(GOD AND THE Reasoning MIND)

By Dr. WA Criswell

Adapted Dr. Peter Eddy Purwanto

The previous sermon preached at the First Baptist Church in Dallas

on January 18, 1981

One of the characteristics of the Apostle Paul, as described by Dr. Luke, who has worked with him, accompanying him, to accompany him in the course of his ministry, is like what Luke later wrote about his experiences and about Paul in the book of Acts. Paul’s discussion in the Agora, in the market, in the synagogue, even when he stands before the Roman authorities, namely Felix. For example, we will read Acts 17: 1-3:

“Paul and Silas took the road through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica. Where there was a Jewish synagogue. Paul went to the synagogue. Three days Sabbath he reasoned with them portions of Scripture.Explaining and demonstrating that the Christ should suffer and rise from the dead, then he said: “This is the Messiah, Jesus, I preached unto you” (Acts 17: 1-3).

Consider the descriptive clauses, he “reasoned with them parts of the Scriptures.”

We read in Acts 18:

“Then he left Athens and went to Corinth; … And every Sabbath Paul spoke in the synagogue and tried to convince the Jews and Greeks …. So they came to Ephesus. Paul left Priscilla and Aquila there. He himself went into the synagogue and talked with the Jews “(Acts 8: 1, 4, 19).

Now let us read Acts 24:

“And after some days, Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish; he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. But when Paul talked about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix became afraid and said, “Sufficient time ago and go now; if there is a good chance, I will send for you” (Acts 24: 24-25)

What Felix thought of before when he called Paul to hear his testimony? Will this be something that is unimaginable, or not as expected by the officials? The Bible explains that Paul talked about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment.


Plato, the Greek rationalist philosophers, give a statement like this: “Man must try to give a variety of answers because he is a human being and not merely because they he was Greek.The characteristics of the Greeks was fond of researching and likes to ask. But Plato observed that this philosophy is not only characteristic of the Greeks but also the characteristics of each human being. Our hearts are filled with curiosity or find answers. And again this is not just a characteristic of us who want to always look for a satisfactory answer, but when other people ask us, we must be ready to give an answer (ref. 1 Peter 3:15).

Not true booed arguments and questions humanist, materialist, secularists, or even atheists. We must give an answer to them. Or not true booing our people who have doubts and have questions. It was shocking because the pastors and teachers in medieval filled with doubt and must seek answers about the concept of God. It is not contrary to the will of our Lord. Simon Peter wrote in his first letter said,

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord! And be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and respect “(1 Peter 3:15).

You all are familiar with Jude verse three which advises us to “strive to maintain” (epagonizesthai) faith. We have to defend, not not consider it important, or indifferent, but with the hard struggle. This means looking for answers to a rational, intelligent, and can be accepted in accordance with the will of God.

God gives us the freedom of the mind, heart, will and spirit. He has been doing it from the beginning to our first parents. They have the freedom to choose. It is the freedom of spirit and will. It is the freedom of mind and soul that we can not deny. We can suppress or limit the body, but we can not restrict the mind. There is a piece of poetry from the song that says,

Our fathers chained in prisons dark

But minds and their consciences are not shackled.

My body may be limited, but my mind can not be limited! If I can win the minds and hearts of people, that means I’ve won everyone. That’s why Allah addresses His gospel to the mind, heart and soul. God is the truth and he reveals himself in John 1: 1 as Logos. Logos that? It is the mind of God, God’s intelligence. John 1: 1 lots shocking statements in the philosophy of human literature. “In the beginning was the Word,” … intellect, mind, intelligence activity of God. Word or thought of it together with God, and God was the Word. It is truly amazing when you watched carefully, not with cynicism and suspicion, that the Word of God to see that our Lord addresses His gospel to human intelligence. Look, look, examine for yourself. This is a gospel that makes sense, and that being a Christian was very reasonable.


Now we come to when Paul was in Athens a city university centers of the ancient world. He stood in front of the Areopagus, the Supreme Court of Attica (Supreme Court of Attica), in the capital Athens. He stood in front of smart people and officials of Athens. Paul stood in front of people learned Greek at the university center and deliver the argument. He stood in front of many people, and one of the groups there are pagan polytheistic.They do not mind to accept what they callforeign gods,which Paul was preaching.


When Paul stood in front of them, they were attracted by his speech related to “gods of the new” because Paul preached Jesus (in Greek use of the masculine form that they thought the reference to a deity) andanatasis (in Greek using the feminine form that they thought refers to the goddess). Paul preached about “Jesus” and “resurrection.” The Athenians had pinned their lives to mate gods. There are several pairs of gods: Jupiter (Jove) and Juno, Isis and Osiris, etc. So when Paul preached, they are interested in “Jesus and anastasis,” which they assume to be a couple of gods. However, Paul preached that they should not think about a couple of gods,divine state just like gold or silver or stone, artistic creation and human expertise. Paul says that God can not possibly be understood by limited human knowledge, but now He commands all men everywhere to return to the truth. The pagan polytheist in the crowd of people who listen to the preaching of Paul refused to accept the exclusivity of Jesus as a one- the only true and living God.

Another group was also there in the crowd when Paul preached in Athens was philosophers who see that same divine state like gold or silver or stone, artistic creation and human expertise. These philosophers especially are materialists. They are atheistic materialists. Two groups of them called in Acts 17:18,

“And also some experts think of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him, and some were saying:” What does this foolish babbler want to say? ” Others said: “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.”Because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. “

It is an interesting confrontation between Paul and the Greek philosophers, which is a lot to learn throughout their lives, the Epicureans and Stoics.

