The Nature of God. If God s presence is indicated by complexity God himself to do all this stuff must be complex and so must have a designer

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1 The Nature of God Teleological argument (intelligent design) Order and complexity via intelligent design by God. From Greek word telos meaning purpose suggests that the world has been designed for a purpose. David Hume World is like a big machine made up of lesser machines all adjusted to work perfectly together. The designer is like man s mind but much greater so must be God William Paley Watch argument all parts working perfectly together suggests a designer. Criticism If God s presence is indicated by complexity God himself to do all this stuff must be complex and so must have a designer Surely if God was as described he would make things simple can make bodies work without organs why be unnecessarily complex Things we design are often simpler than items that are not, e.g. rock and rubber ball Cosmological argument Idea by Plato. First cause (prime mover) must be God as he is without a cause. Developed by Thomas Aquinas Christian beliefs about the nature of God Omnipotent all powerful Omniscient all knowing Omnipresent everywhere Omni benevolent all loving Creator / designer Judge Eternal Perfectly good

2 Trinity One God who revealed himself in three separate ways; father, son and Holy Spirit. All have a different role. God son = Jesus =incarnation of God resurrected and ascended to heaven. Father Creator In Romans God is referred to as Abba father = daddy. Shows a close loving relationship. Also suggests safety and protection. Son God incarnated flesh, human form. Product of virgin birth Free from sin as not made by two humans Completely human but also completely God Main purposes: 1. Reveal God to man, showing love and power and teaching how he wants them to live 2. Sacrifice on the cross to take the punishment for the sin of the world so that truly repentant can go to heaven 3. Rise from dead to show God s power over death and that God is eternal and so can they be in heaven. Holy Spirit Referred to in Greek as paraclete one who comes alongside someone else. Job guide and comforter. With Christians all the time. Helps them to understand how God s teaching and gives them the opportunity to enter heaven. Described in the bible in the Pentecost in terms of his presence in the lives of believers. Reasons Christians give to support their belief in God Caused universe as everything has a cause Designer of beautiful and complex world Answers prayers can be no Performed miracles In conscience voice of God Brought up to believe Criticisms of Christian views Cause of universe is an explosion= natural process Poor design so much goes wrong, e.g. extinction Prayers not really answered just coincidence Getting well against the odds doesn t mean it is a miracle Not everyone has same sense of right or wrong We should question what we are taught Know he exists through information in the Bible about him. People wrote the Bible doesn t mean they were right

3 Miracles A miracle is a super natural event and shows God intervening in the world to overrule the laws of nature. Four main categories: Healing miracles someone is unwell and immediately returns to health or when they have been told that they are dying from an incurable disease and recover. Jesus cured a man of leprosy. Miracles over nature when natural elements are controlled, e.g. storm suddenly stops. Jesus quietens a storm. Raising of the dead miracles when a dead person returns to life. Jesus raised a man from the dead when he was being carried out of the town gates. Exorcisms - when a person is believed to be possessed by an evil spirit and it is sent out of them. Jesus cast out seven devils from Mary Magdalene after he rose from the dead. Christians believe that God still does miracles today, e.g. 6,500 claim to have been healing after visiting Lourdes in France. The Catholic Church has recognised 67 of these cases as miracles. Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage. In 1858 Bernadette Soubirous a 14 year old girl claimed to have had 18 visions of Virgin Mary. Some people believe that God is working through them to carry out miracles today, e.g. Benny Hinn healer holds healing services. Some Christians, such as Reformed Baptists, believe miracles do not happen today; they only happened in the apocalyptic era (when the apostles of Jesus were alive). This is because miracles happened to show Jesus was the Son of God. Today miracles are not needed because we have the Bible to tell us about Jesus who is in heaven. God intervenes in the world through Jesus God took human form and came to earth as Jesus. God s way of showing humans what he was like. As God Jesus was perfect in every way. Was fully human but also still fully God. Shows his absolute love through his death and resurrection. God shows himself in a way that people understand God intervenes in the world through the Holy Spirit Holy Spirit is permanently in all Christians. He is a gift from God sent after the ascension. The Holy Spirit came at the Pentecost. Jesus said he would send the Holy Spirit to be with them (aka a comforter). Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit so they could be witnesses throughout the world. Acts records the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost violent wind from heaven and then tongues of fire came to rest on each of them. Were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Wind reflects power of Holy Spirit Fire suggests warmth and purity. Apostles transformed from a sacred group of men to bold individuals declaring the deity of Jesus to all who would listen. Accounts of large number of people converting. Evidence of presence of Holy Spirit in believers today Paul the writer of Galatians sees the fruits of the spirit as evidence of the Holy Spirit today love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. What Paul means is that Christians should show this by the attitudes they have.

