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About this series
Why I Believe
Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity
When asked why you believe what you believe, how do you respond? Do you wish you'd paid more attention in Sunday school? Are you able to engage in thoughtful conversation, or do you become defensive? Why I Believe is a series designed to equip you with a simple, winsome approach to explaining why you believe what you believe about issues like: Jesus' resurrection, the authenticity of the Bible, life after death, the reality of heaven and hell, the validity of creation vs. evolution, and the God of the Bible, being the one and only, true God. Chip explains we can actually know the truth, and we can communicate the truth in a way that engages people rather than putting them off. There's solid evidence to satisfy the heart and mind of anyone honestly seeking answers. If you or someone you know has genuine questions about issues at the core of human existence, Why I Believe is an excellent resource. ACSI approvedMore from this series
It was C.S. Lewis who talked about this ought or should that every human being has in your heart. It’s this sense that this is right and this is wrong that makes us different than all the other animals. And, in fact, Mere Christianity is what Francis Collins was reading. And he had all this intellect. He had a PhD over here, he’s now a medical doctor, he’s making his rounds. And as he was making all of his rounds, he met people that were dying. And he kept meeting people of faith that had this peace and this certainty, and the way they responded.
And he said, “There was one particular patient who was dying and he kept pressing me, ‘What do you believe? What do you believe?’” And he said, “Basically, I had rejected religion and I thought it was people just asking God and it was a crutch. But I just couldn’t get away from this man’s life. And he gave me a copy of Mere Christianity. As I read Mere Christianity,” despite all of his intellect, he said, “It made sense. I realized there was something more than just random chance.”
And then he talks about the power of creation. And he says, “I remember one morning wrestling with all of this and I was out in a meadow and it was breathtakingly beautiful,” right? This is Romans chapter 1. The creation screams of the character of God. His invisible attributes are screaming about His power, His eternality, His love, His purpose.
And Francis Collins says, “I knelt down in the grass in that dew and I received Jesus as my Savior. He would go on after that to discover the gene that causes cystic fibrosis and then become a leading scientist and then, of course, write that classic book The Language of God.
What I want you to see is that this so much more than just facts and figures. It’s about: what do you believe? What is your faith proposition? Why do you believe what you believe? Or have you unconsciously, as many of us have I think in Christian circles, basically had a compartment over here of science and a compartment of religion and pretended that they don’t connect?
The fact of the matter is, your morals, your values, your purpose, what you teach your kids, how you live your life is fundamentally goes back to: do you believe in a Creator that has a purpose where there is meaning? Or do you believe that you are a product of random chance?
And those two worldviews and the multiple worldviews that flow out of each – they are at war. They are at war in the world.
Question number three is: how did the various plants and animals develop? According to Classic Evolution, one simple cell slowly evolved into more complex plants and animals through a process of time, chance, natural selection, mutation, and survival of the fittest. That was what Darwin would write in Origin of the Species.
And he believed in spontaneous generation. What I mean by that is at that time, Darwin believed that just life could happen – a chemical soup.
Well, a year later, 1860, Louis Pasteur proved that spontaneous regeneration was absolutely impossible.
The Scripture, by contrast, says, “Where did they come from?” “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power, His divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from that which He made so that people are without excuse.”
God made plants and animals and species and stars and He made them all to reflect His glory and His character.
Long before there were these amazing telescopes and before we put that Hubble out there and we could see into galaxies, the Scripture declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech. Night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words, no sound is heard from them, yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the earth.”
You have to ask yourself: what is the best explanation for all the things that we see? One of the things I like to do, actually, I do it nearly every morning. I’m actually very disappointed when they are not there. I guess they are really there.
I get up early, I get a cup of coffee, I feed the dog – that’s my assignment from my wife. And then I walk outside and every morning I look up at the stars. And there is just something about remembering how small and how finite we are and how big God is and I’ve done enough research that I know that I’m just with my eye looking at a tiny part of the Milky Way and the Milky Way has somewhere between one hundred to two hundred billion stars.
And what I know is outside the Milky Way, there’s another one hundred to two hundred billion galaxies! And what God’s Word says, He says that, “I spoke that and I hold it by the Word of My power,” and that God also says, “Chip,” and to every human being, “I have placed My affection on you. You matter. I love you. I am for you.”
And when I look up at those stars, that passage from Psalm 19 comes to mind. You know what I think? I think that’s a big and He can handle all my problems. That’s a big God that is sovereign over all the issues that we are facing politically and racially and things that are happening around the world.
That’s a God that I can put my trust in. And as I have claimed His promises, a faith statement, I have watched Him deliver and you have too. But what I want to ask you is: are you communicating that kind of faith and what those stars mean to your kids? Is that making it into the worldview of education of how you are teaching your kids or your grandkids or your nephews?
See, this message is not so much about: are we going to understand everything about evolution and creation? It’s much more about: what are you going to do with the fact that if you do believe that God created you, what are the implications for your life, for your worldview, for how you live, for where your kids are educated, for what you teach them?
I hope you are getting that when you compare and contrast these basic questions, it’s pretty amazing.
Now I want to jump into those aspects that are a bit technical and very enlightening. When Darwin looked into a microscope, because he only had one that would multiply what he saw by maybe two or three hundred.
Today, we have microscopes that multiply them – electron microscopes – way, way more. So, when he looked into the center of a cell, he saw just a membrane and he thought it was very simple. In fact, that’s what he called it. And there wasn’t much in there.
