Calvary Road Baptist Church

“GOD IS”

Mark 12.32

 

Turn in your Bible to Isaiah 1.18: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD.” I want you to take special note of that word “reason.” It has a range of meanings that includes deciding, proving and arguing.[1] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance lists its meanings as being “to be right (i.e. correct); reciprocal, to argue; causatively, to decide, justify or convict:--appoint, argue, chasten, convince, correct(-ion), daysman, dispute, judge, maintain, plead, reason (together), rebuke, reprove(-r), surely, in any wise.” “God is a rational being, and man, his image, is also rational. God was not joking or waxing metaphorical when he invited sinners, though Isaiah, ‘Come, let us reason together.’ Because man is God’s image, his logic is God’s logic, and God and man can reason together.”[2]

In Job 5.17, this same Hebrew word is used, being translated by the English word “correcteth”: “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” In addition, in a verse you will recognize, Job 9.33, we see the word translated “daysman”: “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.”

In Psalm 94.10, the word is translated by our English word “correct”: “He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?” In Proverbs 3.12, the word is again translated by our English word “correcteth”: “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Then, in Proverbs 9.8, the word is twice translated by our English words “reprove” and “rebuke”: “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”

Though the word xky is used in many other passages in the Hebrew Old Testament, this sampling serves to illustrate what I have already mentioned to you, that there is only one kind of logic that God uses to reason with man, just as there is one kind of logic that man is encouraged to use in dealing with other men. The point that I seek to make here is that there is such a thing as reason. There is such a thing as logic. Moreover, because God is a rational and reasonable being, He has given to us the capacity to use logic, so that some capacity for rational and reasonable thinking is within our grasp.

Why have I brought this subject up for your consideration? For this reason: Though it is not possible to prove the existence of God scientifically (as I have repeatedly told you), it is possible to prove the existence of God logically.

Let me quickly deal with the subject of why it is impossible to scientifically prove the existence of God before setting the matter aside this morning. Science, of course, has to do with that which is observable. To be able to scientifically prove something, able to prove anything scientifically, you have to be able to observe it. However, according to Colossians 1.15, First Timothy 1.17, and Hebrews 11.27, God is invisible. That is, God is not observable. He is not discoverable by any means apart from revelation. By revelation, I mean that the only way anything can be known of God is by means of the indirect evidences of natural revelation, and by means of supernatural revelation in the form of the Word of God and miracles.

So, how do you prove the existence of God? When it comes to science, you cannot. Science is too limited in its ability to discover truth to ever be able to prove the existence of God, because God is not observable or subject to scientific inquiry. That leaves logic. After brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song, I will show you in my sermon how logic proves the existence of God.

 

SERMON:

 

Turn in your Bible to Mark 12.28, and stand for the reading of God’s Word:

 

28     And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

29     And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30     And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31     And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

32     And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

33     And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

34     And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

 

This is a wonderful passage, but my text for this morning is a short phrase in verse 32, “for there is one God.” That statement, made to the Lord Jesus Christ by a scribe, is absolutely true. There is one God, and I can prove it. I cannot prove it scientifically, but I can prove it logically. Some of you may immediately be filled without doubt. Others of you may be skeptical. However, have no fear; there is nothing spooky or mystical about logic. Neither is there anything unreliable or untrustworthy about logic. Most of you folks would be astonished to learn that logic is what computers employ to work properly. What is logic? Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines logic as the “necessary connection or outcome, as through the working of cause and effect.”[3] Hang on to that last phrase, “the working of cause and effect.” That is a vital feature of logic.

You know, of course, that there is a connection between cause and effect. Every effect is produced by and is the result of a cause.

 

(Drop a tennis ball or a ping-pong ball in plain sight of the audience)

 

The ball dropped to the floor. That is the effect. What was the cause? The cause was gravity. But for gravity, the ball would have been suspended in the air instead of falling to the floor. That effect, the ball falling to the floor, like every other effect, has a cause.

Now, let me prove to you, using logic, that God is:

 

First, Let Me State That THERE IS NO EFFECT WHICH OCCURS WITHOUT CAUSE

 

Every effect has a cause. Regardless of the person you talk to, and regardless of the experiences that person has had in life, they will admit to having no personal experience with any effect that could not be traceable to some cause. Every event that you are personally acquainted with is an event that has somehow, and in some way, been caused. In addition, you have never had an experience that was not somehow and in some way caused.

Therefore, there is no reason resulting from your experiences in life, or anything from which you have derived first hand knowledge, that would cause you to conclude that such a thing as an effect is possible without a cause. On the contrary, all of the experiences of mankind, and all of the knowledge of mankind, weigh completely on the conclusion that for every effect there must be a necessary and sufficient cause.

