Why would you admit God is the creator of the universe and then refuse his influence in your life?
Why would you conclude that everything originates from God but then give nothing back to Him?
Guest speaker John Dickson asked those pointed questions in the first of a three-part sermon series entitled "A Doubter's Guide to the Christian Faith" on Sunday, Nov. 15. Here are key points from John's message on the reality or God:
*Although there are many denominations and Christians have disagreed on a lot of things, one thing they can all agree on is the Apostles Creed, which John read:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended to the dead. The Third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*The words "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth" echoes the first verse of the bible (Genesis 1:1) that says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
*God created everything. He is the source of the universe, not part of it. God is not like an object in a house that you try to find. He is the architect of the house. Everything about the house points to the mind of the architect.
*Creation is a gift from God. It's not accidental or random or haphazard. In Genesis 1 everything God created was declared "good." That point is reiterated in 1 Timothy 4, which says that everything God created was good. It counters the atheist argument, articulated by Richard Dawkins, that there is no design, no purpose, no good or evil to this world, simply blind indifference.
*In contrast to the view that everything came into being randomly, if we believe God is the creator of the universe then everything in creation is brimming with significance and should be received with thanksgiving.
*To believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, is to believe that all material life matters.
*If all of life is a gift from the Father, it's possible to mishandle the gift, or offend the giver. If everything is random, there isn't much moral fright with what we do or how we treat each other. But if God is the giver of life, then how we conduct ourselves matters.
*Contrary to conventional thinking, the thing that really offends God isn't petty vices, such as drunkenness, swearing, illicit sex, etc. What's far more offensive to God is for people to agree there is more to life than material things, and then settle for those things -- it's loving the gifts more than the giver.
*In Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, Jesus describes a sinner as a son who wants all the goodies (Luke 15:11-14) from his father but wants nothing else to do with his father. This is the modern view of sinners: We want everything the creator has to offer and little to do with the creator. We want the gifts but ignore the giver.
*The beauty of the parable of the prodigal son is that the father lovingly and compassionately takes back his son. In the same way God the Father unconditionally takes back those who have strayed from Him and offers mercy, grace and forgiveness.