And his whole philosophy was that it’s very simple and it goes to complex. And what has been the core behind, especially non-Christian scientists challenging Darwin, is they now can look inside that cell. It’s anything but simple. We now have microscopes that are super complex, some cells – are you ready? are so small that you can fit one hundred and fifty cells just on the tip of a strand of hair. It’s unbelievable.
Molecular scientists describe a single cell – are you ready? as a high-tech factory. They are complex with artificial languages and decoding systems. They have a central memory bank that store and retrieve impressive amounts of information. They have precise control systems that regulate automatically in assembling and components and parts.
What is happening inside of a cell is what led the Michael Behes of the world and the Michael Dentons of the world to say, “This simply can’t happen by random chance.”
Cells also have a system that replicate. You understand, it’s not just the size of the cell and the complexity of the cell, it’s the actual DNA in the cell. If I had a spoon up here, I could take a spoon and if I could fill just a tablespoon with DNA, there’s enough information there for all the information and all the species for all the planet that has ever lived with room left over.
If I could take, when you were a little dot in your mother’s womb, one single cell, if we could take that cell and pull your DNA and uncoil it, it would be six feet long. In fact, expert in DNA, world class, Dr. Robert Shapiro was asked what he thought the chances were that DNA could have been formed by a random process.
His answer: none. It’s absolute nonsense. The genius and the complexity of a single cell in DNA challenge the very core and the presuppositions of classic evolutionary thought.
In fact, so much so, we heard earlier about – remember Anthony Flew? He was the most famous atheist. At eighty-four years old, near the time of his death, he did something that you almost never hear. He renounced his atheism. Now, to be fair, because I think sometimes we Christians want to read into things and make it sound a little bit better to support our position.
He did not become a Christian. But what he said was after fifty years of looking at the science, especially DNA, he could not believe any longer that life occurred without an intelligent designer.
Now, he didn’t come to believe that Jesus was that intelligent designer, but think of what the facts are doing, even among agnostics and atheists.
Now let’s turn our attention from what’s amazingly small to what is amazingly big. Albert Einstein published his equation on general relativity in 1915. And a Dutch astronomer, Willem de Sitter discovered a solution that predicted an expanding universe. The importance of these discoveries show that the world and the universe was expanding.
Here’s the deal: if galaxies were moving farther and farther apart, the implication was they were once closer together. From this realization, Hubble went one step farther and he laid the foundation for the Big Bang theory, providing evidence that the universe exploded into existence with a furious burst of energy and has been expanding ever since. It was a shattering blow to centuries’ old notion of a static universe.
The theory of an expanding universe was consistent with Einstein’s theory, but it wasn’t accepted early by scientists. And they were very honest about it. They just said, “We understand if we actually believe there was a beginning, we could be in trouble in terms of our faith assumptions about random chance and there is no god.”
Robert Jastrow, an American astronomer and a planetary physicist argued that the reason that scientists were slow to accept the Big Bang, because if it was true, it would imply a moment of creation.
In an interview with Christianity Today, this scientist said, “Astronomers now find themselves painted into a corner, because they have proven by their own methods that the word began abruptly in an act of creation, to which they could trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in the cosmos and on earth. And they have found that this all happened as a product of forces they can’t hope to discover, that there are what I and anyone would have to say is a supernatural force at work and I think a scientifically proven fact.”
And then in his book, God and the Astronomers, Jastrow says, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; and as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
To be fair, the Big Bang does not disprove classic evolution, but it strongly argues for a specific moment in time.
What I want you to know is that we could go on and on with more and more scientific discoveries. We could look at Darwinian Evolution and ask ourselves some basic questions like: what were the social implications? I alluded to Nazi Germany. Huxley would say that, actually, “I’m so thankful for Darwin because whether I believe it or not, it gave me moral license to live any way I want apart from God.”
Another great scientist said, “Darwinian Evolution is the engine of atheism.” Here’s what you need to understand: your worldview really matters. You have two great options with a few that are developing on either side, but your options are this: do you believe that life is a result of a single cell, random chance, no plan? That you, in fact, and all the world is the product of billions of years of chemical reactions? And all the logical implications?
Or do you believe that there is a personal God that made you and made everyone, that every single person, those that you disagree with, those that are different, those who believe different, they are made in the image of God? God created them and He loves them and He calls you and He calls me to treat them with dignity, that there is no room for prejudice, there is no room for all the kind of things that mankind has done for one another, because the infinite, personal God has made all of us and He has created us for Himself.
And here’s my question: do you honestly believe with your life, not just in your head, that God created all that there is and are you teaching your children and your grandchildren the worldview that, by faith, flows out of that?
Are you willing to spend some time and say, “Science is great. There is no dichotomy. God created it all.” Would you introduce them to some great Christian scientist? Would you be willing to have a dialogue and talk about evolution, not like you’re afraid or intimidated.
What I can tell you is brilliant people, Christian and non-Christian, are not buying evolution. So, you’re not a minority and you’re not anti-intellectual. What I want you to know is that I have confidence and I believe that God has spoken. And I believe when I look at all the questions that my intellect is intact. I have not thrown my brains in the trash.
If you want to get more specific information and dig in a little bit deeper, I have all this in my book Why I Believe.
Father, I pray now that we would grasp the implications of what it means that You made us, that You are the Creator, that there is purpose and meaning, that there is life eternal, that every, single person matters; that the sunsets that we see, that when we hold a new baby in our arms, when we look into the eyes of someone that we love that it’s not some chemical reaction, it is the reality of being made in the image of God and having the capacity to love and to be loved.
Lord, I pray that for my brothers and sisters. I pray that we would be bold and we would enter the public square winsomely, kindly, and completely not afraid. In Jesus’ name, amen.