Last week we talked about doubt and how it was a good thing. Doubt motivates us to questions which then lead to answers. Subsequently this leads to a more thorough understanding of something. Doubt exists because of the Genesis 3 fiasco. The serpent created doubt in the mind of Eve and as a result she took of the fruit ate and gave some to her husband who was with her. Since then the entirety of humanity has doubted just about everything. But just because doubt exists in our minds about something specific, namely Christianity and its veracity, it does not nullify or void the truth contained within it.
In the last post, which you can find here (Does Doubt Nullify Christianity); we briefly covered what God says about His word, the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity. The truth of Christianity is not based on our emotions, whether we have a good day, a bad day, or any other convictions we might have. Christianity is true because God attested to its truth when He revealed Himself in His word. However, the next logical question or contested opinion would be "how do you know God is real?"
In a word, Bible. It repeatedly attests to God's existence and Jesus Himself said, He was the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. But this may not be good enough for some. Before we get into the four main questions of life, let me take this opportunity to convince you of God's existence in 30 seconds.
When you look at a painting, how do you know there was a painter? The painting is proof of the painter.
When you look at a building how do you know there was a builder? The building is proof of the builder.
The same logic follows when you look at Creation. Creation is proof of a Creator. See Genesis 1:1.
See! Told ya! 30 seconds was all it took. Now that we have that established let's address those questions.
In this post we will address the first question. The reason for this is simple. The other three questions must derive logically, consistently, and coherently from the first. That is to say, the answer to question one will ultimately determine the answers to questions two through four. One of the most fundamental and foundational questions that every has asked or will ask in his / her lifetime is "where did I come from?" The reason for this is simple. Genesis 1:26 which says, "Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;…" Verse 27 says, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Therefore, the answer is simple. You and I come from our Creator in who's image we are created.
Christianity is the only belief system that can answer this question (and the other three) logically, coherently, and completely. I realize that some will argue that no everyone believes that. Now some believe that we descended from ape like creatures over millions of years through the process of evolution, First, the process of evolution is scientifically impossible. There is no scientific possibility for nothing to create everything. It is intellectual suicide to subscribe to such a notion. Second, if this was indeed how everything came about the answer to this question would not be satisfactorily provided in such a belief.
Let's entertain the notion of evolution, millions of years, and ape like creatures. After all this is what is primarily taught in our public institutions and scientific communities as fact. Any and all dissension from this flimsy belief system is suppressed or written off as "intellectually inferior" or "narrow-minded simpletons." Consider for a moment how none of what this belief system purports can be observed, and all of the supposed "facts" to support such a belief are based largely on assumptions.
However, nevermind that. Let's pretend that we all descended from ape like creatures over millions of years of random accidents that produced life. That life then somehow developed into more complicated life forms until you have mankind. If this is our past, than our future does not matter. If we are the result of an accidental beginning, then who cares where we are going, we have no existential purpose, and it does not really matter how we live. The reason for this logical progression is simple. If we are by-products of accidents that occurred over millions of years then there is no existential absolute truth. This means there is no absolute morality, no intrinsic meaning, value or purpose, and ultimately no absolute rules to follow past our relative agreements.
But, if we were created in the image of a triune God who is just, holy, loving, relational, and many other things; it makes sense that we, the pinnacle of His creation would then be able to answer these questions satisfactorily. You and I were created in the image of God; (where did I come from) therefore, you and I are going end up in Heaven or Hell (where am I going). Subsequently, our purpose is found in the One who created us (we have intrinsic value). We are to glorify Him. Naturally, we would then live our lives in a way that honors His commandments and statutes (existential morality). You see God sets that standard of truth. It is not arbitrary. God sets the standard of morality. It is not dictated by majority or up for debate. God sets the standard for meaning, value, and purpose. You are not only worth what you can contribute. You are intrinsically valuable to an all-powerful, all-knowing, omniscient God who created you for good works in Christ Jesus.
You see, the only belief system that can answer these questions satisfactorily is biblical Christianity. Next week we will look at question number two. Where am I going? The question of destiny.
As a husband and father to 4 boys, I have seen much in the way of messiness. I have seen boo boo’s that widen the eyes and cause panic; however, I have also seen boo boo’s that call for wasting precious band-aids simply so the youngster will take his scarcely scraped knee like a “man.” I have dealt with the logic behind every excuse and reasoning from toddler to teen. One thing that has continually stood out is that of the messy room. It’s a feeling of dread as you climb the stairs and open the foreboding door. It leads to an alternate dimension where you are sure one of your children live, but can no longer discern how or where.
