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This is about a book I've read from John MacArthur.
On August 7, 1961, 26-year-old Major Gherman Titov became the second Soviet cosmonaut to orbit the earth and return safely. That’s a long time ago, ’61. Climaxing a monumental feat for mankind, he orbited the earth. Sometime later, speaking at the World’s Fair, he recounted his experience – a very unique experience. Not too many have it. In a rather interesting pronouncement, on a triumphalist note, this is what he said, “In my excursion into space, I did not see God.” Now, he was an atheist. Right? Russian communist atheist, and he wanted to make it clear that he had been around the earth and he didn’t see God. Upon hearing of this exuberant argument from silence, someone quipped, “Had he stepped out of his space suit, he would have.”
On Christmas day, 1968, three American astronauts were the first human beings to go around the dark side of the moon, away from the earth. They fired their rockets and were homebound on Apollo VIII. They looked at our planet in a way that human eyes had never witnessed it before. Some of you have seen the blue planet picture that came out of that Apollo VIII. They saw earth rise over the horizon of the moon draped in a beauteous mixture of white and blue bordered by the glistening light of the sun against the black void of space. And in the throes of this awe inspiring experience, they opened the pages of the book of Genesis and those astronauts read this. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Two similar experiences of awe and exhilaration, two diametrically opposed conclusions about the nature of the world. One said, “I went around and didn’t see God.” The others came back and said, “We saw God crystal clear.”
There is no explanation – there is no rational explanation for the existence of the universe apart from a rational mind. And the reason people want to reject the rational conclusion that there must be – listen – a cause for this effect, the reason they reject it has nothing to do with the mind. It has everything to do with the heart. It’s a moral issue. They don’t want responsibility. They don’t want some moral judge telling them how to live. That’s the issue. And so God is rejected, supposedly intellectually. And when you reject God, all hell breaks loose. Because if there is no creator, if no one is in charge and if you are not accountable to someone and if there is not a moral law and a moral law giver and a judge in the universe, then everything goes and anything goes. And what does that produce? Self-destruction.
If there is God, then everything flows from His existence – all created matter and all moral law. If there is no God then how can you explain anything? There is no law, except that which we make up for ourselves; there is no accountability, there is no source for this; there’s no rhyme or reason, and that is absolutely irrational on the one hand and morally suicidal on the other. But I submit to you that nothing will have more impact on your life than whether or not you believe in God. It’ll have personal impact on your life. It has an immense impact on a culture and the destiny of nations.
But man has always rejected God. I mean just generally, Romans chapter 1, in the Bible, says that men when they knew God glorified Him not as God and weren’t thankful. Why? Because they don’t want somebody sitting in judgment on their sins. Men love darkness, the Bible says, rather than light. You love your sin. I mean how hard is it to do good? Compare that with how easy it is to sin, to do evil. When you eliminate God, what you have is no control. G. K. Chesterton, the British philosopher said, “God is like the sun. You can’t look at it, but without it you can’t see anything else.” Apart from God, everything is black pointlessness.
To show you how silly it gets, in the Science Digest, which is an evolutionary digest, a sort of a heady, academic thing, there is an article called, “The Accidental Universe,” in one of their issues in 1992. The author is a scientist. Listen to what he says. This is the Science Digest. This is a heady science journal. He says this, “Our universe is simply one of those things that happens from time to time.” What an unbelievable statement. Just happens from time to time. And yet that evolutionary lie permeates education, law, government, politics, sociology, and morality and all areas of human endeavor and human relationships. If there is no God then everybody is free to live any way they want. And according to Scripture, you’ll pay for that. You’ll pay seriously for that.
You see, preachers and teachers of Christianity and Christians, we’re not running around trying to rain on your parade. We’re not trying to introduce you to the God who is the cosmic killjoy, you know, who goes around saying, “There’s one whose having fun. Get ‘em.” That’s not the idea. We’re here to tell you the Good News. You know what the Good News is? There is a God. And if you’ve got your head screwed on, you have to conclude that. You have to conclude that, because you cannot explain the complexity of the universe by chance. It can’t be done. Everything can’t come from nothing. And even if it was just mechanical, where did personality come from? Where did love come from? Wisdom? And why are men so different than animals? I know that the evolutionist wants us to believe that a rock is a rat is a dog is a boy equation. But dogs don’t write symphonies and neither do rats. And dogs don’t blast off in their own little private deals into space, and they don’t create dog universities. There is a huge gap between all animals and man because man is created in the very image of God. He bears the stamp of God: personality, will, choice, intellect. There is no explanation for the universe apart from the fact that there is a Creator.
Philip Johnson, a graduate of Harvard Law School, principal law teacher at, I think it’s Bolt School of Law at Berkeley – UC Berkeley, has written a book called Darwin on Trial, in which from purely argumentative basis, not from the Bible, he dismantles evolution. And he goes across the country debating all of this and giving these tremendous speeches about the irrationality of evolution. And he is arguing as a courtroom lawyer, who is a genius, and he just dismantles the whole system, and they throw him out of school, after school, after school. Why? Because if there is God, then somebody’s in charge and there is a rule giver, a law giver, and a judge, and accountability. And if there is God, then I have got to live according to His standards, and I don’t want anybody messing with my lifestyle. I wish I could say it was intellectual. It’s really moral.
