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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Can I Believe in God and Science?

Craig Groeschel - Can I Believe in God and Science?

Craig Groeschel - Can I Believe in God and Science?
Craig Groeschel - Can I Believe in God and Science?
TOPICS: Doubting God, Faith, Science

Do you ever wonder why it seems like the Bible and science seem to be in conflict with each other? Do you ever wonder why some Christians claim "God created the world in seven days", and then other people say, "but what about the big bang theory and evolution"? Sometimes when you look at the claims of Christianity and then you look at those who study science, there are some people who simply conclude there is no way that any educated, rational thinking person could look at all the scientific evidence and believe all that Christianity stuff. It happened for me, my freshman year of college in a BibLit class. Who knows what BibLit is? Anybody have BibLit? BibLit is short for biblical literature. I went to a small liberal arts Christian school.

And my freshman year, I had an 8:00 AM BibLit class. And yes, I was not a Christian, so therefore, I was hungover at every 8:00 AM BibLit class. And my professor, I don't know what he said, but it was something about some verse in the Old Testament that I didn't even know. And he showed us how it couldn't be true. And I remember my very little, very immature, limited faith seemed to crumble at the moment there was something that I didn't understand. What little faith I was trying to build, at one challenge, just crumbled before me, and I thought, oh my gosh, I always thought this was true, but maybe it's not true at all. It's a little bit like the little girl in her fifth grade class, her teacher was telling her how it was impossible that Jonah could have been swallowed by a whale. His throat would've been too small. It would've been physically impossible for a whale to swallow a man.

And the little girl had learned it in Sunday school, so she stood her ground. She said, "I know it happened, it's in the Bible, and I know it happened". And the teacher said, "It's impossible, it could never happen". The little girl said, "Yes, it did". And the teacher said, "No, it didn't". The little girl started crying, and said, "Then when I get to heaven, I'll ask Jonah, and he'll tell me it did happen". And the teacher looked on, and said, "Well, what if Jonah's in Hell"? And the little girl said, "Well, then when you die, you ask him". And that's how she rolls. What happens is, a lotta people say, "I wanna be a follower of Jesus", and they believe some things about God.

And then one day, they read an article that apparently contradicts what they thought about God. Or they attend a class where a professor says something that seems to contradict what they thought about God. Or they watch a video on YouTube, or they have friends or family members that say, "Well, you can't believe this because of this". And suddenly, their faith starts to crumble when they hear anything that goes contrary to what they thought they believe. If one part of their belief system is shaken, their limited faith starts to crumble. And that may have happened to you or to someone that you know, and that's why the title of today's message is this, a question, "Can I believe in God and science"?

Father, we ask that by the power of your word, and even as we study your creation, that your Holy Spirit would do a work to build our faith, God, in your goodness, your power, your grace, and your love. We pray this in Jesus' name, and everybody said. Amen. Amen, amen, amen, amen.

Hey, quick shout-out to James Meehan. I wanna say thank you for your research to help me put this together, and thank you for being a good husband to my daughter Mandy. Just keep on doing that. He's my son-in-law and I appreciate your help. I wanna try to answer the question, why does science seem to be in conflict with the Bible? Why do some people think that science is in conflict with the Bible? And I would answer the question this way, because some see the relationship between science and the Bible as competitive instead of cooperative. Some see the relationship as an either/or, instead of something that God created both that can actually work together to help us grow closer to God. And I'll try to explain.

If you go way back to around 400 years or so, after the birth of Christ, there's a guy named Saint Augustine, or some would say Saint Augustine of Hippo, who believed that science and the Bible are actually complimentary instead of competitive in nature. And he would've said something like this, to summarize his teaching, he believed that the conflict between science and faith comes from either misunderstanding science or misinterpreting the Bible. If there's a problem, if there's a conflict, he would've taught either, you don't really know the truth about the scientific study yet, there's a misunderstanding, or you're misinterpreting God's Word. And this, believe it or not, was the dominant view throughout history for about 1500 years or so, until what was known as the Age of Enlightenment or the scientific boom in the 1800s, when much like we're in the technological boom, at that point, there was scientific discovery after discovery, after discovery.

And people started to think that science explains everything. And some Christians got nervous thinking, oh my gosh, science is an attack on our faith. The problem, anytime there's a competition, is you have winners and you have losers. If science wins in this competition, the Bible loses. If the Bible wins, science loses. I would ask you this. What if the relationship between science and the Bible isn't meant to be competitive? What if instead, by a good God who created all, it actually can be cooperative? What if instead of an either/or, we could actually choose a both, and study what God created, and allow God's Word to illuminate the very goodness and glory of his creation. What if it doesn't have to be an either/or, but it can be a both/and?

