Sunday, January 10, 2021

One God and Maker of All (Sermon 1 on the Apostles' Creed)

What a week it's been! We need a firm foundation for our minds and hearts to rest on, focus on, when so much else is giving way. And we have, of course, the Bible... but what does it say? We have our faith... but what's in it? What do we actually say when we're asked what we believe? To answer that, the very early church began coming up with binding summaries of what it's all about. And these confessions of faith are called creeds. Whenever someone wanted to be baptized into Christ, part of the ritual of baptism would involve affirming the baptismal creed: either by reciting it from memory, or by answering yes to its parts in question form. A creed had to be a memorable and pithy way to put together the beliefs that should govern a Christian's mind. And so one ancient Christian said: “This summary of our faith is a great thing, since between the heart and the tongue, the whole mystery of human salvation is up for consideration and is being accomplished.”1 But a creed wasn't just something that you would learn for baptism and could then forget. Creeds were for both worship and for day-to-day life. Another ancient Christian said: “When you've received [the Creed], write it on your hearts. Recite it daily to yourselves. Before you go to sleep, before you go forth, fortify yourselves with your Creed.”2

And one simple example of these early creeds has become known as the Apostles' Creed. The basic content of this creed is very, very, very old. In fact, it gets its name from a legend that it was actually written by the Twelve Apostles themselves after Pentecost – the legend being that on the night before they spread out into all their different mission fields, they wanted to make sure they had a unifying core to their message in every nation, so they got together and each said one line under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit.3 And the truth is that the Apostle's Creed is a good summary of what used to be called the Rule of Faith, an organized pattern of Christian teaching that goes back deep into the roots of the church. And so our own denomination calls the Apostles' Creed “a uniform benchmark for general instruction in the basics of our faith,” and it also supports the practice of this creed being “read or recited in unison at worship services to affirm the believer in the united faith of the Church.”4 This will enter our worship together on Easter Sunday! But first, we should get to know what it is we're going to be saying we believe – and why we say we believe it!

So where do we start out? The first line of the Apostles' Creed goes like this: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” That's very simple. In the second century, Irenaeus – a disciple of a man named Polycarp, who was himself a disciple of the Apostle John – began describing the Rule of Faith as meaning that we have “faith in one God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and the seas and all things that are in them.”5 And later, building on this rule, the councils of the church expanded the phrase to say, “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.”6 See the similarities? The same basic components are constant throughout.

In the time of the early church, many of their neighbors couldn't even honestly say this with them. The typical pagan did not at all believe in one God; he or she believed in many. Far enough back, I know my own ancestors were Germanic tribesmen who believed in Wotan and Donar and more. Other people doubted that the highest God could be responsible for heaven and earth, because they thought physical things were too icky for him to dirty his hands with. And certainly, even among the enlightened few who believed that there was one God who created all things, few would have dared to confess him as their Father, the way we routinely do.

Today, we have plenty of neighbors who also can't join us in confessing belief in God the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth. Some of our neighbors are secular humanists, or evolutionary naturalists, or other stripes of materialists, atheists, or agnostics. From 2009 to 2019, the percentage of Americans describing themselves as atheists doubled, now making up one in every twenty-five American adults; and that's not taking into account the other one in twenty American adults who now say they don't know.7 About three out of every twenty teenagers today say they don't believe that there's a God.8 All in all, adults and teens together, about one in every ten Americans doesn't believe in any sort of God,9 while about one in four are religiously unaffiliated.10 This rising population of atheists are also coming more and more into vocal public view in recent decades.

For our part, we disagree with them. We believe in God – the God confessed in our creed. “The Lord our God is one God” (Deuteronomy 6:4). And we ourselves believe with quite solid warrant, because we believe with the faith of the whole church. And the church has good reasons for what she confesses and commits. Paul was right to declare that God's “invisible attributes – namely, his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made,” leaving us “without excuse” if we fail to believe (Romans 1:20). Paul the Apostle was himself following in the footsteps of an earlier writer who declared that unbelievers were “not to be excused, for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?” (Wisdom 13:8-9).

