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2. Can I Be Certain God Exists? Does It Matter?

Anthony Bosman


Anthony Bosman

Assistant Professor



  • December 30, 2018
    10:45 AM


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This message was presented. To be used in Texas for other resources like this is it is. OK. We want to continue with our series on money atheism rejection of the existence of God to be theism just spiritual apathy Why does any of this matter and Adventism and how these 3 things can come into dialogue this session we want to talk about the existence of God How can we know that God exists so before he began let me say a quick word of prayer and then we'll jump right in. For the what a joy it is for us to know you and to be known by you to be fully loved by someone who fully knows us incredible but every parent knows respond some time talking about you that we don't just get lost in abstract arguments but we keep in the forefront of our minds this this intimate knowledge of you speaking with you as a friend that we might better share this experience enjoy it with those around us who maybe don't yet have that knowledge of you Father we find our peace in our security in you in Christ name we pray on it so we will talk about the existence of God. A quick reminder in our 1st session we came across this council of Peter where Peter tells us that one of the ways we honor Christ is by always being prepared to give a response to those who might ask for the reason for the hope that's in you notice the picture the Peter has is is ahead of time we've thought about and we've prepared it right we recognize these questions are going to come Peter also hasn't you hear that you have with the new some kind of living hope that transforms the way you live so people ask me ask you questions writes I remember this my 1st day of college I grew up in Florida but I flew out to California Stanford University was my 1st day orientation I don't know anyone there as I was trying to get settled down and we had lunch in the lunch I went I got a vegetarian lunch option you know I sat down in the person next to me she looks at me I don't know how she knew she was a vegetarian option I guess she thought I was a nice guy or something and from that she she asked Are you a 7th Day Adventist and I was just like taking a pack is you know I'm trying to fit into college try to make friends I don't know I think how you know how do you know this but I was not prepared I did not know what to say. But Peter saying that we need to be prepared to not only articulate our hope but also to be able to give reasons for it but the great thing is Peter goes on to tell us the that our approach really matters that as we engage with these things we should not come from a posture of fear we should make sure that we're exhibiting gentleness and respect that conversation we were honest in and we. Kind of strawman the exercise the principle of charity so we can have a good conscience and that we exhibit good behavior and I remember another friend I spent a summer with him a university and later I was catching up with him via email and we was talking about the importance of exploring different worldviews trying to understand how people see the world he's not a Christian grew up in a kind of a secular background his father's Hindu so he was kind of religious leader all over the place but he said something to me said you know I've discovered that the way I can know what someone believes is by watching how they live and when he said that it struck me of so much force because I was thinking wow I wonder what I said to him by the way I lived right and so so Peter's reminding us that we need to have good arguments we also have a life that's characterized by this good behavior and this I close the counsel and white when she reminds us that the Savior knew that argument no matter how logical it is would not be able to melt heart of hearts something else is needed we can reach minds but people also have hearts and it's a hard and we won't be able to reach them by force of argument but the love will do that which argument fails to accomplish and so we need to have a characterized by loving interactions with others the strongest argument is what. The strongest argument we're told a mensch if healing is a loving and lovable Christian you both love them and you are able to be loved you have to be lovable as well you can be a difficult difficult or you person OK so so with that context in mine we want to think about this issue of belief in God we saw as one of the largest objection the non-religious people have is is that many of them say we actually believe in God So here's some more data on this looking at Americans this is from last year 2017 we see when asked Do you believe in God about 80 percent of people say yes and 19 percent say no this some other one percent say you know I don't know what their view is but 80 percent say yes roughly 20 percent say no but then you can further break it down and out of the 80 percent who say yes only 56 percent of them believe in the God of the Bible well that's 56 percent say they believe in the God of the Bible if you further interrogate you realize they maybe have some non Biblical ideas about God but about 56 percent say they believe in God while 23 percent say they have some other notion of God It may be God is some kind of spiritual force or some big idea of some kind of higher power that's ill defined or some other religious conception of God and then if you break it down of those 2 who say no they do not believe in God again a number of them about half of them 9 percent say that they also have some conception of some higher power they don't call it God and then you're left with the last 10 percent who don't believe in any kind of higher power at all and so that's kind of the religious breakdown there's a significant number 10 percent who have no belief in God you add it up it's about authority 3 percent who have some vague idea of some kind of higher power out there and then the rest 56 percent claim to believe in the God of the Bible we go as of what views of the God that we actually hold but this issue of belief in God. Leads to a question of of how does belief or faith in God relate to evidence the atheist critique is the faith is the thing that goes against evidence so Richard Dawkins you may have heard of him is a well known atheist put it this way he says faith is the great copout the great excuse to they the need to think in evaluate evidence they say is belief in spite of even perhaps because of the lack of evidence and so for him as an atheist when he hears people say that they believe in God or he's thinking well that means they believe in God despite there being a lack of evidence or even when they say that they have faith that's them saying I believe despite there being no reason to believe who believes that Dawkins characterizes faith correctly is that how you understand faith faith is believing despite having no good reason to believe yeah I find that Christians often characterize faith a little bit differently I notice Ellen White characterizes it in the book steps to