TrinityTutors Virtual Academy
GOD Fred W. Duckworth, Jr.
Unless stated otherwise, Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 173, 1975, 1977, 1995, as published by the Lockman Foundation, PO Box 2279, La Habra, CA 90631, (714)879-3055, and posted at biblegateway.com.
Audio Bible: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/info.php#2
Cover design by Fred Duckworth
Copyright © 2013 by TrinityTutors Virtual Academy All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Published by TrinityTutors.com PO Box 83350 Al Ain, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates www.TrinityTutors.com
Introduction In designing this course, one of our top priorities was ensuring we included what a majority of knowledgeable believers might consider the most important aspects of the Christian faith. Moreover, given that we live in a day when numerous individuals mock Christianity and ridicule its followers in an effort to portray Christians as blithering idiots, we have as a secondary priority the presentation of select samples taken from a mountain of compelling evidence illustrating the authority and authenticity of Judeo-Christian Scripture. And finally, realizing how easy it is to become overwhelmed by the massive amount of information we could offer about Christianity, we have chosen instead to present only that which we expect our learners to rememberâ€”just the bare essentials. So with that, letâ€™s get startedâ€Ś
Chapter 1 In listing the most essential tenants of the Christian faith, we also wanted to do so in roughly the order of their importance. Accordingly, the purpose of this first chapter is to delineate what we consider to be Christianity’s most foundational doctrines. Since an individual might reasonably argue that a world in which God does not exist would render Christianity virtually useless, we begin by taking our cue from Deuteronomy 6:8, then Genesis 1:1, and move on to Romans 1:8, arguing that there is only one God, that it is He who created the universe, and that He is therefore about as real as real gets.
WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY? Briefly stated, Christianity is simply a particular set of beliefs about God, this world, life in general, and the life that awaits us after death.
ONLY ONE GOD Chief among the tenets of the Christian faith is the belief that there is only one God.
IN THE BEGINNING… A second essential tenet of Christianity is that it was this one God who made all that was ever created. It was He who created the universe “out of nothing.”
I AM THAT I AM Now, if God really exists, there should be a compelling body of evidence to which we can readily turn to establish that fact. While there are those who claim God is, at best, a primitive, superstitious myth amounting to little more than a figment of wishful imaginations, we at TrinityTutors Virtual Academy believe the preponderance of facts—including historical documents, eyewitness testimony, scientific discoveries and the objective rules of evidence— require people to exercise more faith to become atheists than to become Christians. For example, scientists would have our students believe that the physical universe exploded into existence out of nothing (even though it is impossible for something to come from nothing) and that it then ignored the law of thermodynamics by moving from disorder to order simply by random chance, altering a chaotic arrangement of debris into a highly complex, delicately balanced ensemble in which a myriad of parameters having an infinite
range of possibilities just so happened to set the values of dozens and dozens of variables within the extremely narrow range that would permit life to exist on Earth; and that all this happened with nothing we know of bringing it about—never mind the fact that this is in direct opposition to the law of cause and effect. However, we would argue that to believe such an irrational, unscientific explanation demands far more faith than that required to believe in God. Everyday common sense as well as basic scientific laws and principles lend more credence to the Biblical account of creation than to any so-called “scientific” or naturalistic theory. There are literally hundreds of compelling arguments we might cite to support the existence of God, but for the sake of brevity, we will for now limit ourselves to just this one—our universe. For you see, when it comes to explaining the existence of the universe, there are only four even remotely plausible possibilities: 1. 2. 3. 4.
It is an illusion. It created itself out of nothing. It is self-existent and eternal. It was made by someone or something other than itself.
However, sheer logic eliminates all but one of these four. Just think about it. If the first option is correct and the universe is an illusion, there has to be someone or something experiencing that illusion, which means this choice still leaves us with three unanswered questions: 1. Did whatever is experiencing this illusion create itself out of nothing? 2. Is it self-existent and eternal? 3. Or was it made by something or someone else? See the problem? We pretty much end up right back where we started. So, let’s consider the next possibility—that the universe created itself out of nothing. One could argue that this is totally illogical, given that one of the most fundamental ontological principles of metaphysics is that you cannot get something out of nothing, which is supported by the first law of thermodynamics; that under normal conditions, matter and energy are neither created nor lost. On top of this, you have the law of cause and effect, which states that for every material effect there must be a sufficient preexisting cause. Moreover, the notion of self-creation violates the law of non-contradiction, which holds that a thing cannot be “A” and not be “A” at the same time and in the same relationship. In other words, in order for the universe to create itself, it would have had to have existed before it existed—which is utter nonsense.