And the reality is you do this all the time, I promise you. Your kid has a birthday and you don't say, do I need chocolate cake or vanilla ice cream? You say, "if it's a cheat day, I'm gonna do both/and", come on somebody, you don't just have a peanut butter sandwich, you're gonna have peanut butter and what? Peanut butter and jelly. You have salt and pepper. You have eggs and Bacon. You watch Batman and Robin. And if you're married, you don't just watch Netflix because you can watch Netflix and chill. Come on, somebody in that house. "Oh, but Craig, do you know what that means"? I know exactly what that means, for the glory of God. Somebody said, amen. Amen.

As Christians, we should embrace the both/and more than anyone else because our faith in many ways, is defined by a lot of both/ands. Think about it. Our faith has all sorts of both/ands. Jesus said this. He didn't say I am the alpha or the omega, but he said, I'm both/and, "I am the alpha and the omega. I am the first and the last, I am the beginning and the end". Who was Jesus? He was all God and at the very same time, He was all man. And He came from the Father, full of both grace and truth. The authors of the Hebrews said, looking unto Jesus, what is He? "He's both the author and the finisher of our faith". Instead of looking at these as competitors, why can't we look and say, "God created all". And we can learn from both and let them draw us closer to God. In so many ways, both science and the Bible, they're really two different tools that help us understand the truth.

We use different tools every day, different tools have different purposes. For example, if you've ever seen someone on a beach with a metal detector, what are they doing? What are they looking for? They're looking for diamond rings. They're looking for quarters. What else? What are you looking for? I have no idea, I've always wondered, what are they looking for? But they're looking for something. The metal detector does not detect everything, does it? The metal detector does not detect the sand, but the metal detector detects the what? Help me out, this is not a trick question, it detects the, Metal, the metal detector it's a tool that has a designated purpose, but the purpose isn't everything. We could say this about science. It's a tool. Science seeks the truth about our natural world and scripture, another tool, reveals the truth about our supernatural God. They both work together.

In fact, I love the story of John Kavanaugh, who was a very famous ethicist, and John Kavanaugh was really searching for purpose in life. Some of you right now, you may be saying, "what am I supposed to do with my life? Where am I supposed to go? I've got all these gifts and these passions what's next for me? What can I do that will really matter in life"? And so he packed up his bags, moved all the way to Calcutta, to serve the poor with Mother Teresa, and Mother Teresa's a very small woman who came up to him and they had a very powerful conversation, he wrote about in his book, and Mother Teresa asked him, "how can I pray for you"? And he said, "oh, this is my moment. What I need is clarity, will you pray for me for clarity"? He said, and Mother Teresa, according to his book said, "clarity is the last thing you're clinging to and must let go of".

I wonder who here is still clinging to your need for clarity and it may be something that you need to release. She said, "I'm not gonna pray for you", but he looked on and said, "but you seem to have clarity. You seem to have purpose in everything you do. You have clarity. Why won't you pray for me for clarity"? And Mother Theresa said this, she said, "I've never had clarity, what I've always had is trust. So that's what I'm gonna pray for. I'm gonna pray that you trust God". Some of you, you've been asking questions for your whole life, searching clarity, and I encourage you to keep asking questions. But at some point, what you may need, may not be clarity. What you may need is trust, is faith.

You see the challenge is whenever we think that Christianity is more about having all of the answers, every single answer, when we think it's more about all of the answers, rather than faith in Jesus, we're actually building our faith on a house of cards. And if one of our ideas about God is challenged, our entire faith system comes crumbling down. And that's what happened to me at a 8:00 AM, hungover, BibLit class, my little faith couldn't handle one simple hurdle. So I would suggest to you, faith people, that we may need to learn to think more scientifically about our faith.

Think about this. How many of you studied the scientific method in junior high? Anybody remember? Yeah, this is really fun. I'm about to use something that I learned in school. And for the record, I just want you to know that every day of every class, I said, "I'll never use this, this is stupid, geometry, stupid, trigonometry, stupid, history, stupid. I'll never use this". Well, I stand corrected. So for those of you who think it's stupid, you never know, one day you might need a sermon illustration, and go all the way back to the fifth grade for the scientific study. In science, there's basically four things that you're going to look for, if you're trying to determine an answer to some question, what are the four things? The first thing you have is you have a question, I need to try to solve this question.

