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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Evangelist Mordecai F. Ham
From The Plains Baptist Challenger, February 2013
For the first division of our message we will cite two texts: Psalm 14:1, Romans. 1:20. "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." That is a fool's statement because it is not the product of reason and is contrary to every known system of reasoning. Answering a fool according to his folly makes appropriate the statement "as you knows of," and the satiric reply of one to this same fool, "Well, the Bible says the fool says in his heart there is no God but you be one big fool for you just blab it right out."
There are four things for which they who deny the existence of God cannot account—the Universe, the Bible, the Christ and the Jew.
As a Fool Reasons
While waiting in the machine shop of an automobile factory for the men to finish their lunches, having announced a noonday talk to the men, I overheard a discussion among the men concerning belief and unbelief. One who denied the existence of a God when asked who made the universe said: "One time the entire universe was nothing but a bunch of nebular matter and it began to cool and got to revolving so fast that little particles flew off and these in turn got to revolving and finally turned into worlds and revolved into positions." He had the old discarded nebular hypothesis.
Why any man who can swallow such stuff has any difficulty in believing that the whale swallowed Jonah is too much for me. I could swallow a man myself easier than I could swallow that stuff. The man who can talk so much like an ass should not express surprise that Balaam's ass talked like a man. For it is not any more unreasonable for an ass to talk like a man, than for a man to talk like an ass.
I began my talk by repeating part of the conversation just heard, then, pointing to a bench on which rested a number of emery stones, I sought to explain their existence by saying that at one time the larger one got to revolving and that finally it flung off other stones and these in turn got to revolving. In the same fashion an automobile came into existence; a bunch junk thrown together got to revolving and floundered around and finally an automobile was evolved.
You say, "Ham, you are a fool." I admit it, but I'm giving the argument of the brainy infidel. And then one day I stood looking at a Mogul locomotive and listened as its intricate mechanism was explained. And of course I thought of the marvelous accident by which it happened. No doubt at one time a bunch of junk got heated up and began to cool and to revolve and then by some sort of evolutionary and spontaneous maneuvering formed itself into such a piece of machinery. The engineer said when I commented in such fashion: "Why, man, you're a fool." I know I am, but I'm following the argument and the reasoning of the brainy infidel.
I showed my watch to a jeweler one day and commented upon its marvelous and delicate design. Then I spoke of the manner in which a bundle of ore got, together and got to whirling around and finally evolved itself into a timepiece. And he called me a fool and insisted that intelligence and reasoning designed and made the watch. I know I was a fool but if the universe with its systems within systems and its worlds without number can just happen into existence surely it is not too much to expect a small watch to just happen. We have indulged in the folly of the fool.
The automobile is the product of intelligent, thorough designing and is itself proof of the existence of a designer.
I stand on the seashore and watch the water as it evaporates, is carried over the land, comes in contact with a current of cold air, is condensed and falls as rain, watering the earth and flowing through the brooks, creeks, and rivers back to the ocean again. I ask the infidel to explain and he says, "Oh, it just happened." No, there's an intelligence back of it all.
"The invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made" (Romans 1:20).
Nature proves the existence of a God. Go out on a snowy day and examine the snowflakes with a microscope. No centerpiece was ever more beautiful in its design and structure, all of them symmetrically similar and yet no two alike. Go into the forests and examine all the leaves you will, and you will find no two of them exactly alike—no two on the same tree, even.
Light gives color to the herbage. Now go into an orchard and study the leaves on various trees and vines. All of them are arranged in spiral groups in such a manner that no one shades the other, and the tip of the first just reaches the stem of the last. The apple and cherry leaves are arranged in groups of five, the quince and raspberry in fours and the peach and pear in sixes. An ear of corn has always an even number of rows of grains and never an odd number. Brother, who counts all these? Surely there is an omnipotent God in it all.
In every realm of nature number and mathematical perfection play such fundamental and universal parts that the more the matter is studied the more absolute becomes the conviction that a creative mind is back of it all. In the decorative coverings of animals, hair, feathers and other materials, there is mathematical accuracy in the measurement of spaces, gradation of tints and adherence to design.
As harmonies in music depend upon air vibrations properly related, so blending colors have the same fixed relations in the matter of ether vibrations. There is perfect symmetrical work among the ants and the bees, and no accident can account for the 12,000 hexagonal lenses in the compound eye of the dragonfly. Some of you little two-carat infidels would instruct the world on the origin of creation yet don't know the number of eyes a common house-fly has.
There is one thermometrical average for the heat of blood in all quadrupeds and another 10 percent higher for birds in all climates. Perfect geometric proportion exists in every phase of crystallization. The ratio by which chemical changes occur and elements combine never varies by a single atom. Not only does number reign supreme in the operation of the tiniest mechanism subject to the law of gravitation, but out into the farthest reaches of astronomical observation, and we are forced to a deeper comprehension of Isaiah's words when he says: "Who hath comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales?"(Isaiah 40:12).
