The Expository Files

 

“I need help talking to my
friends who do not believe in God.”


First, there is a sad reality you should face, that your friends may not want to believe in God. Perhaps they are aware of the evidence, but they are resistant, knowing that their acknowledgement of belief in God means – repentance of sin, obligation to obey and worship and evangelize. In many cases, people who say they do not believe in God have the mental skills to weigh the evidence – but the commitment of heart to serve God (and give up sin) is the barrier. They don’t want to change. In that case, you can make occasional pleas to be objective, you can pray their circumstance will lead them to maturity and you can show them righteous living. But until they decide to objectively do an accounting of the evidence, they may remain atheistic, at least in their claims and practice. Jesus (who is Divine, Eternal and Perfect) went to “His own, and His own did not receive Him,” (Jno. 1:11).

Those who are disposed to fairly consider the evidence can be won. Speak to them of cause and effect.

Here’s a simple approach: Hand your friend a man-made device (cell phone, laptop computer, Ipad, etc.). Then ask how that device came into existence. They will likely say that there was an inventor/designer who assembled the materials and with a team of associates, produced the final product.

For the sake of making a point, take issue with that explanation. Say, “What if I said, this device just came into existence gradually over time – without any inventor, maker or manufacturer. The elements of the device just happened to connect in just the way to produce the results and services they provide.”

Your friend will not accept this theory of electronic evolution. Thus you are able to establish that valuable premise of cause and effect. Effects must have sufficient causes. And the cause must be greater than the effect.

The heavens and the earth and human life must have had an intelligent higher cause. There is no “accidental, evolutionary” cause that meets the demands of the obvious.

As your discussion unfolds, point to a house; make another absurd speculation, that the brick, lumber, plumbing and wiring just somehow fell together to gradually form a house. Again, you are stressing an axiom that superior cause is necessary to produce organized effect.

As the discussion and belief emerges, open your Bible to Hebrews 3:4. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” From here, go back to Genesis chapter one and read about the Highest Cause producing the most complicated effects anyone can experience.

To this you can add Rom. 1:20. “..the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen.” You are leading your friend to think, to reason, to see the obvious and to admit that where there is design, there has to be a designer.

As your discussion moves along, at some point is will be appropriate to inquire, “If there is no God, what is your understanding of the origin of all things?” Phillip E. Johnson once said, “One who claims to be a skeptic of one set of beliefs is actually a true believer in another set of beliefs.”

Two things need to happen. (1) The atheist needs to focus on objective cause and effect, and (2) The atheist needs to re-examine whatever their explanation is.

“When Mortimer Adler was asked why the ‘God’ section was the largest in the Great Books of the Western World series (which he edited), he insightfully observed that it’s because more implications flow from the subject of God than from any other subject. Indeed, the five most consequential questions in life are these:

1. Origin: Where did we come from?
2. Identity: Who are we?
3. Meaning: Why are we here?
4. Morality: How should we live?
5. Destiny: Where are we going?

The answers to each of these questions depend on the existence of God.” {From I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST, by Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek.}

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The co-editors of EF were two of the participants in a recent publication project for young preachers. The new book is out. Letters to Young Preachers, co-edited by Warren Berkley and Mark Roberts includes a chapter by Jon Quinn and another by Warren Berkley, published by Spiritbuilding (www.spiritbuilding.com). You can also find this book at most major online outlets (Barnes and Nobles, Amazon). It is in Kindle and Nook format (just enter “Letters to Young Preachers” to find it and buy it). It will also be available at the FC Bookstore, One Stone and perhaps other bookstores.
 

By Warren E. Berkley
The Final Page
From Expository Files 19.1 January 2012

 

 

 

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