The next thing you do is you draw up you're a hypothesis, here's my theory about what I think will happen, if we try this, then I think that this is gonna be the result, but I'm not sure, it's just a hypothesis. You have a question, you have a hypothesis, and then you put your hypothesis to the test. And after the test comes back, you get the results. And therefore you draw your conclusions. What I love about science is this, that in science, if your hypothesis is disproven, you don't give up on science. You just continue to take another test, and another hypothesis, why don't we do this as Christians? If we see a challenge to our ideas about God, don't give up on God. This is an opportunity to ask more questions, to pursue a deeper understanding of who God really is.

You don't walk away from God, just because something doesn't go the way you thought it was supposed to go. In reality, if you wanna be sure about anything, mmmm it's gonna be tough, it's incredibly rare that we can be 100% certain about anything at all. In fact, the people who did the scientific research were certain that the earth was the center of the world and the earth was flat, until scientifically it was proven that it wasn't, unless for some of you, it still is, because you've been watching YouTube and you're convinced it's still flat, and I don't even know what to say. Prayer lines, anointing with oil, whatever, as you deal.

When Amy and I first started having babies, we had six of them. Every time she looked at me, she got pregnant. It's amazing. Why'd you have so many kids? She wouldn't keep her hands off me. It got old, I'd tell her to stop, but no, I said, "I just wanna hold you tonight, I just wanna cuddle". We have six kids. When we started having babies, the doctors told us, they had this, I can't even remember which it was, they had to sleep on their belly, that was the best way, and then it was their back, now it might be their side. Then you have to nurse them. Then you didn't nurse them. And then, you know, and smoking was bad now, but when my parents were going up, smoking was good. Just like vaping wasn't bad when it came out but now it's bad. You'll rarely be 100% certain. And what I wanna promise you, is you will never have all the answers to anything, at some point, especially spiritually, it's going to take faith. And I wanna remind you that you don't have to know every answer, to every question, to trust in Jesus.

It will always take faith, without faith , it is impossible to please God, it always will take faith. So just for fun, what I wanna do, is I wanna look at three qualities of both science and scripture, that I believe will help build our faith. The first thing I wanna look at is the beginning of everything. In fact, the best place to see Bible and science work together, is in the very first verse of God's Word. Genesis 1:1, "in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". Why is this so powerful? Because more than 3000 years ago, scripture declared what science confirmed in the last 100 years. What did science confirm in the last 100 years that scripture declared over 3000 years ago? That the universe had a beginning. And why is this so important? Because prior to the big bang theory, most atheist scientists claimed that the universe was eternal. Why does this matter? Because if the universe had a beginning, it demanded a beginner, a cause outside of itself had to cause the world to exist.

As Christians, we believe that God said, "let there be" and He caused the creation of the world. Look at the beginning because this is a powerful example of science supporting what scripture said 3000 years ago, that in the beginning, God spoke and created the heavens and the earth. Look at the beginning. The second thing I wanna encourage you to do is to look at the design of the universe. You talk about beautiful and complex, and practical and self sustaining. Verse two says this, "now the earth was formless and empty and darkness was all over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters", and then God watched that Netflix show with Marie Kondo and got organized, I dunno if you saw that show or not, but he started organize, so you saw it, very good. He started organizing everything and everything was beautiful and it all had a purpose, and it all works together.

Someone puts a seed in the ground and God sends rain from heaven, and the rain falls onto the ground, and the water seeps down into the soil, and the little seed takes root, and before long, the seed pushes it way through the dirt, and sprouts up and it grows into a plant, and then one day with more rain and the right amount of sun, it buds and then there's fruit, and then some of the animals might eat some of the fruit, and then some of the people might eat some of the animals, unless you watch the documentary that told you not to eat animals, and then you just eat the leaves from the tree, whatever it is, and then you grow and then things end up dying, and going back to the ground and they fertilize, and there are seasons and the world changes, and the world continues to go on, and you look at all of this and say, "it's impossible that this is the result of some random chance, boom".

I'm attracted to Amy, she's attracted to me, we have six kids and the world goes on. It's gotta be the result of a divine designer and scientific studies, even from atheists are fascinating about this subject, that they prove that there are about 150 different astronomical constants that are perfectly designed for life to exist, 150 astronomical constants, and essentially where they prove is a billion things like this, that if the earth tilted the access a little bit more, or a little bit less, we all die. If the earth spins just 10% faster than it currently spins, the world floods and we all die. If the average distance from the earth to the sun is three tenths of 1% closer at its closest point, we all die. And that's why the atheist scientists, Sir Roger Penrose, calculated the likelihood of the universe having this precise of a design, and what he came to conclude, are you ready for this? That the odds of this happening by accident would literally be 10 billion or so to the 123rd power.