How can anyone with a particle of intelligence step aside from such startling examples and seek to encourage doubt by queries as to the origin of Cain's wife? It should only arouse suspicion about him who is constantly inquiring about other men's wives.
The thoughtless might argue that music, the universal language, is produced in haphazard fashion. Because a baby sings of its own accord, because the birds break into carols in the wood, because melodies seem to spring unconsciously from the heart it might be regarded as purely spontaneous, unrestrained, bound by no limitations. Yet the opposite is true. No science is more absolute.
Strike middle C! Now when an instrument sounds the tone middle C just 264 air vibrations strike the ear each second. Now, strike the note an octave lower down! This note an octave lower throbs at a rate of just half that number of vibrations; while the note an octave above middle C sends out 528 pulses per second. And on through all the intricacies of harmony perfect mathematical ratios exist with reference to vibrations, and the least departure from these absolute rules sounds dissonance. The tones of the human voice and the vibrations of the ear drum operate with the same mathematical precision.
I find that by careful application man can reproduce the automobile and the steam engine; but he cannot reproduce the smallest production of nature, a leaf or a snowflake.
Man can build a printing press, a wonderful composite of intricate mechanism, but he cannot reproduce a system to bring down rain.
Man can make watches without number, but he cannot reproduce the great time-piece which hangs in the heavens.
And since the design not only reveals the existence of the designer but is also proof of his skill, the design which is impossible to man must be the product of an intelligence superior to man. And as man himself must have an origin we might as well reasonably conclude that the intelligence which is responsible for man is also responsible for the creation around him. Herbert Spencer may call it infinite and eternal energy but we call it infinite, eternal, intelligent energy and power—God!
The existence of God is an inbred conviction in man. Even the heathen realize that there is a supreme power or being.
As Plutarch says, and he was the greatest biographer of antiquity:
"If you will take the pains to travel through the world, you will find towns and cities without walls, without letters, without kings, without houses, without wealth, without out money, without theaters and places of exercise; but there never was seen, nor shall be seen by man any city without temples and gods or without making use of prayers, oaths, divinations and sacrifices for the obtaining of blessings and benefits and the averting of calamities and curses. Nay, I am of the opinion that a city might better be built without any ground to fix it on than a commonwealth to be constituted altogether devoid of any religion and opinion of the gods or, being thus constituted, be preserved."
The hunger for God is as universal as the hunger for bread.
The instinct for worship is as universal as the instinct to eat. And it is a universal law that no creature has an instinct that is not responsive to an existing fact. When first born, the babe, the calf or the kitten instinctively seeks its nourishment. Nobody ever taught it. That instinct is responsive to the fact that the nourishment is there for it. By instinct the bird builds its nest, the bee constructs its honeycomb of marvelously accurate hexagonal cells.
Nobody ever taught them. Their instinct is responsive to the fact that the nest and the cells are necessary to the rearing of their young and the storing of their food. Does it not follow that man's instinct to worship is responsive to the fact that there is a being worthy of his worship and to whom he owes worship? It is just as easy to show that no other god man ever found or devised or conceived meets the requirements of a God worthy of worship as Jehovah does. No other has the necessary attributes.
Sir Isaac Newton had a friend who like himself was a great scientist; but he was an infidel, while Newton was a devout believer, and they often locked horns over this question, though their mutual interest in science drew them much together.
Newton had a skillful mechanic make him a replica of our solar system in miniature. In the center was a large gilded ball representing the sun, and revolving around this were smaller balls fixed on the ends of arms of varying lengths, representing Mercury, the Earth, Mars, Venus, Uranus, Jupiter, Saturn, etc., in their proper order. These were so geared together by cogs and belts as to move in perfect harmony by the turn-ing of a crank.
One day as Newton sat reading in his study with this mechanism on a large table near him, his infidel friend stepped in. He was scientist enough to recognize at a glance what was before him. Stepping up to it he slowly turned the crank and with undisguised admiration watched the heavenly bodies all move in their relative speed in their orbits. Standing off a few feet, he exclaimed, "My! What an exquisite thing that is! Who made it?"
Looking up now, Newton solemnly assured him that nobody made it, but that the aggregation of matter so much admired had just happened to assume the form it was in. But the astonished infidel replied with some heat: "You must think I'm a fool. Of course somebody made it, and he is a genius, and I'd like to know who he is."
Laying his book aside, Newton arose and laid a hand on his friend's shoulder and said:
"This thing is but a puny imitation of a much grander system whose laws you and I know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker; yet you profess to believe that the great original from which the design is taken has come into being without either designer or maker! Now, tell me by what sort of reasoning do you reach such incongruous conclusions?"
The infidel was at once convinced and became a firm believer that "Jehovah, He is the God" (2 Kings 18:39).