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GUEST SERMON: Faith and unbelief


It is sometimes argued that science has buried God and that science is the only way of understanding today’s world

Recent years have seen a development of what is sometimes called new atheism. This is a militant effort to convince the world that there is no God.

It is sometimes argued that science has buried God and that science is the only way of understanding the world in where people live today.

No doubt modern research has provided a vast increase of knowledge in various fields. But it should be understood that the Christian faith is not anti-scientific. In fact, it is sometimes pointed out that Christian writers made a significant contribution to the development of modern science.

Natural and Biblical revelation should be regarded as complimentary. In Romans Chapter 1, the apostle Paul says that the invisible things of God are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead. And he adds that the reason people did not believe is due to sinful prejudice. He says that they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.

Modern molecular biology has gained knowledge about the elementary building blocks of life that have presented scientists with facts impossible to explain in terms of natural law.

Also, studies in cosmology have produced interesting discoveries that are challenges to atheistic thinking. Frequently, those committed to the philosophy of naturalism either ignore the issue or resort to unrealistic suggestions.

The New Testament provides a number of eye witness accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. We are told of the effects this event had on the closest followers of Jesus. From being frustrated and afraid, they became bold witnesses of what they had seen and heard.

Critics may claim that the New Testament documents are late and unreliable. One recalls a reading of a professor at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland who undertook to show that the Book of Acts could not stand up to close examination. After much careful research he came to the conclusion that Luke, the author of Acts, was a great historian.

There are miracles recorded in the Bible. David Hume argued that miracles do not happen because the laws of nature would be broken. But that view fails to recognize the Biblical teaching on providence. The laws of nature simply point to the ordinary way of God's working. He is just as capable of doing things in extraordinary ways. We should give thanks in everything because every good and perfect gift comes from above. A great teacher taught that there is not a drop of rain falls but the Lord sends it. But this does not mean that he may not sometimes act in a miraculous manner.

The expression “science says” has become a common saying – as though science is something that cannot be questioned. But science is produced by people who are not always right and who do not always agree.

With all of its admittedly great accomplishments, mere science has never provided such an impressive world view as we find in the first words of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.

The new atheists enthusiastically proclaim that there is no God. The Gospel comes with a message of life and hope from the God who made us. When a penitent criminal pleaded in his last and perhaps only prayer, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” with what supreme authority the wonderful promise was uttered by the dying Saviour, “Truly, truly I say to you, ‘This day you will be with me in Paradise!’ ”

Rev. W. R. Underhay is with the Free Church of Scotland (retired). A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.

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