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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
A few years ago, we had a little Bible study in our home. It was called Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. My daughter was a young professional at the time and she invited a number of her friends.
And I’ll never forget the young man who came. He was a scientist from Stanford – PhD. And he was late twenties and really bright, really smart. And he didn’t have much of a social life. He had been in school for a long time.
And so, after the Bible study that he was invited to, he was sort of skeptic but just came. We had a conversation. You know one of those where you get into the kitchen and leaning against the counter? And he said, “I just want to thank you for opening your home and the people were really warm and, wow, this is a really neat relational time. But I just have to tell you, I don’t have any room for God in my life because I am a scientist.”
And I began to question him, I said, “Well, what do you mean?” “Well, they are mutually exclusive. If I’m going to be a scientist, there’s no room for God.” And that started us on a conversation, because I have heard that a lot. I have heard from a lot of people that science and religion, there’s a dichotomy. It’s a false dichotomy.
And what we are going to talk about in our time now is why I believe in creation. In fact, it’s even bigger than that. I really want to talk about why I believe in God. And I want to share maybe some of the things I shared with that young scientist, some things that opened his eyes and caused him to question some of his presuppositions.
Because at the end of the day, what we have is this amazing place we call “earth.” And it has beauty and order and design. And scientists tell us that Jupiter is so big, it pulls all those big rocks away and the sun is here and Jupiter is there and the earth is in this orbit.
And the moon is exactly the right size so that there’s a tilt of the earth and we are just far enough away from the sun where we don’t get too hot and we don’t get too cold and they tell us that we are in this very special, little band where life can exist.
And in our day, science would say that by random chance, from a single cell over billions of years, evolution, that is how all that we see came into existence.
On the other hand, religion would say there is a personal God who is all-knowing, all-powerful who loves mankind and created this beauty as a reflection of who He is and it’s a testimony to Him and He wants a personal relationship and fellowship with every person.
Now, we are living in a day where your worldview will determine how you do everything. There are huge implications to whether we believe we are the product of random chance or whether, in fact, we are a creation by the infinite and personal God.
Now, here’s a little disclaimer. This is the most challenging message in this entire series. The volume of material is overwhelming. I actually have done this before with two almost full-hour messages. I eventually took all of that and I put into the book, Why I Believe.
So, here’s what I want you to know. If you’re a sports fan, you didn’t have time to watch the game, you go to ESPN and you see the highlights, right? Or you’ve got a big business meeting and they say, “Hey, you need to read this business book,” and it’s three hundred pages, and you get the executive summary, right?
Go onto Amazon, thirty pages, you read it, you get the net-net. That’s what I’m going to give you. Because we don’t have time to dig in at a level in all the different new scientific discoveries. And I’m not an authority. I’m a pastor. I have done a lot of research.
What I want to do is introduce you to what the real issues are. What I want you to do is begin to think and to ponder: what do you actually believe? And I want to give you some resources to move and dig in deeper and then ask this question: how does this frame your worldview? What are your kids learning? What are your grandkids learning? And what information are you giving them?
Because I will tell you that in the public schools, the random chance evolution story is not taught as a theory. It is taught as an absolute fact. And here’s what I want to say before we get going. The theory of evolution or let’s just call it the theory of creation are both faith propositions.
And what I mean by that is this: the scientific method requires that you observe things. No one observed how the earth came into existence. No one did repeatable tests. We have an hypothesis. What evolution does is take a theory and a hypothesis and it takes all the different factors with that presupposition, by faith, and it interprets them according to that.
Those of us that believe in Scripture look at the earth and the beauty and the order and the revelation of God and by faith we believe God created things.
So, what I want you to know, first and foremost, it’s not about facts and empirical data and science over here – brain; and over here religious people with heart.
Both are faith propositions. So, what’s the fundamental question? Here it is. Is it intellectually feasible to believe that the God of the Bible created the world, the universe, and all living things or is atheistic evolution that is taught in our public schools the scientific fact that is empirical, logical, proven means of how life came into existence?
Well, let’s define our terms before we get too far along. When we use the word “evolution,” there’s microevolution and there’s macroevolution. Everyone believes – microevolution is change within a species. In other words, there’s lots of different kinds of dogs, or bacteria can mutate. No one argues that there’s modifications and small mutations.
What macroevolution teaches is there’s vertical change. In other words, at some time billions and billions of years ago there was one, single cell that miraculously somehow began to have life and that single cell went from bacteria all the way up through all the various phylum until you have birds and reptiles and animals and apes and then all the way to mankind.
So, what we want to understand is evolution says this, creation says there’s a personal, infinite God who is loving and kind, who has made man in His image, and He has created all that there is for His glory and for mankind’s good.
Now, when you think about that, what you also need to understand is that the world has changed a lot since probably a lot of you learned this in school. Yes, the Scripture says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The Scripture also says that, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation. For in Him, Jesus, all things were created, things in heaven and things in earth – visible and invisible. Whether thrones or dominions or powers or rulers, all things were created by Him and for Him.”
The creation and evolution debate has been going on for over a hundred years. And currently, there are about four major positions that I want you to understand. Because when I grew up, there were just two. There was you believe in God and creation or you believe in evolution.
Now, here’s what you need to understand: there is Macro Darwinian Evolution. Right? Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Bill Nye. The guys that say: this is the only option. If you don’t believe this, you’re an anti-intellectual.
But now there are some new voices, things that I didn’t know about until I did my research in the last few years. Michael Behe in the classic book Darwin’s Black Box, where he challenges the very foundation of evolution, because when he looks inside the chemical reactions in a single cell.
