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Is Anyone Up There? Looking for Clues - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2020 2:00 am

Is Anyone Up There? Looking for Clues - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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September 25, 2020 2:00 am

Do you ever wonder what clues there are that there's a God? Simply put, if there is a God, where is the evidence that He exists? Skip answers that question in the message "Is Anyone Up There? Looking for Clues."

This teaching is from the series The Biography of God.




This week's DevoMail:

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I'll give you a piece of wise philosophy that I heard and a little axiom summed up this way. Whenever there is a thing, there must have been a preceding thought. Wherever there is a thought, there must have been a thinker. That is the cosmological argument. Everything in the universe must have a basis or a sufficient reason. And everything that has a cause must have a first cause, or put it this way, a first uncaused cause.

The famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes said, I make a point of never having any prejudices and of following docile wherever fact may lead me. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip helps you get to know your God better by following the facts and clues he's given for his existence. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that helps you overcome life obstacles to pursue the life and opportunities God has for you. I've enjoyed watching the growth and the ministry of my friend Levi Lusko. This month's Connect with Skip resource, Take Back Your Life, the new book by Levi Lusko.

Here's Levi to tell you about it. It's all around this idea of taking back your life. It's a 40-day interactive journey to thinking right so you can live right. And it's going to be really powerful and special, I think, for people to have this.

Not only is it in hardcover, which just makes me happy because I've never had a book released in hardcover, but it has a ribbon. So you'll be able to keep track of your progress through these 40 days. It would be an incredible gift to someone who is looking to grow in their faith or for any of us who want to maybe kind of do an oil change for your heart, a checkup on your wellness, on where you're at. It'll deal with internal difficulties and help you deal better with external circumstances that are challenging as we explore how we can get to the very best version of ourselves that we are meant to be.

Okay, we'll be in Romans chapter 1 and Psalm 19 for today's study, so let's join Skip Hyten. Now I'm going to say a sentence, and when I do, you're going to be able to guess what game I'm referring to. All right, Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick. You know exactly what game that is. It's Clue, and the game of Clue is set in a mansion. Somebody has died.

A murder has been committed, and the player gathers clues as he or she moves through the game into each room and has to determine who is the perpetrator, where it happened, and what was the weapon that was used, and you win the game of Clue. Well, as we look around in the universe, what clues do we have of God's existence? We started a series called The Biography of God, and last week we considered two great realities and two great responsibilities. The great realities is that God exists and he's personal, and the responsibilities is faith and pursuit. That's what we examined last week, but we want to get even more general today. How do we know? What are the clues that God has left?

I want to start with a story that is a reprint from an article in the London Observer. A family of mice lived in a grand piano. They enjoyed listening to the music that came from the great player who they never saw, but who they believed in because they enjoyed the music that came from the piano. One day, one of the little mice got especially brave. He climbed deep into the bowels of the piano.

He made an astonishing discovery. The music did not come from a great player. Rather, the music came from wires that reverberated back and forth.

The little mouse returned to his family tremendously excited. He informed his family that there was no great player who made the piano music. Rather, there were these little wires that reverberated back and forth. The family of mice abandoned their belief in the great piano player.

Instead, they had a totally mechanistic view. One day, another one of the little mice got especially brave, and he climbed even further up into the bowels of the piano. To his amazement, he found that indeed the music did not come from reverberating wires, but rather from little hammers that struck the wires. It was those hammers that really made the music, and so the family returned with a new description of the source of the music. The family of mice rejoiced that they were so educated that they understood there was no great piano player, but that the music came from little hammers that struck the wires. The family of mice did not believe there was a player playing the piano. Instead, they believed that their mechanistic understanding of the universe explained all of reality, but the fact is that the player continued to play his music. Now, what those mice did in explaining music without a piano player, mankind has done in explaining the universe without God.