In ancient times there was the Greek philosopher who named Democritus who died in the year 370 BC. It proposed the theory of the universe which is a collection of atoms. TEMNO the Greek word meaning “to cut.”Tomos, is the adjective form of this word that means “can be cut” (cutable) or “divisible” (devisible). The additional letters “alpha” in front of this Tomos or be “atomic” changed the meaning to “not be cut off” (uncutable) or “can not be divided” (indivisible). Democritus proposed that everything comes from the atom. He also taught that the human soul is also made up of atoms, the atoms do not get caught round the other atoms and with easy entry of all other atoms. When men lived atom that converge into one, and when he died it was scattered atoms. The entire universe is made of particles “can not cut” or “undivided” This is where Democritus refer to as“atomos.”

Epicureans, who died in the year 270 BC, exactly one hundred years after the death of Democritus, taking the materialistic philosophy of Democritus and propose his view of the world. Life is nothing but a collection of atoms; It has no meaning, no purpose. Therefore, Epicureans taught that we should try to please ourselves for a still life. Have fun, get all you want to satisfy yourself. Famous sentence, “eat-drink as much, and enjoy marriage for tomorrow we die” is the Epicurean philosophy.

Zeno died about six years after the Epicurean, which is slightly different from materialist and atheist. Zeno taught in the “stoa” (porch). People who come to study philosophy at the philosophical school known as the “Stoa” Zeno taught that God is the world and the world is God. He is a pure Pantheists. Pantheism states that everything is God. Basic teaching of Zeno and his Stoic and Epicurean and Epicureans its flow is always a materialistic and atheistic.


Paul stood in front of learned men and the polytheistic also gathered there, and Paul preached the different both in character and that stuff with what they believed before. Paul speaks of the personal God of life that we can know, feel, touch, worship, glorify and serve. When Paul preached, first of all he expresses a universal truth: the human heart testify to the existence or reality of the living God and impersonal.

“Because when I walk in your city and see the goods Love Man, I see also an altar with the inscription: To the unknown God. What will you worship without knew him, that’s what I preached to you. God who made the world and everything in it, He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone. From one man He has made every nation of mankind to inhabit the entire earth, and He has set the seasons for them and the boundaries of their habitation, that they seek him and perhaps reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as has been said by the poet-pujanggamu: Because we are God’s offspring as well. Because we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the same divine state like gold or silver or stone, the creation of art and skill of man. “(Acts 17: 23-29).

He talked about God is not far away, living in our hearts that longs seek and find Him. All the philosophy of the world can not satisfy the hunger of mind and the heart cry of man to find God. It is a revelation that is universal.

I recently re-read the Confession of Augustine (Augustine’s Confession). In the first paragraph is a sentence that I have often heard, “Oh, Lord, You made us all for your own sake, and we are restless until we find a stopover in Thee.” There is a hunger to find God is universal.

The late Will Durant, the founder and leader of the department of philosophy at Columbia University and author of the famous book volume Story of Philosophy writes,

“Most serious question of our time is not communism vs. individualism, or Europe vs. America, or even East vs. The West, but it is whether humans can live without God. “

Universally, there was a shout of different human hearts need God. Even the Communist government of Russia was not able to stop it.

For example, our world a little closer to the sun, then we will all be burned. We’re all going to die scorched. The whole universe has a purpose and design. Fin fish on purpose. The wings of birds has a purpose. The human hand is designed in such a way has a purpose. God puts souls hungry for Him, and He has designed that way. The human heart can not deny the existence of God.


The testimony of the greatest of all the evidence of the existence and reality of the Supreme Being is a revelation of God in Jesus Christ. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14: 9). Christ is God visible, touchable God, the living God, the God incarnate. Jesus is our Lord.

One of the biggest facts can not be denied at all times is Jesus our Lord. The world can not bury it, the earth was not deep enough to bury him, the cloud is not wide enough to envelop him, and the rock was not big enough to cover his grave. He arose, He lives, He ascended.

He is majestic. He stood among human history. Before he called years BC (Before Christ or before Christ), and after he came to be called the years AD, or anno Domini, or the year of our Lord. His birth and death is the center of the universe. The nations of the West to write from left to right, but the nations of Eastern writing from right to left, and in the middle is He, He is the center. He is the God who reveals Himself.

“He is the image of the invisible God, …” (Col. 1:15)

“For in Him dwells bodily the whole fullness of deity” (Col. 2: 9)

“He is the light of God’s glory and the express image of God ….” (Heb. 1: 3).

“… .Barangsiapa Has seen me has seen the Father …” (John 14: 9).

Knowing Jesus is equal to know God; Jesus loved, was to love God; worship Jesus together with the worship of God; prostrating to Christ together with prostrate to Allah. He is the God who can be known and palpable. He is the manifestation of a personal God to us. The full revelation of God is found in Him.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4: 6,

“For God, who said:” From the dark light shine “, he also made his light shine in our hearts, in order to gain the light of the knowledge of the glory of God that appear on the face of Christ.”

When did God give the light of the knowledge of His glory to man? Is it through the universe around us? No, despite all the manifest His glory. Whether through his providence over our lives in history? No, though he was the one who allowed this to happen in the history of the purpose and His plan. Through the stars that emit light to shine on us? Not! He led us to find Jesus Christ.

Thomas when he saw our Lord has risen and glorious said, “My Lord and my God!”

John writes,

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead; But He laid His right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the living one. I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever and I hold the keys of death and Hades’ (Revelation 1: 17-18).

He is our Lord and our God! God and common sense – this truth is familiar, but very reasonable. Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is the perfect righteousness in this world and in heaven.


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