The interviews and debates you see and hear on television or radio never gets to the greatest and most important questions of all time. That is does God exist, who is God, what is God and what is his purpose? And the corollary to these questions are the questions about humankind: Who is man, what is man and what is his purpose? One cannot possibly intelligently discuss the real issues of theology and religion without answering these questions. And there is another question that must be answered in order to intelligently discuss the purpose of human existence, and that is: If God exists, how does he communicate with human beings? Does God speak audibly to some people while never speaking to others? And if God does communicate with humans, what are the means of this communication?
If God has no means of communicating with humans then we are left with human reason as the basis for trying to answer the great questions of life. There are four great systems that have attempted to answer the great questions of the ages: False religion which appeals to human emotion whose principal methodology is deceit; philosophy which appeals to the intellect whose principal methodology is human reasoning; science that appeals to the intellect whose principal methodology is the scientific method; true religion which convicts the heart, mind and intellect. Philosophy and science in the strictest sense believe that knowledge is only attained through the five senses and human reasoning. Even though there are philosophers and scientist who believe in God, the disciplines of philosophy and science deny revelation as a means of attaining knowledge.
True religion accepts revelation as a means of attaining knowledge. If one denies revelation as a means of attaining knowledge then they are axiomatically left with the task of “discovering” God and communicating with him through empiricism and human reasoning. This leads of course to a multitude of conflicting opinions and views of God and the purpose of human existence.
One either accepts revelation or he is left with human reasoning only in trying to answer the most critical questions of the ages. Most of the major religions claim some form of revelation. Judaism accepts the Old Testament as God’s revelation to humankind. Christianity accepts the Old and New Testament as God’s revelation to humankind. Islam accepts the Koran as God’s revelation to humankind. The eastern religions have their sacred writings and accept them as God’s revelation to humankind. So how do we know which one of these is God’s revelation to humankind? There are various ways to test which of these is God’s revelation to humankind. We can look to historical records, we can look at the fruits of those who have followed their teachings and we can look at the lives and fruits of those who claim to have received the revelation from God.
But there is always a faith dimension in any belief system. Atheists cannot scientifically prove that there is no God. In fact some scientists are led to believe in God as they delve deeper and deeper into the questions and mysteriousness of the origin of the universe and human existence. It seems ridiculous to believe that the creation and all therein came into existence through random chance. It would be the same as believing that disorder leads to order.
On the other hand, theologians cannot absolutely prove the existence of God through human reasoning. As Christians we believe that creation demands a Creator. But the skeptic can logically respond, it that is true who created the Creator? Another oft quoted proof of God’s existence is that design demands a designer. The skeptic responds, who designed the designer. The skeptic can always ask one more question.
The Christian responds, fulfilled prophecy proves that the God of the Old and New Testaments is the true God. The skeptic, and unfortunately some theologians, that what some call prophecy is merely a description of the historical record. Of course this position is easily disproved, but when one sees the various documentaries on television, those who really know the truth are aghast at the explanations that some so-called scholars provide. The earliest and most often repeated prophecies in the Bible focus on the promise of a Messiah who would redeem humankind from sin and death.
This leads us back to the Bible’s answer to the great questions of life. The Bible declares that God is love, Love is the most powerful motivating force for good in the universe. Love is outgoing concern for others. Love is not selfish—love must be shared in order to have any meaning or effect. God, who is love, desires to share with human beings his very essence and being. So God created humankind in own image—but not of the same substance. God is spirit. Whereas, humans were created from the dust off the earth and subject to sin and death. There is a great gulf between the God plane of existence and the human plane of existence. God is spirit and immortal possessing inherent eternal life. Man is mortal and apart from receiving the spirit of God will die.
God set two trees before humankind, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life symbolizes the missing dimension in human existence, the spirit of God which gives eternal life. Eating of the Tree of Life also symbolizes partaking of the spirit of God which is essential for eternal life. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil symbolizes rejecting revealed knowledge and deciding for oneself what is good and what is evil.
Our original parents rejected revealed knowledge and chose to decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. Thus they were cut off from the Tree of Life and God’s spirit. In casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden he states: “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken” (Genesis:3:22-23). So humans were cut off from the opportunity to become new creations through the spirit of God being within them. But God promised a Messiah who would pay the price for sin and death and provide humans access to the life giving spirit of God.
Even most religious people and professing Christians do not really understand that the wages of sin is death. And the only way sins can be forgiven is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Only one of the God kind could be counted worthy to pay for the sins of humankind, and that one is Jesus Christ.
Humankind has been deceived, by the great deceiver, the god of this world—Satan the devil. Satan has cleverly counterfeited many of the tenants of truth. So the pagans made sacrifice to their gods. But the pagans did not invent sacrifice. Because of God’s love for humankind, and his great desire to share his love and being with humans, he gave his only begotten son as a sacrifice for sin so humans could be brought back from sin and death and receive the Holy which imparts eternal life. Sadly, humans have been led to believe that they have an immortal soul apart from God.
So who is God? God is our Creator and Father. What is God? God is spirit. What is God’s purpose? His purpose is to bring sons and daughters to glory in the family of God. Who is man? Man is made in the image of God with the potential of becoming spirit beings in the Kingdom of God and the family of God. What is man? Man is made from the dust of the ground subject to sin and earth but through repentance and faith in the sacrifice of Christ can receive the spirit of God and become a child of God. What is man’s purpose? God created humans to share his glory and being as sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God.
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