Christian Faith 101 (Part 1)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, December 30, 2012.
I. This study assumes that the King James Version of the Bible (the Authorized Version of 1611 and its subsequent orthographic updates) is the preserved, perfect word of God the Creator in the English language. A. This is a reasoned assumption; it is not without a preponderance of evidence. B. An overview of this issue will be considered later in this outline. II. This study is designed to plainly and simply set forth the fundamentals of Christian faith (that which is or should be believed). A. This faith is according to the Scriptures, the word of God (ROM 10:17) and is to be earnestly contended for. JUDE 1:3. B. Plainness facilitates understanding. 1CO 14:8-9; 2CO 3:12. 1. When we think of plain in a topographical sense, we think of landscape with minimal distracting features and maximum horizons of visibility. The same concept applies to information. 2. plain: Open, clear to the senses or mind; evident, manifest, obvious; easily distinguishable or recognizable. C. Plainness facilitates assurance of belief. JOH 16:28-30. D. Plainness facilitates proper action. HAB 2:2 ct/w 2PE 2:18. E. Scripture warns about being “...corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2CO 11:3). 1. simplicity: The state or quality of being simple in form, structure, etc.; absence of compositeness, complexity, or intricacy. 3a. Freedom from artifice, deceit or duplicity; sincerity, straightforwardness; also, absence of affectation or artificiality; plainness, artlessness, naturalness. 2. The juxtaposition of thought in 2CO 11:3 shows that Paul's use of “simplicity” accords with “freedom from artifice, deceit or duplicity; sincerity....” 3. Paul's gospel was presented in straightforward fashion which did not disguise its true meaning but rather made it plain. 2CO 1:12-13. F. Basics are conveyed to the understanding by spiritual/intellectual milk, not meat. HEB 5:12-14. G. Some things are hard to be understood, but not all things. 2PE 3:15-16. III. Is there a supreme Being that is responsible for the creation, government and sustaining of all things visible and invisible, great and small? Scripture deems men fools who deny this. PSA 14:1. A. Consider atheism (disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God). 1. For the atheist to conclude absolutely that there is no God would demand that he must exclude the possibility on the basis of absolute knowledge of all places, conditions, relationships, events etc. throughout all time past, present and future. 2. This would mean that the atheist is omniscient (all-knowing), a unique attribute of God. 3. The atheist cannot escape the concept of God; he considers himself God. B. Consider agnosticism (one who holds that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and [so far as can be judged] unknowable, and especially that a First Cause and an unseen world are subjects of which we know nothing). 1. The agnostic is nothing more than a theorist who refuses to accept the evidence that disproves his theory, such as fulfilled prophecies, miracles of healing, the resurrection of the dead, ordered complexity in the material universe and the logical necessity of a First Cause. 2. Scripture speaks of those who are willingly ignorant. 2PE 3:5. C. Consider polytheism (belief in, or worship of, many gods (or more than one God). 1. If God is the Supreme Being, there can not be others like Him or He would not be supreme (highest [in literal sense], loftiest, topmost). The God of the Bible declares Himself unique and without peers. ISA 43:10; 44:6. 2. Mind that belief in only one God is biblical and rational but it is not the sole determinant of the validity of the faith to which one subscribes. JAM 2:19. a. Jews and Muslims are both monotheistic (the doctrine or belief that there is only one God). b. Both of these systems deny that the Supreme God has had a son; they deny therefore that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. c. The monotheistic Christian faith is therefore utterly irreconcilable with that of Jews and Muslims, and it declares their belief systems invalid. 2SAM 7:12-14 c/w MAT 3:16-17; 1JO 2:22-23. IV. Consider a few philosophical arguments for the existence of God. A. The Argument from Efficient Causes. 1. Experience confirms an order of efficient causes, i.e., everything that we observe exists from a cause/effect relationship. 2. Nothing can be the cause of itself since that would imply that it was prior to itself. 3. An indefinite series of efficient causes would result in no first cause and no last effect. If there is no first cause, there could logically be no second cause, and so on. 4. There must be a first, uncaused Cause, i.e., God. JER 10:16. B. The Argument from Degree of Quality or Value. 1. We conceive of things as being more or less good, true, and excellent. 2. “More” or “less” is decided upon the degree of approach to the greatest. 3. Therefore, there is something that is most good, true, and excellent, i.e., God. C. The Argument from Values in General. 1. Truth, goodness, and beauty are real in our experiences. 2. The fact that we recognize degrees of truth, goodness, and beauty suggests that we presuppose an absolute standard to which these values approximate. a. There must be an absolute. b. The statement, “There are no absolutes” is self-contradictory. c. If it is absolutely true that there is no absolute truth, then there is absolute truth. 3. We cannot suppose that in the end these values oppose one another; the ultimate values must form a unity or a supreme value, i.e., God. D. The Argument from Religious Experience. 1. The fact that men have generally believed in the divine suggests that the idea of God is innate in the human mind. ROM 1:19. 2. If we base our knowledge of the universe on experience, religious experience has a claim to be included. V. The existence and power of God are evident from a fair evaluation of the creation. PSA 19:1-3; ROM 1:18-20; ACT 14:17. A. There are four possibilities which would explain the existence of the universe. 