Olsen Park Church of Christ

If God Did Not Exist

Introduction. What if God did not exist? Some might imagine that God is the one who ruins all our fun. If there was no God, all those things we wish we could do would be open to us. In 1971 John Lennon, the former member of the musical group The Beatles recorded a song called “Imagine.” When he was with the Beatles he once stirred up great controversy by saying they were more popular than Jesus. When he wrote this song, he may have learned to guard his words a little in the fact that it never directly refers to God—it speaks rather of “heaven.” It describes an imagined utopian world without religion or the threat of judgment. Its lyrics read:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

Chorus: You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

Chorus: You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

When this song was first released in England and the US it made it into the top 10, but after his death in 1980 it rose to number 1 on the charts. Some have listed it among the top 100 most influential songs in history. This picture Lennon paints imagines if you could only get God out of the picture everything would be an idealistic utopia. This morning let’s consider some ramifications if it was true that God did not exist.

I. A valid explanation for life would not exist. Note that I say valid—many try to offer explanations for life. The ancient Greeks imagined that they had just sprung forth from the land. Modern man may cloak it in more sophisticated theories, but the result is not much different—some idea that life came from things that were not living.

A.      The Bible (as difficult as it may be to fathom) describes a God who is the one thing that has always lived. From this eternal living being life came. In the genealogy of Jesus, it is said of the first man that was “Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38).

B.      Life doesn’t come from things that are not living.  There is no laboratory that has been able to bring life from things that are not living.

1.      If God does not exist, there is no plausible explanation for why life exists.

II. A true purpose for life would not exist. Purpose is something very important in life. Why keep going? Why get up in the morning? During the recent school spring break kids probably didn’t get up in the morning at the same time—there was not purpose or reason to do so. If there is no God what is the purpose of our life here on earth? What purpose does a rock have? What purpose does the wind have?

A.      The preacher, whom the text likely indicates to be Solomon, during his time of exploration and rebellion against God, tries to discover the purpose of our “vain” existence on earth.

1.      Some have argued that Ecclesiastes is a nihilistic  book, suggesting that life is meaningless.

2.      This ignores the conclusion of the book—Our purpose is to “Fear God and keep His commandments...this is man’s all” (Eccl. 12:13-14).

B.      When Paul spoke to the Athenian philosophers about the nature of the “unknown God” he explains the nature of the God of the Bible.

1.      In his words we see man’s purpose. Seeking God is our purpose on earth (Acts 17:26-28).

III. An absolute moral guide would not exist. Some would dispute this. In the 20th century two documents were published known as “the Humanist Manifesto.” The first was in the earliest part of the century and the second towards the end of the century. These documents rejected the idea that a deity must set the terms of morality and argued that a respect for fellow human beings should show itself in kindness and morality towards others. While this sounds good, how often does this work this way?

A.      All we have to do is look at history and see that cultures that reject a belief in deity also reject a respect for human life.

1.      Whether we are talking about Communist China, where abortion is rampant, or Cambodia where a godless culture slaughtered its own citizens.

2.      Where to you ever see atheistic organizations committed to charity and altruism?

B.      Human beings are made to live for God’s will (1 Pet. 4:1-5). We were not made to pursue our own will.

C.      As the media would have us see it, religion is the problem.

1.      Those who teach and practice religious belief are the villains and the “nuts.”

2.      While atrocities have been done in the name of religion are all crimes, abuse, theft, selfishness, and murders done by those who believe in God or by those who disregard accountability to God?

D.     What does a world without God look like? Scripture paints a picture for us (Rom. 1:28-31).

IV. Incentive for doing good would not exist. Why should anyone do good? The secular humanist would argue that a respect for fellow human beings should lead to doing good to others. Does this always happen? No. Without a recognition that there is a God in heaven who cares about our behavior even out concepts of good degenerate into behavior that is selfish, inconsistent, and self-serving.

A.      The Bible teaches that good works are a part of our purpose here upon earth.

1.      We are God’s workmanship, created for good works (Eph. 2:8-10).

B.      We should do good because it pleases God, but if this is not enough to motivate us, the Bible offers both positive and negative incentives.

1.      God has loved us and shown us His grace. In service to Him we are promised eternal life (a positive incentive).

2.      If we reject Him we are promised wrath and punishment (a negative incentive) (Rom. 2:5-11).

V. Hope of something better would not exist. As good as this life can be it is still filled with suffering and pain. If there is no God this place is all there is. The Bible offers hope of something much better.

A.      Hope of eternal life kept Paul going (Titus 1:1-2).

B.      In spite of all the suffering Paul endured he was convinced that it is not worthy to be compared with what lies ahead for the child of God (Rom. 8:18).

Kyle Pope 2015
Modified from a lesson
by Jerry King

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