FIRST FACT: GOD
Dr. W.A. Criswell
12-30-56 8:15 a.m.
So the message this morning is entitled The First Fact: God Our Creator. There was a time when men bowed down before gods – all kinds of gods – but they were gods. Some time ago, there was a famous book published entitled This Believing World [by Lewis Browne, 1926]. They might have been gods made out of gold, and gods made out of wood, and gods made out of stone, or they might be the gods of the starry heavens, but men bowed down before gods. And, of course, the Christian bowed down before the great God who made heaven and earth.
There has been a remarkable change in all of that in these last generations. Men, many men, no longer venerate God or the gods, but they bow down before science and they venerate science. As long as what you mean by "science" – as long as by that word you mean truth, fact, the willingness to receive the great things that God hath wrought – as long as you mean by "science" that, we have no quarrel with the thing as such. It is our persuasion that there will never be a fact, there will never be a truth discovered – now known or in the future discovered – that will ever violate or contradict the truth and the fact and the revelation in this Book that I hold in my hand – in the Bible.
But the thing that has come to pass is a surprising, amazing, inexplicable willingness on the part of men to throw away the great eternal verities of the truth of God and to accept in their place the imaginative hypotheses and theories of men. That, to me, is an astounding thing. And whereas these men once scoffed at the credulity and the gullibility of those who bowed down and worshiped God, on my word of honor, have I never met in history or in time or in my travels anything comparable to the credulousness, the gullibility, of these who accept the most brazen and far fetched and imaginative and unproved theories of science as being the very law and the gospel.
For example, this would be a very typical conversation with a man who is a devotee of science, so-called:
"Where do you think this world came from?"
"Oh," he answers, "It is evolved."
"Well, that is interesting. It is evolved from what?"
"Well, it is evolved from a great, nebulous, gaseous substance."
"Well, that’s fine. Where did the gaseous, nebulous substance come from?"
"Well, it was created."
"Well, that’s interesting. Who created it?"
"Well, that’s interesting. Nature created it. Who is nature?"
"Well, nature is just nature."
"Well, that’s not scientific. You say nature made this. Nature created this. Well, what is nature? Who is this nature that created this?"
"Well, it is just nature."
"Well, where did he come from?"
"He didn’t come from anywhere."
"Well, who made him?"
"Nobody. He just always was."
Wouldn’t that thrill your heart? Wouldn’t that inspire your soul? Isn’t that a magnificent explanation? But that’s all of them. That’s not one, two, or three of them, that’s all of them and that’s as far as they can go; or – I’m illustrating the gullibility of these men who are scientists, so-called, and their willingness to turn aside from the great eternal verities revealed in the Book and to accept as the law and the gospel these unfounded, imaginative hypothesis and theories and and explanations, so-called – a myth.
Friday – this last Friday – there appeared on the front page of The Dallas Morning News this article entitled "Missing Link Man Found." And yesterday, Saturday morning, there appeared in the editorial section of The Dallas Morning News an editorial concerning it. Well, there was a time when I would have read that, and it would have greatly disturbed me – greatly disturbed me. Now, when I read this, I can’t believe that men are serious. It’s a joke! It’s funny! It’s silly! It’s ridiculous! I look at it, and I laugh. And yet, this thing is published by great, famous scientists. This is a part of the great discoveries of scientifically-minded men – this! And it’s a joke, and it’s funny, and it’s silly!
I read the headline: "Missing Link Man Found." And down here in the article, they found it ten years ago – ten years ago! And he makes the headline just now. Ten years ago the article says. One fellow up here says this missing link lived a million years ago. In the same article, the next time it’s there, speaks of that in-between man as living 75,000 years ago – all in the same breath! And they don’t think that’s funny. To me, that’s funny. That’s silly. They ought to get together on something – lot of difference between a million years and 75,000 years.
But this is the funny of it. This is the silly of it. "Missing Link Man Found." Look! The whole basis of evolution is this. This is what evolution is: that in the development of what you see now – the phenomena of life, the forms of life – in the development of these forms of life that you now see, over millions, and millions, and millions, and millions, and millions, and uncounted multiplied millions of years, there were thousands and thousands and millions and billions and billions of transitional forms. They came from a little unicellular animalcule, and then they develop, and they develop, and they develop, and they develop, and they develop until we find the forms of life today. That’s the theory. That’s the gospel that lies back of that. And in those transitional forms, as they come up, as they come up, there are millions and millions and millions and billions and billions of them.