Dr. Edward Wilson, writing in a humanist magazine – he teaches at Harvard. He said this, “Bitter experience has taught us that Fundamental Christianity is one of the unmitigated evils of the world.” Why do they hate Christianity? Because we say God has given laws and when you break them there are consequences. We ought to know that anyway. We have laws in our country. Don’t we? We have laws. When you break them, there’s consequences. Where did that come from?
So, where does Christianity fit into all this? Well, we want to bring the reality of God clearly to human hearts. So the first thing we want to do is bring people back to the fact that there has to be a God and that that God is Creator, Sustainer, and Law Giver – and listen, this is really important – and that you have all broken His law. I am obligated to tell you that. We’ve all come short of His law. We have broken His law. We know it. You say, how do you know it? Because you have a conscience that tells you that.
Now God has given you two things, and I often talk about this. God’s given you two ways to know He exists. First is reason. Okay? What does reason do? Reason works through a cause and effect pattern. There’s a building here. This is an effect. Something caused this, an architect, some builders, and so forth. And you keep reasoning back and back and finally you get to the biggest effect, which is the universe, and you say, somebody made this. Somebody with tremendous intelligence, with a tremendous love of beauty and harmony and variety and et cetera, et cetera.
So the first thing that takes you to God is reason, but the second thing that takes you to God is conscience. And this is very important for me to talk about for a minute. Conscience is a little built-in device that God has put in you to react to the moral law that is written in your heart. When you come into this world – okay? – when you come into this world, you know what is right and wrong basically – basically. There is a moral law written in your heart. You know that. You know that right now. You know that if you do certain things that you are going to feel guilty about those things. You go into a classroom and you cheat, I hope you feel guilty. You might say, “I got away with it. I got away with it.” But in the darkness of the night when you are going to sleep, maybe your conscience jumps up and grabs you by the throat, “You cheater.” You steal something somewhere, whatever it might be. You act in an immoral fashion and something grabs you, and you fight against that guilt.
And the second thing they do in our society today is try to destroy the function of conscience. Now let me tell you how conscience functions. Your conscience is a little warning system, and it just makes you feel bad when you do what’s wrong. So if you want to get out of that, you can do two things. You can reprogram yourself so that your moral system is really completely reversed. In other words, if you have a certain moral standard built into you when you come into the world and it makes you feel guilty about things, you’ve got to reconstruct your moral system so you don’t feel guilty about those things anymore. Right? That’s what you’re having in our culture today. Anything you want to do is good. It’s all fine. It’s all wonderful. Let’s create a whole new moral system.And there’s a second thing you can do if you want to get rid of guilt, and that is you can just shut your conscience up by just saying, “Well, my problem is I don’t have enough self-esteem. My problem is that I need to feel good about myself. I shouldn’t feel bad about myself. I’m a wonderful person. I’m an excellent – I need to feel better about myself not worse about myself.” And you just play psychological games with your conscience.
By the way, according to MTV, there is no moral standard. No absolute moral standard, they say. You do whatever you want. What is sin to me may not be sin to you. And then they ended the program, two-hour program, with this unbelievable statement, “The most evil sin in the world is the killjoy attitude of those who think sin is an offense to a Holy God.” here’s no God. There’s no holy standard. There’s no sin, and so sin is when you think there is. You’ve sinned against yourself, because you make yourself feel bad.
Now I’ve discharged my responsibility to tell you that there is a God. And I may not be the most intelligent person in the world, but I’m not stupid, and I know that for every effect there is a cause. Something is behind everything in this universe. Somebody made it. That alone makes sense. And I’ll tell you something else, that God has a moral law and He has written it in your heart, and then He has written it in this book, called the Bible. And then God says every human being falls short of living up to this standard. And not everybody’s as bad as everybody else, and not everybody’s as bad as they could be. Some people are about as bad as they could be, but not everybody’s as bad as they could be. But everybody has broken God’s law and the wages of sin is death. And after death, hell. And the Bible describes hell as a place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth – a horrible, horrible place, cut off from God forever in eternal torment. That’s the bad news.
But quickly, the good news: if you’ll accept the bad news, young people if you’ll just accept the bad news, then you’re in a position to get the good news. If you deny the reality of the bad news, you’ve basically damned yourself. Let me tell you what the good news is: God forgives sinners. That’s the good news. That’s the gospel. That’s the simple truth: God forgives sinners. You say, well how much of their sin does He forgive? All of it.
We are different. We have different longings. We have different desires, different passions, different loves. You know I talked to a guy a long time ago – he said, “I can’t become a Christian, man. Because if I become a Christian I’ll have to get rid of everything I like. You know I got booze and drugs and girls and money” – and whatever values. The guy says, “If I become a Christian, I’m going to have to throw all that stuff away, and then I’ll have to do church and Bible reading, and I’m not interested in that.”
And I said, “No, you’ve got it wrong. It doesn’t work like that.” Here’s how it works. You got a table here. You got all the stuff in your life. You become a Christian, you know what happens? You get a whole new set of price tags. You just go back to the table and say, “Wait a minute, that doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.” And all of a sudden you love different things. I don’t feel like I made a big sacrifice. I do what I love. I do what I enjoy. I do what fulfills me. I give my heart to what rewards me, what makes my life rich and meaningful. My whole approach is different. Everything is different. That’s the transformation. Forgiveness and a transformed life, that’s what Jesus Christ offers you, and that’s the message of Christianity in it’s wonderful simplicity.