So, what are the evidences or the clues for God's existence? Today, I'm going to ask you to do something a little bit different. Though you are always very careful to listen and engage, this is a call to worship the Lord with your mind.

You know, the Bible says you're to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And I want to engage your thinking a little bit, and I know you might be thinking, well, you know, Skip, you're going to talk a little bit about the evidences for the existence of God. This is a church service, Skip. You're preaching to the choir.

We don't need this. Well, it could be that you've never struggled with the existence of God. The rest of us, however, at some point in our life have.

And even if you're beyond that, I bet you have kids or grandkids that one day will be kids or grandkids that one day will. Or maybe you've been in Starbucks and you've had a conversation with somebody who didn't believe in God. And as they postulated their argument, you sort of felt weird and you thought, man, I wish I had answers for this. Well, they're out there. And I want to give you some of them today.

Very, very meaningful. I remember being a kid, walking outside one day and looking up and saying, are you really there? Do you exist? And how could I know that you exist?

I found that I wasn't alone. I was reading a book just this week by J. Carl Laney, simply called God. He said when he was a teenager, he wanted to know if God existed and listen to his scientific means to discover it. He reached in his pocket, grabbed a coin and flipped the coin. Heads, there's a God.

Tails, there's not. He was a little more direct. He actually said, God, if you exist, then make the coin turn up heads. He flipped it and amazingly, it turned up heads.

But now he thought, well, could that be coincidence? So he thought, I better try it again. He flipped it a second time. It turned up tails this time. So now he's caught in a dilemma. Does God exist or doesn't he? Decided to flip it a third time and it turned up heads.

And he writes, I decided not to try this test again. I wanted to quit my little experiment with the weight of the evidence on the side of God's existence. Is that all it is? Is it just wish fulfillment or are there clues that we can follow? Has the creator left clues? Now we could say, look, I know there's a God because the Bible says so. That's good for us.

But there are people that argument doesn't work with. You got to go back before you get them to the Bible and before you get them to the place of acknowledging God's revelation to something more general. So we want to look in three places for clues. We want to look for something. We want to look at something and we want to look in something. We want to look for a cause, a cause for the universe, for all things that exist. We want to look at the natural world itself, the cosmos, as it's called.

And we want to look within the conscience of man. In Psalm 19 and in Romans 1, the writers reflect some of these very thoughts. Psalm 19 verse 1, David is writing, the heavens declare the glory of God.

The firmament or the expanse shows his handiwork. Day unto day at our speech and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone through all the earth and their words to the ends of the world. In them he has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, its circuit to the other end.

There is nothing hidden from its heat. David is simply acknowledging that God is readily seen in the natural world. And as a shepherd boy, he noticed that there were routine things that happened. There seemed to be design and order and regularity and predictability. And that's called philosophically the teleological argument for the existence of God.

I don't care if you remember that term, but that's what they call it. Then in Romans chapter 1, Paul is writing and he sort of picks up on this idea, but takes it from another angle. Romans chapter 1 verse 18, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Because what may be known of God is manifest or shown plainly in them, for God has shown it to them.

Notice those two phrases in them and to them. For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Because although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. What Paul is saying is that God has left his imprint, both in the world as well as within us, emblazoned into our conscience. And philosophers would call this the cosmological argument and the moral law.

Again, it doesn't matter if you remember those terms, but we're going to work our way through these three clues today. Now I've taken philosophy courses once. I was studying for a master's degree in biblical studies, and I had to read through reams of philosophical thought. I found out philosophers are a confused bunch of folks.

I mean, I would read through a lot of different positions, and at the end of it, I go, huh? What? Somebody, I think, was right when they said philosophers are people who talk about things they don't understand, and they make it sound like it's your fault.

Today what I want to do in taking these three clues is I hope to put the cookies on the bottom shelf to make these usable tools for us in the days ahead. The first clue that God has left is that we look for a a cause. That is, everything that exists must have a cause. Everything that is contingent has a cause.