What that means is, that means 10 billion times a one with 123 zeros behind it, it is an incalculable number, it's impossible to put down. If you took all of the zeros and made them this big and stretch them across the world, they would stretch across the entire galaxy and continue. The odds are that you're more likely to win the lottery, 10,000 times in a row, and get struck by lightning, every time you cash that little ticket in, then you are for this to happen, and that's why, again, an atheist, the late Christopher Hitchens called this the most compelling argument for the existence of God. And it was the Psalmist in scripture that said, "the heavens proclaimed the glory of God, the skies display his craftsmanship, day after day, they continue to speak, night after night, the heavens, the creation, makes our God known".

Another example of science and scripture working together to show the glory of our creator and master designer. Look at the beginning, "in the beginning, God said". Look at the design, the intricacy, the glory, the beauty, the functionality of the world that God created. And number three, I would encourage you to look at what's known as the resurrection of Jesus. Look at the resurrection of Jesus. And what's so powerful about the resurrection of Jesus is it actually makes Christianity unique. It's different from any other world religion. Christianity is what we'd call, "the only falsifiable religion", because it's based on the evidence of the resurrection. All you have to do is prove that Jesus didn't rise from the dead, and you disprove Christianity. Scripture even says it.

First Corinthians 15 says this, "and if Christ has not been raised, then all of our preaching is useless and your faith is useless". If he didn't come out of that grave, then this is all a big joke. Consider the resurrection. And there's fascinating study. There's actually more facts that I'm gonna show you. But the most basic facts are known as the six minimal facts surrounding the resurrection. And I wanna explain to you what you're about to experience. The six minimal facts, for a fact to be on this list, the author, Gary Habermas, compared about 3,400 different sources. So you've got Christian sources, and you've got secular sources. Over 3000 sources, and for one of the facts to be on this list, they had to be on 90% of the sources, and most of them were on a hundred percent or very, very close to that number. The six minimal facts around the resurrection.

Number one, it is not disputed by hardly anybody alive today, that Jesus was a real person, and he died by a Roman crucifixion. You don't have to be a follower of Jesus to know the dude walked around, He taught, people followed Him, He hung on a Roman cross and He died. Witnesses, that's one of the minimal facts.

Number two, Jesus' followers experienced what they believed to be actual appearances of a resurrected Jesus. Whether you believe He rose again, there is enough evidence secular and otherwise, that the followers completely believe that He was dead and He wasn't dead anymore.

Number three, because of those experiences, these followers were willing to die for their faith in Jesus' resurrection. We could stop there. Judas betrayed Jesus, there was 11 left, of those 11, John, they tried to kill when he wouldn't deny his faith, dipped him and boiling oil, but he was like, they Energizer Bunny and the weeble wobble that they couldn't keep down, he just came back up. They couldn't kill him. And so they simply exiled into the Isle of Patmos. The other 10 remaining disciples would not deny their faith that Jesus had risen from the dead, and all the other ones were tortured and killed for their faith because they believe they saw the resurrected Christ.

Number four, the Christian Church started right after Jesus was killed, right where Jesus was killed, in the city of Jerusalem. And here we are 2000 years later, and the church of Jesus Christ has spread around the world and continues to meet and continues to thrive.

Number five, James, the biological brother of Jesus was not a Christian until after he believed he saw the resurrected Christ.

And number six, Paul who wrote the majority of the New Testament, went from killing Christians to starting churches because he had an experience with who he believed was the risen Christ. Look at the creation, look at the divine design and look at the resurrection. And if you ask me, Craig, why do you believe Christianity is true? And I would tell you from the bottom of my heart, it's not just because the Bible says so, and it's not just because of the scientific facts, I believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, because He changed me. He changed me.

It is embarrassing to tell you how lost and broken and ungodly I was. Lied so much, I couldn't figure out what the truth was. You ever lied so many times, you don't know what's true? Couldn't keep up with my lies. Hurt just about anybody that got close enough to me to spend much time. Stole a lot, so much so I got arrested for it. Betrayed very close friends. Hurt person after person and hated myself, unable to stop with my addictions and couldn't stop, and tried everything to be better. And I got a hold of a Little Bible, and started reading the gospels about Jesus. That you could be saved, not by your good works, not by religious efforts, not by trying harder, but by grace through faith, not just knowledge, not just study, not just research, but faith that a God would love us so much that He would become one of us, that He would send His Son to die in our place, and that his followers were so convinced that He was risen, that they would die.