Christ she describes faith this way God never ask us to believe without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith as a world of difference different than our Richard Dawkins understands faith he says faith is believing despite the lack of evidence or because of the lack of evidence but we're told that God doesn't ask us to believe without given to sufficient evidence he's existence his character the truthfulness of His Word are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason in this testimony is abundant So the existence of God It isn't wishful thinking it appeals to the into like Appeals for a reason. She goes on to explain God has never remove the possibility of doubt our faith must rest upon evidence not demonstration those who wish to doubt will have opportunity while those who really wish to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to base their faith except you Christ's page $105.00 and so notice what's going on here in the dialogue about faith there's a fundamental disagreement over the definition when the atheist hears a he or she thinks the Faith is believing something despite there being no evidence and so when they hear you say I have faith in God They think that's the end of this gushing like oh well that's nice you choose to believe that but there's no evidence for it well given to us Christians talk about faith we believe that God is not acting contrary to reason but God has provided sufficient evidence that appeals to our reason it's so when we began to talk with an atheist about belief in God It's important from the very beginning we define our terms and we make clear I'm not saying I believe in God as some wishful thinking I believe there's really good reasons that appeal to into like that makes sense I experience it this last summer a demonstration of faith I was in Zimbabwe who here has been to Zimbabwe beautiful country are you from Zimbabwe by chance fantastic so I was in Zimbabwe while I was there I was visiting because we toured the Falls if you haven't seen Victoria Falls before imagine combining the Grand Canyon with now you were falls right so you have this huge Cadian like structure of the fantastic waterfall and some full decided to put a zip line across the falls and so of course when I was there being the fool that I am I'm like I have to zip line across the falls right. Now before I did the zip line I did some research online and what kinds of questions will be asked before is applying across because yeah I mean how many people have died during this How often has the cable broke so I looked for some evidence of this thing was safe before I took any action I wanted to have evidence for it even when I got there I was shocked when I asked the guy one of the last time you fix this cable the last time to grow you I want to make sure it was safe but it wasn't merely becoming convinced that it was safe I then decided to act upon that conviction and I actually went down that is me on the line went down the zip line and enjoyed the beautiful view of Victoria Falls faith is like this it begins about it looks at the evidence and sees of those good reasons but then it does something else you take a step or a leap of faith what is that step with a leap that's not you going against the evidence that's you saying now I'm going to act on it I've saw this really good reason to trust in the safety of this thing I saw the you know there's a good history it's reliable it's a faithful zip line and now I'm going to exercise my day by actually going down it that makes sense so so faith is not merely a calling it's where in this of the reliability of something it does acting upon that So when you look at the Gospel of John for instance use the word believe or faith this is a more than Greek several times but never as a noun faith is not something you have it's always a verb it it's something you do you believe you exercise faith so face this is dynamic thing what is faith that it's I've seen the sufficient reason this compelling reason to trust the reliability of this thing of this person of God and now I'm going to exercise my trust in God I'm going to take that step. So that's what Biblical faith is it's an action it's a stepping out of jumping out of the plane with your parachute on but it's informed by what I did some research to make sure the parachutes going to going to release and I'm going to be safe it's so it's an action that goes beyond merely a cognitive awareness but it doesn't go against the evidence it's an action that's based upon the evidence. That's really important because when when caging with the individuals trying to reach them it's not enough for us merely to convince them of the evidence we're told in Acts of the Apostles page 239 no eloquence of words no force of argument can convert the sinner the power of God alone can apply truth to the hearts so there's a limit that we're trying to convince someone of something it's not enough for us merely to make an argument we realized that they're going to have to take that step they're going to have truth applied to the heart of the going to have to exercise saving faith in God or so then what then is the role of argument the arguments themselves don't save people but I believe the arguments do 3 really important jobs the 1st job of an argument is it can help someone overcome intellectual barriers to think you know if that zip line had a bad reputation and I thought that it was it was unsafe I would never get on it but if someone is able to show me that no it's actually really safe reliable then I might actually take the step and get on the zip line exercise my faith the 2nd is in addition to helping overcome those intellectual barriers people may have faith all the arguments also hope forth by your own faith when we see that there's good reason to believe in God and His existence the reliability of his word it can secure all day so that when we go through difficult times or maybe don't feel the presence of God The arguments have fortified your faith so that you can persist in faith. And the 3rd thing that I believe faith does the these arguments can do is they reveal the the sense making power of the Christian faith so C.S. Lewis when he converted Christianity put it this way he had grown up and atheist in his 26 came to accept the Christian hope and he said I came to believe in Christianity as I believe in the risen sun not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else it's a when we make arguments from the Christian faith we're showing the power of the Christian faith to make sense of the world to make sense of your experience tomorrow morning our 1st seminar where we're talking about science and I'll be giving some arguments from science what I'm doing here is I'm showing the power of the Christian faith to make sense of the physical world around us in the next presentation after that we'll talk about Genesis in the fall in there are we showing the power of the Christian worldview to make sense of our human experience it's a what we're doing of our arguments is showing the Christianity is as well and I put it this way she said Christ his character and work is the center and circumference