What is the first cause? I'll give you a piece of wise philosophy that I heard in a little a little axiom summed up this way. Whenever there is a thing, there must have been a preceding thought.

Wherever there is a thought, there must have been a thinker. That is the cosmological argument. Everything in the universe must have a basis or a sufficient reason, and everything that has a cause must have a first cause, or put it this way, a first uncaused cause.

So you can go back all the way. You remember when you were a kid and you said, I believe in God, and your friend would say, well then who created God? And if you could come with an answer, well then who created, and then who created, and that's called infinite regression.

Well, you can't do that. There has to be somewhere a first uncaused cause, and this is the very argument that Plato, Aristotle, and some of the ancient philosophers grappled with and articulated very well, and some of the greatest minds in history have held to this. I don't know if you've heard of Moses Maimonides, 12th century Jewish scholar, or Anselm, or Thomas Aquinas, or even Spinoza, Descartes, Leibniz, German mathematician and philosopher. In fact, German mathematician Leibniz said, the first question that must be asked is, why is there something rather than nothing? Now just think about that. First question that must be asked, why is there something rather than nothing? In other words, why does anything exist at all?

And the answer, nothing happens without sufficient reason. Some of you will remember a movie with Julie Andrews in it. It was The Sound of Music. Remember that? How many of you saw that film? Okay, remember the song she sang? That's a dumb question because she sang a lot of songs in the movie, but when she was having a romantic tryst with, I think it was Colonel von Trapp, and she was singing about that, lyrics to one of her songs were, nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could. So you didn't know Julie Andrews was a great theologian and philosopher, did you?

That is very true. Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could. So ask that to your atheist friends. If nothing comes from nothing, then why is there something?

It's a very basic question because everything must have a cause. So there was a Christian walking through the woods with an atheist, and they came upon a large eight foot in diameter glass ball, and the Christian said, huh, where'd that come from? The atheist said, I don't know, but someone must have put it there.

They both agreed. So then the Christian thought, okay, what if the ball was a little bit larger, say 16 feet in diameter? Would that also need a cause? The atheist said, well, sure, smaller balls need causes and larger balls also need cause. So then the Christian smiled and said, okay, well, what if the ball was 8,000 miles in diameter and almost 25,000 miles in circumference and size of the earth? And so the atheist saw that trap coming and said, well, sure, you're right. If smaller balls need causes and larger balls need causes, then a really big ball needs a cause. So the Christian said, okay, now what if you make the ball the size of the universe?

Does it need a cause? And the atheist said, of course not. The universe is just there. And that's just a little argument that is thrown out in some philosophy courses. But that's about as good as the explanation for the universe gets with some people. You know, atheists used to laugh at us for saying, someone made something out of nothing.

They used to laugh at us for that. Now we can laugh at them for saying nothing made something out of nothing. No wonder Paul says, from the time the world was created, the people have seen the earth and the sky and all that God has made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature.

So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. And we've learned a few things over the years. We've learned that our universe is expanding.

There's debate as to the rate of expansion, but we know that it is expanding. Now if you put that process in reverse, what happens? The universe collapses into nothingness, and you get back to where there's no space, no time, and no matter. And according to the theory of general relativity, you can never have space without time. And you can never have space and time without matter. So if matter had a beginning, and we know it does or had, then time must have had a beginning, and the universe therefore is not eternal. So what is the first uncaused cause of it all?

That's the question that must be answered. So you go all the way back to the beginning. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The Bible opens up with the first uncaused cause, opens up with a cosmological argument. The second clue is not looking for a cause, but looking at the world itself, looking at the cosmos as it is called. Carl Sagan loved to call it that, the world in which we live, the cosmos. And as we look around, boy, it looks as though, this is what they'll say, it looks as though it's been designed.