We are therefore led to the conclusion that this is a completely irrational and illogical explanation. Since matter could not have created itself, it had to have been created by something that transcends the physical world. And of course, the term for that which transcends the material is—spirit—which leads us right back to God. But wait! Is it possible that the universe always was? To put it another way, could the universe be self-existent and eternal? Probably not, since this explanation is in direct opposition to what is presently the most widely accepted paradigm within the scientific community, that the universe had a definite beginning. Since the empirical evidence does not support the notion that the universe has always existed, one would have to accept such a position by faith and not based on science or logic. We are therefore left with just one possibility…the universe had to have been created by someone or something other than itself. Now, some like to claim the universe was created by chance, but chance is not an entity and therefore has no power over anything. It is simply a word used to describe the idea of possibility. You see, odds do not make a horse win or make a coin come up heads. Rather, it is one or more “forces” that influence such outcomes. Chance is merely a concept. To say that chance created the universe is equivalent to saying nothing created the universe, which is another way of saying the universe created itself—a notion we have already demonstrated is illogical. Again, it is utter nonsense and unworthy of science to say the universe came into being out of nothing, by nothing, through the power of nothing. No, sheer logic dictates there was never a time when there was nothing. Otherwise, there would be nothing still. But, if there is anything—and there obviously is—then it is a logical necessity for something to be eternal and self-existent. And of course, it is God alone who has the power of being within Himself. According to science, we need a preexisting, nonphysical, supernatural, tremendously powerful intervening force to have been responsible for the existence of the world. Now, if that does not sound like God to you, there's really nothing more that can be said…except that despite all the brouhaha to the contrary, there is nothing in our understanding of God that contradicts modern science. No law of rationality is violated by the concept of a God who is, in His very being, self-existent. According to the Bible, God is spirit and therefore transcends matter, energy space and time. This resolves the question of the universe popping into existence “out of nothing.” It did not come from nothing—it came from God.
Since He is both eternal and all-powerful, God is a more-than-sufficient, pre-existing cause for the physical effect we know as the universe, thereby satisfying the law of cause and effect. While the first law of thermodynamics states that under normal conditions matter and energy are neither created nor lost, God is supernatural, so by definition the world was not formed under natural circumstances. You see, Yahweh, as He is described in the Bible, meets every precondition science requires for what brought this universe into being, even though the Bible was written long before the above-mentioned laws and principles were ever articulated.
A TRIUNE BEING So then, Christianity asserts there is no deity other than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who is a self-existent, eternal, unchanging, all-powerful, all-knowing, omnipresent, holy, righteous and loving God. Christianity goes on to describe this God as consisting of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Though some have a problem with the idea of one God existing as three distinct persons, this is primarily due to their preexisting notions or certain presuppositions they hold about gods. For example, if a gentleman were to say Miami, Florida has just one professional basketball team and then proceeded to name fifteen players, you wouldnâ€™t argue that, since he named fifteen guys, Miami actually had fifteen teams. To do so would only demonstrate your lack of understanding as to what constitutes a team, which by definition, has more than one member. Similarly, to argue that Father, Son and Holy Spirit equals three different gods is to misunderstand what constitutes God, who by definition, is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is only one God and therefore, it is this God who defines what God is. Any other definition is, quite simply, a misconception. So then, believing that the one true God is triune in nature is another essential tenet of genuine Christianity.
Name ______________________________________________ Date _____/_____/_____ Score _____
Christianity Activity Sheet Foundational Doctrine Directions: Respond to the following prompts using compete sentences. 1. Describe Christianity as defined in the 3rd paragraph of this chapter. _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ 2. List the three foundational doctrines discussed in the preceding pages? _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ 3. List the four possible explanations for how the universe came into existence and explain why only one of those options makes any kind of real or logical sense. _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________
Chapter 2 Insert text here.