Sunday, June 25, 2017
 

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Is God Dead? ]


“Is GOD DEAD?”
Lonnie Branam


Is God dead? One of the most unusual religious ideas to blossom on the American scene is the “God—is—dead—movement”. Nothing in recent years has been quite so religiously jolting to America's churchgoing millions as the religious suggestion that “God is dead”. At the University of Iowa 1700 students attended a debate on whether God lives or dies. Thousands of students have swarmed into the “God-is-dead” conferences and seminars and students have even held “funeral services” for God. Just what the leaders of this movement really mean when they say, “God is dead” borders on the ridiculous. Some of them assert the simple atheist position that there is no God at all. Others affirm that the God we have believed in up to now is dead and affirm this movement represents a more scientific view of God. One of the spokesmen for the movement declared that in the death of Christ on the cross, God himself died. He further asserted that when God came into the world in the form of Christ that he was no longer omnipresent. That is, he was no longer present everywhere and when he came from heaven to earth in the form of Jesus all of God was here on earth and none of him was in heaven. Hence, when Christ died God died, and that was the end of God. What an insulting thing to say about God! This is to say that God cut his own throat in becoming man, for the human race killed him and that was the end of God. This movement affirms that the creator God was so stupid that he did not know he was committing suicide when he assumed the nature of man. Such ideas of God are unworthy of human beings. Anyone who thinks that the “God-is-dead” movement is killing religion in America is 100% wrong. The exact opposite is happening. Religious concern has never been greater than it is today. This latest atheistic movement has not buried God but is only helping to make Him more alive and real to the world than ever before. God does not have to come back to life because He never died. God is not dead; He is simply missing in people's lives. God is very much alive, but people have simply shunned him. Because of the interest which this movement has generated, I would like to seriously discuss the subject, “Is God Dead?” In this study and the one to follow, I would like to reexamine the ground of our belief in the existence of God. I have heard it said that it is impossible to prove the existence of God. Sigmund Freud said, “God is the creation of man rather than man the creation of God.” This is not true, and you are invited to consider the evidence at hand. The evidence for the existence of the one true and living God may be likened to a two story house. The bottom floor is universe and the top floor is the Bible. I believe in God's existence because of evidences found in nature and in the Bible. We shall consider first the evidence for God in the realm of nature and the lesson to follow will be on the argument from the Bible. The argument from nature is mentioned in the Bible in Hebrews 3:4, “For every house is built by some man; but he that built all things is God.” What beautiful logic! No person in his right senses would disagree with the statement, “For every house is built by some man.” It isn't necessary to prove such a statement because it is a common sense saying. Common sense is the 6th sense given us to keep the other 5 senses from making a fool of us. Common sense tells us that every house is built by some man, and common sense also tells us that he who built all things is God. Everyone knows it takes special intelligence to build a house and if that is so, it necesarily follow it took special intelligence to build the universe. Surely it does not take as much intelligence as it did to make this marvelous universe. This argument is unanswerable. The statement, “He that built all things is God”, is a reference to the cosmos. The word cosmos comes from a Greek word which means order and harmony. Man has applied the term to the universe because of the design and order which he perceives in it. The cosmos therefore is the universe conceived of as an orderly and harmonious system. I believe in the existence of God because o the cosmos. It might be called the cosmological argument. Call it whatever you wish, but if it takes intelligence to make a house it also takes intelligence to build a universe. The cosmological argument is irrefutable, for the human mind reasons by common sense that where there is design there must be a designer and where there is evidence of creation there must be a creator. What is there about the cosmos that proves the existence of God? Here is the evidence. You be the judge. The earth on which we live is merely one of a number of planets belonging to the sun, which in turn, is a little star in the galaxy of stars called the milky way. Our milky way is shaped like a flat round plate or spiral disk with arms extending from it. Our sun and its solar system are half way out on one of these arms. There are more than a hundred thousand million stars like the sun in this galaxy, and there are millions of such galaxies in the universe. The cosmos is so staggering in size and magnitude that it is incomprehensible. The planets in our solar system range from 37 million miles to over 3 billion miles from the sun. The earth is the third planet in distance from the sun and is located 93 million miles from it. The diameter of the earth is 7900 miles and the diameter of the sun is 109 times greater than the earth's. One of the stars in the constellation Orion is called Betelgeuse. This star is a million times larger than the sun with a diameter of 350 million miles. Light travels 186,273 miles per second. Distances are so colossal in the cosmos that the mile cannot be used as a unit of distance. Distance is measured by light years. A light year is the vast distance which light travels in a year at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. It takes 8 minutes for the light of the sun to travel 93 million miles to the earth. The closest star to our solar system is Alpha Centauri which is 24 trillion miles away. It takes light from that star four years to reach us traveling 186,000 miles per second. This is a very