1. The universe spontaneously emerged from nothing. All observation denies this. Something has never been seen to come out of nothing of its own accord. 2. The universe is eternal. This is refuted by the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the Law of Entropy. This law states that although the total amount of energy remains unchanged, there is a tendency for energy to become less available for useful work. In time, all matter tends to lose available energy. In other words, everything is wearing out. a. Even evolutionists are forced to measure time by decay rates. b. At present observed rates of entropy, if the universe has been here forever, it has long since been reduced to a net total of zero energy. c. The Bible confirms the Law of Entropy. PSA 102:25-26. 3. The universe does not exist. a. This position supposes that everything is imagined. b. This is legal and medical insanity: the inability to cope with reality. 4. A force greater than the universe brought it into existence. In other words, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” (GEN 1:1). B. From all observation, only the 4th alternative (above) explains the present phenomena. 1. There was a time when energy was being concentrated, not dissipated, through a process not presently observed. 2. Scripture affirms this very principle. HEB 11:3. 3. Then something happened and entropy began. The Bible identifies this as sin which caused universal death and corruption. ROM 5:12; 8:21-22. C. Furthermore, the existence of the present material universe is only part of the problem. If all the material of the universe did come into existence from nothing of its own accord, or if the material has always been here, how did life come from non-life? Where has non-living matter ever been seen to become living matter of its own accord? 1. Observation confirms the Law of Biogenesis (life only comes from life). 2. Atheistic evolution affirms (in the absence of proof) that this must have happened sometime in the past. Mind that the same people tend to mock the idea of a bodily resurrection from death! 3. Further, if the evolutionist theorizes that there must always have been life, he has therefore granted that there is such a thing as eternal life. 4. The other alternative is that there has always been an intelligent source of life Who instilled that principle into matter in a creative act. GEN 1:11, 21, 24; 2:7; ACT 17:24-25. D. Scientists affirm that all matter is composed of atoms. The nucleus of the atom consists of particles called neutrons and protons. The neutrons have no electrical charge and are therefore neutral, but the protons have positive charges. 1. One law of electricity is that like charges repel, so what holds the atom together? 2. One atheistic theory is that there must be something called “nuclear glue” or “gluons” to hold it all together. Thus, they hope and have faith that things are held together by something that they have never seen. 3. While believing in this, they find fault with Christians who believe that there is a God Who has left abundant confirmation of His existence and holds all things together. COL 1:17; HEB 1:3; 2PE 3:5-7. E. Either the present phenomena have come into existence through random chance or they are here by design. If by design, this necessitates a Designer with the power to carry out His plans. 1. Atheistic evolution affirms that, given enough time, all present things can be explained through the “card-shuffling” concept of random chance. But disruptive change in complex systems tends to produce disorder, not increased order. 2. One of the most important proteins is hemoglobin: it is responsible for the red color of blood and the oxygen chemistry based on our breathing. a. It is composed of a distinct chain of 574 amino-acids which must link together in a proper order. b. The odds of just one molecule of hemoglobin coming into existence through random chance would be 1 in 10650. 3. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) codes for all the proteins of a creature, not just hemoglobin. If the interconnected double-helix spirals of the DNA don't line up perfectly, the amino-acids which they direct cannot form the proper proteins. 4. The T4 phage, a tiny creature which preys upon bacteria would be one of the smallest specimens of DNA. It has been reasonably calculated that the odds of one proper ribbon of DNA for one T4 phage coming into existence by random chance would be 1 in 1078000. 5. Given the above facts, note that evolutionists estimate that the universe is about 4- 1/2 billion years old (give or take a few billion) or 1.4 x 1017 seconds old (say 1018 seconds old). At a random shuffling rate of 1 per second, hemoglobin could never have been produced yet, let alone one T4 phage. (The Philosophical Scientists, pp. 79-83, by David Foster, Dorset Press). F. There is no amount of time conceivable to man that could possibly allow for random chance to produce creatures like the giraffe. Its neck has blood vessels with unique intermittent valves which prevent its very high blood pressure from blowing its brains out when it drops its head to drink. They then reverse their function and prevent the blood from rushing away from the giraffe's brain when it lifts its head back up. If random chance mutations are responsible for such an animal, it does not exist. G. Likewise consider the amazing bombardier beetle, whose body has two special chambers which hold volatile chemicals. 1. As a defense, the beetle releases these chemicals into a third chamber where they would explode if not for the introduction of a special chemical inhibitor, which prevents the premature detonation of its “bomb” until it is released into the air at the boiling point of water. 2. How many “missing link” bombardier beetles got blown away until one pair of them happened to evolve the same complex apparatus at the same time in the same place? H. The vast, complex intricacy of the workings of the universe screams of a Designer and Controller. A supercomputer, by comparison, is a collection of errors. I. In the face of such evidence, only a fool would deny there is a God. PSA 14:1.