RPM, Volume 15, Number 43, October 20 to October 26, 2013

You Have To Be Kidding Me!

By John McWilliams

Scripture Readings:

Genesis 1:24-27.

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds; cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

John 1:1-5.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Please join me in prayer. Almighty God, as we look into Your Word today, we pray that You would place the seeds of Your Word deeply in us, that You would move out of the way anything in me or in any of us that would hinder the preaching, and hearing and doing of Your Word, and that we as Your Church would hear the great message that You have for us today from Your Word. We pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Well, it's a wonderful opportunity to be with you here again. I'm always so grateful to Pastor Doug and the Session whenever I get an invitation to preach or teach in this church. It's a blessing. My wife and I are so thankful to be here with all of you and we look forward to an exciting new season together.

I assume that most all of us have had at least one of those moments in life when somebody tells us something and our basic and immediate response is "You have to be kidding me!" Now, actually there are two different ways to use that phrase. In some cases we use it to show surprise and even happiness with what we're told. Let me give you an example.

You come home from work and your wife says "I have something special to tell you. Would you please sit down?" You sit down. You're all ears and she gives you the great news that she's pregnant with your first child. Now even though you fully trust that what she's saying is true, you might still say something like, "You have to be kidding me. That's great."

So in some cases it shows amazement, but on the other hand, we also use that phrase to convey total disbelief in what we're being been told. For instance, your husband comes home and tells you that he's just invested every cent of your savings in classic aluminum Christmas trees, because he's sure that they are going to make a comeback and you are going to make a bundle being able to sell them. Now among other things, you might say, "YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!" and you'd say it in a way that expresses total disbelief in what you're being told.

That's exactly how I feel when someone tells me, that in their opinion, the world and all of creation came into existence by accident, without a plan, without a design and without a creator. When somebody tells me that, the response I prefer is, "You have to be kidding me!" and that gets their attention and it allows the conversation to continue, which is my goal.

My friends, I feel that as Christians, it's important that we respond to people who make these claims with which we totally disagree and which disagree with Scripture as well. In fact, not saying something when we're faced with such things, pretty much allows the other person to feel that you actually agree with them.

Educated Away From Our Common Sense

It's my feeling that when it comes to this issue of God's creation, common sense has far too often been left out of the equation. Moreover, on this subject, far too many people have been quite literally, as they say, "educated away from their common sense." Let me give you a couple of definitions of common sense from the dictionary. Here's the first one. "Sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts." I like this second one even more. "Sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training or the like. Normal native intelligence."

When you call a company and you have to push 17 buttons to get a live person and then you get put on hold for 15 minutes, tell me how that makes you feel. Don't you feel a little angry? Don't you feel a little frustrated? You know why you feel that way? It's because your common sense tells you there has to be a better way to do this.

When it comes to how we all got here, how life began, how the universe came into being, I'd like to suggest to you that much of what we're being told these days amounts to an effort to educate us away from our common sense.

Chaos or Creator?

It's Labor Day weekend and today I'm going to ask you to join me in looking at some of God's labor and the results of His handiwork. When I look at the starry skies, the sun, the moon and all of creation around me, my common sense tells me I would be a fool to claim that all of this magnificent creation came into being by itself, by accident, without a plan and without a creator.

You've probably also heard it said that someone can be a very smart person, but also have a lack of common sense. Trust me. There are some very smart people out there, some very educated people, who've indeed been educated away from their common sense on these issues.

Let me be clear. I'm not anti-science at all. Yet when it comes to the issue of creation, I'm going with what The Bible says and what my God given common sense tells me.

Let me show you what I mean. Here's a picture of our own earth taken from space. Look at how beautiful it is and how perfectly shaped it is. The arrow on the picture is pointing to the spot where we are in Florida, rotating on this globe that's hanging out in space. We're on a globe that is teeming with life and natural beauty. Now when I look at that, my common sense tells me that this just couldn't have happened by itself. In fact for that to just happen by accident, makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Now the earth is incredible in and of itself. Yet if you pull back from the earth and look into the universe and beyond, things are even more incredible. Here is a picture of Spiral Galaxy M81 as it's called. It's 11.6 million light-years from earth.