Now, they say, "The missing link is found" – the missing link. Man, according to what they say, there are billions and billions and billions of those missing links! Why, we ought to see them down every road. We ought to run into them. They ought be thicker than cottontails, and jackrabbits, and ants, and centipedes, and bugs, and spiders, and insects, and everything you see in life. Talk about one transitional form. One? Man, there are billions and billions and billions of them according to their own word, and you ought to see them today down every road. Do you? No!
When you see a cat, he’s a cat. He’s a cat. He’s a dog; he’s a dog. He’s a cow; he’s a horse; he’s a bug; he’s a spider; he’s whatever he is! God made him that way, and you don’t find any transitional forms. And if they came up through all of these geological ages, why don’t you find them in the fossils? You don’t find them in the fossils! You don’t find them anywhere! I say it’s silly! It’s laughable. It’s ridiculous. It’s funny. They have found a missing link when by their own words there ought to be uncounted millions and billions of those missing links, and they ought to be seen everywhere. And yet they want me to throw away the great revelations and the great eternities of God to accept that – that.
Well, did you read the editorial? I won’t take time for it. He says they find this prehistoric man and they guess that he was undoubtedly "one million years old" which really means to say, in the editorial, he doesn’t know how old he is knowing the chances are he’s one of two things. If they have found the skeleton of a man, he’s a real man. He’s an actual man. And if not, they’ve found the remains of an animal. But that’s going to be in these next six and seven lectures that are to come. We going to have a good time here. That is, I’m going to have a good time.
Now, this morning, let’s go back to that first fact – the first fundamental, the first primary basis: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth" [Genesis 1:1]. The first fact of the Christian religion is this: that there is a personal God. I may call him an Intelligence for intelligence implies personality, activity, sentience – sensuousness: thinking, sensitivity, responsiveness, knowing. The great first fact of our faith is this: that there is a God, an Intelligence, a purposeful design working back of all that we see – that Somebody, not some thing, but that Somebody made it.
Now, this morning, out of a thousand ways you can go, we’re going to demonstrate that. Is that demonstrable? Yes. Can you demonstrate that? Yes. I can demonstrate the fact of God. The great primary of all of our following reasoning and the following revelation in the Christian faith and in this Book: the fact of God.
There is an unvarying law of logic which is begin with a fact universally conceded, universally known, and then reason from that. All right, this is our first unvarying law of logic. Here’s where we begin. Our fact is that you are – you are. Pinch yourself and see if you’re not. Punch yourself and see if you’re not. We’re going to start with you – with you.
And then, of course, around you is a whole world. That would be a universally conceded fact, wouldn’t it? Here we are, and here’s this vast complex in which we live. This planet and you and I, we are very stubborn, irrefutable facts. We are! And we are a part – this solar system of ours is a part of a galaxy of systems. There are more than 350 million of these stars with planets and satellites swinging around them just like we are in our galaxy. And then beyond our galaxy are other galaxies innumerable, much larger than ours. So we are. That’s one thing. That’s one thing.
All right: here’s a law of physics. Here’s an unvarying law of physics. You listen to it. In the transformation of matter wherein energy is produced, it is always the result of degeneration – a breaking down of the complex into the simple. May I say that again? One of the great laws of physics is this: that in the transformation of matter that results in the production of energy, it is always the result of degeneration – a breaking down from the complex to the simple.
For example, you burn up gasoline. When you do that, it gives off energy. You are breaking down a complex structure into a simpler structure, and it gives off energy in the degeneration. Same thing about atomic fission – this atomic energy: you’re breaking down a substance from a complex substance into a simpler substance. And in the breaking down, in the degeneration, it gives off energy.
Now, you see energy everywhere. What does that mean? That means this: I don’t care what your theory of creation, you have to start with a universe that is super-charged with high-grade energy. And then, it’s like a clock that’s wound up and it’s been running down ever since. Now, who wound the clock? Who wound the clock? In the first place, who made this thing here and filled it with complexity and with great energy? And then it degenerates. It degenerates. It never turns around. You don’t build from the simple to the complex, but it degenerates from the complex to the simple. You have to start – you have to start with this thing already wound up. And then it’s been running down like a clock ever since. All right, who did that? Who did that? Who?