of all truth in him is the complete system of truth it's all we're trying to do is we're trying to communicate this sense making power of Christianity appreciate it can make sense of the world as a whole and then invite people to take that next step let me give an example of how this might play out the Christian hope has its foundation the resurrection of Christ for many people this is how they come to a knowledge of God that they see well look if God rose Christ from that indeed he must exist and so the resurrection of Christ is a powerful evidence for the force of the existence of God It's we come to know God through Christ and this really good evidence for the resurrection one of them is the way in which the resurrection is able to make sense of historical data so let me go through some of the data the 1st data point is that. Of the many Jewish sex and messiahs that existed in the 1st century and there were quite a few in the 1st century actually have to forego up to 5 goes to use them and this was this messiah figure rose up and he tried to lead some rebellion against the the Romans then he was put to day he was killed he was crucified and you know what happens his followers they all faded out and then some other messiah figure rose up and he tried to lead some some crusade against the the Romans and then he was crucified and died out and so X. 5 goes through this history and the next 5 it's making the point that well you know if this Jesus movement is not of God you would expect the same thing it would rise up when the leader is killed it would die out but that's not what happened with Christianity Christianity flourished even the spite the fact that this idea of a crucified Messiah was foolish to both the Greeks and the Jews it's not the kind of thing you make up to get a gathering rights. Leader had just been killed and the idea of resurrection was so alien to both Jewish and Greek thought that it was a big stumbling block for them Paul writes about this in the number of times throughout the New Testament how how the crucifixion how the fact that we follow someone who was crucified as a criminal is a stumbling block for both the Greeks and the Jews that the Greeks in the philosophy cannot conceive of of God becoming man and being crucified and the Jews that they like the resurrection isn't a place to the end of the age or how could have taken place it was very surprising is not the kind of thing you would make up. The culture as a whole mock to Resurrection you can see this when Paul is preaching to the philosophers Morris Hill he's going through and giving this really compelling case to to accept Christ as Messiah and there tracking with him there with him there with them there with him until he says resurrection and the moment things of resurrection seen X. $17.00. That's we don't believe that stuff right and so the very idea of resurrection which is culturally foreign to them with it was something that was despised by them and so you see the OK this doesn't seem to be the kind of thing you would make up if you want to start a movement and yet still for some reason they flourished you also look at the disciples in this you read the account of the cycles in the Gospels you see that they were individuals who all together fearful that they ran away at the crucifixion of Christ 1st of all if they had been making up that history they probably would have presented themselves more favorably rights but if they actually were afraid then then what transformed them from being a group of individuals that were afraid and terrified and given up hope to individuals who a bully a mean the gospel even in the face of persecution and violent deaths nearly all the Apostles with the exception of John died violent deaths John died in captivity he didn't have it come to life either it's also the fact that if you look at John and John Chapter 20 it tells us that the 1st I witness is to the resurrection will women which may be fine today but if you go back to the 1st century the testimony of a woman was not considered as valid as the testimony of a man so again if you are making this thing up why would you include these details this was a stumbling block the early Christian churches criticize a movement for women because it elevated women express so much doing to the women that they were criticizing you know men in society couldn't take it very seriously because it was so odds with the Roman and Greek culture in this you have this character Paul. In Paul is someone who had a great career he was persecuting Christians and things were going well for him but why is he converts if it was not for an encounter with the resurrected Christ's one last piece of evidence is that in 1st Corinthians Chapter 15 we have a teaching of the resurrection that we can trace back to within a couple of years of the actual historical events so we have the record of resurrection being taught soon afterwards and if it wasn't true people could just go they could recover the body they could present evidence but somehow this thing was being taught the spite the fact is culturally despise is right thing the fact is a complete Ajah the theological system of the day why was it and I wasn't just the best way to understand all this that the reason Christianity came to Florida despite these challenges is by the fact historical resurrection actually happened this is really good evidence of the Wasn't action because what else could explain it one individual put it this way says there's a resurrection sized hole in history and the only way to understand history is by recognizing that there was this event called the resurrection because otherwise what's the cause that could explain these events what's the cause like to explain why Paul would convert and why the disciples would go from being afraid to becoming bold and why the church would flourish despite the fact the leader had been crucified in the shameful way and so there's really good historical reasons to believe in the resurrection but here's my point. Faith means more than recognizing others really good historical evidence to believe in the resurrection faith is saying here's the evidence really good compelling evidence of the lines of others we can explore as well but now I'm going to take this step after trusting in the resurrected Christ I'm in tune into relationship with him and coming to a knowledge of God That's more than just his knowledge of history. And so faith is grounded in the evidence it's not going against the evidence you have been disappointed in some way and says it looks like this resurrection this true that those resurrected Christ and then they this are stepping into that and saying OK I'm going to begin to trust the Treasure Act of Christ I'm going into into community with him and will enter into knowledge with him relationship with him and so that's where faith is it's a way as we do in arguments we can present this 1st stuff the ways of the story evidence makes sense but we also must at some point invite individuals to take that step right and also really you are unable to do that apart from the power of God and so us trying to reach people isn't merely intellectual