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THE COSMOLOGICAL AND TELEOLOGICAL
A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, February 18, 2006
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt…” (Psalm 14:1).
1. The argument from cause: cosmological.
When we see a thing we naturally ask what caused it. We see this world, and we ask how it came into existence. No theory of “eternal series” can explain how this universe began, or where it came from.
The “big bang” theory is better. It does show a beginning - but does not explain where the “bang” came from. But the Bible explains it in simple terms (turn to Genesis 1:1).
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
I have never heard a better explanation than that. If you were the first man to reach the moon and you found a watch lying there, you would know that an intelligent being was there before you came. A thoughtful mind made the watch. The world is much more complex than a watch. A thoughtful mind made the world.
2. The argument from design: teleological.
But the watch shows more than an intelligent designer. The watch was made for a purpose (to tell time).
The intricate design of nature shows a Designer with a purpose in mind (turn to Psalm 19:1).
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament [expanse] sheweth his handywork [the work of His hands]” (Psalm 19:1).
I had an awareness of these arguments, though not a knowledge of them, in childhood:
1. In the nasturtiums behind the house on Fargo Street.
2. In the clouds, as I lay on my back, on “the hill.”
3. In the lightning storm on 17th Street in Phoenix.
4. In the sweetness of the earth after rain in Paradise Valley.
C. S. Lewis called these experiences “Joy” (in Surprised by Joy).
“Far more objective than bodies, for it is not, like them, clothed in our senses; the naked Other, imageless… unknown, undefined, desired” (C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, Harcourt, n.d., p. 221).
“Surprised by joy - impatient as the wind” (Wordsworth).
I pity people who have always lived in a city. It seems to me that the concrete covers the witness. The lights (always lights!) cover the sky. The roof covers the firmament. They never looked at it! They never smelled it! They never were afraid of it! They were never surprised by joy. And, so, these arguments never meant anything to them.
In olden times men crossed the sea in vessels not much larger than the sanctuary downstairs. In times of storm, they saw great mountains of water rise before their eyes. They shuddered, to their dying day, at the thought of those gigantic waves.
“And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength…and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea…and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:27, 31).
Modern men have become so mechanized, so urbanized, so civilized - that they do not see the cosmological and teleological reality of Almighty God.
“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:23-31).
But modern men have become so mechanized, so urbanized, so civilized - that they do not see the cosmological and teleological reality of Almighty God.
(END OF SERMON)
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