How absurd it is, then, for someone who claims to be a thinker, who insists that he is reasonable, who prides himself on his faculties of logic, who likes to think of himself as rational, to found his opinions and beliefs on the supposed existence of effects for which there are no causes.

 

Next, THERE IS NO ONE WHO DENIES THAT ALL EFFECTS HAVE CAUSES

 

I defy any linguist to disprove my assertion that every language known to man has integrally related to its form and function the concept of effects being produced by causes. Do not all languages have words that correspond to our English words such as cause, efficiency, effect, produce, create, generate, and other such words as these that simply would not exist in our language if causes did not have effects?

My friends, the very existence of these words is proof that men everywhere, using every language, base their communications on the reality that causes produce effects. I am no grammarian, but is not this the way almost all verbs work? To think, to speak, to sit, to run, to strike, to write, to love, to hate, all refer to effects that are produced by some causes, without which the words would have no contextual meanings.

To illustrate how innate this is to mankind’s natural behavior, consider the speech of little kids. When a little boy or little girl begins to talk, in varying degrees, do they not all and always express their curiosity by asking questions? In addition, what form do the questions take? “Who did that?” “Why is it that way?” “What made that?” My friends, no one teaches children to inquire about the causes of the effects they see. It is as normal and as natural for them as breathing and eating. Human beings are hard wired to know that effects are produced by causes, because human beings are like God in being logical.

Another way of illustrating this innate knowledge of cause and effect is by considering the behavior of any normal person. Who would eat if he did not expect that cause to produce the effect of satisfied hunger? Who would talk if he did not expect the effect of the other person hearing and understanding him? Who would exert effort to rise out of a chair if he did not know that the effect would be that he is standing and no longer sitting? Who would expend the effort to read if he did not presume that the effect of that cause would be to learn something that had been written?

So you see, though men may discuss the concept of effects without causes in the abstract, normal people living normal lives rely upon and expect that effects be produced by causes.

 

Third, THE EXPERIENCES OF LIFE SHOW US THIS CAUSE AND EFFECT CONNECTION

 

There are two ways of considering this connection between cause and effect:

First, consider the causes that occur outside us. These are the causes that affect our senses, such as things we see, smell, feel, hear, and taste. Would anyone deny that those causes produce effects? Smell good food when you are hungry and the effect will be undeniable. Taste good food when you are hungry and the effect will be even more undeniable. Stick someone with a needle and that cause will produce a quick effect, as your victim jerks his hand away from you. I could go on and on, but who in his right mind would deny that external causes produce undeniable effects to each and every one of us, and to everyone else?

How about internally? By internally, I refer to the causes that produce mental effects. Let me list some internal effects, which is to say some mental or intellectual effects: to think, to reflect, to remember, to choose, to like, to love, and to hate. Is it not clear beyond dispute that each of those mental reactions is an effect produced by some type of cause?

The fact of the matter which is undeniable is that every single experience of your life and mine shows the connection that exists between causes and effects, just as surely as an ignition spark in a combustion chamber burns an air-fuel mixture to produce the effect of forward motion in an automobile or an airplane. To restate then, logic dictates to us that every effect has a cause, that no one denies that every effect has a cause, and that every experience of our lives shows that every effect has a cause.

 

Fourth, THINKING IS PREDICATED UPON CAUSE AND EFFECT CONNECTIONS

 

Try to think of something in everyday life that is an effect for which there is no cause. I do not think you will succeed in your efforts. I think that you will never find an effect that you have experienced, or that anyone else has experienced, that does not have a cause. That said, I want you to go as far back as you can imagine. Push the envelope of effects back to the first effect. Now consider what its cause was. Alternatively, look at the situation another way: Consider change. Is there not always a cause that produces the effect of some change? Take something, anything, and change it. Does that change not require a cause? Of course, it does. However, if something that already exists has to have a cause to produce a change in what already exists, is it not more necessary to have a cause for nothing to become something than for something to change?

The point that I want you to consider is, if no change can take place without a cause, how can it be supposed by rational and logical people that existence can take place without a cause? Certainly, it is less logical for existence to take place without a cause than for changing something that exists without a cause. Therefore, you see, it is established with all reasonable and logical people that every effect has a cause. That means the cause has to precede the effect. Logically, it has to. Therefore, how can existence take place without a cause? Moreover, what cause produces the effect of existing? Think about that.