task it's also a hard task we're trying to reach their hearts through our love and the spiritual task we're praying for the power of the Holy Spirit to help us convict hearts so that they will take that step I want to pause there any questions or comments as we've talked about the nature of faith or is clear any questions are common Let's get a break here. So how could we tell that. To the actual atheist that this was real Yeah I mean so you go through some of the evidence rites and there's lots of. Lots of red source you can look like the Case for Christ and elsewhere would go through so much more detail here I'll show you the very rapid summary just as an example we can present some historical evidence you can point to the fact that in addition to the Gospel we have independent sources that verified that the basic data that there was historical person named Jesus that he was crucified is a believers testified to his resurrection soon thereafter and so you can go through some of the historical data that the tomb was empty right this seems to be really could destroy agreement that somehow the tomb was empty now all agree that there was a resurrection but the question is what explains all these data points taken as a whole let's get one more comment here. So I was talking to a coworker and I wanted to tell him about Jesus and he's he's from the Muslim faith and he told me that you know Jesus is real and but he was not crucified and so this is a view some Muslims hold that it was just it was made to appear as of Christ was crucified but some believe that some other individual possibly was took his place on the cross parents which is speaking about it and so that is a very I would challenge that point though in that the one point in which there's unanimous historical agreement is the crucifixion of Christ that he was crucified and so this talk of evidence alone seems to release it's very challenging to maintain the view that he was in crucified of course the Muslim may have other commitments that lead them in teaching a leading authority of the Koran that may lead them to opposition so I may not be an easy sell it's OK one last one last comment and then I want us to look at some specific objections to belief in God and how it responds to them so there are going to simplify a lot. There are these 2. Oh posing arguments. Notables and complimentary arguments that he was seen and then the 2 most anti Well it did to me Cindy but he wasn't seen. The body will stolen. So if. There is to do that he will seen but there was an indeed then he was a speeded there was something that appeared. And those 2 complimentary together they bring a lot of power to the evidence of that is what I can do that's right because of the body had simply been stolen it wouldn't explain why Paul converted or wouldn't explain why the disciples became bold and to share the gospel even the risk of their lives rites and so if it simply some these other theories they may explain why the terms empty but they failed to explain the evidence as a whole Ok what I want to do now is I want to move into some specific objections to the existence of God These are things that often come up in speaking to individuals who maybe then if I was a theist or in our own communities and what I want to do is systematically go through these now we're going to focus in on the arguments themselves but I've tried to emphasize that faith is also a more than argument right so it's really important that as we enter into these things we're not just appealing to the head was trying to reach people's hearts we're praying for the power of God Now just to lead them to believe that this is true but to act on that belief of saving faith in Christ so so there's more than just the arguments but I think it is important that we stand at least the arguments so that when you credible responses and so what I have is 8 objections but I want to systematically move through and think about how we can respond to them the 1st objection is that there's a presumption of atheism that is only the theist has the burden of proof there is in terms of discussion that the US is making the claim there is a God and he or she must prove it but the atheists position is the default position. Has anyone ever heard something like this before my question is how would you respond to it would someone like to offer a response how might you respond to this claim that only the theist has to present evidence that the atheist has the default position that should be assumed How might you respond to that it's going to be on the micro here as it is no fairness there you want to start from the beginning in the same position both of you will use and that's not fair OK someone else how might you respond to this objection that all the B.S. has the burden of proof the atheist is the default position some people say things like Walt warning babies you don't think about God and so therefore it's the default position what let's look at what atheism actually says atheism proper is the claim that there is no God Now that is a knowledge claim to say that there is no god is a claim to knowledge and therefore if you make it a knowledge claim there's a burden of proof that comes with it yes the theist does have a burden of proof was saying that there exists a god that is a claim to knowledge but the A.P. is also making a claim to knowledge where he or she says that there is no God And so since both are making a claim to knowledge both must present evidence for their claim now if when someone says atheist the religion a weakened Gnostic if they really simply say I don't know if there was a God then they have no burden of proof then I'm making a claim to knowledge when you say I don't know if there is a god all you do is confessing that your ignorance. Right usually I don't know and that's fine but but when someone says an atheist is simple this hypocrite saying to live in more than the Nasi they don't know if there is a God And so when someone says they have no burden of proof will say well what's your position if your position is simply that you are ignorant on the topic I agree you have no burden of proof but you probably are interested in hearing why I believe there is a God but if the position is that there is no God or the atheists then the actually make your knowledge claim that needs to be supported by some kind of evidence there's also a strong form of Gnosticism where some say not only I don't know if there is a God but that nobody can know if there is a God that the existence of God is so great and such a grand topic how can we as far as humans know but notice that is also knowledge now of a not just confessing ignorance they're not just saying I don't know they're actually making a claim to knowledge seen the nobody can know and so the take away here is whenever someone makes a claim to knowledge that claim to knowledge comes with the need to present evidence for it as a theist absolutely is a need for us to present evidence for a position but also for one who makes a claim to knowledge of there is no God or you cannot know if there is a God These are equally claims of knowledge that must also be supported by some form