Let's unpack that a bit. The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. That's pretty fast. Travelling at that speed, you could circle the earth over 7 times in one second! To put it another way, traveling at the speed of light, you could go to the moon and back in less than three seconds! So the distance of one light-year is how far you can go at the speed of light in a year's time. So since this galaxy is 11.6 million light-years away, what that means is that if you left today and traveled at the speed of light, it would take you 11.6 million years to get there.

The next picture shows an amazing thing. This is actually a cluster of stars that is located much closer to the earth than the first picture. This one you could get to at the speed of light in only 17,300 years.

The next picture is that of the Whirlpool Galaxy and it has a beautiful shape and it's 31 million light years from earth.

The next picture is that of another Spiral Galaxy. It's 111 million light-years away from earth and interestingly enough, this one spins backwards. It drives astronomers crazy because they don't know why it spins backwards. Maybe God has a sense of humor.

The last galaxy I'm going to show you is called Hoag's Object or The Ring Galaxy. It's a bit further out there. Traveling at the speed of light, this would take you 600 million years to reach. I suggest you take a sandwich for that trip.

Now this kind of thing is just amazing. When we look at these pictures it can make us feel so small and so insignificant. Yet at the same time, it can make us feel so loved because the same God Who made all of this, also made you and me and He voluntarily traveled across the light-years of time to end up on a cross so that we could end up in Heaven with Him forever.

When you look at pictures like this, tell me which makes more sense to you. Chaos or design? Accident or Creator? The Bible says that Jesus was behind it all. The Bible says that all things were made through Him and I am going with that plan.

Smart People Short On Common Sense.

However there are some very smart people, some brilliant people, who fly in the face of this, who do not agree with God's Word on this and who have come up with a whole different approach that leaves God out of the equation completely.

Let me show you a picture of one of those people. His name is Richard Dawkins. You may have heard of him. You may have heard him debate this subject of creation on T. V. or you may have read one of the books he's written.

He's a British evolutionary biologist and he's an avowed atheist. He's written a number of books, the most famous of which was written four years ago called "The God Delusion."

If you look at his picture he looks like a smart guy and he is a smart guy. He's a brilliant guy, but I'm guessing he's been educated away from his common sense.

Here's what he has to say about God and creation. He says that "a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that faith qualifies as a delusion — as a fixed false belief."

Notice that he says here "almost certainly does not exist." It seems to me he's covering all the bases with that phrase, just in case he's wrong.

Then when speaking about how life began on the earth, he has this to say. "But how did the whole process start? . . . Most, though not all, of the informed speculation begins in what has been called the primeval soup. . . Nobody knows how it happened, but somehow. . . a molecule arose that just happened to have the property of self-copying."

I wonder what the chances are of that happening. What he's saying is that a single molecule all of a sudden, all by itself, somehow got the ability to reproduce itself and millions of years later, here we all are sitting together in church. YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!

A Junkyard, a Tornado and a 747.

It so happens that a fellow countryman of Dawkins, named Fred Hoyle, disagreed with him on this subject. Hoyle was a brilliant astronomer and scientist. He was a professor at Cambridge and founder of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge.

Let me quote you what he said about this. He said, "So if one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of in pondering this issue over quite a long time seems to me to have anything like as a high a possibility of being true."

He goes on to also say this. "Would you not say to yourself, 'Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule'? Of course you would. . . A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-calculating intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in the nature."

Hoyle backed that up with the now famous illustration of a junkyard, a tornado and a 747. Here's his proposal.

He says you've got a junkyard and in that junkyard you have all the parts that it would take to build a 747. It's all there. He then asks what the chances are of a tornado passing through that junkyard and with those scattered parts, accidently assembling on the spot, a perfectly good and working 747.