Or Michael Denton – he says, “Evolution, it’s a theory in crisis.” Now, I’m not saying these people are Christians. What I’m saying is, there’s a whole group of scientists – some are agnostic, some have some faith, some have zero faith. And what they are saying is, “We are looking at the evidence and Macro Darwinian Evolution, with the new sciences, simply doesn’t hold up.”
But there’s a third group that didn’t used to exist as well. These are Theistic Evolutionists. These are scientists that are very committed Christians who are tying together the evolutionary process with a serious approach to the Bible.
You have Keith Miller and then probably the most famous of all is Francis Collins, and he wrote the classic book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Now, you’ll know him as the one who headed the Human Genome project and very, very interesting story. I’ll tell you a little bit more about him later.
But he’s a guy that had a PhD and while he was doing his PhD, he had an experience that changed the course of his life. I’ll tell you about that a little bit later.
The fourth is intelligent design. This is an eclectic group of some Christians, some atheists, some agnostics. But they look at DNA, they look at the most recent science, and they just come to one conclusion. They don’t say, “This is necessarily God,” but what they say is, “Things are too complex. The design is too magnificent to be happening by simply random chance. There had to be a designer.”
And this group is made up of a very eclectic group of people. This is some of the hardcore atheists. For example, you have someone like Francis Crick who helped discover DNA. He was asked about DNA and he said, “Could this possibly happen by random chance?” His answer was, “No chance whatsoever.”
Now, he admits that he went into science for a very special reason. It was a religious reason. But his religious reason was all the things that people couldn’t explain, he said get assigned to religion and my goal was to explain all of them to completely get rid of religion.
Now, he has a cohort named Weinstein. And Weinstein made the same commitment. He says, “My goal in science was to do simply one thing: eliminate and liberate people from religion.” What you need to hear, okay? There’s a lot of facts, there’s a lot of science – here’s what you need to hear. The world is not these objective, empirical scientists and these religious people over here.
The world is filled with people that have faith, that have presuppositions, that have wounds in their past and hurts in their past and had this information given to them or this information given to them and they have made a faith choice about what they are going to believe.
And what I want you to know is those are the four general positions. But the two big ones that I want to ask and answer, just some fundamental questions, just a top-level view is this: Macro Darwinian Evolution versus Classic Creation from the Bible. Let’s ask some basic questions and then you decide: what do you really believe?
Because I grew up in a house where my dad was a science teacher, we went to a cultural church, we didn’t read the Bible, and on the one hand, we would just talk about life and metaphysics and that we believed in God and prayed when someone went to the hospital.
And on the other hand, my dad’s a science teacher teaching evolution, and we had this dichotomy of thoughts that absolutely didn’t add up and we lived as though it really didn’t matter.
I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you are living the same way and your kids are getting filled with one set of a faith belief and thinking that the only people that exercise faith are religious people when, in fact, everyone exercises faith.
The question is: in what and why? So, let’s jump in and look at some of the real basic questions and you’ll notice that I put up a quick chart for you in terms of looking at those four positions that will allow you to see that in a snapshot.
Okay, are we ready? Scientists are now looking at facts that are changing their worldview. As biochemist, Michael Denton said in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, listen to this a non-Christian. “Evolution’s intellectual foundations have steadily been eroding. Biology’s new findings are bringing us very near to a formal, logical disapproval of Darwinian claims.” Denton believes Darwin’s claims that all life evolved from one cell can’t be supported by the evidence in fossils, embryology, taxonomy, or molecular biology.
In addition, Nobel Laureate Francis Crick proposed that the problems of life randomly originating on earth are so great that life must have arisen from another planet and been transferred here.
With that, let’s jump into the basic questions of: how did we get here? Who made us? What do we believe? And why?
So, question number one: how did life begin? Option one: evolution is taught in mainstream America according to the Association of Biology Teachers. Evolution answers this: life’s beginning was unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process. The beginning of life was random, undirected without either plan or purpose.
Option two is: creation as defined by the Bible. God spoke, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And so, all of us have two options. Was it a material, random chance? Undirected? All the things that you see, there’s some matter and it just got here from one cell. Or, is there an infinite, personal God who spoke it into existence?
Let’s analyze both premises and see which one makes the most sense. It takes faith to believe that a single cell, over billions of years could produce everything that we see. And it takes faith to believe that what this book says about a personal Creator brought everything into existence that we see. My question is: what do you believe?
Nehemiah would write, “You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens and the highest heavens and all their starry hosts, the earth and all that is in it, the sea and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.” The Bible is very clear that God is the Creator and the Author of all life.
Question number two, then, is why did life begin? Classic Evolution’s response to this is: it began as a pure accident. It’s a random chance. The earth exists because at a certain time in a certain way all the right conditions over billions and billions of years, there was no plan, no meaning, no emotions, no value. It just popped into existence.
Here’s what I want you to get. These aren’t little questions. They frame your worldview. Everyone is operating on the basis of faith. If it’s random chance, you need to understand your life has no meaning. You have no future. There is no real beginning; there is no end. There is no eternal life. There is no right and there is no wrong. That’s the logical deduction from Macro Darwinian Evolution.
Option number two is Creation. By contrast, you are a special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are the climax of His creation. You were made to be loved. You have a design. You are unique. God has a purpose for your life. He has set you on this earth. There is a heaven; there is a future. He made you for Himself. You are the absolute most beautiful, magnificent creation of all that He has made. Of all the billions of stars you, in fact, as a human being, you can choose.
The writer of Ecclesiastes would say, “He has made everything beautiful in its time, He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”