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Creation – Part 1

The Watchmaker Theory – Evidence of a Designer.
Lesson 7 from The HOPE Study Guide

Observe & Consider

In our previous lesson we examined a few of God’s many attributes, each one referenced by one or more Bible verses. As we continue our study, we will now consider what the Bible has to say about God and His creation. But before we do, let’s look briefly at a page from history.

In 1794 British theologian and philosopher William Paley published a book entitled, A View of the Evidence of Christianity. That book was required reading at Cambridge University for more than 100 years. But in 1802, Paley published another book for which he became even more widely known. It was titled, Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature. In this book Paley argued that a supernatural God could best be understood by examining evidence from the natural world. His image of the watchmaker has become one of the most famous metaphors in the philosophy of science. Although written over 200 years ago, it bears repeating here. (You may find the language a bit stilted, but hang in there!)

In crossing a field, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever… But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground… I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that, for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone?… For this reason…that, when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e. g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day [etc.]…This mechanism being observed…the inference, we think, is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker… Continue reading


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The Attributes of God

What the Bible says about God.
Lesson 6 from The HOPE Study Guide

Introduction

Before there was anything, before time or space or physical matter, there was God…One who is far beyond our ability to fully comprehend or describe. Through His story, we find that God is Spirit without a beginning or an end. He is complete within Himself, lacking in nothing. He is all knowing and all wise. He is perfect in every way. He is not limited by anything.

– The HOPE, Chapter 1

Observe & Consider

The first week of our study presented evidence that the Bible is the most trustworthy reference point in all the world for understanding reality. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself, and it reveals truth about God in two ways. One way is by demonstration: recording God’s action and interaction with the world and humankind. Another way is by declaration: making direct statements or claims about the nature and character of God.

Consider the following Bible verses that support the excerpt from The HOPE quoted above.

• Before There Was Anything, There Was God

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)

• God Is Beyond Our Ability to Fully Comprehend

“Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:3)
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33)

• God Is Spirit

“God is spirit…” (John 4:24)

• God Is Eternal – He Has No Beginning or End

“Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Psalm 90:2)
“…And Your years will not come to an end.” (Psalm 102:27)
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)

• God Is Complete within Himself, Lacking in Nothing Continue reading


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The Greatest Story Ever Told

The Grand Story that explains every other story.
Lesson 5 from The HOPE Study Guide

Observe & Consider

At heart, we are storytellers. Most of us have been in situations where a story is told, and then someone else responds by telling a related story of their own, which evokes a similar response from yet another person. And on it goes. We are all drawn to the power of a great story, and even more, we desire to identify with and enter into a story greater than our own.

In fact, some sociologists say that the essential quest of humankind can be understood as a search for “metanarrative” or “metanarra.”1 This term refers to a grand story or archetypal account or ideology in which other stories find their meaning. Regardless of culture or rank or station or occupation, man quite naturally searches for some story in which all other stories find their meaning…a story in which we ourselves find our meaning.

Throughout time, people have derived meaning and purpose from stories (metanarra) handed down to them through culture or religion. But in the late 19th century a worldview called modernism2 emerged, claiming that those kinds of traditional metanarra are no longer relevant to our modern world. Modernism sought to replace the “old” stories and religious values with the arguments of reason and the findings of science. These, the modernists said, would define for us the meaning and purpose of our lives, thus creating the new metanarra. Continue reading


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The Uniqueness of The Bible – Part 2

It takes faith to believe the Bible is not a work of God.
Lesson 4 from The HOPE Study Guide

Observe & Consider

In Lesson 3, we considered the Bible’s diversity and harmony and its textual reliability – two attributes that make it unique among all the books in the world. Today we will consider two more things that truly separate the Bible from any other book and give it credibility as the most reliable reference point that one could have in the journey of life.

The Bible is unique in its historical accuracy.

Historical accuracy is yet another factor to consider in determining the reliability of an ancient text. In other words, “Do archeological findings substantiate what is recorded in the text?” In the case of the Bible, the answer is clear

  • “…it may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.”

– Dr. Nelson Glueck (Rivers in the Desert, p. 31)

  • “…archaeology has confirmed countless passages which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts…Yet archaeological discoveries have shown that these critical charges…are wrong and that the Bible is trustworthy in the very statements which have been set aside as untrustworthy…We do not know of any cases where the Bible has been proved wrong.”

– Dr. Joseph P. Free (Archaeology and Bible History, pp. 1, 2, 134)

The Bible is unique in its prophetic record.

Before considering the Bible’s prophetic record, it is important to understand what distinguishes the prophets of the Bible from other so–called prophets. According to the book of Deuteronomy in the Bible, the test of a true prophet of God was 100% accuracy. If one who called himself a prophet did not pass this test, the penalty was death.1 Now that is motivation to represent God accurately!

It is amazing to discover that there are more than 1,800 prophecies in the Bible.2 Many of these prophecies were fulfilled in the lifetime of the prophet who gave them. Still more have been fulfilled since the writing of the Bible. Many prophecies are yet to be fulfilled. To this day, no Biblical prophecy has ever been proven false! Continue reading


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The Uniqueness of The Bible – Part 1

Lesson 3
The most unique and the most published book in history.

OBSERVE AND CONSIDER

The Bible is the most quoted, most translated, most published book in human history, completely unique in its creation, content, and accuracy.1 And while the uniqueness of the Bible does not irrefutably prove that it is the revelation of God, when one truly considers the nature of this book, it takes more faith to believe that it was simply written and compiled by humans than to believe that it is a work of God. Let’s think about this.

The Bible is unique in its diversity and harmony.

Written over a span of 40 generations and about 1,600 years, by more than 40 authors from varying walks of life, on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), the Bible is unlike any other book in the world. It includes history, poetry, prophecy, law, parables and preaching, and covers a broad range of subject matter (including hundreds of controversial topics) from the nature of God to the origin of man.2

Considering the diversity of its writers and subject matter, one might expect at least some conflict or inconsistency in the content and themes presented in the Bible, and yet…

  • The Bible is one complete epic story centered around one extraordinary character.
  • The Bible addresses numerous topics and themes throughout the text with incredible harmony and resolution. (For instance, the paradise lost of the first book of the Bible becomes the paradise regained of the last book of the Bible. The access to the Tree of Life, which was closed in the first book of the Bible, is opened forevermore in the last book of the Bible.)

Like the instruments in a symphony, each writer of the Bible is quite different from the others. When you hear an orchestra playing with flawless harmony, you naturally assume that it is being directed by an accomplished conductor. Why should we think any differently in regard to the Bible, which is far more complex in content and scope than any symphonic score? Continue reading