Of course the implication is that such a thing would be impossible. Yet what he's actually saying here is that there is actually a better chance of that 747 being assembled by accident by a tornado passing through that junkyard, than there is of life starting up by itself, by accident, without a design or Creator.

Ask People The Questions That Challenge Them.

I agree with him on this issue and here's a picture of another airplane that can assist us in this discussion. This plane is a Boeing 737-800 series aircraft. It is made up of over 367,000 parts that make it work and that make it fly.

I was on one of these one day flying to Oregon. When I got to Southwest Florida International Airport that morning, I was in the security line and I saw somebody wave to me. It was Jeremy. Jeremy was a flight instructor at Naples Airport. I'd flown with him a few times and he and I had talked about religion because he is an avowed atheist. I had shared with him how I felt there was ample proof for the existence of God and I had tried to witness to him that there was a God, but Jeremy would have none of it.

He always responded by saying something like, I don't believe there is a God. Nothing indicates there is a God and he took the position that everything we see and hear around us, as well as life itself, came into being by accident without a plan or design.

When we both got through the line we talked a little bit and found out that we were actually booked on the same flight. However, not only were we on the same flight, but when we got on the plane, we were sitting right next to each other.

I was thrilled about this because I now had Jeremy to myself for the next two hours. So we began to talk and I asked him how he was doing and how the family was etc.

Then I moved the conversation to the God question we'd previously discussed. I asked him if he was still an atheist and still bought into the whole theory of everything coming into existence by accident without God. Yes, he said. He still held to the position that there could be no God and that physics and science backed his position.

I said, Jeremy, let me ask you a question. Could you tell what we're in right now? He said we're in a 737-800. I said, right and we're traveling at about 500 plus miles an hour in this machine. I said Jeremy, could I ever in a million years convince you that this 737-800 came into being by accident and without a designer? He kind of looked a bit baffled and he said, no.

So then I said, well, if it's not an intelligent position to hold that this 737-800 came into existence by accident, would you please tell me why it's an intelligent position to hold that everything you can see outside that window and the universes beyond came into existence by accident, when in fact they are so much more complicated than this particular airplane.

He then said something to me like, I never heard it put that way before.

After we landed and I left my seat, I was walking up the aisle of the plane to get off. Jeremy called to me. I turned around and looked at him and he actually pointed up and said, maybe someone did put us together on this plane today.

That's the kind of question that we have to pose to people in these conversations about creation and we should to actually ask them to respond. We have to ask them if it's not an intelligent position to hold that a Boeing 737 could come into existence by accident and without a designer, how in the world can it be deemed intelligent to take the position that something far more complex, like entire worlds, galaxies and universes could come into existence without a design and a Creator?

Vanilla, Woodpeckers and the Pacific Golden Plover.

The evolution issue is one that gets continually debated today and I'm not going to get into that very deeply this morning. In fact Dan Odey is going to be teaching a class on that subject in the Spring and I recommend that you sign up for and attend that class.

However, there are a few evolutionary issues that are worth mentioning before we close.

For instance, our Scripture today from Genesis that we read says something very important. It says God created the animals, the birds, the fish and the plants "according to their kinds." What that means is that he created them from scratch, as they are. It didn't take him a million years to come up with a fish or a specific type of bird or a cat.

It's important for us to understand that God can in fact do this because He is God. When you really look at the evidence, both in the universe beyond us and the world around us, taking the position that it all happened by accident with a designer or Creator, simply doesn't make sense.

In Jeremiah 32:37 we hear these words. "Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you."

Consider that for a moment. If in fact nothing is too hard for God, why should we have a problem with Him making a man or a woman instantly? Why should we have a problem with Him making a complete tiger or a complete elephant or a complete whale, by simply saying and speaking it into existence.