close star but other stars can only be measured in terms of light years away. The 200 inch Hale lens at Mt. Palomar, California pierces a million and a half light years away. To get to some stars we would have to travel the distance light travels at 186,000 per second in a year's time and cover such a distance a million times. Whoever built the cosmos was thinking big. But we do not have to move away from our earth to find great evidence of marvelous intelligence and design. The great motions of the earth and other planets are governed by a precise balance between the planet's weight, distance, and the gravitational pull of the sun. The precise balance involved in weight, distance and gravitation is the only thing which keeps the earth from flying off into regions of cold space or from being drawn into the fiery mass of the sun. Isn't that marvelous? Now I wonder who figured that out? Common sense tells you someone had to be very careful in working out such a precise balance. The earth travels around the sun at a speed of 64,800 miles an hour and that determines the length of our year. Is it not remarkable that the earth maintains this uniform speed and has done so for thousands of centuries? So perfect is this timing that astronomers can predict centuries in advance when eclipses will occur. The earth rotates on its axis at the same time it is revolving around the sun, and it rotates upon its axis at a speed of 1038 miles per hour. It is a curious fact that if the earth rotated only 100 miles an hour it would be disastrous. In the daytime things would burn to a cinder, and at night they would become a frozen mass. Now I wonder who worked out that mathematical problem? Another amazing thing about the earth is that it tilts or slants at an angle of 23.5 degrees from the perpendicular, and this little provision gives us the four seasons of the year. Is that not odd? You know it seems like someone planned that just to give us a variety of climate. The more you look at the cosmos the more sensible the statement becomes, “For every house is built by some man, but he who built all things is God.” There is no superstition or foolishness in that statement. That is why the e Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Another very interesting thing about our earth is the atmosphere. It consists of a layer of nitrogen and oxygen, and surrounds the earth for about 300 miles in thickness. The atmosphere acts as a kind of blanket to hold in the heat, and no living creature could survive on earth without this blanket which keeps us warm. Furthermore it acts as a protective curtain to admit just enough ultra violet rays to be healthful. These rays cause sunburn and would be deadly if most of them were not absorbed about 16 miles above the earth by ozone molecules which the rays transform into oxygen. It took a lot of doing to make this earth a safe place on which to live. The first argument from nature for the existence of God is the presence of the universe exhibiting intelligence and design. The second argument drawn from nature for the existence of God relates to the marvelous life forms in the cosmos. We live in an advanced age of science and technology, but man still does not know what life is. There are manifestations of life around us and in us; it is that with which we are, and without which we are not. Nevertheless, it remains unexplained. Earth, rivers, streams, oceans, and the lower strata of the air teem with life. But the energizing power called life that resides in these material forms cannot be seen under the microscope, weighed in the balance, and cannot be caught in a test tube. It is life that performs the act of speaking to you this instant, and it is life that enables you to understand the idea I am trying to convey. And yet no one can define it, duplicate it, or explain it. The numerous life forms in the universe constitute another irrefutable argument for the existence of an intelligent originator and creator of life. This argument for the existence of God is stated in the Bible in Romans 1:20, “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; so that they are without excuse.” Man cannot created a planet, let along a universes. The most intelligent reasoning and commnon sense tells us the universe is supernatural production. This verse declares that there are convincing evidences in the cosmos that render all atheists without excuse. You are invited to consider some of the life forms in the universe which staggers the mind of man and causes a reasonable person to cry out, “This is the hand of God.” The most remarkable of all life forms in the cosmos are human life forms. I believe in the existence of God because of man and woman. Man is so wonderfully made that only a Creator of infinite wisdom and intelligence could have produced him. The human body is the most complicated and exquisite mechanism ever conceived. The slightest accident may impair or destroy, in a moment, an organ essential to the continuance of life. I first direct your attention to the blood. The total amount of blood in the adult body averages between 5 and 6 quarts, weighing about 7 or 8 pounds, and accounting for about 5% of the body weight. If about one third of the blood is lost, death usually occurs unless the blood is replaced. Each day 8,000 gallons of blood are pumped out of the ventricle, amounting to 3 million gallons a year. The capillaries of the body measure 100,000 miles. Man cannot make even an ounce of this marelous stuff. If man, with all of his intelligence, cannot make blood where did it come from? Is it unreasonable to believe that someone greater than man created this wonderful substance? In addition, there are some interesting little characters in man's body called genes. A gene is an entity of the germ plasm, a part of the chromosome which determines the hereditary character of the individual. The sex, color of the eyes, hair, skin, and all physical characteristics are found in this microscopic entity. At conception a human being has 24 chromosomes from the mother and 24 from the father. One chromosome from the father determines at the instant of conception and wholly by chance the sex of the child to be. The intelligence required to invent genes and chromosomes defies the human imagination. Common sense