Some Words for Those Troubled by Doubts - By Gene Lawley -
When a person starts on a spiritual journey, as I did some sixty years ago when I was born-again by the unique power of the Spirit of God, he hears all sorts of things from all corners. Like comments such as these:
1. This world could not have been created in six ordinary days-impossible! What about all of the fossils that date back billions of years, etc., etc.
2. There could not possibly have been a flood that covered the whole earth! Where did all that water come from, and where did it go?
3. This book called the Holy Bible surely cannot be the actual Word of God. It is merely a collection of myths and folktales passed down from one generation to another-its truthfulness is just nonsense (so they say).
4. The existence of a God at all is pure fiction. Man evolved from the grimy mud of an ancient swamp some billions of years ago. Then he passed through several stages of animal existence until he became an intelligent and thoughtful, goal-seeking person who could build things and discover things that are beyond mere animal existence.
5. If any evidence shows up that might cause you to consider an alternative, don't you dare let that thought continue. After all, what would your peers think of you going off the deep end like that!
Somewhere along the line one has to consider who God is. Those problem areas listed above take the subtle position that God is in question and the questioner already has a superior answer. It really is not that way at all. Man is saying, "Solve my doubts and I will believe You." God is saying, "Believe Me and your doubts will be solved."
That jam-packed short verse at Hebrews 11:6 is loaded with truths that should ring the bells of some who search for truth:
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
A person, to be pleasing to God, must:
Believe that He is-that He exists. That word, "is," is a present-tense word meaning now, and it has the sense of Him being continually in the present. And that He is a rewarder of those who diligently-sincerely and purposefully-seek Him.
To further contribute to the thought process, one could expand the meaning of "is" in that first part of the verse to give credence to the second part. Such as, God IS able to reward those who seek Him. When God told Moses at the burning bush encounter to tell the Hebrew people that "I AM" has sent you to them, He was essentially saying the same thing-"I AM all you will ever need," and God is all that we will ever need.
When beginning with God in order to unravel our questions, we must recognize the eternal existence of God:
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God" (Psalm 90:2).
Then we must recognize His character:
"God is not a man, that He should lie ,nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).
God is not on trial; Man is.
Now let's pull together some Scriptures and thoughts in answer to those questions suggested at the beginning of this article. The apparent ancient age of the earth and the universe is baffling, along with the fossils. One of my earliest mentors pointed me to the marriage at Cana that was reported in John 2.
The hosts were serving wine, and as the custom was, the better wine-the aged wine-was served first, then the newer drink was served until they ran out of wine. The servants came to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and related their problem-"we have no more wine!"
Mary went to Jesus and told Him, "They have no more wine." At this point it became a spiritual issue, for Jesus replied, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
This exchange, by the way, is the foundational source of Catholics in support of their practice of praying to Mary, in this manner: "Mother of God, please tell you Son to make them stop all of those abortions," as an example. Mary is not deity; she proclaims in Luke 1:47 that God is also her Savior.
The answer Jesus gave was essentially void of any reference to a family relationship. The time had not come for mortal humans to take control of Him in His role of deity.
She then simply said to the servants, "Whatever He says, do it." Jesus instructed the servants to fill the casks with water, and when they went to serve the drinks, they exclaimed that it was the very best of wine, aged to perfection! Jesus had created wine from mere water, and it had the quality of age at that moment! Must we demand more proof that creation could have occurred with appearance of age?
Next is the issue of the flood. More than a few believers, even, maintain that it was just a local or regional flood. My younger brother was an outside kind of guy, a hardhat, hands-on individual whose common sense made up for his disdain for academics. He became a journeyman plumber, fully licensed to do the job. He told me one time the two things plumbers need to know, mostly: Payday is on Friday and water runs downhill. (It's a traditional joke among those guys.)
The one about water is a truth that cannot be confined to a local or regional setting when the volume of water continues to rise. The water that raised Noah's ark up to the top of those mountains did not stop running downhill when it came to the edge of a continent. It is as simple as that.
There is plenty of evidence that suggests the entire earth was held in a tropical climate situation prior to the flood-the extreme length of man's lifetime compared to that after the flood; discovery of prehistoric animals encased in artic ice that were quick-frozen and having tropical vegetation in their stomachs; collections of fossils of various animals not normally in close association found together on mountaintops; no rain falling from the sky, but mists rising from the ground to moisten the earth.
It seems to indicate some kind of ice-like canopy encircling the earth and collapsing in a melting flood at a moment in time. These things have not been admitted into the court's evidence, so to speak.
Would you believe it to have happened if you discovered that Jesus claimed that it did hap- pen? He did so, not in any kind of defensive comment but in a normal recount of its historical accuracy. (See Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 17:26-27, where Jesus names the flood as the vehicle of God's judgment upon unrepentant mankind.)
By denying the account of the flood a person is effectively calling Jesus a liar. (There are some, however, who deny that Jesus even existed.)
The book called the Holy Bible has endured for all these centuries attempts to relegate it to the refuse dump of past history. Along with that have been the battles to keep it out of the hands of the common people and in their language.
You will not find another book like the Bible that will tell the whole truth about mankind and his rebellion against God, his firm bent toward immorality, his utter degradation into unrighteousness. Peter, an apostle of Jesus, was a simple, rough-cut fisherman when Jesus took him as a disciple and changed his life forever. Peter had this to say about the formation of the Scriptures:
"For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:16-21).
The fact that the Word of Scripture has the ability to pierce into the center of a person's soul and spirit to turn him from unrighteous rebellion to a life of truth and moral integrity cannot be denied. It was that way with Peter and Saul of Tarsus, who came to be known as the Apostle Paul. And it has been the same over these many centuries.
Finally, there is the argument that no God brought mankind into existence, but he merely evolved from a one-cell creature that somehow took on life many billions of years ago...and you know the story the textbooks lay out with great insistence and the backing of a bureaucratic stronghold of anti-God rebellion.
Much progress has been made in the medical field to effectively transplant organs of the body from one person to another-kidneys, hearts, lungs and others. So I asked my eye doctor if an eye had ever been transplanted. (I have an eyesight problem.) He said that it is too complicated-too many intricate nerves that connect to the brain and produce sight, color, etc.
Then I thought about the emptiness of that claim that man evolved-without outside intelligent input-into a creature having many such intricate features. The late Stephen Jay Gould came to mind. He was the evolution-minded scientist who, finding no possible solution for the missing gap between the animal-to-man phase of evolution, invented the term, "Punctuated Equilibrium," to identify it with a scientific-sounding term that invites acceptance as an authentic discovery.
My common sense understanding is that it means, "We don't have any idea or evidence of how that gap was bridged, if indeed it ever was bridged."
The account of "Doubting" Thomas is well-remembered in the gospels, and how Jesus patiently brought him to see the truth of who Jesus really is. John the Baptist also had some doubts there in that prison cell and sent his disciples to find out if Jesus was the one he expected to come (Matthew 11:2-6). In both cases Jesus did not criticize nor condemn them, but gently turned their doubts into belief that He is who he claims to be.
And therefore, you who would doubt, begin with who God is and learn of Him, for that wise man of old, Solomon, tells it like it is: "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10).
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