of knowledge some form of evidence the 2nd objection goes like this belief in God is just like belief in Santa Claus or believe in fairies or the Easter Bunny's or something ridiculous like that it's Christmas recently happened I mean a number of on line groups atheist groups and a number of them are making this comparison you know Santa Claus is just like Jesus was like God so believing God is just like believe in Santa Claus The assumption being that's ridiculous of course religion is ridiculous therefore you shouldn't believe in God How about you respond to this and you want to offer a response. Let's give them my computer with fast. No I'm not saying you know I'm not saying you should get into a like a 6 page online debate I'm just off I'm just asking how might we respond to this objection and what is the new telestial responses objection now when you actually engage in discussion of someone you can think about how you're going to craft a response and how you can do it in law right but what I meant was response respond to the direction itself yeah back here we have a hand up how do we aspire to the objection that belief in God is just like belief in Santa Claus. So I had a kind had a discussion with somebody on this I was wonder if you're an atheist why do you spend so much your time trying to ridicule when you don't do that with center of the Easter Bunny like I can prove Santa doesn't exist in a they spend most of their time trying to debunk the doesn't exist why waste your time probably they don't run up to kids in shopping malls and be like you know a credit. That's not to me if you're trying to do them well I believe there are 3 good reasons why this is a fallacious claim the 1st is that all over the world adults come to believe in God I saw earlier today a poll in the number of us didn't come to believe in God until we were in our teens or twenty's or thirty's or later right and so all over the world people come to belief in God but people don't come to believe in Santa when they grow up right people universally abandon belief in Santa there's a 2nd reason and that there's no compelling reasons to believe in Santa tomorrow as we do talk about science I'm going to try and offer a number of compelling reasons why we should believe in God Now even if one objects those reasons are not compelling you need to demonstrate that the reason is not compelling but no one even tries to offer reasons to believe in Santa right now no serious individual make serious claims that Santa exists there is no even attempt to give reasons for a belief in Santa and the last one is we have compelling reasons not to believe in Santa. Right I mean we we know what Christmas presents come from but it's not a great mystery and when you grow up you learn about the I don't want to spoil it for anyone who maybe doesn't know. But it's kind of a it's kind of an inside job going on there so so we have compelling reasons to believe in Santa to not believe in Santa and there's no compelling reason to believe in Santa whereas the Christian claims that he has offered what I believe the compelling reasons to believe in God and we don't we haven't found compelling reasons not to believe in God So if the atheist want to support this claim with the you would have to do is he would have to explain why adults come to believe in God and on Santa he would have to go through and show that all the reasons Christians give to believe in God are not compelling and he would also have to show that there's some compelling reason not to believe in God It's not enough to simply make this claim we actually have to examine the evidence next objection you just believe in God to make yourself feel good maybe about death or tragedy or something like this who's heard this objection before you just believe in God to make yourself feel good how might you respond to it you know we have a hand right here do you say take up your cross and follow me oh you know where is she going to be isn't a feel good religion always you might just emphasize you know pain 10 percent of my money and a 7th of my time living sacrificially this isn't the most easy going religion or hate so that's absolutely you can make that point one more time here we're thinking about how to respond to these objections. You know. I was told before that I believe that I believe in God because I'm afraid that you know because I'm afraid what would happen afterwards and I made it perfectly clear that I became a Christian because the not out of fear. But out of love good in that's ultimately why I believe in God So this might be a really good chance to help clarify your faith and that I don't just live with the threat of hell over me but I actually have good reasons to be attracted to the Christian faith Well there are 2 other ways we might respond one is to point out that the exact same critique can be made of atheism right you just believe in atheism to make yourself feel good so that you're not accountable to anyone you ought to be afraid of judgment so that you know that you can make the exact same critique but the problem is that this kind of psychological is this kind of psychologizing this kind of giving some you just believe this because of this isn't actually evidence for or against either one you can do it either way you just believe in God to be used to feel good and just to die God's existence so you can live however you want right you can say these things but they're not actually examining the evidence and so I really want to do is to invite people as let's move past this name calling to actually examine the evidence of this kind of thing go both ways as actually move to looking at the evidence objection for if you were born somewhere else you would believe in a different god or no god at all if you were born in Saudi Arabia you know you would have a different religion if you're born in India or if you're born you know wherever Japan you may believe something different so you just believe the way you believe because of where you were born just a geographical accident that you believe this way How might you respond to this objection we have a hand right back here. So in a religious point of view I actually met this person and met this individual this morning actually and he said he has a friend who was a Mormon but then he as he was studying the Mormon the Mormon bible or and he was looking at the Mormon bible with actually with the Bible and it don't add up with Joe Smith I believe he had many wives and some of them wives were you know I guess were committing adultery and that doesn't correspond with the Bob was so he became an atheist after that because and then as he was start learning more about the Bible himself he because he had the foundation know there is a God The star is standing by him so that he converted to add into them so it proves that no matter where you are somehow or some way God finds an opportunities for you to seek truth and he founded by himself but with the guidance of his friend and this is fantastic so you're pointing out that you're not locked into what you're born you're like you're born in Utah you're fated to be a Mormon that people can hurt you gave a story