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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8am service, 2002-01-13

Text: Psalm 19:1-4

Last Lord's Day we began our series of messages on the theme, 'Know Why You Believe.' I think that this is will be a very useful series for us, as many of us may know what we believe (e.g. some of us are able to recite the children's catechism or shorter catechism by heart, and state what we have taught in Sunday School since we were young). But not every one of us may know exactly why we believe what we believe. Dearly beloved, it makes an important difference to know why we believe, and not only what we believe. Unless we understand why we believe, we will never become fully convicted of it. Psalm 119:34 says 'Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.' 

If you do not know why you believe in something, and your understanding of it is still quite vague and nebulous, it is going to be immensely difficult for you to devote yourself to live by it. If I were to ask you 'Why do you believe in something? And all that you can say is, 'Because I just think it is good to believe it.' or 'Because my pastor says so, and I respect his views a lot. I think he must be right.' or 'Because that is the teaching that is taught my church' then this shows that you have not yet understood why you believe. Dearly beloved, what you believe must become something that you are personally convinced is true. Only then will you be able to live by it, keep it, defend it, and if necessary, even to die for it! And then, if someone were to ask you, 'Why do you choose to believe in what you believe?' you won't be at a loss to explain it to him in your own words. 

Now, there are of course some doctrines of God that we can never explain fully to anyone's satisfaction no matter how hard we try, because they are beyond the capacity of human minds to fully comprehend. For instance, we simply have to accept by faith the doctrine of the Trinity - that God exists in 3 persons because it is clearly taught in the scriptures. Truths like these are to be accepted by faith. But whatever God has meant for us to understand, we must spare no effort to understand them as well as we possibly can. 

These include things like: the existence of God, the deity of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the virgin birth, the resurrection and the second coming of Christ. These doctrines will be dealt with one by one over the coming weeks. All these are the tenets of our faith, which we must understand well, and be able to explain to people around us. In 1 Peter 3:15 we are told to 'be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.' 

In the course of your daily interaction with people each day, you are bound meet people who do not know the Lord. And some of them may be looking for good and reasonable answers to many of the questions that are troubling them. Why was I born into this world? Where did I come from? What will happen after I die? What is the meaning of life? And one of the most asked questions is, Is there a God? 

Today we want to consider this particular question, 'Is there a God?' Is there a Supreme Being or Ruler of the universe? How can I be sure that He exists? When you read the Bible you will soon find out that it does not attempt at all to prove that God exists, but simply assumes it as a fact. The Bible begins with the words 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.' In fact the proposition that God does not exists is considered to be foolish: 'The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' (Psalm 14:1). This means that anyone who has the ability to think and reason and who looks at all the facts and phenomena of life objectively, would naturally conclude that there must be a God. 

Now, for us who already know the Lord, who have experienced His goodness in our lives and who are enjoying our personal walk with Him, if anyone were to ask us, 'How do you know that God exists?' our natural response would be to just say, 'I know that there is a God because I talked with Him today when I prayed, and He heard me and spoke to me even though it was only in a still small voice in my heart. This, to me, is the greatest proof that God exists - the fact that I can enjoy daily personal fellowship with Him.' 

But an answer like this may not make much sense to those who have not known God yet like we do. They may need something more than that. It is difficult for the natural man to believe in something that he cannot see, touch or feel (1 Corinthians 2:14). A long time ago I used to have a friend just like that - he kept on insisting on having clear observable evidence of God's existence. 

If you know someone who is like that, here are some useful points that you can use to help him. The first is to point to all God's wonderful works of: 

I. Creation 

A. Where did all things come from? 

Creation is the most evident testimony to God's existence. It is found everwhere, and only the blind will not see it! Romans 1:20 brings out this truth 'For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead' The text we read from Psalm 19 speaks of the evidence of God from creation when it says 'The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.' It is quite obvious that if the world exists, it must have had an origin or beginning. The only sensible answer to the world's existence is that there must be a God who made it. 

B. Who is Responsible for the Design of all things? 

Now, the world not only exists but it is filled with incredible complexity of design. The great inventor, Thomas Edison said this, 'No one can study chemistry and see the wonderful way in which certain elements combine with the nicety of the most delicate machine ever invented, and not come to the inevitable conclusion that there is a Big Engineer who is running this universe.' 