In this world, it’s very complex. At the same time, it’s made up of simpler things than you’d look for.
A little boy in the presence of a professor who was visiting in his home asked the professor, "Sir, how many different kinds of things are there in the world?"
And the little mother interposed and said, "You don’t have to answer his foolish questions."
"Ah," said the professor, "I would like to answer that one. I don’t know very much," he said, "but I happen to know the answer to that one." He said, "Son, in all of this world, and in all the stars, and in all the suns, and all the moons and all the planets, in all of this world, there are less than a hundred different kinds of things."
"Why," the little boy said, "that’s not so. Why," he said, "I know more than a millions things myself."
"Oh, no," said the professor, "In all of this world you don’t know a million different kinds of things for there are less than a hundred different kinds of things in all this universe, in all the creation. In fact," the professor said, "there are just ninety-six – just ninety-six different kinds of things, and we call them elements."
"Oh," said the little boy. "Why, I can name you a million things myself." And seated at the table, the little boy said, "There’s one of them: salt."
And the professor said, "No. Salt is not one thing. Salt is two things. Salt is a piece of metal called sodium and a piece of gas called chlorine. Mix them together and it makes sodium chloride, but you call it salt."
"Well," said the boy, "uh, uh, uh, water! That’s something else."
"No," said the professor, "Water is not one thing either. It’s two things: two little pieces of hydrogen and one little piece of oxygen. Mix ’em together, and that’s what you call water."
"Well, the air I breathe. That’s something else."
"No. The air is made of two things: seventy-nine parts of nitrogen and twenty-one parts of oxygen, plus a little, tiny, teeny-weensy part of carbonic acid gas, or you call it, uh, uh, carbon dioxide gas – and that makes the air. Everything is made that way – everything. There are only about ninety-six different kinds of things, and then they are put together in different ways, and that makes this world in which we live."
Now, that’s the same thing as you find in mathematics, in the world of arithmetic. There are nine factors in arithmetic: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine. There are nine factors. And then, you have a zero in order to – for the convenience of multiplication. It takes two things to solve any kind of a problem: first, those nine factors and then an intelligent mind to do it. And with those nine factors and intelligence, you can work out a problem in calculus, in trigonometry, in geometry – all of those intricate things of engineering and building and astronomy. Two things you have to have. You have to have the factors, and you have to have the intelligence to manipulate the factors. Then you can solve the problem.
Same thing in literature. Two things you have to have to create literature: First, you have to have the factors. In our language there are twenty-six of them; A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O. You have to have the factors. There are twenty-six factors. Then you have to have an intelligence to manipulate the factors. And if you have the intelligence and the factors, look, you have the twenty-third Psalm; look, you have a Gettysburg Address [by Abraham Lincoln, 1863]; look, you have the play Hamlet [by William Shakespeare, c. 1600]; look, you have the Constitution of the United States . But you have to have the intelligence and you have to have the factors.
Now, that’s the thing that lies back of this thing when God created the heaven and the earth. You have the factors – God has ninety-six of them – and you have to have the intelligence. And God, the Intelligence, God, the Personality, takes those ninety-six factors that He created and He puts them together and He spells all these different things. And He can shift those factors around, and when He shifts them around, they spell different things.
This last week, did you see in the newspaper, on the front page, a picture of the children out there with the BETHLEHEM – each child was a letter – BETHLEHEM RATS? Did you see that on the front page of the newspaper? BETHLEHEM RATS! You see, they got their factors just a little mixed up. Instead of getting out there in order "BETHLEHEM STAR; S, T, A, R, they got out there BETHLEHEM RATS. They got it mixed up just a little.
Well, you can take that. Did you ever play anagrams? You can take that and mix up those factors and make it all kinds of things. There’s a star. All right turn it around. They’re rats. Turn it around. There’s "arts." Turn it around. There’s "tars" – sticky, messy, all kinds of petroleum tars. Yet, it’s all using the same factors. Now, the world is made like that.
Take the factor carbon. Put them around here just so that each quad of the atom is touched by four other atoms, and it spells diamond. Turn those factors around and it’ll spell graphite. In your pencil lead, turn the same thing around and it’ll spell coal. Turn the same thing around and it’ll spell some kinds of potter’s clays. All the same things, the factors: just change them around and they spell different things just like you do in creating literature.