The Bible says that's the way it happened and it seems we should go with His Word on this subject rather than subject His Word to the scrutiny of those who openly admit they feel God is a myth and those who have faith in Him are delusional.

You know, God can even make something new and make it old at the same time. Did you ever consider that? One thing the evolutionists tell us is all about the different layers of strata in the earth that had to have taken millions of years to pile up on top of each other. Well, it can sure look like that when you see it from this side of history.

Yet anyone who lives in a flood zone will tell you how quickly things can be moved around and how quickly things can pile up when water is pushing things around with great force. Flash floods can pile up things in minutes that otherwise might appear to have taken years to get where they are.

Just consider for a moment what might have piled up on top of each other if the entire earth was flooded with a great flood. It seems to me there's something in The Bible about that actually happening.

Here's a good example. In The Bible we read Jesus made from water, a perfectly aged wine instantly! When He made that wine at the wedding, people said to the host, why have you saved this fine wine, this best wine for last, since the custom was to use the best wine first.

The implication here is that the wine Jesus made was perfectly aged and the best wine available. That means that He instantly made new wine that was also instantly old or perfectly aged, something that normally took years to happen.

So if He chooses, God can make something brand new that appears in every way to be old.

God made a man and a woman from scratch perfectly mature, not as babies the way it's normally done. If they had been made as babies, who would have raised them?

Let me finish up by sharing a few interesting examples with you of things that clearly seem to defy the normal proposed evolutionary timetables.

It's interesting that Charles Darwin himself made the following statement in his book Origin of the Species. He said, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organism existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Well, here are some examples that appear to have done just that.

Let me ask you who here today likes vanilla ice cream. If you do raise your hand.

Most of us have enjoyed a vanilla ice cream cone and the fact that we can have it all is due to something that might surprise you. It sure surprised me.

Can anybody tell me where vanilla comes from?

Exactly. Vanilla beans. So where do we get vanilla beans from? The vanilla tree is an answer commonly given to that question.

Actually we don't get vanilla beans from a tree, although they look like they grow on a tree. We actually get vanilla beans from that flower you just saw on the screen called a vanilla orchid. It's an orchid that's a vine and it climbs up trees and it actually blooms and then produces the vanilla beans from which we extract the vanilla that we use in things like ice cream.

The flower blooms one day a year. It blooms only in the morning and it has to be fertilized in the morning of that day on which it blooms or it just closes up and fades away. If that small window of time is missed, the plant will never produce the vanilla beans from which we get vanilla.

Vanilla was first grown naturally in its native home of Mexico. When Cortez came to Mexico, Montezuma gave him vanilla and he loved it. He brought it back to Europe with him and they imported it from Mexico for years and years. Yet they also tried to grow the flowers over in Europe for themselves, but they never got any beans.

All they got were beautiful flowers. For hundreds of years they tried and tried, but they never got any vanilla beans. They kept asking why the vanilla beans grew in Mexico, but never grew in Europe.

Well, years later, a Belgian botanist named Charles Morren determined that he would go to Mexico and research this and find out why Europe can't have any beans. In his research in Mexico, he found out that on that one day of the year, during the small window of critical time of fertilization, at just the right moment, this little guy would show up.

This is the Manipola bee. It was found out that this little guy is the only insect in the world that can naturally pollinate the vanilla orchid which enables the plant to produce vanilla beans and that's what he does. In short, no bee, no beans.

Thankfully, four years later, a young slave boy found a way to artificially pollinate the plants and the rest is vanilla history. It's interesting that if it weren't for this little bee, the vanilla plant would never have produced vanilla beans and we'd never have had vanilla.

The point here is that the vanilla orchid was made by God to produce vanilla beans and this bee was made by God to assist in the process and it clearly is a plan. Both had to be created and be there at just the right time of the morning and that's why you and I can have vanilla ice cream cones. You may never look at a vanilla ice cream cone the same way again.