 

Fifth, IT IS ABSURD TO DENY THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CAUSE AND EFFECT

 

Let us say there is a person in the auditorium who disagrees with me, and who denies that every effect is the result of a cause. Do you realize that the effect of his disagreement is caused by a decision he makes? And the effect of his spoken objection is caused by speaking his mind. In addition, if your eyes are not a cause, then you do not experience the effect of seeing this illogical fellow who disagrees with me. Therefore, if someone denies that there is a cause for every effect, that person is illogical. He may not think he is illogical and unreasonable, but if you distill down all of his protests and simplify all of his statements, you will be left with the simple and incontrovertible conclusion that denying the connection between the necessity of every effect being produced by a cause is absurd. However, if you push the subject all the way back to the very beginning, where you are facing the very first effect, then you logically have to have for that first effect a cause. If every effect has a cause, then the first effect had a cause. What was the first cause?

This brings me to an argument once made by an English philosopher named John Locke, who had a strong influence on the thinking of our country’s founding fathers. Here is Locke’s thinking: “Every man knows, with absolute certainty, that he himself exists. He knows, also, that he did not always exist, but began to be. It is clearly certain to him, that his existence was caused, and not casual; and was produced by a cause, adequate to the production. By an adequate cause, is invariably intended, a cause possessing and exerting an efficacy sufficient to bring any effect to pass. In the present case, an adequate cause is one possessing and exerting all the understanding necessary to contrive, and the power to create, such a being as the man in question. This cause is what we are accustomed to call GOD. The understanding necessary to contrive, and the power necessary to create, a being compounded of the human soul and body, admit of no limits. He who can contrive and create such a being, can contrive and create any thing. He who actually contrived and created man, certainly contrived and created all things.”[4]

So, using logic in two ways, by going back to the cause of the first effect (whatever it was), and considering the famous John Locke’s logical reasoning concerning the creation of man, leads to an unavoidable conclusion.

 

That Conclusion Is That RATIONAL THOUGHT REQUIRES THAT GOD’S EXISTENCE BE RECOGNIZED

 

Just as you cannot have any effect without some cause, you cannot have the first effect without a cause. And if the first effect was something, anything, what caused it? The answer is simple. God caused it.

At this point, someone is likely to insist that what I am saying violates the laws of science and goes against science, because a number of scientists disagree with the conclusions that I claim are logical. But I respond by claiming that logic is a more powerful tool to ascertain the truth in this case than science is, because science is (as all intellectually honest scientists will admit) limited to that which can be experimented upon, to that which can be examined, and to that which is observable.

Logic is more powerful than science in that logic, especially that aspect of logic that pertains to cause and effect, reaches far beyond the scope of science. Logic extends to that which cannot be observed. Logic extends to that which cannot be experimented upon. Logic extends to that which cannot be verified by observation. In addition, logic demands that the existence of God be recognized.

 

There may well be one or two who will leave this auditorium refusing to acknowledge the existence of God, or refusing to acknowledge that God’s existence should be an important factor in his life. Anyone can think what he wants to think. However, let not that man or woman ever again suppose himself or herself to be a rational and logical human being. I am sorry that I cannot cite the source, but I distinctly remember reading an article written years ago by the famous scientist and science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov, who loudly proclaimed himself to be an atheist. Atheist though he was, at least Asimov admitted that his refusal to acknowledge the existence of God was a purely emotional decision, not based in any way on logic or reason. People who deny the existence of God do so for irrational and illogical reasons, perhaps supposing that they will not be held accountable by One Whose existence they deny. They are very much mistaken. However, they are not only mistaken, they are also foolish. Psalm 14.1 declares, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”

Think, for just a moment. What must this God be like? What must this First Cause be like? How great, awful, and glorious must He be? If He is the First Cause then He is self-existent. And did He not describe Himself to Moses as “I AM THAT I AM”?[5] If He is the First Cause, then He is not subject to change of any kind. Moreover, did He not say in Malachi 3.6, “I am the LORD, I change not”?

If God is the First Cause, then how utterly dependent upon Him are we all, and is every thing? How utterly futile and vain are all attempts to resist Him, to defeat Him, to thwart His purpose. He is the Creator of all things. He is Ruler over all. The reason for all things is His reason. So, God’s existence is logically established. God is.

What is the effect in your life of this One Who is the First Cause?



[1]Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979), pages 406-407.

[2] John W. Robbins, The Church Effeminate, (The Trinity Foundation, 2001), page 643.

[3] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 1064.

[4] Cited by Timothy Dwight, Theology Explained & Defended, Volume One, The Glorious Nature of God, (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2005), page 79.

[5] Exodus 3.14



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