You know what I am talking about. One wrong move could spell disaster. Lego blocks strewn across the floor, storage tubs laying on their side and remnants of terrible battles waged between Lego dragons and army men still lying about. The thought then arises, how does one find anything in this place of disorder? Growing up I remember that while I was not what one would consider a modern “minimalist” I was one to stay periodically organized. It seemed good that something could be found or played with when needed; therefore, things usually had a place.
As I got older and realized that “stuff” started to build up, I would simply purge. We still occasionally do this with things, toys, papers and stuff. This idea of purging seems rather foreign to youngsters and it can be difficult to comprehend let alone partake in. But it is important if we are to focus on the things that matter. Back in Egypt, I recall Pharaoh’s response to Israel’s desire to go and worship their God, “You are idle (or lazy) you are idle that is why you say let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.” In Exodus 5:2 Pharaoh says, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” Pharaoh’s desire was to keep the nation of Israel busy working for him so that they would “forget” about serving “this God.”
We are not slaves to Pharaoh; however, we can become slaves to other things. Like Pharaoh’s desire to keep the nation of Israel busy and not worshiping the LORD, we too become too busy to worship the LORD as He deserves. The average home has 2-3 televisions, 1-2 gaming consoles, computers, and other mobile digital devices. Soon our lives and homes become so cluttered that we are unable to discern a path through the mess. Our physical “room” becomes messy and before long our spiritual room is so cluttered that God is left completely out of the picture. Some will say, “I may have a messy room but I still engage scripture and pray.”
While this may be true, the amount of time we spend on digital devices away from God train our mind and rewire our desires and it shows. For example, let us say we spend 30 minutes in the morning with God in prayer and Bible reading. During that 30 minutes, count how many times you pick up your phone, think about doing something else and consider where the desire of your heart and mind truly is. We are so bombarded by the things of this world that we can no longer discern where God is in our mess. I understand, we as a people are inundated with calls for our attention, marketed on every front, and assaulted with new shiny gadgets every few months, that we “just have to have!” so, what can we do?
Like the aforementioned fallen Lego dragons and army men , we must wage war on this mentality that has so consumed us. I mean really put these desires to death. I heard it said one time, if you really want to know how important something is find a bench in front of a graveyard and ask yourself “what eternal value does it have?”
Matthew 6:19-21 says:
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Can you just feel how heavy that truth bomb is? We were made to worship, and we will always worship something, the problem is not worship but our sinful desires that entice us to worship everything but God. Therefore, we accumulate to ourselves “things” that have no eternal value and do nothing to spread the Glory of God nor His precious Gospel. We sit continuously in front of our screens assuming we are living life when the people in front of us are ignored. We flood ourselves with information and post constantly in an attempt to see and be seen; to know and be known, but all of this is inherently full of sinful selfishness and pride.
Ravi Zacharias said, “Our right to know assumes our right to know and see everything, and that we have the wisdom to respond appropriately. Both of those assumptions are false.”
Hear me on this as I cannot stress it enough. You must organize your time and do it with intentionality. I know some people just do not thrive at organization but it can be learned. It may not seem important, but when you have reached the end of your day barely wading through the chaos and ask yourself “what just happened to my day?” its importance starts to feel heavy. It is in these moments that we realize how much time we waste on frivolous things with no eternal impact.
We must forecast our time with the Lord, so that we are able to put away the things of this world and submit to him mentally and within our heart. If everything we are flows from our heart (Proverbs 4:23), then it seems good to organize time with the Lord with intentionality. The definition for intentional is “done on purpose.” Using the word intentional is a nice way of saying, DO IT!
Force it if you have too but understand that doing something with intentionality means to do it on purpose. We all do many things with intentionality: cooking, cleaning, scrolling, watching, playing, talking, and a mess of others. However, when it comes to time with our Creator we seem to forget what intentionality means. Start out small and intentionally spend time with God one day a week; then move it to two, and continue to increase until it is an intentional part of your day every day. Do not sell out to the world’s hedonism. It is exactly the opposite of what we are called to do as Christians.
We must cry out to God in prayer pleading for help in this area. I know its tough, I know we all have like a bazillion things to do and I know that we get tired, overworked, frustrated, and dare I say it, lazy. But we must persevere in the faith which was given us in Christ Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit. Spending time with our Creator uninterrupted must be an intentional battle against the prince of the power of the air. We will not depart from our idleness (television, internet, mobile phone, games, etc..) unless we cry out to God for His strength to overcome. This has to be done continually. We must seek His help through the empowering of the Holy Spirit each moment of each day. Cry out to the Lord in prayer and seek His help.
Jesus said to ask in His name and it will be given. Rightly understanding Jesus’ words means asking for that which is in line with the Lord’s will. Think about the word “in line.” In line skates typically have 4 wheels. God at the front, Jesus next, the Holy Spirit and then you, or me. If we put ourselves first, subsequently leaving God, behind we can be sure to wreck. The easiest times to worship God are when we feel like it, the hardest is when we don’t. Therefore, get in line with God and cry out to Him for help in both and He will honor your cry. Our spiritual room is messy, we need to clean it!