Take a look at the next picture. There he is. Woody Woodpecker. Remember him? This bird has the toughest beak of virtually all birds in the world and it has a unique section of cartilage inside its skull that acts as a shock absorber to protect him from the pounding that he does all day long.

The problem is that all of that stuff had to be in place from the start. Common sense tells you that if all of that protection that the woodpecker has, had to take time to evolve, the first woodpeckers would have blown their skulls apart trying to get some food out of the trees. It had to be there from the start or they would have quickly gone extinct.

They also have this really neat special glue that they produce on their tongue so that when they stick their tongue in one of the holes they've drilled to get a bug, the bug sticks firmly to their tongue. However there is big problem presented by that glue. If the woodpecker has a bug firmly glued on his tongue and he tries to swallow the bug, he will also swallow his tongue in the process since the bug is firmly stuck to it. Yet there is an answer.

He also has the ability to produce and squirt a special solvent on the glue. So he gets the bug that's stuck on his tongue in his mouth. He then squirts the right amount of solvent on the glue which dissolves the glue and then he can swallow the bug without swallowing his tongue.

Now again, common sense tells you that the ability to produce the solvent for the glue had to be there from the start. If it would have taken thousands of years to evolve, the first woodpeckers would have all swallowed their tongues from the beginning and would have quickly gone extinct.

Lastly, let's look at another amazing example that simply defies evolution and for which the evolutionists have absolutely nothing in the way of an answer. The picture you see on the screen is that of the Pacific Golden Plover. This bird has what many would say is a great life. It spends its Summers in Alaska and Winters in Hawaii. How much better can you get than that?

However, the trip back and forth each year is something that amazes and stumps even the most hard core evolutionists. Research shows that these birds come and go from virtually the exact same spots in Alaska and Hawaii every year. Yet they don't have a GPS. They don't have radar. They don't have jet engines or anything like what you and I would like to have to make that trip.

However, every year they make the trip, travelling more than 2,000 miles over open ocean, without any landmarks beneath them to use for reference. That means a non-stop flight of about 88 hours. Before they get ready to leave Alaska in August, they start to eat a lot more than they normally eat. They are bulking up for the flight because they lose half their body weight en route. They burn up half of their body weight flying that distance without stopping.

Now when you look at that, it's an amazing thing to be able to say that a bird can do that. Yet here's the really amazing thing about these birds. During the Summer months, the birds hatch and raise their young in Alaska. Then Mom and Dad take off for Hawaii and they leave the kids behind. Then some weeks later, in August, the young birds actually take off from Alaska by themselves and fly to Hawaii without ever having gone there before! Even if they encounter winds that would blow a plane off course, they still get there. Now that's either by design or it's not.

Evolutionists will usually explain a bird's migratory patterns as having happened over shorter trips that have eventually gotten longer over the years, but in this case it doesn't make sense. In his book, "The Collapse of Evolution," Dr. Scott Huse says something very important about this situation. Pay particular attention to his last sentence.

"The causes of migrations and the incredible sense of direction shown by these animals present the evolutionist with one of the most baffling problems of science. Evolutionists are indeed hard-pressed to explain how these remarkable abilities evolved piecemeal through mere chance processes apart from any direct intelligence.

The piecemeal development of such instinct seems highly improbable because migratory instincts are useless unless perfect. Obviously, it is of no benefit to be able to navigate perfectly across only half an ocean."

My friends, let me encourage you to engage with others in this discussion of evolution and creation. Let them hear clearly that you believe in God. Let them know that you feel God created the heavens and the earth and all that is.

When somebody becomes convinced of this, their life is going to change and they are going to enter into a relationship with The Creator of the universe, Who loves them more than all of the universes put together. That's our goal when we share the story and the magnificence of God with others. Perhaps there is someone in your life who you could give a copy of this sermon to. Let me encourage you to do so. It will allow for the discussion to continue and it will plant seeds in them they may never have considered before.

Like the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 8, let's all proclaim in our lives, "Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth!" Amen.

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