Existence and the whole universe testify to him. We know that many facts are contingent, things that are one way but could've been otherwise; and we know that every contingent fact needs an explanation. (The birth of Ishmael was a contingent fact; it needs an explanation; and it has one, in the conjugal union of Abram and Hagar.) We know, then, that the big contingent fact that includes all contingent facts itself needs an explanation, a sufficient reason for why these things are so. This calls for a sufficient reason for the sum of all things, which can only be a necessary being, not a contingent one. So too, we know that the universe – the sum of all matter, energy, time, and space – began to exist, that there was once when it was not. And we know that all things that begin to exist need a cause beyond themselves, and that no causal history can be infinite or go in loops. This calls for a cause of the universe itself, a First Cause before all things. Secular and naturalistic approaches, which by definition are confined to the natural world, quest in vain to find a cause or sufficient reason that must be beyond the contingent and natural world. But we are not so limited! We confess the universe's Cause and Sufficient Reason as God, the Necessary Being whose will and power produce all contingent reality, including ourselves. Our Creed is better than every secular creed at accounting for the world.11

Likewise, structure and order in the universe testify to him. We know that most ways the world could be would make it impossible for us to live in. Even the tiniest adjustments to the basic parameters of the universe – be it the initial order and energy density of the universe, or the constants governing the strength of the fundamental forces, or the mass ratio of protons to neutrons, or the resonance level of carbon, or countless other basic facts beyond the control of any power in the universe – and you'll have a universe without atoms, or with only a few elements, or with no stars or planets. The tiniest changes to the universe, and you've got a universe where we can't be. Only a very distinctive kind of universe offers the possibility of our existence. The universe seems to be tailor-made to allow the presence of life that can stare back at it; and a tailor-made habitable home calls us to recognize and thank its Designer and Builder. Secular and naturalistic attempts to grapple with such a fine-tuned and tailor-made universe fit for life either feebly cut the thinking short or shrug and hope for a lucky roll of infinite dice. Those attempts pale next to the reasonableness of ascribing this tailor-made universe to the intent and will of God. And that's not even mentioning the intricacies of every living thing, filled with structure and order, crying out for a divine guiding hand on its development. Our Creed is better than every secular creed at accounting for the meticulously designed details of this fine-tuned universe.12

What's more, our conscious minds testify to him. Many of our mental states have specific flavors, a way they feel – think of pain. Some of our mental states are about things, directed toward objects. Some of our mental states are irreducibly first-person or only offer private access. These mental states in our minds don't have a size or a place in the physical universe, yet our mental states and mental events are connected in specific ways to physical reality. These connections allow us to be conscious, letting us perceive and reflect on the world, and they are exceptionally mysterious on any secular or naturalistic attempt to account for it. This mental life cries out for an explanation that's difficult or impossible to supply unless you accept that there's a God. Our Creed is better than every secular creed at accounting for the mental world of human consciousness.13

So too, the beauty of the world testifies to him. As we feed our imagination, we find that some things really are just beautiful, and some are more beautiful than others. Trees on rolling hills – beautiful. Burnt and deforested land – ugly. Even things we might recoil from as threats to our lives, like tigers, can dazzle us with our beauty – it isn't just a survival mechanism. Things in the world really do have aesthetic qualities, and they aren't merely projections from our own minds. It isn't solely in the eye of us beholders. In fact, many noted scientists have been driven in their work precisely by the pursuit of beauty, elegance, and other aesthetic virtues. This aesthetic scale suggests that at its summit is Something or Someone perfectly beautiful: a Divine Beauty at whom we're meant to gaze and in whom we're meant to delight, with all other beauty being reflection and imitation that highlights its Source. And the existence of beauty in the contingent universe – the colors of a sunset, the dots of the stars, the grandeur of the mountains overlooking the sea – calls for its recognition as art. And art, especially of this caliber, is the work of a Divine Artist, the very Source of beauty, justifying the old saying that “from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wisdom 13:5). Our Creed is better than every secular creed at accounting for the beautiful.14

