by Steven Chan
23 August 2009
At the very beginning of the Bible, this foundational truth is unequivocally declared: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. (Gen 1:1) One of the most tragic thing to befall man is the failure to recognize that there is a God who created this universe that we live in and that one day we will have to give an account to God (Rom 14:12). The apostle Paul wrote thus in 2 Cor 5:10-11: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…”
God has declared that we can know God by the things that are made: Rom 1:18-20: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…”
In Acts 14:15-18, at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas spoke to the people who wanted to offer sacrifices to them thinking they were gods because they had healed a man who had been a cripple for life: “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Paul emphasized that God has left evidence for us so that we can know Him – consider the provisions of God for our lives – the rain and the fruitful seasons are not the product of random chance – they manifest intelligent design, order and purpose (to sustain our lives on earth). That’s why God declares that only a fool would be an atheist (i.e. one who does not believe that there is a God).
The Psalmist from long ago penned his observation in this manner: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You are mindful of him,” (Psa. 8:3-4) and in Psa. 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” God’s glory and handiwork can be clearly seen or perceived as one considers the heavens, the moon and stars. They do declare the glory of God – have you seen the stars when they are shining brightly in the sky? It is an incredible experience – one can only bow down and acknowledge the majesty of God.
The Psalmist also considers himself and he exclaims in Ps 139:14: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” If one refuses to consider the heavens, the moon and the stars, then one ought to at least consider or examine one-self. Do we recognize the incredible intelligent design that is evident in our body – how we are so well engineered to function for living – consider the design of our eye, our nervous system, our respiratory system, our digestive system and our circulatory system – don’t they manifest intelligent design and purpose? How can one reasonably conclude that these systems happened by accidental chance and that no intelligent being was behind it?
The Bible also testifies of the presence of a moral law in every man – from whence does morality (i.e. the sense or concept of what is right or wrong) come from? How can it possibly evolved from mindless inanimate matter? The Bible refers to “the law written in their hearts” in Rom 2:14-16: “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law (i.e. the law of Moses), by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”
Finally the Bible tells us that one can know God exists because Jesus has declared Him: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him”. (John 1:18) Jesus is a historical person and He testified to the existence of God by the miraculous works that He performed (healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead, etc…) and providing the ultimate sign by rising from the dead after having been buried for three days. “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name”.( John 20:30-31) In providing one with the basis or credible evidence to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the signs also implicitly or necessarily prove that God exists – otherwise, how can Jesus be the Son of God – if there was no God? If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then His claim to be the Son of God ought to be rejected. The fact is that He was raised from the dead – and the empty tomb testifies to that fact – else it would have been easy for the Jews of those days to produce His body and that would have ended the claims of Jesus Christ there and then. The apostles saw the empty tomb and met the risen Lord many times – which explained their willingness to preach the gospel as eye-witnesses of the risen Christ even at the cost of their lives. According to Rom 1:4, Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”.
There will be times when life treats us badly and we feel miserable and somewhat hopeless – depressed, discouraged, downtrodden, perhaps despondent and disgusted with life itself – the so-called Job moment – let us remember the response of Job in Job 2:9-10 to his despairing wife who said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” As revealed in Job 1:21-22, Job had always maintained a proper perspective of his origin: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” All the events and circumstances of the world and in our personal lives cannot change or alter the fact that there is a God who created the heavens and the earth! – that “as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Heb 9:27-28). Do not allow others to rob you of your salvation. He will appear again a second time for our salvation. Remember always: there is a God in heaven who made this world!