If a man predicts his own death and resurrection, dies and pulls it off, I think I'm gonna follow him because that man, Jesus, didn't come for the righteous but He came for people like me, the sinners, He didn't come for the healthy, listen, He came for people like you and like me, He came for the sick. Why do I believe? I believe because Jesus changed me, and you may say, "okay, I'm interested, but I still have some doubts". Well, welcome to the party, right? I mean, I still got unanswered questions I live with every day, and we all will for the rest of our lives. But what do we know? We know that your doubts, don't disqualify your faith. We know that doubts and questions, they can actually be a part of a growing faith. And that once you put your faith in Jesus, just try, if you're there, reveal yourself, show me, just pray and see what happens and watch, if you don't get overcome with this supernatural love, that loves you in spite of what you've done, in spite of who you are, and suddenly it changes you and you start becoming more loving too.

And then suddenly the world looks on and they're like going, "like we don't know this by the facts or by the textbooks or by your brilliant defense at the gospel but we seem to like your love". And ultimately that's how they'll know that we're disciples not by the way we preach, not by how good our defense always is, but they will see a love that goes beyond anything you've ever seen in this world, and that love comes from heaven. Why do I believe? I believe because Jesus changed my life. Keep asking question, keep being smart, keep thinking. But at some point, gonna have to put your faith somewhere. I put my faith in Jesus.

Father, we ask today that by the power of your Spirit, you would do a work in ways that we cannot do.

As you're praying today, watching online, or at different churches around our country, around the world. I wonder how many of you would say, "I am a follower of Jesus, but I would like to grow even deeper in my faith". Would you lift up your hands right now?

I wanna grow even deeper in my faith. God, I thank you for a church full of people that are not content just to be on the sidelines, never gonna satisfy by being lukewarm. But God would use the gifts that you've given them. God, we thank you that we grow in our faith by hearing the word of God, may we be people of the church, people in the house, hearing your word, God, may we be in Life Groups, breaking bread together, fellowshiping around your word. God, may we use your gifts and know that the greatest are those who serve as we pursue you, God, we know we'll have questions, but build our faith, build our faith that you do the impossible. Build our faith, God that you hear our prayers. God, build our faith, that when we cry out to you, you draw near to us. God, build our faith today, build our faith in your goodness, in your presence, build our faith, God.

As you keep praying today, there are those of you, there's something odd may be happening in your life. Let me try to tell you what it might be. You could have been like me. You kind of grew up in and around the church, but you recognize, you never really knew God or had a personal relationship with Him, and you're aware of that right now, and there's something drawing you. Or you may be a person, you're not a church person at all, and something is happening on the inside that's luring you, pulling you toward the things of God. You may still have some questions, but you're being drawn to God. What is that? Let me just tell you what it is. That's the Holy Spirit. That's the third person of the Trinity. God, the Father, God, the Son Jesus, and God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit, guess what? He draws people toward God. It's like a mystery. You don't know how, you don't know why, but the Holy Spirit's working today. And at some point you're gonna recognize you've done wrong. The Bible calls it sin, we've all sinned. We've all sinned. And our sin separates us from God.

But here's how good God is. He sent Jesus, His only Son, who was without sin, so He could be the perfect sacrifice, He died in our place, and we believe by faith that God raised Him from the dead, The sacrifice was perfect, The penalty has been paid for your sins. The way you're made right with God is not by religious efforts, not by being better, but by putting your faith in Jesus, you're saved by grace through faith today, at all of our churches and those of you watching online, some of you recognize, oh my gosh, I really don't know God, what are we gonna do? We're gonna step away from our sin. We're gonna step away from our old life. We're gonna take one step towards Jesus and say, "I believe you're the Son of God, and because you died and because you rose again, I wanna follow you, I give my life to you".

When you pray a very simple prayer in that zone, God will forgive you, you become new, your sins are removed, the Holy Spirit takes place in you, and now you're born into the family of God, wherever you're watching from today, you're watching online, you're watching at campus, you say, "I need that, I want His grace, I want His forgiveness. I don't know how, I don't know why I'm being drawn". At some point, it's a step of faith. You take the step of faith. "I believe who you are, today by faith, I give my life to you, today by faith, I ask you to forgive my sins. I know I can't get there on my own, I surrender my life. Jesus, by faith, I give my life to you".

If that's your prayer, lift your hands high right now, all over the place, lift them up, come on somebody. Thank God for lift them up, right over here, praise God for you. As we've got people today at all of our church saying yes to Jesus, oh, you can type it in the comment section, I'm choosing to follow Jesus. Just type it in the comments, I'm choosing to follow Jesus. And we're gonna pray wherever you are. Pray aloud:

Heavenly Father. Would you forgive my sins? Jesus save me. Make me brand new. Fill me with your Spirit, so I can walk with you, and serve you, and follow you, by faith. I give you my life. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for new life. In Jesus name I pray.

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