tells you it requires superhuman intelligence to create such an entity. Moreover, each person has his or her own DNA. God has made us each one unique; there is no one exactly like you and me. God wanted us to know that each one of us important. Billions of people have lived on this planet, and yet no two of them were ever just exactly alike. This fact demands belief in a supernatural Creator. Next to man there are many wonderful life forms in the animal world which show creative genius. The carpenter bee drills a hole or channel in wood about three quarters of an inch in diameter. At the closed end of the channel she lays an egg and leaves food for the young when hatched. She then seals of the compartment. She repeats the process of laying an egg and sealing off the compartment and does this until a great number of them have been deposited in this drilled out shaft or channel. The last egg is laid at the opening of the channel so that it can escape through the opening. If the first egg hatched first, it would die for it is buried under several rooms or compartments. Why does this happen like this? Where did this bee get its carpenter knowledge? Who planned it? There is a spot in the mid-Atlantic where all the eels from the old and new world are bred and born. The adult eel goes there to breed and die. The little eels always go back where their parents came from. The European species will not show up in the American streams, and the American species will not show up in the European streams, although they breed in the same place. Moreover, when they are born they are the perfect color of the water and cannot be seen with the naked eye. There is a honey bird in Africa which directs one to a hollow tree where bees have deposited their honey. There is a bird which warns wild game of the approach of man or other danger. It is called a “Go away bird.” The starfish has a miniature wire cutting device on his skin for the purpose of clipping off any creature that settles on him, and they are microscopic. The shellfish is free swimming like a fish when he is first hatched. But when he comes into contact with organic copper, he settles to the bottom and develops a shell. The locust you hear singing along the road in summer stayed underground for 17 years. On a certain night in early summer, all locusts get the signal and come out. The white ants build large palaces for their queen, complete with ditches and canals for surplus water. Where did they get all of this intelligence? A watermelon seed weighs one four thousandth of a pound. When planted, it is able in 100 days to reproduce itself three thousand times and multiply its weight five hundred thousand times. That which wrought this wonder is life. What shall we say about these thing? We can all agree that the cosmos is a wonderful house we live in. The Bible says that every house is built by someone, and no scientist would disagree with that Biblical statement Every house must have a builder. You don't have to prove that to anyone in their right mind. Moreover, it is a logical conclusion from this thought that he who built the cosmos is God. There is no other explanation that is reasonable. It is a well known scientific law that “No event or change comes to pass merely by itself. For every effect there must be a cause”. Unto all doing there must be a doer. Apply this rule to the cosmos with its marvelous design, and it will lead to a belief in the existence of an all powerful and all knowing God. All the works and achievements of man present examples of causation. Everything owes its existence to some producing cause. It is unreasonable and unscientific to believe that things exist without a causitive force. Every product which is manufactured shows evidence of a maker and designer. The most successful investigations of man proceed from effect and cause. For example, disease is an effect and a germ is a cause. This rule applied to the existence of the cosmos will lead to a knowledge of God's existence. What shall we say about these things? We can all agree that this cosmos is a wonderful house in which we live. The Bible says that every house is built by someone, and that is necessarily so. Every house must have a builder. You don̓t have to prove that to anyone in their right mind. Moreover, it is a logical conclusion from this thought that he who built the cosmos is God. It is a well known scientific law that “No event or change comes to pass merely by itself. For every effect there must be a cause”. Unto all doing there must be a doer. Apply this rule to the cosmos with its marvelous design and it will lead to a belief in the existence of an all powerful and all knowing God. All the works and achievements of man present examples of causation. Everything owes its existence to some producing cause. It is unreasonable and unscientific to believe that things exist without a causitive force. Every product
which is manufactured shows evidence of a maker and designer. The most successful investigations of man proceed from effect and cause. For example disease is an effect and a germ is a cause. This rule applied to the existence of the cosmos will lead to a knowledge of God's existence. Benjamin Franklin once made a miniature solar system with an earth, sun, planets, and stars. A man who did not believe in the existence of God was admiring it and commented on how much time it must have taken to construct such a replica of the solar system. Finally the atheist said, “Who made it?” Franklin said, “No one made it. It just happened accidently. It simply came into being by evolution.” The atheist insisted such an idea was foolish and said somebody must have planned and built it. Then Franklin said, “It is no more foolish than the idea that no one created the universe, the heavens and the earth of which this is but a replica.” If you tell me you drive a car and I ask what make it is, I feel that I am asking a perfectly reasonable question. If you say, “It is no make at all. It is a result of blind forces with no prevision of what they were creating, I will not conclude that you are wiser than I am, but only that you are unreasonable. It is a mark of intelligence to believe in the existence of God.












































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