Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Biblical World View-Question 5

What is the cause of evil and suffering?

"Do I serve God for nothing?"
"I just don't understand! Why did this happen to me?"
"Either God must not be all-good or He is not all-powerful."
"If a righteous, holy God created the world, where did all the ugliness come from?"
"How could a good God exist in light of all the misery in the world?"

Questions such as these have plagued man kind for nearly as long as there has been man kind. Man has struggled to understand. He has looked for answers. But only those that look in the right place have been successful in finding what they seek. There is only one place where answers can be found. That place, is the Bible.

Psalm 25:8,
Psalm 33:5, Psalm 34:8, Psalm 119:68, Psalm 145:7, Isaiah 63:7, Jeremiah 33:11,
Nahum 1:7
, Matthew 19:17, Romans 2:4, Romans 11:22,

In summery, these verses tell us that the God of this universe, the one and only God, is a God of abundant goodness, righteousness, uprightness, justice, kindness, compassion, tolerance, patience, refuge, night, and love that endures forever.

Well, that right there can lead to more of the same questions above. "How can a God like that be in control and yet evil and suffering are so rampant?" or "Is God the source of evil and suffering?"

Genesis 1:4,
Genesis 1:10, Genesis 1:12, Genesis 1:17-18, Genesis 1:21, Genesis 1:25, Genesis 1:31

If all that God created was good, then He cannot be the source of evil and suffering. So what is? Did God create man as a robot without the ability to make moral choices, or is he a free moral agent?

Genesis 2:15-17, Jeremiah 35:15, Ezekiel 33:11, Hosea 6:1, Matthew 22:3, Luke 14:17,
2 Corinthians 5:20
, Revelation 3:20,

Man is not a robot. He has the ability to choose right or wrong. So what did he choose? Is he the cause of evil and suffering?

Genesis 3:6, Isaiah 43:27

Man chose to disobey God. This was the first sin committed by man. What was the result to this sin?

Genesis 3:16-19, Romans 5:12-13, 1 Corinthians 15:21

The result of sin, is the evil and suffering that so prevails in the world around us. And since the sin was committed by man, the cause of evil and suffering is man. Well, what about the omnipotent God that is supposedly in control? Does God have enough power to stop evil?

Job 42:2, Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:6, Isaiah 43:13, Habakkuk 3:6, Matthew 19:26, Mark 14:36,
Luke 1:37,
Revelation 19:6

Yes, God has enough power to stop evil. Nothing is impossible with Him. Well, then why doesn't He destroy evil?

Genesis 6-7, 2 Peter 3:3-13, Lamentations 3:22, Ezekiel 33:11

You ask, "Why doesn't God destroy evil?". I say, do you really want Him to? The last time God destroyed all evil, He did it by destroying the entire earth by a flood. He will destroy all evil again. When He does it then, He will consume the whole earth with fire. It is only because of his love that we are not yet destroyed. He is patient with us and is giving us more time to come to Him before the whole world perishes.

But that's not the end of the story. God did do something about evil. He sent His only Son to become sin for us, that we might become righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:12, Psalms 69:20-21, Romans 5:8, Luke 19:41

As Christians, how should we respond to suffering?

Job 42:5-6,
2 Corinthians 1:9, Hebrews 12:5-6, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Hebrews 3:17-18,
James 1:4, 1 Peter 4:12-13, Philippians 3:10-11, 1 Corinthians 11:20-32, 1 Peter 5:10, John 9:3

As Christians, when we see suffering we should let it remind of several things. How lowly we are. How much we need to rely on God to raise us up. If it's a punishment for something we have done, we can be assured that God truly loves us. It reminds us of what Jesus went through for us. We can be sure that it will bring us to a more mature state if we let it. We can have the knowledge that Gods work might be displayed through our sufferings. And we will remember the grace that God has bestowed upon us. This is the Christian response to Suffering.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Biblical World View-Question 4

What is the basis of ethics and morality?

