Discovering God's Fingerprints Dr. Robert C. Newman
Hershey Ev Free Ch 20 Sept 97 Biblical Theol Seminary
DISCOVERING GOD'S FINGERPRINTS:
WHY THE CHRISTIAN FAITH MAKES SENSE
Is religion wishful thinking?
Depends on who is wishing!
Christianity has a God who:
Needs nothing, so we cannot earn his favor
Sees most righteous as deserving punishment
Holds those who know him better to higher standard
Will forgive worst who repent, condemn most righteous who depend on selves
Easy to see why atheists wouldn't want a God who:
Will judge all their actions and thoughts
Restricts their behavior and condemns their sins
Is religion a crutch?
Better to have a crutch than not walk!
Look at all the problems in society today:
crime, poverty, abortion, AIDS
TRANSITION: God exists and He has actually provided quite adequate evidence of His existence for those who really want to know
THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE
Sketch recent developments is cosmology
Steady‑state (Bondi, Gold, Hoyle) vs big‑bang => big-bang
Oscilatting (Sagan) vs beginning => beginning
Something from nothing? (Hawking) Not anywhere else!
Creator a far more adequate explanation
TRANSITION: What about evolution? Doesn't that remove need for God?
PROBLEMS WITH ATHEISTIC VERSIONS OF EVOLUTION
Origin of life?
Simplest life has info content = (100 million pages) 4,000 sets of
How generate observed complexity without a Designer?
Mutation & natural selection as source of order?
Can't get this to work on computer
Lack of transitions in fossil record
Everywhere above lowest levels of biological classification scheme
Creator a more natural explanaiton
TRANSITION: This is more clearly seen in evidence for design in the inanimate universe
INANIMATE DESIGN IN THE UNIVERSE
Carbon: unique in length of chains formed; C-O and C-H bonds about same energy as C-C
Water: unique in high heat capacity, universal solvent, expanding on freezing
Earth: temp, water, oxygen level <25%,
grav: 1/4x: atm pr too low; 2x too much greenhouse
Sun: size 20% + or ‑ fatal to life (too short lifetime or too little blue/too long day); variation of 25% over history too much except for action of plants on earth changing atmosphere
Basic Forces: fine-tuning is astonishing
expansion vs gravity: 10 to 60th at Planck time
e‑m cancellation: to 1 part in 10 to 37th
weak anthropic principle: accident of observation
strong anthropic principle: backward causation
many universes: simultaneous or sequential
Creator a far more plausible explanation than any of these!
TRANSITION: OK, so there's a god or gods; why should we limit it to the God of the Bible?
FULFILLED PROPHECY IN THE BIBLE
Presence of real predictions fulfilled long after prediction written:
A few samples:
Tyre: Ezk 26:4,12: rock scraped, dust into sea
Babylon: Isa 13:19-22: no Arabs, no shepherds
Jer 51:24-26: stones not reused as stone
51:42‑43: to become parched desert
Israel: Hos 3:4: w/o king, prince, sacrifice, pillar, ephod or teraphim for "many days"
Light to Gentiles: Isa 42:6; 49:6
Only Jew claiming to be Messiah who has founded a world religion
Messiah cut off at specified date, Dan 9:24‑27
works out to 28-35 AD
Historical Reliability of Gospel accounts
if miracle ruled out in advance, appear unreliable
if miracle not ruled out, look very good
CHANGED LIVES & CHANGED SOCIETIES
What makes the "first world" different?
Science/technology => Christian roots
Personal freedom => Christian roots
Harry Ironside preaching in San Francisco, challenged to debate by popular socialist speaker; Ironside’s counter-challenge re/ witness of people reformed by Xy vs socialism
Secular humanism/socialism don't change human nature
TRANSITION: So what does all this mean?
There is a God and He's the One revealed in the Bible
Human history does have significance
So do our individual lives: what we do with God will make the difference between whether our lives turn out to be a disaster or a joy beyond imagining
The place of Jesus in all this?
The one being in all universe who is both uncreated and created
As uncreated being, he alone chose to become created, so his obedience as creature not owed to God
As created being, his obedience as a human is the sort we should have given (but didn't)
If we trust in Jesus, his obedience counts as ours
As created being, his suffering for sins is human suffering
As uncreated God, he is able to take in a few hours what would take us forever to suffer
If we trust in Jesus, our disobedience is paid for by his suffering
When we trust in Jesus for acceptance with God, our sin is paid for, our righteousness provided, and God begins to change us from inside by coming to live in us
You, too, can trust in Jesus!
FOR FURTHER READING:
General Books on Christian Apologetics and Evidences:
Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics. InterVarsity, 1994.
John Warwick Montgomery, ed., Evidence for Faith: Deciding the God Question. Probe/Word, 1991.
Origin of Universe:
Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God. NavPress, 1993.
Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God. 2nd ed. Promise Publishing, 1991.
Origin of Life:
Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen, The Mystery of LIfe's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories. Philosophical Library, 1984; Lewis and Stanley, 1992.
Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. Free Press, 1996.
Phillip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwin by Opening Minds. InterVarsity, 1997.
J. P. Moreland, ed., The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer. InterVarsity, 1994.
Ross, Fingerprint of God, chapter 12.
Montgomery, Evidence for Faith, several chapters.
Robert C. Newman, ed., The Evidence of Prophecy: Fulfilled Prediction as a Testimony to the Truth of Christianity. Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1988.
Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels. InterVarsity, 1987.
Gregory A. Boyd, Cynic Sage or Son of God? Recovering the Real Jesus in an Age of Revisionist Replies. BridgePoint/Victor, 1995.
Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, He Walked Among Us: Evidence for the Historical Jesus. Here's Life, 1988.
Michael J. Wilkins and J. P. Moreland, eds., Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. Zondervan, 1995.