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NEXT IN DAY 4
Which of the following do you think is true:
The world is the result of (A) intelligent design, or
(B) random chance?
Most people will say it’s both design and chance. Okay, let’s say it’s 50% design and 50% chance. Then the answer includes A, because design is an essential part of what we observe and experience. Even if it’s 1% design and 99% chance, the answer still includes A.
Most people conclude that it takes too much faith to believe that the world is 100% the result of random chance only.
This conclusion comes not from religion, not from emotion, but from reason.
It follows logically that if there is intelligent design in the world, there must be a DESIGNER.
And since we observe and experience reality of the design, it follows that there must be a CREATOR who implemented the design into actual existence.
Whether our world was created QUICKLY in 24-hour human days with built-in apparent age (e.g., mountains and trees were mature, Adam was a full-grown man) or SLOWLY in geological days, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is: God did it!
Scientists say the universe began about 15 billion years ago from a bright flash of energy, the big bang. If that was the beginning of nature, then some intelligence outside of nature, and above nature, had to trigger the big bang, to start everything out of nothing, and had to establish those pre-determined laws of nuclear energy, gravity and physical matter that enabled it to happen with orderly precision.
Evolution may be God’s method of creation within broad categories, but note that rocks never become plants, plants never become animals, and animals never become humans.
Throughout history the designer-creator has been called God, which means Almighty Being, nothing superior.
We call the study of God’s physical design science and the study of God’s spiritual design theology.
Science limits itself to time and space and to experimentation that can be physically observed, measured and repeated. Theology moves into the intangible realm of relationships, motivations and decisions.
There is no contradiction between science and theology. They just make different inquiries in different ways.
Something becomes obvious as we move beyond science (how does it work?) and begin to study theology (who made it, and why?).
We see that our world is more than just physical phenomenon. In it we find the concept of right and wrong, springing from an intuitive universal sense of good and evil.
This knowledge comes from somewhere outside of nature, and above nature, because nature is violent, survival of the fittest.
We recognize a MORAL LAW, operating by spiritual design as surely as gravity operates by physical design.
For example, if A pushes B off the curb into traffic, B will immediately want to know if A’s action was intentional or accidental. If intentional, there would be something wrong with B’s behavior. Not physically wrong, but morally wrong.
It is not wrong if A pushes B by accident, even though B gets hurt. But it is wrong if A pushes B on purpose, even though B doesn’t get hurt. This kind of right-and-wrong thinking is built right into us.
Not only does our conscience tell us what wrong things NOT to do, but it also tells us what right things TO do.
If we were animals or machines, it would be meaningless to speak of good and evil. We don’t accuse animals for attacking one another or computers for criminal behavior. But for us, good and evil is the major human problem.
Evil is not a quality. Evil is the lack or privation of a quality. It is like rot, rust and wounds. If you take all the bad out of something, it becomes better. If you take all the good out, nothing is left.
For example, if you take all the rot out of a tree, it is a better tree. If you take all the good out, there is no tree.
We instinctively know that some things are more wrong, more evil, than others. So, in our minds, we build a model of evil that looks something like this: Holy (perfect good) at one end of the scale, and Evil (egregious wrong) at the other end.
We say God is holy. We say Hitler’s was evil. Everyday shortcomings, like lying, stealing, infidelity and law-breaking we call sin, and we tend to position them on a scale. Of course, all wrong-doing is evil in God’s eyes, but we usually regard sins as lesser and more common kinds of evil. Generally, we know what sin is, from our conscience and from the Bible.
The key point is not that we must eliminate all sin from our lives – we can’t because we are human – or that we must identify and atone for every sin we commit. The key point is that every person, humbly and individually, must acknowledge that he or she is a sinner and needs Jesus Christ as Savior. This is the core Christian belief, as explained in Day 5.
It is here where Christianity differs from most religions.
Religions say that we must, by self effort, balance the weight of all our sin against the weight of all our sacrifices, rituals and good deeds. We achieve favor with God by doing more good than bad.
But the Bible says we can NEVER make enough sacrifices, perform enough rituals or do enough good deeds to overcome our sin.
The Bible says all sin can be forgiven, as a FREE GIFT from God IF – this is the big IF – IF we sincerely confess our sins, desire to turn from our sins, ask God for forgiveness, and claim Jesus Christ as our substitute, as explained in Day 5.
It is the worst sin of all – a #10 on the scale – if a person knows about this offer of forgiveness but rejects it either by conscious decision or by procrastination.
Forgiveness is not automatic, earned, or transmitted by family or church. It is a personal offer and requires personal acceptance.
Failure to accept the offer is rejection of the offer, leaving that person guilty of a lifetime of sin, with judgment coming, hell instead of heaven after death, as explained in Day 6.
The Bible tells about the one sin that cannot be forgiven, sometimes referred to as the unpardonable sin, but more accurately called the unpardoned sin.
This means that Christ’s substitutionary death covers every sin except this one.
This fatal sin is rejection of God’s offer.
This is the one sin we must not commit!
In other words, if we don’t commit this sin, we get forgiveness of all other sins.
Why didn’t God create us as people who are always good? Why does he allow sin?
The answers become apparent as we investigate God’s character in Day 5. We see that God is love and gives us free will.
There is a necessary linkage and a necessary tension between love and free will. True love can exist only when the object of love has freedom to choose whether or not to return love. Otherwise we would be robots rather than persons, and God could never have fulfillment in his love for us.
The stronger and freer we are, the better we will be when we go right, but the worse we will be when we go wrong. That is a necessary RISK of love and free will, inherent in God’s design plan.
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a clear and concise explanation of Christian faith for pass-along and discussion