All right, we have these ninety-six factors and they’re manipulated and they’re changed around and they make all these different things. Now, who designed that? Who made that? Who changes these factors? Who combines them? Who puts them together? Who does?
"Oh, I have an answer to that. Chance does that! Just chance does it. Just fortuitously, it comes about. It just happened to be chance put those factors together and spelled all these things we see in God’s created universe."
All right, let’s look at that. You say chance does that. All right, let’s see if chance does. You say it does. Let’s take the nine factors: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine, and let’s put the zero over there. And make a pile of ones and a pile of twos and a pile of threes, and let’s put them over there. And then we’ve got a – we’ve got a problem here in calculus or geometry to solve. All right, let’s just throw those factors up again. Put them in any kind of a wheel. Turn them over and over and over again and again and again and see if without intelligence, without design, those factors ever solve this problem. All right, try it! You can throw those factors up a million, a billion, and eternal years and you’ll never solve the problem. Without intelligence, it isn’t! It’s not!
All right, let’s take the other one. Let’s take literature. We have twenty-six factors here – twenty-six of them: A, B, C, D, E, F, G . . . We’ve got those twenty-six factors. Let’s put them over there in a pile, and let’s throw them up in the air and let’s see if chance it’d ever come out a twenty-third Psalm, it would ever come out a Constitution of the United States , it would ever come out Othello [by William Shakespeare, 1603] or King Lear [by William Shakespeare, 1606], it would ever come out Evangeline [by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1847]. Let’s try it and see! You say chance does that. Try it and see! You could do that for a million and a billion eternities, and it would never come out! When you take intelligence out of it, it is not! Beside, where’d the factors come from in the first place? Never, never would you get an answer – never. When you take intelligence out of it, personality out of it, God out of it, design out of it, the manipulating hand of the Almighty out of it, you have nothing – nothing, nothing.
Nothing comes out of nothing. Even a kindergarten boy would know that. Go out here in the middle of space where there’s nothing and see what you could make. You yourself wouldn’t be there. Take intelligence out of it, and it falls to the ground.
"Well," says one other, "I’ll try a guess. Chance – that’s ridiculous. Well, then law did it. Law did it. Law did that. Law manipulated all those factors and made these glorious things we see. Law did it."
Well, you don’t have law without an enacting body and an enforcing body. Law is a creature. Law is a created thing. And the law of gravity is one of the mysterious creations of the great Designer of this universe: the fact that this Bible will fall to that desk, and if I do not support myself, I will fall to the ground. One of the great mysteries of this universe is the law of gravity – the attraction of matter for matter. And all that it hasn’t attracted, it is inherent. God did that. God made that. Law itself is a creature. It creates nothing.
All right, you will have, you will have this universe created by law, created by chance – you’ll have all that come to pass when this comes to pass: when you see these ninety-six elements gather themselves together with no design and no intelligence and form an automobile and drive off, or form an airplane and fly away, or form a bridge and build itself across a chasm. Without intelligence, you don’t have anything. Even the factors have to be created, and the manipulation of those factors implies somebody to think and to do. So it is, back of this universe, there’s the intelligence of God.
Now, that is manifest everywhere and in everything. God gives His intelligence to all of His creatures, all of His creatures. God did that. God did that. In that animal, you call that imparted wisdom of God that makes it possible for it to live in its environment, you call it instinct. That’s the imparted, divine wisdom of God that God gave to the little creature in order that it might live in its environment. You call it instinct.
There was a professor who defined instinct one time as inherited memory. Instinct: inherited memory. This animal learned it from this animal. And that animal learned it from that animal. And that animal learned it from that animal, and on and on and on and on back. Instinct: inherited memory – not imparted wisdom of God at all – inherited memory.
So one of the fellows asked him about his definition. And he said, "Did you know up here on the shores of the North Pacific, there are little spiders that live up there on those shores? They’re no bigger than a shoe button – little, bitty spiders – and this is the way that they build their houses for their brood in which to raise their young. They take a bi-valve, like a big clam, and they locate that bi-valve, that clamshell – they locate it in relation to a valve of an overhanging large shrub or bush. And then that spider will raise that clamshell up and swing it in the air about twenty inches above the ground. And then, she will cover it with a silken web, and she will line it with a silken lining, cut a little hole on the outside, and in that she will raise her brood."