And morality testifies to him, too. We know some actions are objectively good (like charity) and other actions are objectively evil (like child abuse) – a distinction which suggests some Standard against which value can be measured. We know that moral obligations, the 'thou shalts' and 'thou shalt nots' we know we're under, feel like they carry an authority beyond the subjectivity of conscience. And authority is inherently interpersonal: it suggests that there is Someone who's been giving commands which bind the universe. We know also that our minds are somehow capable of achieving true moral knowledge in the world, of actually knowing right from wrong, which suggests that are minds are intended by Someone to achieve a goal beyond nature. We know that for people and societies to be morally transformed into perfection, into holiness, would require the intervention of a Holiness beyond creaturely ability to muster. But all secular and naturalistic attempts to account for these truths are partial at best, and often only failures: they yield moral anti-realism, moral skepticism, even moral despair. The best explanation of all these moral phenomena always require a God who is Goodness, a God who is Love. Our Creed is better than every secular creed at accounting for the moral universe.15

Not only that, but our experience testifies to God. Built into us, as a basic part of our mental furnishings and features, is a sense of the divine, an innate awareness of God as a properly basic truth, even though this sense frequently malfunctions due to sin and its corrosive effect on the powers of our mind. Yet as we go through life, especially the life of faith which we live, we're likely to have experiences that are best understood as arranged by God. We give away a desired object in his name, and we come home to find that one or two replacements have turned up. Coincidence... or God-incidence? We cry out for direction, and a message nudges our way. Coincidence... or God-incidence? Before our waiting eyes, the wheel of history seems steered by a gentle but purposeful hand, orchestrating the march of human affairs on the order of centuries or millennia. All things scream providence, so we realize we've caught a glimpse of the Divine Provider. Or in the depths of prayer and the midst of worship, sections of our brain light up, not at an artificial stimulus cooked up in a lab, but at the presence of the One we've sought. In the hidden depths of the human soul, we suddenly sense Another besides ourselves strolling through the garden of our inner life, breaking in like a sunbeam and a breeze from outside, coming to tend the candles ablaze in his sanctuary. Our faculties then are neither malfunctioning nor misled: we've had an encounter; and from that experience, we realize that God not only exists but has drawn near. And then our hearts are caught by the hands of this man named Jesus – a person about whom we'll hear more next week, but who is so immensely beautiful and good and true that we can be totally justified in believing that there's a God purely on his say-so alone; and for many who've confessed this Creed of ours before us, that's exactly where they found their warrant to do so. Our Creed is better than every secular creed at accounting for these experiences and this testimony.16

And lastly, only God can guarantee the victory our whole being craves. If atheism were true, then a life filled with tragedy and woe will ultimately go uncompensated. A person could spend his or her time on earth being treated horrifically and unjustly, and then be snuffed out of existence, and the world cannot be set right, nor can that victim's tormentors be guaranteed to face the bar of justice. The stain on the universe left by real evil could then never be washed away. Existence has been, and always will be, defiled. Evil can never, in the end, be defeated – if there is no God. Only if there is a God is there any hope of removing the moral stain of horrific tragedy and rank injustice from the universe. Nothing less than God could guarantee the rectification of life. And for exactly that reason, some philosophers have rightly suggested that even atheists have a moral duty, a responsibility, to wish that God exists, out of compassion for all who suffer. Our Creed, like no secular creed ever could be, is the answer to all those wishes and the promise to all those hopes.17

All of this is why we cannot go with the atheists, the agnostics, the secular humanists, the naturalists, or any of the others who live – in theory or in practice – as if there is no God. It is, in fact, why our scriptures identify that kind of God-obscuring life as leading to foolishness: defective thinking, defective feeling, defective living, both rationally and ethically (Psalm 14:1). Spurning the path toward foolishness, we set our lives apart from all atheistic, agnostic, secularist, and naturalistic approaches to the world by confessing boldly that there is a God. For as we read, “whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists” (Hebrews 11:6)! This God is eternal, transcendent, perfect. So what more do we confess about God?