4 The Bible also records the gifts of the spirit talents that God may give us through the presence of the Holy Spirit, e.g. healing, miraculous power, and teaching. Baptism with the Holy Spirit John the Baptists says he baptises with water and that Jesus will baptise them with the Holy Spirit and fire. Christians have different interpretations of this: 1. You accept Jesus as your saviour, repent your sins and become part of the church aka the body of Christ. They believe that the Holy Spirit lives in them and works through them in the ways described in the Bible. 2. Holy Spirit empowers them to serve God. Just like the apostles waited 50 days until the Pentecost to receive the Holy Spirit which empowered them to speak in Jerusalem. For these Christians baptism in the Holy Spirit leads them to speak and pray in heavenly languages unknown to others = speaking in tongues. God has poured out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5 You became imitators of us and of the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 1:6

5 Test yourself questions 1. Provide a brief summary of the teleological argument. 2. What example did Hume use to explain this argument? 3. What example did Paley use to explain this argument? 4. Give three criticisms of this argument. 5. Briefly summarise the cosmological argument 6. Who developed this argument? 7. What do Christians believe about the nature of God (what God is like)? 8. What is a miracle? 9. What are the four main types of miracle? 10. Why do Christians think that miracles happen today? 11. Why do some Christians think that miracles no longer happen today? 12. What reasons do Christians give for Jesus coming to earth? 13. What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit arrival on earth? 14. What evidence is there of the Holy Spirit in the world? 15. What are the two different interpretations of Baptism in the Holy Spirit? Now turn to the next page to have at look at the questions that have been set in past exam papers; plan and write answers to some of these questions. Talk to your teacher if you are stuck so that they can help you if needed.

6 Past exam questions B601 June 2010 Section A: Belief about Deity (a) What is a miracle? [1] (b) State two Christian beliefs about the nature of God. [2] (c) What do Christians believe about Jesus? [3] (d) Explain Christian beliefs about miracles. [6] (e) There is a lot of evidence to prove there is a God. Discuss this statement. You should include different, supported points of view and your own point of view. You must refer to Christianity in your answer. [12] B601 June 2011 Section A: Belief about Deity (f) What is monotheism? [1] (g) i. Give one word that describes the nature of God. ii. State what it means. [2] (h) Describe how the Holy Spirit affects Christians. [3] (i) Explain why Christians believe God exists. [6] (j) It is important for Christians to believe in miracles. Discuss this statement. You should include different, supported points of view and your own point of view. You must refer to Christianity in your answer. [12] B601 June 2012 Section A: Belief about Deity (a) What is meant by the term deity? [1] (b) Give two examples of Christian miracles [2] (c) Describe one reason a Christian might give for believing in God. [3] (d) Explain why there are different beliefs about miracles in Christianity. [6] (e) God cannot be described. Discuss this statement. You should include different, supported points of view and your own point of view. You must refer to Christianity in your answer. [12]

7 Exam questions with top tips: a. What is a miracle? b. What is the Holy Spirit? Think how it works. Part of Trinity Came in Pentecost. Why? c. Describe what Christians believe about Jesus. Son of God Part of Trinity Reasons for incarnation reveal himself to man an tell them how he wants them to behave Describe what he did or taught / what happened after crucifixion d. Explain why Christians believe in Jesus This is about Jesus not God Refer to Bible and stories about Jesus. Give an example Some Christians pray to Jesus and their prayers are answered Disciples were willing to be martyred for their belief in Jesus and witnessed his resurrection. For many is a matter of faith not proof Told he is Son of God by parents e. If miracles were true they would happen all the time. Discuss Definition of miracles Explain there are different interpretations of a miracle, e.g. birth of a child is one for some, others it is things that break the laws of science and nature. Give examples of different types of miracles and examples from Bible or modern day Argue would not be a miracles by frequency if happened all the time. Some Christians say they do happen all the time.

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