by Steven Chan
When we seek to assist our friends and family members to understand the truth revealed by the Scriptures concerning God and His will for man, we need to proceed in a logical manner. Otherwise, we will not be able to help the sincere truth-seeker to discover the trut-h as revealed in the Scriptures.
- Rather than engaging straightaway with the unbeliever, on what the Bible says about how one ought to worship God, or the non-use of instrumental music in worship to God, or concerning the one Body to which Jesus adds those who are saved, it is of utmost importance to FIRST clarify and establish the truth concerning the existence, nature and attributes of God if the person does not know or does not believe in the existence of God.
If he does not believe that there is a God, then he is highly unlikely to be able to make sense of what the Bible teaches about the various subjects. So, it would not be logical to discuss with one who does not believe the Bible, the fact that one does not celebrate Easter, or Christmas as the birthday of Jesus, or that baptism is necessary for salvation, etc…
- We must FIRST agree/establish that there is a God who created the universe and all things therein and that He is all-powerful and all-wise (as contrasted with the limited knowledge and power of man).
a. The apostle Paul explained to the Athenian philosophers about the nature of God: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” (Acts 17:24-25)
Paul reasoned with them that God as the Creator is greater and more powerful than anyone: “He does not need anything. God is the giver of all life and all things”. If God is so powerful and is able to create this marvelously-designed universe then who is man to question Him or His will!?
b. Since God is all-powerful and all-knowing, man is not in any position to question God.
Consider how God reasoned with Job when Job questioned God: “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:2 “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38:1-4) After God had questioned Job: “Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”(Job 42:1-3)
Job realized that human beings cannot possibly question the Almighty all-powerful, all-knowing, and intelligent God.
How can the “created being” or “creature” possibly succeed in challenging the Creator? As Paul put it: “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay…” (Rom 9:20-21a)
Man must acknowledge that God the Creator is necessarily all-powerful. If he was not all-powerful then how could He possibly have created the universe!?
Man needs to understand that he is a “finite” being with “limited” knowledge as compared with the “infinite” Creator who knows all things. So, man’s knowledge cannot possibly surpass God’s knowledge: “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor 1:25)
c. The apostle Paul wrote that man has no excuse for not knowing God:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom 1:18-20)
He said that one can clearly “see” the “invisible attributes” of God by observing His creation. How can one “see” that which is “invisible”? By observing the marvelous creation of the universe, especially the intelligent design of all things in the universe so that life is possible on earth, one ought to be able to perceive that only an all-powerful all-wise and loving God could have created it. As the Psalmist declared in Psa 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”
By careful observation and contemplation, one would realize that man’s appreciation of aesthetic values such as beauty cannot possibly be a product of chance or evolution. Similarly, man’s ability to reason and the sense of “right and wrong” can only come from a wise and moral God. While one may differ on what is “right or wrong”, the undeniable reality is that all acknowledge the concept/sense of “right and wrong”. This necessarily implies that the moral man is created by the moral God.
d. We must necessarily begin our discussion about God, with the question about the origin or beginning of the entire universe. How did the universe come about? Does not the incredibly well-designed DNA of man testify to man being created and designed by a powerful and highly intelligent Being?
Therefore the first fundamental truth is that God is the Creator of the universe.
The Bible declares likewise:-
i. The very first sentence of the Bible states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1)
ii. John began his account of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ in a similar fashion: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
iii. The apostle Paul commenced his speech to the Athenians in like manner: ““God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” (Acts 17:24-25)
- When the truth-seeker accepts the truth of the existence of the Creator God and His nature and attributes, then one may then proceed to the next truth: how do we know this God and His Will or Purpose for man?
How can the finite man know the mind of the infinite God?
a. The Bible declares thus: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” (Heb 1:1-2). In other words, God has spoken to man by revelation through the prophets in the past to our forefathers but now He speaks through His Son, Jesus Christ.
b. Unless God reveals His Will to us, we would not be able to know His Will: “But God has revealed themto us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Cor 2:10-12)
c. The Scriptures claimed to be the revelation of God’s Will given by the inspiration of God: “All Scripture isgiven by inspiration of God, and isprofitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17). We may then proceed to examine the evidence for the inspiration of the Bible.
Let us carefully establish the basic premise that the universe is created by God and also understand the nature and attributes of God, before we proceed to discuss the other truths as revealed in the Scriptures. Otherwise, we may not be very helpful to our friends in their search for God and His Will for man.