The next words out of our mouth in this Creed are to say that God is 'Father.' And we'll come back to that, both today and next week. But first notice this: to say that God is 'Father' means, at the very least, that he is personal – not an abstraction or a vague force or a field of energy. Many alternative or eastern spiritualities would have it that way – but not us with our Creed. To say that God is 'Father' is to imply that he thinks, he wills, he acts, he relates. He acts with deliberation and intention. And then, to say that God is 'the Father Almighty' is to say that when he acts, he acts successfully. God is all-present. God is all-knowing. God is all-powerful. God is perfect in and by every conceivable measurement. He can do anything and everything that's consistent with his perfection of being and character: “Our God is in the heavens: he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). God is “the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

And then we confess that this “God the Father Almighty” is also Creator. God is not made, was never made, could never have been made; but everything that isn't God has been made, has been created, is his creation, and he its Creator. God has made everything that isn't God, and made it out of nothing.18 This raises the clearest and most impregnable distinction between God and everything else: there is God, Creator, and everything else, creation. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God lit the dawn of the day before which were no yesterdays; and all things, here or anywhere else, whether we can see them or not, we know one thing: he made them. “The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth: he does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40:28). He is “the God who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it” (Isaiah 42:5). “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:9). So we confess with the Apostle that “there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:6). “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or powers or principalities” (Colossians 1:16).

In the creation, God has made many things we can see. He made trees and rocks, rivers and mountains, oceans and continents. He made deer and doves and dinosaurs, sparrows and squirrels and sharks, pigs and piranha and parakeets, crabgrass and cats and caribou, mangoes and monkeys and mushrooms, bats and bacteria and beluga whales. He made planets and moons, comets and stars, black holes and asteroids, pulsars and quasars. God has also made plenty of things we can't ordinarily see. Some are just very small, like electrons; some are very close and very big, like the Milky Way; some are very far away, like the furthest galaxies. Others are supramundane, like the invisible heavenly creations. Christian tradition actually acknowledges nine orders of invisible heavenly creations – the seraphim, the cherubim, the thrones, the dominations, the virtues, the powers, the principalities, the archangels, and the angels.19  God made all of these, ranking them in their place and commissioning them for their purpose, as he did all the rest of his creations, visible and invisible, terrestrial and celestial.  Marvelous and praiseworthy are all his works!

Rewinding the Creed thus far, now that we've confessed that God is Creator, we appreciate more and more what it meant to call him 'Almighty.' It means that, unlike those who've thought of him as a deadbeat dad to the world, or a watchmaker who winds up the machine and leaves it unattended, God keeps creation on a short leash. He's engaged and active. God cannot be confined by this creation, or kept at bay by this creation. He is infinitely bigger than its boundaries. And he is the most perfectly capable governor and provider of the world and all that's in it, arranging all the rhythms we see in nature, remaining in ultimate control of each situation. And therefore, one early Christian, a man who knew Peter and Paul, invites us:

Let us look steadfastly toward the Father and Creator of the whole world, and hold fast to his magnificent and surpassing gifts of peace and kindness to us. … Let us realize how peacefully he acts toward his whole creation. The heavens move at his direction and are subject to him in tranquility. Day and night complete the course he assigns them without hindering each other. Sun and moon and the choir of stars revolve in harmony according to his command in the orbits assigned to them, without swerving in the slightest. The earth, flowering at his bidding in due season, brings forth abundant food for humans and animals and all the living beings on its surface, without reluctance and without altering any of his arrangements. … The very smallest of the animals come together in harmony and peace. The great Creator and Lord of the universe commanded all these things to be at peace and in harmony.20