Johannes Kepler, the famous 16th century astronomer, was troubled by one of his friends who denied the existence of God, and took the view that the universe came into being all by itself. In order to convince his friend that God exists, Kepler constructed a carefully made model of the sun and the planets revolving around it. When his friend came into Kepler's observatory and saw the beautiful model, he exclaimed with delight, 'How beautiful it is! Who made it?' And Kepler carelessly answered, 'No one made it: it made itself.' His friend looked at him and said, 'Nonsense, tell me who made it.' Kepler then replied, 'Friend, you say that this little toy could not make itself. It is but a weak imitation of this great universe which, I understood you believe did make itself.' 

Dearly beloved, when you really think about it, you will know that it is absurd to think that the universe, the world and all the creatures in it do not have a Creator. 

C. Where did Life come from? 

A study of nature reveals that every little detail of every creature, even the tiniest creature, is not a product of mere chance, but has been deliberately designed to fulfill a specific function or role. 

One of the wonders of creation where the hand of God is so clearly evident, is in the existence of life. At one time many scientists used to think that life came about entirely by chance - by spontaneous generation. But today, with all the new research and studies that have been made in life sciences and molecular biology, we have a huge wealth of scientific information that make it much more difficult to hold that position any more. Now we know that even the simplest living cell is so complex and highly organised at a molecular level, that it is not just unlikely, but impossible that an ancestral form of it could have arisen by chance! 

For a single cell to function there must be at least 2,000 different proteins and nucleic acids. Life would be impossible without them. These vary in molecular weight from several thousand to many million, consisting of long chains of amino acids. They also have an enormous range of functions. Some are enzymes that are essential for metabolism; others have a passive structural role in the cell. We can think of each protein or nucleic acid in a cell as a little machine. The simplest cell processes such as replication of DNA (genetic material) requires more than 20 different kinds of machines working perfectly together. If even one of these is defective, replication can never take place. And yet they must all work continually, efficiently and extensively, or else life cannot exist. 

No one can explain how such a high level of technology on a molecular and cellular level could ever have come about by chance. Consequently some scientists, including the Nobel prizewinner, Francis Crick, who does not believe in God, have thrown up their arms in despair and concluded, 'I cannot myself see just how we shall ever decide how life originated.' (Crick, Life itself - Its Origin and Nature, Futura London, 1982). And a physicist Freeman Dyson wrote in his book, The Origins of Life, 'We know almost nothing of the origin of life' (1985, Cambridge University Press). 

If these men would just be willing to acknowledge that God exists, they would have their perfect answer to the origin of life! Psalm 36:9 declares this truth as the psalmist says to God, 'For with Thee is the fountain of life' Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life' (John 11:25) and also 'I am the way the truth and the life' (John 14:6). And so the existence of Life (in whatever form you can find it - plant life, animal life, human life, and your own life) is therefore one of the strongest evidences for the existence of God! 

Thus far we have only considered one of the evidences of God's existence - Creation. There are yet more to consider. Let us go on to look at another evidence - that of: 

II. History 

A. The Worldwide Flood 

Since the dawn of human history, God has been manifesting evidence of His existence through various events on earth, various people, as well as ancient nations that have left their written records behind. One notable event in history is the worldwide flood. 

It is striking that ancient records from the Babylonians, Sumerians, Greeks, Hindus, Chinese, native Hawaians, Mexicans, and North American Indians all have a similar account of a man who was amazingly saved together with a few others, from a universal flood, and then had to face the task of repopulating the earth after the flood waters receded. All this is evidence of God's righteous judgment of the sinful world with the Great Flood that is recorded for us in Genesis 6-9. And the huge extensive deposits of sedimentary rocks all over the earth, with all the fossils embedded in them, confirm that this worldwide flood really took place. The fact that the world today is still filled with people and animals confirms that God preserved a family and some animals from being destroyed by the flood. Can anyone know these facts of history and say that there is no God? Hardly! 

B. The Nation of Israel 

The most sustained evidence of God�s existence in history however, is the nation of Israel. Today, we hear about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the news almost everyday. This nation has been an enigma in human history.

Many ancient civilisations that were greater and stronger than Israel have ceased to exist a long time ago - the Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans - nothing is left of them except some ruins that remind us of the greatness they once enjoyed. Yet this nation called Israel that began 4,000 years ago with one man (Abraham), has survived against all odds to this day, and still continues to hold its own today. No other nation in history has miraculously survived slavery in ancient Egypt, captivity in ancient Babylon, an extermination decree in ancient Persia, persecution under the Seleucid kings, dispersion under the Romans, the Holocaust under Nazi Germany, many pogroms in the Soviet Union and wars with the Arab world. 