It appears to be an ordered system. It even seems as if the universe anticipated us. It's funny, I've heard this language from very astute scientific minds who do not believe in God as the first cause, but they'll say, it looks as though, just so happens, it looks as though the universe is finely tuned to anticipate advanced complex carbon-based life like ours. This is the teleological argument, the argument from design, and even the ancient Greek philosophers were impressed by the order of the universe. And Plato, in refuting atheism successfully in his time said, quote, the order and the motion of the stars shows a mind that ordered it.

Of course, he was polytheistic, but theistic nonetheless, and believing that it didn't come by random chance. And so David writes in Psalm 19, and we just looked at it, day after day, they pour forth their speech and night after night, they display knowledge. I recommend to you, we did it about a year ago, I'll do it again, a great book now turned into a film called The Privileged Planet. It's excellent.

It's excellent. And the researchers in the book and in the film show that the earth is uniquely situated within the Milky Way galaxy at a place that they call the galactic habitable zone. That there are a very thin margin of space that could accommodate the advanced complex carbon-based life that we enjoy on earth.

It couldn't happen anywhere in the galaxy. It's just this very tiny little corner and we happen to be there. It's perfect for habitation. It's also perfect for observability, for us to look at the universe around us and to enjoy it.

And so think about it. It just so happened that the earth is 93 million miles away from the host star, the sun, that has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Isn't that great that it just so happened to be that way? Because if our orbit was just a little bit closer like Venus, we'd all burn up. Just a little bit further away like Mars, we'd all freeze to death. Life couldn't happen. It just so happens that the earth is spinning 365 and a third times on its axis as it makes its yearly jaunt around the sun. Why?

Why not 30 times? Well then the days and nights would be 10 times longer and there'd be alternate periods of very, very hot and very, very cold freezing and life couldn't exist. We couldn't enjoy it. It just so happens that the earth is tilted 23 and a half degrees on its axis, stabilized by a large moon, very important, that enables the four seasons that bring us this kind of constant stable life on earth. Just so happens that the gravitational force and acceleration of gravity at 9.8 ms squared is what it is. If it was a little heavier, we'd not be able to move. If it was a little bit less, we'd fly off. It just so happens that our atmosphere on this privileged planet is a combination of oxygen to nitrogen, 79 to 20 percent with one percent of varying gases. Just happens to be that way. If it were 50 percent and 50 percent, the first guy to light a match, first guy to light up a cigarette, kaboom, we'd be blown off this planet. It just so happens that the oceans are the dimension that they are.

Isn't that a fluke of nature? That the ocean and land mass are the ratio that they are. It's estimated that if the oceans were half of the present size, we would only have one fourth of the rainfall annually that we get on the earth. You know what that would mean to New Mexico. Places like dry deserts don't get a whole lot of it.

It'd be horrible. If the oceans were just one eighth larger than they are, we'd have four times the amount of rainfall and the earth would be a swamp. And what about all that space up there?

It just so happens that all of that space and placement of the planets in our galaxy are there perfectly and needed for life on earth. That's Skip Hyten with a message from his series The Biography of God. Now here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and others to God's word. Hey, did you know that God wants us to use our brains to think deeply about him?

And growing in our knowledge of his word is part of that. Your generous support not only keeps these teachings that you love coming to you, but it also helps so many others expand their knowledge of the Bible and God himself. I invite you to keep making that happen. Here's how you can give today. Give us a call at 800-922-1888 to make a donation 800-922-1888 or give online at slash donate. That's slash donate. Your support is vital to help connect more people like you to Christ.

So thank you for giving generously. Now, before we go, did you know that you can watch Connect with Skip Hyten on the Hillsong channel on Saturdays at 4 30 p.m. Mountain or catch it on TBN on Sundays at 5 30 a.m. Eastern. Check your local listings and be sure to come back again next week as Skip Hytsek looks at the cosmos and within the conscience, helping you examine these substantial pieces of evidence for God's existence. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-27 17:53:31 / 2024-02-27 18:02:45 / 9

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