have seen quite a change in the state of religion in my
fifty-four years in ministry, with fifty years in this ministry
here in California. When I graduated from seminary,
I believed that a majority of scientists were believers
in God, but I've seen that number decline over the past
fifty years. Until about ten years ago, only twenty percent
of the physicists professed belief in God. And that
happened, I believe, because fifty years ago the world's
foremost philosopher, Dr. Anthony Flew, in 1950 debated
with writer and Christian thinker, C.S. Lewis. After
that religious forum, Dr. Flew wrote a textbook on atheism
that has probably been reprinted more than any other book
in the scientific community. So Dr. Flew, more than
any other one person, has been responsible for the spread
of atheism in the scientific community these past fifty
past week, in Texas, I met a man who knew me and thanked
me for our ministry. Then he said, "Have you
heard the news about Dr. Flew?" "No,"
I answered. He said, "I sponsored a symposium
at the New York University earlier this year where Dr. Flew
dialogued on the issue of atheism with Dr. Schroeder from
the M.I.T. Weisman Institute. Dr. Schroeder is a brilliant
Jewish philosopher from Jerusalem." Then my friend
showed me a video of Dr. Flew thirty years ago when he made
one of his profound atheistic declarations. Here is
a portion of that lecture.
know there is no God. The second thing which I need
to say is that I'm not really offering any reasons for being
an atheist. The two things that I have been saying
in my systemic apologetics is that after all the things
that are said about this Proposed Being are contradictory,
then to say that there is such a Being, thus and thus described,
is like saying there is a round square or an unmated husband.
And if this is so, this is rightfully good reason to say
that there's no such thing. It is exactly the sort
of reason we have to say that there is no such thing as
a mated bachelor and so on."
thirty years have passed and this same atheist, Dr. Flew,
in a recent dialogue with Dr. Schroeder, from the Weisman
Institute, was asked this question:
Flew, in your view, does modern science indicate the existence
of an outside intelligent active force in this universe?"
I now think it does almost entirely because of the
DNA investigations. What I think that the DNA material
has done is that it has shown almost an unbelievable complexity
of the arrangements which lead to produce this Being.
And that intelligence must have been involved in getting
these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.
That's an enormous complexity with the number of elements
that work together. You know, the change of them meeting
at the right time is simply too minute. That is the
best I can do for a short explanation. It is all in
my view, a matter of the enormous complexity by which the
results are achieved which look to me like the work of Intelligence!"
The leading scientists of the universities of the world
are now getting the latest news from their hero of atheism.
Dr. Flew, at the age of eighty-one, is putting aside atheism
and saying, "There has
to be an intelligent creator at the beginning."
That is phenomenal! What is that going
to mean in the years, decades, and centuries to come?
A belief in the Creator God is going to be fashionable and
more importantly, it will be scientific. That doesn't
mean that they will be neither Christians nor theists.
They will probably be deists, but what happened to the God
who created this universe? Science has no answer to
that, and we won't find it in DNA except in the complexities
of God's handy work. Now we need to go and search
for this God! What happened to that God? Merry
Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet prophesied that God would
some day come to earth in the form of a human being, and
this would be the Messiah. God would establish Himself
in such a way that human beings could relate to Him, not
as a mass of eternal creative spirit, but as Someone who
it's Christmas and I want to give you this morning four
words to describe this God who visited the earth.
This Eternal Creator has not unkindly left us guessing,
but has most responsibly drawn open the curtains to let
us see what He is like. Meet Jesus Christ!
you think of Jesus Christ or hear about Jesus, remember
1) His name
is His name? A name is very important. Shakespeare
said, "A name is not very significant," but Shakespeare
was wrong. I have long said that Martin Luther King
would not have been what he was if he had been named John
Henry. He was named Martin Luther. The name
shapes the subconscious, which shapes the image, which drives
you. Martin Luther was a reformer, and was martyred
for it, so was Martin Luther King.
angel said to Joseph, "His name shall be called Jesus for He shall save
His people from their sins." (Matthew
word "Jesus" means "Savior." He
was named by heaven, "He shall be called 'Emanuel'" íK "Emanu" means
"with us". "El" means "God."
"God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
Jesus has come to be our Savior, what does that mean?
Every human being on planet earth has had an experience
when they were tortured for only a second, or for a long
time, with a thing called "guilt." And how
do you get rid of guilt? I have studied psychology
and theology. You can analyze life from the DNA, but
I analyze life, God and faith, from the personality of human
beings. Every human being needs a sense of forgiveness.
Enter a Savior. And what does Jesus save us from?
He saves us from eternal death which means saved to eternal life.
Wherever and whatever heaven is, we have yet to experience
it. It is there. Don't deny it. There
is a heaven.
saves us from the ultimate sin, which is lack of belief
and lack of faith. That is also lack of faith in yourself.