I recently read in the news that lead vocalist of the Christian rock band Hawk Nelson "no longer believes in God." About 1-2 months ago I read that very prominent influencers Rhett & Link no longer believed as well. They set out to deconstruct their faith through a podcast series that reaches millions of their followers and fans. Jon Steingard (Hawk Nelson) said that "he simply had doubts, but once they solidified into a genuine point of view, it began to feel dishonest not to talk about it." Having doubts about Christianity does not somehow nullify it or render it void and untrue. However, it can shake the Christian in his/her belief when so many high profile influencers "no longer believe" and claim that Christianity is untrue or cannot be true. So, what do we do? How can we work through these tough situations?
It seems like almost every other week we hear another viral news headliner about a prominent influencer forsaking their faith. I must be clear here that I am referring to their faith in God and that God is the God of the Bible. The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) as Jesus put it. It must be said this way because there is no way to forsake ones faith entirely. Faith derives from the Latin term "confide," which means to have full assurance, confidence, and believe/trust in something. This is important to establish right away because no human being on this earth lives his/her life without operating on faith. When you go out to eat you have faith that the food is good and does not contain poison. Operating on that faith you partake, pay your bill, and then vacate the premises.
The point I am trying to make here before addressing the main question is that it is impossible to live life without faith. This goes for the Atheist, the Agnostic, the Muslim, Christian, or disciples of the flying spaghetti monster (yes this is a real thing). Therefore, faith is indeed an important system for any and all peoples regardless of what they believe. We could spend an exuberant amount of time addressing those other belief systems before addressing doubt but we don't have to! Do you wanna know why? Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
You see faith in God (Christianity) is not rooted in your emotions, your assurances or doubts, it is rooted in the God of the universe the God who created all things and said, "I am the LORD and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God" (Isaiah 45:5). We could stop here and say, well God said it that settles it but let's got a bit further and address doubt. The Bible testifies that it is indeed God's word and never says otherwise. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." The word inspired there means to literally "breathe out."
You know what Paul did not have when he was inspired to write that "all scripture is breathed out by God," the New Testament. He was referring to the Old Testament. I know, now you are thinking "ah-ha! Got ya!" Well not quite, look at what Peter says in 2 Peter 3:15-16 "15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."
Did you read that!? Peter, who was inspired by God and also referring to the Old Testament as Scripture, equated Paul's writings to Scripture. Furthermore, Peter says that the untaught and unstable distort or twist the scripture for sordid gain but to their own destruction. Did you get that? The untaught and unstable are the ones who distort or twist scripture it's not the Christian that is untaught or unstable.
Look again at 2 Timothy. The word "word" is logos in the Greek and this is the same word used in John 1:1 "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 came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." If we go back to Genesis we can see in the first chapter that God created everything by His word.
Let's quickly recap what we covered. The Bible itself testifies that it is the word of God as Paul said in 2 Timothy. God says He is the only God and there is no other in Isaiah (and many other places). God says His word will accomplish that which He sends it to do and it will not fail (Isaiah 55:10-11). John says that God was in the beginning and so was Jesus (as God) and He created by His word. But there is still the question of doubt.
Doubt is never a bad thing. It forces us to ask questions and seek answers. This is good. But the reason we have all have doubts is because of Genesis 3:1 "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
You see what Satan (aka the father of lies) was doing was creating doubt in the mind of Eve. When we doubt we do not trust something fully. We are unable to accept it. But this does not make it is any less true. It simply means that your doubts have not been properly addressed with questions and answers. If we do not seek out answers to the most pressing questions in opposition to Christianity we will sway one way or the other every time someone claims they no longer believe. Therefore, this post is the first in a series of learning how to answer the four biggest questions of life; how the Christian worldview can do so coherently, logically, and scientifically. Hopefully, this will help address some of those doubts.
I must finish this post with some strong words that may come off as a bit harsh; but, I am okay with that because they are not mine but the inspired words of God. 1 John 2 talks about the spirit of the anti-Christ. In sum, this is a spirit within anyone that is in direct opposition to the truth claims of Christ. Basically, if you reject Christ as who He (and scripture) said He is, you have the spirit of the anti-Christ within you. See, I told you they would be harsh. But the point I am making here is that Jon Steingard, Rhett & Link and anyone else who "decides" they no longer believe are walking with the spirit of the anti-Christ within them. Don't believe it, read 1 John 2:18-24 which says,
"18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father."
May God bless you and keep you! Until next time, J - esus, O - thers, Y - ourself!