Join us on Sunday Mornings at 9:30 in the Teen Room for a discussion of Christian evidences and apologetics. If you can't make it to the class, then feel free to follow along using the videos and materials provided below.
Most of us have friends or family members who claim not to believe in God. Some are agnostic, some are atheists, and all of them have their reasons. It can be hard to know how to talk to them about faith. This article, written by a former atheist, can help give you a starting point. Arguing is not the answer. There may come a time for debating and reasoning through the evidence together. But where should we start these conversations?
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For this is what the Lord says—
he who created the heavens,
he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited—
“I am the Lord,
and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret,
from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
This passage in Isaiah proclaims two great scientific truths that we have only begun to discover for ourselves. 1) The universe, the galaxy, the solar system, and the Earth all seem to be working in sync to support intelligent life on our little sphere. This is called the "antropic principle." 2) God has not hidden himself from us. In fact, our location in the solar system / galaxy / universe is prime location for making observations and discoveries about the universe. He has positioned us in such a way that we are, in fact, able to seek him and explore his creation.
Read Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 and then watch the following video:
Day 1 of Creation: God created Light and separated Light from Darkness.
-Is there any evidence to suggest that there could have been light before there were stars? Actually, yes. Clouds of hydrogen atoms emit light. Stellar nebulae emit light. Nearly any chemical reaction will emit some wavelength of light. At the moment of creation, light would have shot out into the dark expanse of the universe and it has been traveling ever since.
Day 2: God separated the waters above from the waters below.
-In order for life to exist, even in its most basic form, there must be liquid water available on the planet. And for liquid water to exist, there must be an atmosphere. Otherwise the planet would get too hot and the water would evaporate into space, or the planet would get too cold and the water would freeze. The oceans and atmospheres are co-dependent upon each other. They keep each other regulated and replenished. If they did not work in such harmony, there would be no life on planet earth.
Day 3: God separated the land from the oceans and caused vegetaion to grow.
-Specifically, the text says that the waters were gathered "into one place." The parallel to that would be that the land was also gathered "into one place." Is there evidence that the continents once formed one large super-continent? Yes. Through the study of plate tectonics and the motion of the continents, we can trace their courses back to one large land mass called "pangaea."
-Could life exist on a planet completely covered in water? To the best of our knowledge, no. Land is imperrative to the existence of life. Otherwise the waters would stagnate and the nutrients would all sink to the bottom of the ocean. The depths would be too heavy in minerals to support life (think The Dead Sea), and the shallow waters would be too devoid of nutrients to support life.
-The text says that God used the land itself to produce vegetation. Is there evidence that living organisms are made up of the raw materials found in the earth? Yes! We've known this for centuries. But it wasn't until Darwin came along that it was assumed that life sprang into existence from the right combination of proteins and other molecules coming together to bring forth life. I'm not saying that I support the evolutionary biology view for the origins of life. I'm merely pointing out that the Bible itself says that the God used the land to produce the first living organisms.
Day 4: God created the Sun, Moon, and Stars.
-The text says that the Sun and Moon were set in place to "govern" the day and the night. What role do the sun and moon play in supporting life on planet earth? I don't think we have enough time to list all the ways in which the sun and the moon work together to give us a habitable environment. Let's just say that no other planet has been found that has the same setup between a sun and a moon, which means it's even more unlikely that intellegent life would/could exist on such planets.
Day 5: Fish and Birds
-Again the text says, "Let the waters teem with life." God is using the oceans in the creative process. Why should we be shocked that modern scientists have drawn the same conclussion?
-Is there evidence that fish and birds existed before mammals and humans? The fossil record sure seems to support that claim.
Day 6: Land animals and humans
-Once again, God uses the land itself to create land dwelling animals. It is interesting to note that the fossil record seems to support the rapid appearance of most animal phyla on earth. This is commonly refered to as the "Cambrian Explosion."
-The fossil record also supports the fact that we humans are pretty much the last on the scene. But there is also something different, something pecular about the human species. The Bible calls it the imago Dei, the image of God. Science calls it consciousness, self-awareness, morality, and collective learning. None of the above has any sort of "natural" explanation yet, and I'm guessing there never will be.
On the surface, this account of creation seems rather antiquated and simple. The question we must ask, however, is How could someone have KNOWN or even GUESSED this nearly 4,000 years ago?
I personally think that someone had some help in writing this...
Some questions to consider:
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (Psalm 33:6)
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3)
Does the Big Bang Breakthrough Offer Proof of God?
A CNN Religion Blog author, Leslie A. Wickman, offers up an opinion on the matter. Very interesting to consider.
The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.” (Psalm 53:1)
It is so easy for us to make this verse mean what we want it to mean. Often we see this verse and it gives us a bit of reassurance. It makes us feel good. We believe in God; therefore, we are wise. Atheists do not believe in God; therefore, they are foolish. Viewing this verse in this way sets up an "Us vs. Them" dichotomy. Believers are wise; unbelievers are foolish.
But let's put this verse in its context.
The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.
God looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one. (Psalm 53:1-3)
Did you catch that? There is NO ONE who seeks God. EVERYONE has turned away. ALL are corrupt. NO ONE does good. I don't think the Psalmist is saying that one group of people is better than another. I think he's pointing out the fact that no one is immune from hypocrisy. Everyone has a capacity for evil. Like Paul would later say, "For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing" (Romans 7:19).
The foolish thing is not a disbelief in God per se. The really foolish thing is having the head-knowledge of God without any change in the heart. Lots of people would acknowledge that they think there is a God. They might know it logically. They might even be able to give scientific evidence for His existence. But if that head knowledge doesn't affect our actions or change our heart, that's what makes us fools.
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
Brennan Manning put it this way, "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)