The gospel that we have been preaching for fifty years is
that God came to this earth to save us, and how does He
save us? God saves us for a purpose here on earth
to do something good and wonderful so that our lives glorify
God, and God does this by giving us a vision, a dream, an
idea. I know my dreams came from God. I didn't
invent them. This is how God continues to reveal Himself.
We need a Savior so that we will believe in ourselves and
believe that we can make a difference and believe in Him
and in ourselves.
the Heisman Trophy winner, Matt Lienart, who lives only
a few miles from this Cathedral. Matt went to the
Catholic High School where, as a younger boy, he was teased
and mocked because he wore thick glasses and he was overweight.
But he went on to win the Heisman Trophy, the highest honor
in football. What are your problems?
we need is to believe in ourselves before we can even believe
in God. If you don't believe in yourself, you won't dare
to believe in God. And if you don't believe in yourself,
you wouldn't believe that you could be saved. Jesus
Christ: His Name says it all.
2) His Claim
claim, that is the second word. What is His claim?
"I have come to seek and
save those that are lost." His claim
was, "I am the light of the world. He who follows
Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light
of life!" This Creative Intelligence
that Dr. Flew, the icon of atheism now admits exists, has
come into the world as a human being.
His name is Jesus.
His claim is íK I can give you life abundant and
eternal. That is the kind of God we believe in.
3) His Aim
aim is to connect
human beings with that eternal Creative Intelligence who
created the world. His
aim is to connect to human beings, who have a
brain, eyes, mouth, heart, spirit, soul, imaginative, and
creative powers. You, as a human being, are an awesome
creature. You have an imagination, think of that!
You can instantly be half a world away without getting out
of your seat. There is something that travels faster
than the speed of light, and that is the human brain and
its thought processes. You are an awesome creature.
By nature you are not connected with God, no, by nature
we all need to get connected and Jesus can do that.
Jesus does that by coming and whispering to us." No
matter what your sin is, it can be forgiven."
I don't know what your sins are and you don't know mine,
but we all have some. We all need a Savior, and we
need Him now! Never before in human history did a
beautiful human being come and claim to be God coming to
earth to save us.
(1) His Name íK (2) His Claim íK (3) His
Aim íK (4) His Fame
was His legacy? You see it on the tips of church steeples
around the world íK it is a cross! Why a cross?
Because He wanted us all to know that we must always believe
in this God of love, even when we see suffering. Unjust
suffering is horrific. The question people keep asking,
"How can you explain that there is a good God when
you see the suffering in this world?" Look at
the statement that Jesus left. It is a symbol.
It is a cross. We have an imperfect world. We
have a sinful world. We are an imperfect human race.
There will be suffering íK there will be injustice.
If there is any justice, how can it be dealt with?
Should sin be punished? We cannot let every bad person
off the hook. That is unethical. The ultimate
Flew speaks of the contradictions, one of his reasons for
being an atheist. In my new book, "Don't Throw
Away Tomorrow," which comes out in four weeks, I have
an entire chapter on contradictions.
is all a matter of contradictions. Dark and
light. When you see contradictions, you don't reject
either side, but you step in the middle and creatively learn
to live with both viewpoints. You find creativity
in contradictions. Jesus is a contradiction; totally
human, totally divine. The Bible is a contradiction;
Old Testament and New Testament. Yes, look at the
contradiction between justice and mercy; God has to be just,
but He must also be merciful. Now that is the ultimate
philosophical contradiction and where do you find a solution
to that? You look at the cross and know that God came
to earth one time and He would hang on the cross to experience
the greatest horrific injustice that any human being could
ever experience. God Himself in a body being crucified,
naked with loss of all of His self esteem. Loss of
all of His dignity. Loss of His consciousness of the
Father until He would cry out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
That is the ultimate horror of life. Jesus intentionally
did that so He could earn the right to save anybody.
"Your sins can be forgiven. Believe me.
I took the rap for you." Look at the cross!
That is where you will find salvation.
His name - Jesus-Savior
His claim? That He is the Son of God and I would rather believe in Him than any doubter
His aim? Yes, He came to the end of His earthly life
on the cross. Wowl
íK His legacy is the cross.
New Year 2005 will be here in a few days. I predict
that in the next ninety-five years, religion built around
the true heart of Jesus, will be the most powerful force
in the world. Yes! With atheism dying, first
in the realm of science and DNA, and people admitting there
is a creative intelligence to begin with. We cannot
deny God anymore. The odds are trillions and trillions
plus trillions plus trillions to one in favor of a creative
intelligence. Then what do we do with that belief?
Where do we go? Let's go to the Bible. Let's
go to a Man who lived, a Man who died and at the foot of
the cross, meet this God of love and this God of peace.
It is a decision. God is alive íK let Him live in
pray: O God, it is a wonderful Christmas. You
are revealing Your power and Your presence, not when I only
look at the starry sky, but when I know the complexities
of my own personal self in the DNA. O God, You keep
revealing Yourself and when I look at Jesus that is the
kind of God I can believe in. Thank You. Amen