of somebody who moved from one of your worldview to another toward other people who are not stagnant or dynamic and that the views change over time as they study and evaluate the evidence and so I think that's a great response this objection fails to recognize that Christianity is a global presence and that people are constantly converting kinds of different backgrounds this also commits what's called the genetic analysis so will the genetic fallacy does attempts to discredit a belief by giving some account of where it came from rather than looking at the validity of the belief itself. Let me give you an objection same if you are born somewhere else you would believe in some other God is like saying well you know if we were born in a different time 100003000 years ago we had probably believe false things to we would believe the sun orbited the earth we would believe that there's only one galaxy of stars recognizable the billions and billions of galaxies right but that's not an argument for any of these beliefs it's true that the perhaps the only reason you believe the sun orbits the Earth is because you are bored after Copernican Revolution right but that isn't saying that out there for the belief is rotten simply giving an account of why some hold the belief doesn't establish or deny the believe rather when you look at the reasons for the belief itself OK next objection to number 5 in objection to this instance of God we're trying to take the counsel of 1st Peter that says Always be prepared to give a response to those who ask you for a reason for the hope that's in you your to reject thousands of gods why not just go one step further so some put it this way they say you already an atheist with respect to Zeus and for a new old in Poseidon Why not just go one step further. Let me respond to this objection why don't we have a hand. You already in your to reject 1000 thousands of gods I think I would say there is significant evidence to say the God I believe right now actually is a true god and not a false OK So you say that there's something to differentiate the god you believe in from these other gods Yeah I think that's exactly right Scripture takes this approach but the God of scripture is distinct from all these other gods one here versus the highlights this is is a chapter 46 verses 9 through 10 were God says Remember the 4 are the things of old for I am God and there is none else I am God and there was none like me claiming the and from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done saying my counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure a number of actually beats of God emphasized in this verse The 1st is that God is eternal which one distinguishes God from these other gods if you look at Thor and Zeus and these other gods each one has a theology a theology is an account of where the gods came from these gods were born to these other gods who came from these other gods who were born out of the chaos the God of Bible is quite unique in that he is that you maternal God unlike the gods of the Greeks or the Romans of the Babylonians He's also an omnipotent and omniscient God if that means all powerful now mission is all knowing we look at these other gods look at the Greek Gods and and the constantly being deceived or deceiving each other then a lot of the powerful they're not omnipotent they abandoned by fate or other forces of the cosmic forces and so we see that the God of scripture really is quite unique from the other gods and so now we have stablished the scripture is unique He has unique actual abuse from the other gods therefore the maybe reason to believe in this God and we checked the other ones it's kind of a silly argument who he was married. A number of people are married OK So there are thousands of men in the world you're not married to why don't you go one step further. There are thousands of men you're not married to why not go one step further and reject all men I mean of course you're recognize that silly we know there's a world of difference between being committed to one person and being entirely celibate or cut off from all individual's rights so all to all time you do you have an exam I'm a math professor you're taking some math exam you know the 1st question and what is 5 times 5 usually the question is lot more difficult than that but you know 5 times 5 what does say to you there are thousands of wrong answers so why why don't you just commit to the be no answer well just because there's thousands of wrong answers doesn't mean that there's no right answer right because those thousands of people you don't commit your life to doesn't mean that there isn't going to be one person you do commit your life to and just because the 00s of gods reject it doesn't mean that there's not good evidence for us to accept the God of scripture especially because the God of scriptures all together I'm like these other gods he's the eternal omnipotent omniscient God OK do a quick question for you let's get a quick comment and then we will move out of the next objection a friend of mine. Said that he believed in all of those gods you know under with the God of the Bible at the very top and then Zeus Hades. Thole or. All of them below him. He was a lot how they celebrated. But. The problem there is is a lot of these beliefs of self contradictory right it's so we see where God does things for themselves and God makes unique claims to divinity and so some beliefs are simply not compatible and so you could help you Fred to to reason through and think through and see how these beliefs are not a silicon power with each other let's go ahead and look it was I was talking about the God of the Bible and how he has these attributes some object to the possibility of there is a God of these attributes for instance some object to the of nippers hints of God You might have heard something like this but the very idea of omnipotence of being all powerful is absurd hang God make 2 plus 2 equals 5 can he make a square circle can he make a stone so heavy you can't lift it or other UPS or thing yes so this is an objection to the big idea of a. You claim you believe in this god he's unique from these other gods because he's Eternal of new potential missions but then the objection becomes But those attributes or are ridiculous are absurd because how could God do these ridiculous things if you heard a thing like this before this kind of objection you know how we respond to it. We have a comment here thinking about the omnipotence of God Can God do things like make 2 plus 2 call 5. Other logical contradictions so how would you know it is absurd do you put. Truth. Very good so to even be able to make this critique you say peals to some kind of you have some kind of standard by which you judge truth and you can ask the basis of that standard and you can then maybe see that it's pretty tough to give an account for that absolute standard apart from an absolute law giver such as God Oh that's a very good critique Well here's one thing I'll point out. Scripture teaches the Lord does whatever pleases him some $135.00 or 6 Now this is a nipple tense but it's not a nipple tense to be honest as God does