Dawkins has given for why he won't debate William Lane Craig. People are now making cartoons about this. It's hilarious. But he wouldn't do it. So, the Christians said, “Well, we're going to set it up in the famous Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford. It's going to be look like a debate. We're going to have the two tables and name tags and microphone stands on the tables with a glass of water. And Dr. William Lane Craig, Dr. Richard Dawkins. It's set up like a debate. Dawkins, please come defend your position, otherwise he's just going to refute your book, The God Delusion.”
And, well, he refused. He would not come. And it was at Oxford where he teaches. Like, “Walk across the hallway, please.” Nope. Not going to come. So, the Christians thought, “Wait a minute. Remember those signs on the buses? We could buy signs too.” So, they get their money together and they put their own signs on buses in England. I thought you'd enjoy seeing what they did. Isn’t that great? “There's probably no Dawkins.” We don't think the guy even exists. You claim you saw him? I don't believe you. He doesn't exist.
Then they followed the whole thing, “Stop worrying and enjoy your life, but enjoy it on October 25th at the theatre and come hear Bill Craig.”
And Craig gave an incredible talk that night. If you Google William Lane Craig in Sheldonian Theatre, you can watch it where he just dismantles Dawkins’ logic. Dawkins is a very smart man. He's a great biologist, but he's a really bad philosopher and theologian. Craig shows that in his talk.
I have a couple last things I need to do, and then we'll wrap it up. I mentioned earlier, and Chip mentioned, we have two books in the back to equip us and really help you get this information. This one, Confident Faith, gives the 20 arguments, and gives more detail of things I'm going through way too quickly. So, you can get that and learn more about it. That's kind of my offense. Here's my defense. This is answers to the top 10 questions. We did a national survey. We asked a thousand of you what questions you're afraid of because you're not ready to answer. We did that survey and then I wrote chapters on each of those 10 questions.
So, offense, defense, and we're selling them in a package for almost half price. So, I hope you'll get those. I often say a lot of us, as believers, we're just two or three good books away from being really confident in what we believe in. Confident to talk to our friends about it. So, these are for you, but also, these are books you can give to your friends that have the questions. And I especially urge you for young people in your life, get this information in their hands. This can be life and death for them.
And now let me just give you the last one really quickly. Our sense of morality points to a moral law giver. And this is the fifth and final arrow we'll talk about today. You know, even though people try to deny that there's a god or deny that there's any objective sense of moral standards that they're accountable to, in our hearts we know better. Even the person that says, “I don't believe in any of that,” when someone does something to them, they go, “Someone did me wrong.” You know? It's like, “What? I thought you didn't believe in that.”
I like what C.S. Lewis said. He said, “Countries say they don't believe in treaties until someone breaks one of theirs.” I also like what C.S. Lewis said. He said, “You don't have an idea of what a straight line is unless you...” — how did he say it? “You don't have an idea of a crooked line unless you have a notion of a straight line.”
C.S. Lewis was an atheist because he said there couldn't be a good God with all the evil in the world. And then he woke up and he said, “I wouldn't know what evil was if there isn't good in the world. Where does that good come from? What is the standard?”
The fact that we know deep down that certain things are just wrong, they're wrong — you know, I don't care if Germany votes and says, “It's okay. We're going to kill Jews because now it's legal in our country. We voted, so leave us alone.”
The rest of the world said, “We don't care what you voted. It's wrong.”
There's a higher moral standard. Where did that come from? Didn't come from human laws, conventions or a vote. It's woven into the fabric of what it means to be a human created in the image of God. And so, this last argument not only tells us that there's right and wrong, it tells us that that creator who is spiritual, eternal, powerful and all those things we already said is also morally good. He is holy and He cares a lot about what we do and how we live. And because of how we live, He had to send a savior, but I'm getting ahead of myself. We'll talk about that next week.
But the last thought is just this: The truth is pointing somewhere in the middle. There is a god and it's ultimately going to point to the truth of what Scripture teaches after we get our other 15 points next week. So, please bring your friends next week. Take your wrist, make some invitations, and I can't wait to be back in Sarasota next weekend. God bless.
Chip: Do you enjoy Mark? Good stuff, right? I know this isn't normal church service, but we're not a normal church. And I just believe that this is something that we desperately need, especially the 40 and younger generation, and especially those that are 20 and younger. We need to understand that we're not just believing something that's crazy. But I'll also tell you this: The reason we're investing so much in this as a church and bringing in mark and Frank Turek, Mary Jo Sharp, and other people that we've got coming in, the reason we're doing this and investing in this is because I don't believe that we've grown the way that we've grown, I don't believe that we got 40 acres given to us just because it happened. I believe God's doing something very special here
And here's the reality: I want to make sure, as the pastor of this church, that you are trained and equipped, all of us together, so that we don't get it wrong, because we have the answer that everybody in town is looking for. And He is a person and His name is Jesus. We don't want to get tripped up on all the other stuff. We want to make sure that we know the Gospel and we can defend our faith because I do believe, with all of my heart that God is doing some incredible things in this community, and I believe it's going to just continue to get even crazier and bigger and wilder, and He's going to use you. And I tell you this: There’s not a greater day in the world than when you look at somebody and you go, “Would you like to accept Jesus right now?” and they say, “Yes.” When you lead somebody to Jesus — you think you get jacked up on Mountain Dew. Wait till you get jacked up on the Jesus Dew. You know what I'm talking about? But let's close in prayer. Please, please, please invite people. But don't just be an inviter. Be a bringer. Get them here next week. Go out and get these books. If you don't have the finances, just say, “Pastor Chip said he's got it,” and we will get it for you. Let's pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You so much that we can gather like this and talk about these things because they're important. They're important that we settle in our heart that we don't just believe something to believe it. There are real reasons to believe what we believe. And Lord, I pray that You would continue to raise up an army of equipped Christians here at Grace to go out and share their faith and to be people that can truly lead others to know our wonderful Savior.
So Father, I pray that as we walk out of here today, that You would continue to lead, guide and direct us. I pray that You would watch over us and protect us, and I pray, God, that You would help us to stay focused here at Grace as to what You've called us to be here at this church, and that is 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.”