See, is that not precisely what we need right now?  God's administration of the world he's created is all-embracing, maintaining a baseline level of order in spite of the creation's persistent insurrection against his reign. And most remarkable, as we return to that earlier title of 'Father,' we see it in a fresh way. This Creator, this Almighty God whose brushstrokes are galaxies and who raises up mountains and casts down valleys – he takes an active interest in us, not merely providentially, but relationally, in a family-style way. He hasn't been content to simply produce us as art or as tools or as furnishings, nor is he content to just rule over us from a distance as subjects. This God whom we confess, this God in whom we say we believe, has taken the initiative to establish family relationships with us. This is, in fact, the story told in our scriptures. God claims Adam for a son and Eve for a daughter; later, as the world goes awry, he gets involved in the life of Abraham, multiplies him to a nation called Israel, then saves them: “Out of Egypt,” God says, “I have called my son,” Israel (Hosea 11:1). “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18). And so we answer back together, in the words of this Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth!”

That's what we believe. So what difference does it make? Well, for one, it justifies a positive outlook toward the world around us. Wherever we look, we're seeing God's world, the Father's world. It may be a mess, it may be in shambles, it may be the scene of strife and madness, but the world itself is good, whatever we touch is good. “Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4). In a culture that treats many things as disposable (as ours does, including people), we need to renew our positive vision of what God has made. As created, it's all good, and to be cherished and valued.

Even so, these truths also call us to mentally transcend the world around us, even as we affirm it. Our minds and hearts must not be left at the level of the art, but must venture to the Artist; not fixated on the creation, but peering through it to the Creator, whose majesty is more magnificent by far than the sum total of all he's made: “Turn from these... things to a living God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them” (Acts 14:15). “Set your minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2). As appreciative as we are for his creation, the Creator by himself is infinitely more desirable than any and all created things – and our minds and hearts, our thoughts and desires, should turn again and again to him.  In times like ours, the news of the hour presses upon us, demanding our attention, begging us to fixate on the latest scandal or tragedy.  These are created things rising up and lashing out.  But the Creator is far worthier of our fixation, our attention, our everlasting contemplation.

Third, to confess this Creed should lead to gratitude becoming our default attitude. If it's true that heaven and earth and all their contents, visible and invisible, are the creations of a God who is our Almighty Father, then everything that crosses our path or comes into our care is fundamentally a gift. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). “He did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17).  We receive them indeed with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4)!

Fourth, these truths invite us then to live compassionately – to imitate God the Father's paternal care under his very own paternal supervision. “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors [his Maker]” (Proverbs 14:31). “Put on then... compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).  For in providence, the Almighty has compassion towards his creatures, all creatures; and he offers this example for our imitation.

And last of all, this swings wide the door to reliance. “God my Maker... gives songs in the night..., teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens” (Job 35:10-11). When we say 'I believe,' it means, of course, that we believe that there is a God. But it means more than that. It's an act of faith, a disposition of trust and reliance: it means we put stock in him, place our faith in him, hang our trust on him, precisely the way he's here described: we trust him as Almighty, we trust him as Creator, we trust him as Father. That's the relational response we're saying we'll make. So as the Apostle wrote, let us “entrust [our] souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19) in a world so ill at ease for nowbut still and ever our Father's world! Amen.


1 Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 56.4, in Fathers of the Church: A New Translation 109:219

2 Augustine of Hippo, On the Creed 1, in Fathers of the Church: A New Translation 27:289

3 Rufinus of Aquileia, Commentary on the Apostles Creed 2, in Ancient Christian Writers 20:29-30; see also a later anonymous sermon on the creed, section 2, Latin text in Liuwe H. Westra, The Apostles' Creed: Origin, History, and Some Early Commentaries (Brepols, 2002), 522-523.

4 The EC Link: A Reference Manual for Understanding the Evangelical Congregational Church (n.p., n.d.), 37

5 Irenaeus of Lyon, Against Heresies 1.10.1, in Ancient Christian Writers 55:49.

6 The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, an expansion by the Council of Constantinople (in the year 381) of an earlier creed promulgated by the Council of Nicaea (in the year 325).

7 Pew Research Center, “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace,” report released 17 October 2019, page 4. <>.

8 Pew Research Center, “U.S. Teens Take After Their Parents Religiously...,” report released 10 September 2020, page 41. <>.