History offers no rational explanation for this amazing feat of survival and consistent triumph of the Jewish people over their foes. There is only one way that we can account for the existence of Israel today, and that is to believe that there is a God who has been providentially preserving the Jews throughout all ages of history, a God who is faithful to the promise He made in Genesis 12:3 'And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.'

Now, besides looking at creation and at history for evidences of God's existence, one can also look at himself and find ample evidence for this. John Calvin said that man can look into himself, and find there 'a hundred vestiges of God'. This can be called the evidence of: 

III. The Human Soul 

A. Spiritual Consciousness 

Man is born with an natural, inborn, universal belief in a supreme being. Throughout the ages of time, people have always desired to worship something or someone greater than themselves. Anthropologists have observed that every race or tribe in this world has always had a religion at some point in time in its history. Even though what they have believed about God is different from the truth and distorted, there was always this basic idea of deity - whether consisting of one god or many. Ancient cultures had sun goods, moon gods, thunder gods and many others. 

This shows that man has a spiritual consciousness inside him that tells him of his need to relate to God. The Bible tells us in Acts 17:25,26 that God 'hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.' Blaise Pascal, the famous French physicist and philosopher put it this way, 'There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man, which only God can fill' 

Dear friends, have you ever felt a sense of restlessness inside you, or a longing for something, but you are not sure what it is? Do not stifle that feeling, because it may be your soul trying to reach out to God. So listen well to your spiritual consciousness, and believe in God. 

B. Intellectual Consciousness 

Now, besides the natural longing of the soul for God, another evidence of God that you can find within yourself is your intellectual capabilities. Man has an powerful intellect that is many times better than the best computers in the world. It is capable of comprehending and expressing abstract ideas and concepts, and of learning, reasoning, exploring his environment, and then changing and adapting it as he likes. It is capable of producing the finest literary works, the most artistic designs, the most moving pieces of music, and the most advanced high-tech equipment! 

Dearly beloved, it is this intellect that man has, that makes him unique among all creatures. But the question is, Where did it come from? The only reasonable answer we can have, is that it comes from God. Colossians 3:10 speaks of the intellectual consciousness, when it tells us to 'put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.' According to this, man's intellect enables him to receive and understand knowledge, and it comes from the image of God that was imprinted in him at his creation. 

And so each time you use your intellect well, and you can see the results of it, remember that this is clear evidence to you that God exists. Now, besides our Spiritual and Intellectual consciousness, there is one more type of consciousness that we have, that cannot be explained apart from the existence of God, and that is his: 

C. Moral Consciousness 

We have a moral nature that teaches us the difference between right and wrong, and that governs and influences all our thoughts and actions. This is also known as the conscience. It serves like a guiding mechanism, compelling us do what is right, and troubing us with a deep sense of guilt whenever we do what is wrong. But where did this conscience come from? Like the intellect, it actually comes from the image of God that is imprinted in us by God. Unfortunately when this image of God was corrupted by Man's fall into sin, the conscience has not become as reliable as it was before. Therefore Ephesians 4:24 tells us that we need to 'put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.' 

And so, to summarise the evidences of God's existence that we can find within ourselves, they are the spiritual consciousness, the intellectual consciousness and the moral consciousness. And anyone who can observe these three things within himself should be able to infer from them that there is a God. Together with what we had seen earlier - the evidence of creation, the intricate design that is found in nature, the origin of life, the record of God's work in history such as the worldwide flood and the preservation of Israel - they are all irrefutable proofs that God really exists. 

The Implications of Knowing that God Exists 

And if you are convinced that God exists then there are three things that you must do. Firstly, you must: 

A. Know Him 

Knowing that God exists is not enough - you must go on to know this God personally. This is the most important knowledge you must have in your life, because God is the ultimate reality, the fundamental fact, and the integrating factor of the whole universe. Therefore your relationship with Him is the most important relationship in human existence. To be in a right relationship with God is life; to be out of a right relationship with God is destruction and death. So build up your relationship with God - by spending time to read the Bible and to pray to Him. Secondly, the fact that God exists means that you must: 

B. Love Him 

God has specially created you in His divine image so that you may love Him with all your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). Love means that God matters more to you than anything else in this world. And that love must then lead you to: 

C. Live for Him 

If He truly exists, then your life rightfully belongs to Him, and should be fully surrendered to do His will.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11