https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5AVWCHb180 (beginning to 1:20) The movie God’s Not Dead presents a scenario that some of you might have lived through. There are moments where our faith is challenged, where we are put on the spot, left on the hot seat searching for answers or wavering as we search for the words. Challenge from a biology or philosophy professor, from a new neighbor after you invited them to church, or maybe from a family member over Thanksgiving dinner.
If you haven’t, get ready. Researchers and pollsters lately have determined that in the Western world the fastest growing demographic when it comes to religion are the NONES, not the Catholic nuns in the convent, but those who mark down “none” on religious affiliation. No longer can we simply assume that people around us have heard the same Bible stories, see the world with the same Judeo-Christian values, or believe the same foundational principles.
Today, we are starting a new sermon series called DON’T ASK ME THAT, all about those questions that people outside of the church have and that we hope they will never ask. We are going to be wrestling with questions that make us uncomfortable, leave our brains racing, and chest hurting. Based on the book The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask by Mark Mittelberg, we are going to step out in faith, hopefully preparing to give “an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We are going to start with the biggest question of all: Does God Exist? Now my hope is that many, if not all of you, would be able to answer that question from your own personal experience with the Risen Lord and the Holy Spirit, but are there any objective reasons to believe in God? Are there any reasons that your atheist friend or agnostic child would have to stop and ponder? I think so…so let’s jump right in…Does God Exist? Instead of Don’t Ask Me That, we find that the answer lies in a…
BEGINNING (Gen. 1:1-3) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. No more famous words have been penned, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible doesn’t start with a question; it starts with a statement of fact. God created. The implications are profound, that the universe isn’t eternal, the universe hasn’t always been, and that which is created, needs a creator or a cause. Scientist Carl Sagan bitterly rejected this arguing mocking Scripture, “The cosmos is all that is, and was, and will forever be.”The only problem for Sagan is that a wild-haired astrophysicist by the name of Albert Einstein kept plugging away with a little formula that became the general theory of relativity—which kept showing that instead of the universe being eternal, that it was finite as accelerated and expanded outward. “In the words of Stephen Hawking, at some time in the past…the distance between neighboring galaxies must have been zero (1988: 46).For Einstein, however, a definite beginning to the universe seemed so counterintuitive that he introduced an arbitrary factor in his theory to eliminate the implication.”– Stephen Myers quoting (Alberts, Bruce. 1998. The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines: Preparing the Next Generation of Molecular Biologists.Cell 92 (8 February): 291-94.)
The similarities to Genesis 1:1—In the beginning God created cannot be ignored, that as the living giving Word of God poured from his mouth, the first sermon ever proclaimed, it brought about a universe, not created by random chance or millions or arbitrary occurrence, but through the working of the three-parts of the Trinity—the God spoke, the Holy Spirit hovered, and the living Word—poured forth. Remember John 1:1-“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. (14) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
For people outside of the church, who have spent their entire lives being told science and the church are in opposition, the evidence has overcome those who echoing that position—pointing us to a creator. U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper summed up a remarkable discovery by researchers at Northwestern University near Chicago: “Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film. An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.” Former NASA scientist, author, astronomer, and physicist Robert Jastrow summarized what occurred, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.