anything it's God does anything that pleases him do you see the distinction in Scripture we don't find that God does whatever any arbitrary thing rather he acts according to HIS good pleasure Augustine reflected in put it like this he says God is called nipa tent on account of him doing what He Wills not on account of him suffering in what He Wills nots poor if that should befall him he would by no means be omnipotent wherefore he cannot do some of the things for the very reason he is a mere pittance being omnipotent means that God does what he pleases it doesn't mean that he has to do all these other things that he doesn't please and there for all to see recognize this is a 4th century Augustine's writings as up the evidence is in God doing whatever you once it's God to do anything that's in accordance with His good pleasure scripture records all kinds of things that God cannot do that may sound kind of way God's omnipotence but of differences in doing what he pleases there are things he cannot do for instance God cannot live both the Old Testament a New Testament testified to this fact why Can God not lie because he takes no pleasure in the seat the new has been put to like this in 2nd Timothy Chapter 2 verse 13 we're told that if we have faithless Scully means faithful why because he cannot deny himself that God does not act in a way that's in contradiction with his character or his nature so this is how it plays out. To act wickedly would deny God's holiness so God cannot act wickedly He's omnipotent you can do whatever he pleases but because he's holy he cannot act in contradiction to that it's to act on justly would deny God's justice so God cannot act on justly He's omnipotent he can do whatever he pleases but he takes no pleasure not justice to act irrationally respond to the original objection would deny God's rationality that God is a rational mind he's a rational being so God doesn't act arbitrarily doesn't do things like make square circles or make stone so big he can't lift it he has new logical absurdity is because he acts consistently with his character in nature the reason I quoted from Augustine here in the 4th century was to point out that this isn't some ad hoc definition of negatives this is how christians for thousands of years have understood the power of God that I ask of just says God acts according to his pleasure and so this objection to have nipped into simply a misunderstanding of what we mean by an effective back to how we have misunderstand what the word faith means again seem to have a militant I've lived in is not the God acts arbitrarily or does any old thing I'm evinces God is all powerful to bring about his will to bring about his pleasure in accordance with His nature in accordance with his character God is not an arbitrary God there's a similar objection to the attributes of God and this one focuses on his omniscience the fact that God knows everything in particular God's knowledge of the future it attracts like this. Is not compatible with free will if God already knows how we're going to choose then we're not really free to choose who's heard this objection before. Yeah this is a very common one writes. The objection seems to present 3 possibilities The 1st is you can reject the 4 knowledge you can reject the God knows the future the 2nd possibility is you can reject free will you can reject the creatures really are through free or the 3rd possibility is you can respond to the objection and point out why the objection is fallacious why it's a poor reasoning issue enough Christians do all 3 some reject the for knowledge of God open theism is an expression of Christian doctrine that says God doesn't actually have knowledge of the future some reject free will some Christians believe that we're not actually free that the sovereignty of God means he's an absolute control of everything that we don't actually act freely that it's true we don't really have free choice but some of all try to respond to the objection and I think as we should do in verse option 3 we should be hesitant to reject for knowledge and freewill scripture testifies to both realities and rather we should see what's wrong with this objection so can anyone identify an error of reasoning in the subjection. How would you respond to the claim if God knows you a choice you are not really free to make it. Hand or a here. I think because there are opposite situations smell when it is not necessarily changing going to someone I can know what our child will do but not necessarily an excerpt on the influence in his conscience for what he is going to shoes excellent so knowing something is not determining it right in the same way that if you have some grammar to the measures the weather may indicate what the weather is but is not causing the weather right you this for Doms when you car indicates your speed it knows your speed in that sense but not causing your speed you are causing the speed by putting your foot down too low right so this is a really good response you can point out the God knows you choose X. because you choose an X. the 4 knowledge doesn't determine your choice rather it's your choice that he terms were god for no less that is God see is your choice but you are the one who chooses it it's good in the causality backwards to think that God knowing your choices in causing your choice rather it's you making the choices of what causes God to have the knowledge the causality goes the other way yet one more comment here. That's OK I have asked a question maybe you can enlighten me a little bit on that if we answered that way then. We may say we have robots because we act based entirely on cost I mean like a mathematical formula that God has about us that you give does US input this is the output that comes from me no I'm not saying that I'm saying that God knows I'm going to act a particular way because we act that way us making the free choice that's the cause and the effect is God knows I'm not saying that our actions are entirely determined by the law or something like this. So you won't go back to the objection though they may say but given that God already knows that I'm going to choose X. instead of why is it still possible for me to choose Y. has 2 choices before you X. and Y. GOD As for knowledge suppose he already knows I'm going to choose X. is it possible for me to choose Y. and if not does not mean I don't really have free will it's because this is the objection again I'm trying to give some more force to it I'm trying to make it a strong as possible but this seems to confuse the matter when you say given that God already knows I'm going to choose X. and Y. What does that mean why does God know you're going to choose X. instead of Y. because God is for knowledge and so God knows that because you freely choose a X. right so when you say God knows I'm going to choose X. instead of Y. well God only know that if you freely choose X. instead of Y. So what you're really saying when you ask if God knows I'm going to choose X. instead of why I can still choose Y. you really asking given that I freely choose X. instead of why can i still choose Y. well but that doesn't make any sense you said that