Main Theme of the book: The primary theme of this book answers the questions, what is Christianity? Christianity is a picture of reality.
I. In the Beginning God Created the Universe (Chapter 6)
Genesis 1:1 (NIV) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. We see the Christian story starts with a bang; God creates the universe. Then we see later story ends with a bang; God brings forth a new heaven and new earth. The rest of the story is what happens in-between.
- What five things does the Christian story tell us about God?
- God is Personal – The God of the universe is a personal being. What are some traits of a person?
God the Father does not have a physical body. The Bible describes him as a spirit in John 4:24 (NIV) “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” A spirit is not physical. References to body parts attributed to God are either metaphors or using what is called anthropomorphic language. Anthropomorphic simply means applying human body parts to God. God does not have a right hand. The person of Jesus has been given great authority to speak for the boss.
God also is eternal; he had neither beginning nor end. The universe had a beginning but God did not. God is the uncreated creator.
- God is the central character of our story – The story does not start with us. It begins with God. This story is God’s story and not ours. Greg says it like this: “The Story is not so much about God’s plan for your life as it is about your life for God’s plan1.” God’s purposes are central, not ours. 3. God owns everything – Since God made everything out of nothing, it all belongs to him. Therefore, God is ruler over all. We don’t own ourselves. God is a great and powerful king. And yet he is our Father. In our story we were made to be in relationship with him, to delight in him, and to completely depend on him.
- God is distinct from his creation – Some religions teach that nature is god. This is not the Christian story. In our story God is close to all of us but is distinct, separate, not found as part of all creation.
We don’t respect nature; we respect the person who created nature. We don’t abuse nature because we care about others who we share the earth with and want to help them enjoy it with us.
Session 3 The Story of Reality 2
- God loves science2 –What other religious book spends the first two chapters talking about creation? It is the discipline of science we discover how amazing this creation truly is. So much can be learned about the character of God through studying the universe and its perfect design.
- What is the main theme of the Bible?
The main theme of the Bible is God’s Rulership over His Kingdom. A kingdom has a “King” which is God and a “dom” or domain which is us. God is our king or our ruler. In fact the word rulership can be substituted anywhere in the Bible you see the word kingdom.
We see the word kingdom all over the New Testament. It is used by Jesus, John the Baptist, and by the Apostle Paul. To be a subject in the kingdom, you must submit the gospel; you must believe the good news that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins.
- What are Two Major Objections to the Existence of God? (Chapter 7)
- Who Created God? How would you answer that question?
I recently was challenged with this question in an email conversation with an atheist friend. He asked me, who created God?
My final reply: I believe in an uncreated being called God. Without a first uncaused cause you then have an “infinite regress.” If God was created, who did the creating? And who is the creator of the one who created the God of the universe. And then who is the creator of the creator of the one who created the creator? You then have to go back and back, on and on forever. This is called an infinite regress. An infinite regress is simply nonsense. Who created God? No one…God is the personal uncreated creator.
- What about the Miraculous?
Many ages ago most scientists thought the earth was eternal; it never had a beginning. However, with the advances of science we have powerful evidence the universe came into existence in an instant in an event called “The Big Bang.” Many scientists early on objected to the Big Bang. They thought is sounded too much like a creation event. Today some scientists still struggle with the universe coming into existence.
Here is the problem…there are only two explanations for the universe coming into existence. Either there is an intelligent designer or nothing is the cause. Who in their right mind wants to say the cause of the universe was nothing?
Session 3 The Story of Reality 3
Once we establish God created the entire universe and all life on earth then the controversy over miracles shrinks to almost nothing. God creating everything in an instant from nothing makes all other miraculous signs seem pretty easy in comparison.
III. What is Matter-Ism? (Chapter 8)
Matter-ism says that only physical things exist and that they are governed by natural laws. This is where their story begins and where it ends. No God. No creator. No heaven or hell. No miracles. No universal morality.
- Matter-Ism is a competing story or worldview
What’s the problem? Richard Dawkins explains the universe without God, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference3.” Dennis Prager said, “Nature has only one commandment, not ten – eat or be eaten4.”
- Problems with matter-ism.
We all know something has gone wrong with the world. Matter-ism struggles at this point. To say something has gone wrong, your story has to point to the way things are supposed to be. If the universe is simply molecules dancing to music of nature, then there is no ultimate right or wrong. Things just are; no good, no evil.
Therefore, nothing has gone wrong with the world. Our feelings the world is a mess are just an illusion. One writer said if atheism is true, we are no more than “coke cans fizzing5.” Those who follow matter-ism have to deny anything is wrong with the world; it is just what it is.
We struggle denying life is without meaning or purpose. Matter-ism is a tough worldview to live by. Deep down inside, we know life does have ultimate meaning and purpose. Without a standard, the purpose of a serial murderer is no better or worse than the purpose of Mother Teresa. Without a standard to measure meaning or purpose anything goes. In philosophy this is called “nihilism.” It means life is empty, meaningless, purposeless, cold, and void. Who can live like this?
This is why matter-ists deep down inside live their lives as if they matter. They have to steal from our story to make sense of their lives. Paul writes in Romans 1:18 these people “suppress the truth by their wickedness.” Also in Romans 2 they have to deny the moral truth written on their hearts by God.
- 1 The Story of Reality by Greg Koukl pg. 44.
- 2 Not in the book.
- 3 The Story of Reality by Greg Koukl,
- p. 54 4 Jewish writer and talk show host.
- pg. 54 5 Taken from the book Stealing from God by Frank Turek
© Steve Bruecker
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