9 Pew Research Center, “When Americans Say They Believe in God, What Do They Mean?”, report released 25 April 2018, page 4. <>.

10 Pew Research Center, “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace,” report released 17 October 2019, page 3. <>.

11 For more, see William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument (Macmillan Press, 1979); Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2004 [1979]), 133-152; Garrett J. DeWeese and Joshua Rasmussen, “Hume and the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis, In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (InterVarsity Press, 2005), 123-149; Mark D. Nowacki, The Kalam Cosmological Argument for God (Prometheus Books, 2007); Alexander R. Pruss, “The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument,” in W. L. Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell, 2009), 24-100; William Lane Craig and James D. Sinclair, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument,” in W. L. Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell, 2009), 101-201; Alexander R. Pruss, Infinity, Causation, and Paradox (Oxford University Press, 2018); Jacobus Erasmus, The Kalam Cosmological Argument: A Reassessment (Springer, 2018); and Robert C. Koons, “The Grim Reaper Kalam Argument: From Temporal and Causal Finitism to God,” in Paul Copan with William Lane Craig, eds., The Kalam Cosmological Argument: Philosophical Arguments for the Finitude of the Past (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), 273-284.

12 For more, see Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2004 [1979]), 153-191; Rodney D. Holder, God, the Multiverse, and Everything: Modern Cosmology and the Argument from Design (Ashgate, 2004); Robin Collins, “The Teleological Argument: An Exploration of the Fine-Tuning of the Universe,” in W. L. Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell, 2009), 202-281; C. Stephen Evans, “The Naive Teleological Argument: An Argument from Design for Ordinary People,” in Jerry Walls and Trent Dougherty, eds., Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project (Oxford University Press, 2018), 108-122.

13 For more, see Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2004 [1979]), 192-212; and J. P. Moreland, Consciousness and the Existence of God: A Theistic Argument (Routledge, 2008).

14 For more, see Charles Taliaferro and Jil Evans, The Image in Mind: Theism, Naturalism, and the Imagination (Continuum, 2011); Philip Tallon, “The Mozart Argument and the Argument from Play and Enjoyment: The Theistic Argument from Beauty and Play,” in Jerry Walls and Trent Dougherty, eds., Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project (Oxford University Press, 2018), 321-340.

15 For more, see Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2004 [1979]), 212-218; Mark D. Linville, “The Moral Argument,” in W. L. Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell, 2009), 391-448; David Baggett and Jerry Walls, God and Cosmos: Moral Truth and Human Meaning (Oxford University Press, 2016).

16 For more, see William P. Alston, Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience (Cambridge University Press, 1991); Jerome I. Gellman, Experience of God and the Rationality of Theistic Belief (Cambridge University Press, 1997); R. Douglas Geivett, “The Evidential Value of Religious Experience,” in Paul Copan and Paul K. Moser, eds., The Rationality of Theism (Routledge, 2003), 175-203; Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2004 [1979]), 219-235, 293-327; Kai-Man Kwan, “The Argument from Religious Experience,” in W. L. Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell, 2009), 498-552.

17 Richard E. Creel, Divine Impassibility: An Essay in Philosophical Theology (Cambridge University Press, 1986), 147-149; and David Baggett and Jerry Walls, God and Cosmos: Moral Truth and Human Meaning (Oxford University Press, 2016), 302.

18 For more, see Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, Creation out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration (Baker Academic, 2004).

19 On the orders of angels, see Ambrose of Milan, Defense of the Prophet David 5 §20, in Fathers of the Church: A New Translation 140:115; Ps.-Dionysius, On the Celestial Hierarchy 6.2, in Pseudo-Dionysius: the Complete Works (Paulist Press, 1987), 160-161; Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae 7.5.4, in Stephen A. Barney, et al., trans., The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville (Cambridge University Press, 2006), 160; and John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith 2.3, in Fathers of the Church: A New Translation 37:208.

20 Clement of Rome, 1 Clement 19.2—20.11, in Fathers of the Church: A New Translation 1:26-27.

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