were you given a freely choose actions of Y. No you can choose Why not if you feel it choose X.. But you could have chosen Y. and if you have chosen why I think I would have known it. Do you see it. Your choice is what's causing God's for knowledge it's not the God for knowledge is causing your choice so we can formalize this other mathematicians I decided to to formalize this in terms of moral logic it's a is a logic that looks at necessity and possibility and so you formalize it this way premise one necessarily if God knows you choose X. you will choose X. This is true God knows something then he has accurate for knowledge of what happened. Premise 2 God knows you choose X. the objection seems to be that necessarily you would choose X. but logically this does not follow him over logic logically all the fall is that you will choose X. That's how God knew you would choose X. but you could have also chosen Y. in which case I would have known it. We on the same page. So I'm missions does not deny the possibility of free will but possibly atheism does Sam Harris an outspoken atheist has written the book where you claim that free will is an illusion and he's not alone others like Richard Dawkins have claimed the same he says I have a materialistic view of the world that is I have a view of the world that is everything is just Adam's emotion just material I think the things that determine the rational way by antecedent events if I want to know what happens I I look at the scene of bends of the same formula describes it in and I'll determine have in the next moment he says that commits me to the view that when I think I have free will I'm deluding myself. Harris Richard Dawkins Lawrence Krauss a number of outspoken atheist a have taken the stance that as materialist will really just chemicals in motion in the same way that the outcome of the chemical reaction is determined by natural law so were your choices you simply have an illusion of free will now conveniently they say your choice is such a complicated chemical reaction we can't really understand it or predict it so it seems like you have free will but really since you just materials and atoms in motion there is no free will. Intially enough the atheist finds himself in a position denying human free will he doesn't have a richer view of humans made in the image of God as rational beings who can who can choose freely it was simply material and it was simply material that how can we freely choose it all choices are determined by the material that comes to us by environment spark by all these factors right that's a machine and if it a perfect knowledge of every atom of the universe could predict all of our choices with perfect accuracy what is problems with this what does that mean for morality what does that mean for good and evil What does it mean how do we hold people accountable for the choices they make what's moral responsibility come to if your choices are programmed by nature then how could any of you be possibly good or evil also what comes of truth if you simply believe the things you believe because of some kind of programming because that's what the atoms in motion determine then why would you believe those things are true or have you believe about free will how could you have a free will if it is programmed right so so this seems to be a very difficult position to hold because all of these aspects of being human What does it mean for love and relationships if it's just chemical reactions rights it seems to deny those things that are fundamental to the human experience I want to suggest there for the belief in God affords a richer nobler picture of what it means to be human they give significance to our choices not just programming does not show us Adams in motion but they actually are significant choices and they make sense of our deepest longings apart from belief in God we lose the the richness that allows us to affirm human freedom the last objection is a humble position to remain a gnostic about God the humble thing to do is to leave an open question. I've heard this a number of times and you know I am encouraging my students to have critical thinking and so part of me is like that's great you know you you want to a critical stance and you don't want to position too early you want to value all the evidence but you can't stay here forever because in order for you to grow in to experience more progress to grow as a human you must have some standard higher than yourself that you submit yourself to see if we're always standing over everything else and weighing it then there's nothing left to stand over us in a way our lives but we need something to stand over us to measure us so that we can actually recognize deficiencies and grow to not subject yourself to something greater is to exclude the possibility of true more progress of true transformation Moreover if God has truly revealed Himself then ignoring his revelation isn't humility but it was foolish L.O.L. I put it this way a picture of some prophets are new this quote Many wonder in the mazes of philosophy in search of reasons of evidence which they will never find while they reject the evidence which God has been pleased to give they refuse to walk in the light of the Sun of Righteousness intil the reason of it shining shall be explained this is really important because people can continue can to modify their objections and that some point we have to say we can keep going down the road if you want but the evidence that God has provided let's take that seriously let's take the evidence that is presented and think that seriously rather continue to multiply and multiply and going down all the rows of what ifs and maybes and I don't know because all timidly we need to recognize something greater than ourselves if we are to have any kind of moral progress in our lives. Well I think it and they're out of time a SAM one of prayer Rick reminder we're going next tomorrow morning we'll be looking at science and faith when asked 1st a question Has science replaced faith and then we asked the question about Genesis how should we think about understand Genesis today. Let's go ahead and close in for father taking some time to review these objections we will be faithful to your word of it tells us to be always prepared to give a response to those who ask us for a reason for the hope that set us Father I pray that this time was beneficial to help prepare us through recognize that our preparation goes beyond merely analyzing arguments a preparation is found and spending time with you well when hearts are transformed we have become agents of love so that when the vigil see that love the drawing of something more they recognize that there's a full way to live there's more to the human experience that we want to have experienced so we pray that today as we continue not to be sincere I see be it outreach time in the prayer room in time listen to great messages that heart is drawing close to you that we may be transformed more into. Question for. This message was recorded. In Houston Texas. Supporting ministry the 7th Day Adventist Church seeks to inspire. 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