Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Are We Better Off With Or Without God?

Man is great and he decided to make man in his own image; male and female he made them. At least that is how some people would like to re-write history. The world is changing, it always does, and the climate for faith is dissipating. Man is looking around at his great accomplishments, at his knowledge and he is concluding that he does not need God and that he is God. This is the tendency of man, to reject God in the belief that we are better off without all that "silliness". It is what we read in the news, between the lines as well as in great boldness. It is what is taught in our schools, that religion must be tolerated but educated people are beyond the need for it. It comes across big time in our favorite television shows and movies. We are becoming a world where we no longer need God.

We all remember the story of the tower of Babel, when men thought too highly of themselves. They had decided to build a tower for no other reason than to show that they could do it, that they could be as great as God. Obviously a great tower does not compare to the great things God has done nor does it compare to the things we are capable of doing today, but it is the arrogance that possessed their heart. Imagine if building a simple tower could inflame such arrogance how much more putting men on the moon, splitting the atom and cloning life can do it. Our Creator did a great job in making us capable of great intelligence and he has given us the freedom to do what we want with it but instead of growing in our knowledge of God we have decided to replace him with ourselves.

We miss the fact that God has given us several layers of revelations about himself to us. He did everything so that we would discover him. All creativity, all science, all forms of knowledge, all forms of observation are roads of discovery that lead back to the Creator. The first form of this great revelations is all around us, if we can see through all the ugliness of man that covers it up:

The heavens declare the glory of God; 
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
Day after day they pour forth speech; 
   night after night they display knowledge. 
There is no speech or language 
   where their voice is not heard. 
Their voice goes out into all the earth, 
   their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)

All of creation is marked by the fingerprints of our Creator. Today people would rather worship "mother" nature or "mother" earth; worshiping the creation instead of the Creator, and still proclaim there is no God. They are creating gods out of creation, worshiping, making sacrifices and yet denying their actions at the same time. Man can do many splendid things but we cannot create a beautiful sunset or match the majesty of a mighty ocean. Whatever potentially beautiful thing we discover we eventually manipulate into an ugly and destructive thing. Yet we see ourselves as better than God.

The other revelation God gave of himself is his Word but people dismiss it so readily because they see no value in it. A bunch of lies they say cooked up by a bunch of men for the purpose of controlling the masses. But we have done to the Word the same thing we have done with most other things; it became an ugly tool of destruction and manipulation. Men of power convinced the masses they did not need to read it because the priests who were put in place would do that for them. They were denied discovering the truth for themselves so that they could not see through the manipulation of man. So man took the beautiful things of God and turned it into an ugly religion. But man's religion is not God. The Word of God is an incredible revelation of the story of God's pursuit of a restored relationship with man. When we study the Word and understand it through the Spirit we discovered the great benefits of this revelation of God:

The law of the LORD is perfect, 
   reviving the soul. 
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, 
   making wise the simple. 
The precepts of the LORD are right, 
   giving joy to the heart. 
The commands of the LORD are radiant, 
   giving light to the eyes. 
The fear of the LORD is pure, 
   enduring forever. 
The ordinances of the LORD are sure 
   and altogether righteous. 
They are more precious than gold, 
   than much pure gold; 
they are sweeter than honey, 
   than honey from the comb. 
By them is your servant warned; 
   in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7-11)

Man accuses God of things for which man is guilty. They speak of God as being mean, cruel, uncaring, selfish, all the things that describe man. Jesus Christ is evidence enough that God, in love, was willing to pay the price of restoration, a price that man could never pay. He has spent all of history warning us of our destructive behaviour, willing to help, willing to guide, willing to show us the better way. It is we who continued killing each other, we who came up with crueler methods of pain and death, we who systematically have been destroying creation, we who place no value on life, we who use the knowledge we gain to destroy, we who do not even understand what it is to respect let alone love one another. We say that we don't need God, that we can manage things on our own but all I see when I look around is the ugliness of a godless race.

If only man could lose his pride, come down off his tower and learn what it means to be humble. If only we could open our eyes and see reality as it is, to see that when we are left to our own devices we only kill and destroy. We need to learn to pray in great humility:

Who can discern his errors? 
   Forgive my hidden faults. 
Keep your servant also from willful sins; 
   may they not rule over me. 
Then will I be blameless, 
   innocent of great transgression. (Psalm 19:12-13)

People might say, "What is sin?" It comes down to two things: disrespecting our Creator and our fellow man. If you read the original ten commandments this is what it comes down to. Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments, of which all the others came from, are these: Love God with your entire being, and love your neighbour as yourself. For man it has always been a question of the heart. A rebellious heart is what got us into trouble in the first place and a repentant heart will get us out:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart 
   be pleasing in your sight, 
   O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

It really isn't a difficult matter. It can come down to a very simple question. After removing all the man made goop from around our understanding of God, looking only at the revelations of God that he has given us, we should ask the question: Are we better off with or without God? My fear is that we are too full of ourselves to answer that question honestly. 

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