GI-8: WHAT IS GOD LIKE? (Part 1)

How would you answer the question, “What is God like?” If someone sincerely asked, how would you answer them? For Christians, that’s an important question because in order to answer it, we must at least have an idea of who God is and what he is like. Attempting to answer that question will be the topic of the next few articles. Obviously, that’s a huge undertaking and I will barely make a very tiny scratch in the surface of this topic. A.W. Tozer, a pastor and Bible scholar from a century ago, wrote in his classic book, “The Knowledge of the Holy,” “Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.” He continues, “That our idea of God corresponds as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it […]

GI-7: IS JESUS FOR REAL? (Part 2)

In the previous article, “Is Jesus For Real? (Part 1), I wrote of the evidence for the existence of Jesus as written about by non-Christians in the first and early second centuries. In this article I will conclude with the evidence for Jesus’ existence from extra-biblical sources written by Christians. There are documents produced by Christians very early in church history that are not actually part of the biblical New Testament documents, which testify to Jesus’ existence. Most of them were written by the early church fathers, who were church leaders who lived within the late first century and first half of the second century. These writers presumably had firsthand knowledge independent of the New Testament sources. Especially important are Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna and Justin Martyr. There are certainly many others, but these are considered to be the main ones from the early church, some of whom were actual disciples of Jesus’ apostles. Clement’s letter to the church in Corinth around AD 95 is one of the most important non-New Testament writings in the early church, outside of the writings of the apostles. He wrote to the Corinthians to help settle a dispute between […]

GI-6: IS JESUS FOR REAL? (Part 1)

Introduction In previous articles I gave three arguments for the existence of God. So, it seemed to me that the next logical step would be to talk about Jesus. It seems hard to believe, but there are still some people who believe that Jesus never existed. So, in the article I will explore the question, “Is Jesus For Real?” Did he really exist? For the overwhelming majority of historians, Christian and non-Christian, atheist and agnostic, there is no doubt that the man named Jesus (or Yeshua) from a village called Nazareth did, in fact, live in 1st century Israel. Many may not agree that he was born of a virgin, did miracles, that he rose from the dead or that he was the Son of God. But they would agree that he existed. Case closed, right? Not so fast. Today, due to the rise of the internet and a generation of people who gather much of their information from there, a growing number of people now claim that Jesus never existed. Even though the medium is new, this is an old argument that has been answered many times before. It’s just in a new package. The works of Jesus deniers […]

GI-5: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE EXISTENCE OF AN OBJECTIVE MORAL LAW

Introduction: “That’s Not Fair!” If you have ever been around kids at all you have, no doubt, heard this: “That’s not fair!” As a parent of four kids and now a grandparent, I’ve heard that many times. In fact, if we’re being honest, we have all said that. And more than likely you have heard, or said, this response: “Life’s not fair. Get over it.” But I honestly don’t recall sitting down and teaching my children a specific lesson on fairness. “Okay, kids, we’re going to talk about fairness and why it’s important to be fair.” But over the years all of us have taught our kids various lessons of morality at appropriate times. But where does that sense of fairness or unfairness comes from? Where did it begin? The moral argument begins with the fact that all people recognize some moral code. We all have a sense that some things are right and some things are wrong. In fact, we have learned that even the most remote tribes who have been cut off from the rest of civilization, observe a moral code. Although differences exist in some areas, there are some things that are universal. Where did that come […]

GI-4: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE FINE-TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE (Part 2)

One sunny Fall morning, my wife was driving home from a visit to our daughter’s house in Illinois and was admiring the beautiful fall colors along the interstate. It was an especially windy day with winds blowing study at 40 to 50 mph and gusts much stronger. As she was driving, her attention was drawn to one particular tree, kind of off by itself, decked out in beautiful colors. The bright sunlight backlit the beautiful gold and orange leaves. Suddenly a powerful gust of wind blasted all the leaves off in a few seconds. She described it as an explosion of color like she had never seen before. As I wrote in the last article, theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking wrote: “The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications.” Elsewhere he said, “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe would have begun in just this way except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.” (Italics mine) Dr. Hawking did not believe in the God of the Bible. According to science there are 122 constants that are […]

GI-3: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE FINE-TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE (Part 1)

Introduction Who doesn’t enjoy watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a beautiful landscape, or a field of wildflowers in full bloom? Or how about majestic mountains, or the power of the oceans crashing against a rocky shore? Have you ever gotten away from the city lights to go out in the countryside and just look up and gaze at the stars on a clear night? And there’s nothing like watching a distant thunderstorm slowly roll toward you across Lake Michigan and the spectacular lightning show that accompanies it. Then there’s the tranquility of a quiet walk in the woods as you revel in the beauty all around you. It’s all just so spectacular and amazing. How did it get there? In the previous two articles I wrote about the existence of the universe as an argument for the existence of God. This is also known as the cosmological argument. I asked a number of questions, but two of them in particular are: first, does the cosmological argument provide us with evidence that God exists? And second, is God the most reasonable explanation for how the universe began? I concluded that there is powerful circumstantial evidence which points us in the […]

GI-2: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE (Part 2)

Does the existence of the universe provide us with clues that point in the direction of the existence of God? Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. (Psalm 102:25) The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1) Do the heavens declare the glory of God? In the previous article, using the so-called “cosmological argument” for the existence of God, I addressed the first premise that whatever begins to exist must have a cause for its existence. This is consistent with the law of cause and effect. Nothing that has ever begun to exist did so without a cause. Science itself operates on the principle that all events need a cause, which brings us to Premise 2: The universe began to exist. To understand this premise better, I want to look at four scientific facts supporting the second premise: the universe began to exist. Do these four scientific facts offer evidence that the universe had a beginning? Scientific Fact #1: The Theory of General Relativity Over a century ago, Einstein discovered the general theory of relativity which stated that the universe—defined as […]