Ligonier Conference: Entry #9
Friday, March 16
Ravi Zacharias addressed "The Existence of God."
R.C. Sproul introduced Ravi Zacharias as someone who does not sit in an ivory tower simply talking about apologetics. He practices apologetics in the most hostile of atmospheres. Sproul mentioned that Zacharias has a "rapier intellect," and he uses it with "a singular grace." "His person is as much an apologetic as his message..."
A very good introduction.
Here are the notes:
1. Philosophical Problems Arise from Denying God's Existence. Nietzsche (1844-1900) popularized the phrase "God is Dead." And he tried to live out his nihilism consistently. Nietzsche understood the consequences of denying God. He wrote the Parable of the Madman (which you can read here.)
If God is dead, then we have to redefine everything.
We have intense problems with defining morality. How can we make any moral pronouncements if there is no God? But the problem of evil is something that people use to deny God's existence. However, the existence of evil must presuppose the existence of good. And "good" must be defined by an objective standard--a moral law. And if there is a moral law, there must be a moral law-giver.
"Pure practical reason....will not lead you to morality..."
We have intense problems with positing any meaning.
We have intense problems with having any hope. Ravi mentioned that one Iraqi pastor he recently talked to was almost blown-up in a terrorist's bomb. Ravi asked him if what America did in invading Iraq was right. The pastor responded that before America came, we live with constant pain. Now we live with pain--but we have some hope. People need some hope! Atheism has no hope to offer.
2. We Should Demonstrate the Existence of God. The following points come from Dallas Willard:
Stage 1 Nothing in the physical universe has its ground for existence within itself. We must have a self-existent cause which is not physical. (My notes do not treat Ravi's message fairly. - JR)
Stage 2 The Argument TO Design. Evolution is not an explanation for ultimate origins. What caused the Big Bang? The Big Bang didn't evolve!
Lee Strobel asked his son what is the difference between a philosopher and a large pizza? Answer: A Large Pizza Can Feed a Family of Four. :) :)
But we must consider the philosophical issues!
When Francis Collins looked at the human genome--our DNA, he said, "I felt like I was looking at the book of life."
Stage 3 The Course of Human Events (Historical, Social, and Personal) demonstrates the existence of God.
How do you explain history if there is no God? (Ravi then discusses John Frames response to Antony Flew's Parable of the Gardener.)
Why Does the Gardener (Christ) Reveal God?
1. He Describes the Human Condition Accurately. Just as He knew the Woman at the Well, He knows every human heart. No other religious figure can do this like Christ.
2. The Coalescing of Absolutes Is Found in Christ. Evil, Justice, Love, and Forgiveness are absolutes and they are fully displayed in the crucifixion of Christ! The Cross was the true Cosmic Drama.
3. He Discloses Reality: You came to the conference because you want to go deep. There is sublimity and the simple. Christ addresses Nicodemus and the Child. The sublime and the simple interact with each other in Christ. Such as:
The Trinity: The Trinity is the only possible answer to the old problem of the "One and the Many." The world is an expression of unity and diversity. And the effect must reside in the cause. If unity and diversity are in the effect of creation, they must exist in the cause of creation--God.
The Resurrection of the Body In God the physical and the spiritual are brought together in a sacredness. We must respect the human body as well as the human mind/soul.
Ravi then finishes with a quote from Reagan: "Serve the atheist a fine dinner and ask him if he believes in a cook"