Now, in order for that little spider to do that she has a terrific engineering problem. Brother Rollins, the engineering problem that you face in that little spider’s proposition of that shell, the little spider weighs a fraction of a – of an ounce. That shell will weigh half a pound. For that spider to raise that shell up in the air twenty inches above the ground is the same proposition as if you were to take 3,600 tons of concrete and steel and swing it 1,800 feet up there in the air. Well, you say, you couldn’t do that. Well, you could do it by engineering, by mathematics, by applied thinking and intelligence. You could raise that 3,600 tons of concrete and steel 1,800 feet up there in the air. You could do it by intelligence.
All right, this little spider’s got the same engineering problem. That little spider’s got a half a pound weight of a shell to raise up there twenty inches in the air. All right, this is the way this spider does it. The spider does it according to fine physical law.
There is a physical law that says when a thing is wet, when it dries, it contracts – it shrinks. So the spider will swing from that little bow up there and come down with a wet thread, just as wet as the little thing can make it, and attach it to one side of that clam shell. Then, the spider will go up there again and swing down with a string just as wet as she can make and attach it to the other side of that little clamshell. Then when the string dries, it shrinks and it pulls the shell up just a little bit. So with infinite patience she puts silken strings down on this side, and on this side, and on this side, and on this side, and on this side, and on this side, and this side, and this side, and this side, and this side, and this side, and this, and pretty soon the clam shell is raised, and raised, and raised, and raised, and raised, and raised, and raised, and raised. Then when she gets it up there where she wants it, about twenty inches above the ground, she ties them all into a strong silken cable. Then, she makes her home on the inside of the clamshell.
Now, if that instinct, if the thing that makes her do that, is inherited memory, then she learned to do that from her mother. And her mother learned to do it from her mother. And her mother learned to do it from her mother, and her mother from her mother, and her mother from her mother and grandmother and great-grandmother and on and on and on and on and on back. Now, if instinct is inherited memory and each one learned it from the other on back and back and back, then the first spider that did that sat down and figured it out for herself! That’s the honest truth. That’s the honest truth. That’s the honest truth. She solved that engineering problem herself.
Now, the intelligence that God imparted to that little spider, no bigger than a shoe button, is the same intelligence that lies back of all God’s creation. You can take a duck egg and send that duck a thousand miles on the inside of the country and put that duck egg under a chicken hen, and it will hatch with the rest of the chickens. But as surely as the Lord lives, you get to a pond, and that little duck will wade in the water chilling. He will. He will or she will. That little duck will get in the water and the little chickens will stay out there on the side. God did that. He put it in the egg. He put it in the form. He put it in the embryo. God did that. That’s a part of the wisdom of the Almighty.
Here’s a little old newborn calf, and it’ll start grazing on the edge of the water. And here’s a little newborn pelican, and it will start fishing out there in the sea. That’s true with the whole thing. Back of it is the intelligence of God. And take it away, and you don’t have it – don’t have anything.
But give me God. Let me have the Lord. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" [Genesis 1:1]. And the whole thing is possible. I can look out under the stars and His handiwork declares His glory [Psalm 19:1]. His tatting: God just did that at an idle moment with His fingers. God did that. And I look into all God’s creatures, and there is His wisdom again everywhere. And I look into the human frame, and the human soul, and the human heart, and there is God’s imparted wisdom again [Psalm 139:13-16].
It was hurt. It was ruined – the beauty of God’s work – by the entrance of sin and rebellion in the world [Romans 8:20-22]. And that brought the gospel message of Christ who was able to take our sins away [1 John 3:5] and to present us, some day, faultless before His great throne [Colossians 1:21-22] which is the story of The Book. That’s the Bible: how the Lord redeemed the man that He made. But all of it is of the grace of God [Ephesians 2:8-9].
How a man could say, "Pastor, I had rather believe the vagaries and the imaginations of men rather than accept the eternal revelations of God," I don’t see it. He’s so lost [Romans 1:22]. He lives in a world of darkness, and the end of it is the grave [Romans 1:21; Philippians 3:18-19]. But for us, this world has in it the presence of God and the end of it is in the glory that is yet to come [Matthew 28:20; Philippians 3:20-21]. That’s the Christian faith.
Now, we’re going to sing our song, and while we sing it, this little moment – all of us staying here just for the moment – while we sing it, somebody you, give his heart to the Lord or come into the fellowship of the church. As the Lord shall lead the way, say the word, you come and stand by me while we sing the first stanza of this invitation hymn.