I. A.  God, the World and the Church

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A.  Two Views of the Universe
      1.   God-centered
            a.   Evidence for the Existence of God

It is not possible for humans to completely know God because His state of being is on an infinitely higher level than ours.  But, we can conclude with certainty that he does exist by observing our material world.

First – The nature of material things is to move.  Rocks can be set in motion, plants are moved by the wind, birds fly, people move about.  But these material things also rest and stop moving.  When material things are at rest they are not moving and in order to move again, must receive their power from some other source than from themselves.  We must look beyond the series of motion causers to find  the source of those things that move, a source which does not receive its power to move from anyone or anything.  This un-moved mover possesses power of itself and is the ultimate source of all action.  The being in which the power exists is called God. (Self-sustaining Being)

Second – We are familiar with the fact that in order to have an end result, it is necessary to have a cause.  A house must have a designer and builder, a desk must have a carpenter, a picture must have a painter, music must have a composer.  To have a completed product or a series, there must have been a beginning or cause.  As we move back in time through the various causes of things, we must arrive at the existence of one who alone possesses the power to be the first cause.  We call this first cause of all things God. (First Efficient Cause)

Third – There are things which depend upon other things to live.  A tree depends upon nourishment and sunlight to live, an animal depends upon rest to survive.  Once, these material things did not exist, now they do, and at a time in the future they will not.  Material things of the world are of this nature which causes us to look for that which does not depend upon another for its existence. We call this being which exists for all else to exist, God.  (Contingency)

Fourth – Our material world contains much which is beautiful, and we admire the beauty in our surroundings because of the degrees of perfection which they possess.  A tree is living and its flowers may be beautiful, but it will die, a sunset may possess  a powerful display of beauty which we admire, but it will change, a person may possess great physical strength, but it is neither total nor permanent.  If we combine all of the world’s perfections, these will still be limited and not all-perfect.  There must exist a Being who possesses all perfection to a limitless degree.  We call this Being God.  (Degrees of Perfection)

Fifth – Our material world contains many, many things which have a purpose. Fingers are used to grasp and hold, the eye to see, the ear to hear.  The animal tongue licks, tastes and helps swallow food.  The human tongue is used to form sounds into words.  The tongue did not design itself, it was designed for its specific purpose by an intelligence.  To understand the complexity of our material world, we must recognize a designing intelligence.  The evidence of this designing intelligence points toward the existence of a Being which must possess an un-acquired intelligence.  We call this Being God. (Proof from Design)

A.  Two Views of the Universe
      1.  God-centered
           a.  Evidence for the Existence of God
           b.  Lessons from the Bible

∙ The God-centered view of the universe is based upon the Bible accounts which tell the reader there is one God who is creator.  The Bible accounts draw certain basic conclusions from the fact there is one creator God and not multiple gods.  These are:

God alone created the world, not a demiurge; the world did not emanate from God by a natural process; it is not identical with Him in nature.
By His spirit and His word God called the world into existence; He alone is almighty and omniscient.

God existed prior to the world, and its beginning.

Stars, plants and animals may not be adored as divine since they too were created.

The visible things about us are part of God's great plan of salvation; they are "good".

Man is the crown of creation because he bears the divine likeness within him.

God first made one man and one woman and destined them for monogamous marriage.
      -  Woman is sexually different from man.
      -  Woman is equal in status with man.
      -  Man and woman should be joined to one another in love.
      -  Marriage is by nature monogamous and can never be dissolved.
      -  Man is the head of the family.

  The earth was made and equipped for man's benefit, he acts as its steward, and owes God gratitude.

  Man is duty bound to sanctify the Sabbath by abstaining from work.

  Satan is opposed to man.

A.  Two Views of the Universe   
      2.   Matter-centered

 This view turns matter into creator which is said to have always existed and formed itself into the present universe with a "big bang."  Some think that over time, this matter evolved from simple structures into those more complex which we see today.  Thus, all can be traced through the natural process of selection to one common ancestor.  Society and our social relationships have no purpose than being agreed-upon constructs which allow individuals to get along with each other while they are here on earth.