This question is a very important one. Today, people are trying to eliminate the line between right and wrong. Or they say that everyone has their own right and wrong. They claim it's all a matter of opinion. This is a chaotic view. But if it's not correct, on what grounds does a person decide right from wrong? What does the Bible have to say?

Deuteronomy 32:4 - He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.

If God is upright and just, and his works are perfect, then He must be 'a' paradigm. A foundation of what we call right and wrong. But is He the only one? Is it possible that there is more than one basis for morality?

Matthew 19:17 - "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

Mark 10:18 - "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone.

God is the only being that is good. He is the only one that can, in His own person, define good. Therefore, all that is moral has it's foundation in God. He is the basis of ethics and morality. As David Quine puts it; "Because His word is the exact expression of His character, God Himself is therefore the standard." God is the standard, therefore we must know God in order to know right from wrong. God made Himself known to us through his word, the Bible. So we must constantly study the Bible and learn from it what God calls right and wrong.

We have been given a map to life. If we know the map, we will know what our lives should be like. And we will not have to sit and wonder if what someone says about ethics and morals is true. So get out your map and start studying, and discover where the line between right and wrong really is.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Biblical World View-Question 3

What is the essential nature of man?

What is man? Is he anything more than a mere animal? If he is different from animals, what makes him different?

Genesis 1:26-27 tells us the distinguishing factor, setting man apart from animal. Man was made in the image of God. The image of God? What does that mean. It means that, unlike animals, man can think. He doesn't run on instinct. He can make choices, reason, have preferences, have motivations, etc. All the personal attributes god processes, man also has because God gave them to him.

When God created man, He created him to be righteous.

1:31 -God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

The Hebrew word 'tob' used in this verse, translated in the NIV as 'good', can refer to quality as well as to moral goodness.

Man was righteous, never having sinned. But God didn't want a bunch of automatons. So He gave man a choice. The ability to obey or disobey. And then He gave them a rule. Just one, not that hard to keep track of and obey, right? Unfortunately Adam and Eve found it to hard to obey. They broke Gods one rule and imediately, things went wrong for them.

Seperation! Everything began to separate. First, the relationship between man and God was severed. Genesis 3 tells us all about mans becoming separated from God. It let's us know that the intimate relationship previously shared was gone and Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. Man was also separated from Man.

Genesis 3:12 - The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

The passing of blame here signifies the beginning of mans' separation from other men. Here they are no longer united. They now have an 'every man for himself' attitude. Thirdly, man became separated from nature(animals, plants, etc.).

Genesis 3:15 - And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."

Genesis 3:17b-19 - "Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."

So because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, all of man kind would now be sinful.

Romans 5:12 - Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned

But that's not the end. God did not turn His back on the people he created. We have not been deserted to live our despicable lives with no rescue. God chose to save us from our unrighteousness. Now of course, unrighteousness must be punished. So the only way to save us from our unrighteousness is by way of punishment. But God declared that the only punishment equal to our crime was that of death.

Romans 6:23a - For the wages of sin is death

So someone had to die in order for our sins to be payed for in full. And not just someone. It had to be an innocent party. For if the person paying the price was sinful, it would be what he deserved and would not be able to save himself or anyone else. So an innocent person had to be found. Unfortunately.......

Romans 3:32 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

There was not a single member of the human race that could be the sacrificial lamb. So God, out of His love and mercy did the unthinkable. He sent His only son to the earth, and allowed Him to be taken and killed by men. Jesus Christ became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. This allowed us to be once again united with God.

Romans 5:15-19 - But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Being made righteous by Jesus' death, we are no longer separated from God. But just as Adam and Eve were not robots, we also are not. We can still choose to sin. And our nature is still inclined toward sin. So at this point, man's nature is evil. Unlike the common teaching of today, man is not 'basically good'.

The essential nature of man is evil. He is still in the image of God, but he lacks all attributes related to righteousness. But now, he has a way to escape from that evil that resides in him. God has provided the way.