Tag Archives: human-rights
IN ORDER FOR GOD TO COMMUNICATE WITH HIS CREATION; HE GAVE US A REVELATION WHICH WE CALL THE WORD OF GOD
TEXT: Psa. 53:1
INTRODUCTION:A. IS THERE A GOD? 1. We are not able to prove either an affirmative or negative answer. 2. Yet God expects us to defend our belief in him ( 1 Pet. 3:15 ; Jude 3 ). 3. We can only give our reasons for believing in God in hopes that you will find it reasonable to believe. B. WE CANNOT DECIDE THIS QUESTION SIMPLY ON THE BASIS OF WHAT WISE MEN BELIEVE OR TEACH. 1. They disagree. 2. Wise and ignorant are both believers and infidels C. IN THIS LESSON WE WANT TO GIVE SOME REASONS FOR OUR BELIEF. I. THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE. A. SOMETHING CAN’T COME FROM NOTHING, THEREFORE SOMETHING HAS ALWAYS BEEN. B. THE ATHEIST MUST ARGUE THAT THE FIRST CAUSE WAS MATTER. C. WE ARGUE THAT BECAUSE OF THE SUPERIOR NATURE OF MIND, MIND CAME FIRST. 1. Matter, in and of itself, is dead has no power. Without something acting on it, matter will not even move. 2. Matter is dead! Mind is alive! What is the origin of life? II. THE UNIVERSE SHOWS SIGNS OF DESIGN AND PURPOSE ( Rom. 1:20; Psa. 19:1-4). A. invisible things: God’s power & divinity are clearly seen thru things made the universe – order & design B. ILLUSTRATIONS: Bear’s footprint. Fine Swiss Watch. C. EXAMPLES: Human Body. The Earth as an environment. D. WHEN WE SEE THE THINGS WHICH ARE MADE, WE KNOW THAT THERE IS ON WHO IS POWERFUL ENOUGH AND INTELLEGENT ENOUGH TO MAKE THOSE THINGS … FOOTPRINTS, WATCHES, OR THE UNIVERSE. III. THE UNIQUE NATURE OF MAN. A. Man has the capacity for rational thought. Animals can be trained to do certain things by use of their instincts, but they never train themselves. Man alone has the ability of rational thought. Man is left to reason out his destiny while animals perform upon instinct. B. Man alone has a sense of morals – a moral standard. “Man alone of all earthly creatures does wrong. Willfully or ignorantly he disobeys the laws of his nature or fails at complete fulfillment, even when desiring it. Theft is no crime in a monkey or a bear. Bloodthirstiness is no vice in a tiger, nor vanity in a peacock. A dishonest or cruel or vain man breaks the laws of his own nature” (Hamilton, Basis of Faith, p. 221 ). Consider any argument between young children. Cries of “He hit me first,” “She got more than I did,” “I was in line first,” are mere appeals to a standard of conduct. We call this a “moral standard.” Animals and outlaws are not concerned with such a standard. They live by the law of the jungle, “Might makes right.” Where did man’s sense of morals come from? C. Man has a conscience. When man violates his standard of conduct and those laws which he has learned, he feels guilt. What animal has ever stayed awake all night worrying whether or not the days activities were moral or immoral. ( A man’s conscience may be seared, 1 Tim. 4:1-2 ). D. Man has an esthetic nature. Man is able to create and appreciate beauty, art, poetry, etc. Can a cow be moved by a beautiful painting, a sunset or a poem? E. Man is inherently religious. Even the most primitive civilizations have a sense of a higher being, a basic fear of death, a conception of life after death, and a form of worship. Animals are completely devoid of any inherent religious intuition. F. All of these marks of personality in man prove two things: Man is created in the image of a “personal God” with those same qualities of intellect, free will, moral sense, etc., and was not the product of so called “resident forces” in the material universe. Second, there is something in man that is not material. IV. WE BELIEVE IN GOD BECAUSE ALL THE OBJECTIONS TO BELIEVING IN GOD LIE WITH EQUAL FORCE AGAINST ATHEISM. Every objection which the atheist can make against the existence of God can be made against his belief in the eternal existence of matter! Where did matter come from? Atheism has insuperable difficulties of its own. How can life, intelligent planning, and law come from dead matter? “THE FOOL HATH SAID IN HIS HEART, THERE IS NO GOD”( Psa. 53:1 ).
HERE WE GO AGAIN; ANSWERING ONCE AGAIN AN AGE OLD QUESTION: “WHY DOES YOUR GOD ALLOW SUCH TRAGEDY TO HAPPEN?
Why Does God Allow Evil?There is no doubt that sin, and the evil that accompanies it, exists in this world. When atrocious examples of evil come to our attention, people commonly wonder why God allows such evil to happen. Atheists will use the very existence of obvious evil to argue against God. “If God were so good,” they smirk, “why is there evil in the world?” Since evil exists, these people conclude that God must not exist. Have you ever thought about reversing the argument? If evil is so prevalent, why is there righteousness in the world? Since righteousness exists, should we conclude that evil does not exist? Obviously the existence of one extreme does not preclude the existence of the other extreme. Yet, still the question needs to be addressed. As Christians we are to have a ready answer for every question regarding our faith (I Peter 3:15). Perhaps you have studied this question in the past, but given the tragedies of recent days, it will do each of us good to review the Scriptures so we may answer the questions that are bound to come up. But, before addressing why evil is allowed to exist, we need to define what is evil. We don’t have to look far to find recent events that most people agree are evil. There is no doubt that the taking of thousands of innocent lives in Colorado, New York, Washington, D.C, and Pennsylvania is a prime example of evil at its worse. In fact, we can go farther and note that evil always involves sin. The two are equivalent: Sin is evil. Some sins are much more abhorrent than others. The loss of thousands of innocent lives strikes us as more evil than an individual’s lie. Yet, we must understand that both are wrong. Both are different facets of evil. John defines sin as the breaking of law (I John 3:4). The very existence and recognition of evil argue that a law or several laws are being broken. The tragedy of September 11, 2001, and Aurora, Co.was evil because innocent people were murdered. This means that we recognize the fact that murder is wrong. In other words, we acknowledge that a law exists making murder sinful. If such a law did not exist, then there could be no violation of that law (Romans 4:15). Recognizing this, some have foolishly argued that here lies a quick way to remove evil from the world – remove every law! Too hard to believe? We all recognize that this nation has a drug problem. What has been touted as a solution to the drug problem? Why, legalize the drugs! As if this would solve the problem! It was once against the law to have sex outside of marriage. Those laws have been dropped from the books as being unenforceable. Has the sin of fornication therefore disappeared with the removal of the law? Has it even decreased? No, the exact opposite effect has been recorded. People are living together in staggering numbers and the rate is increasing phenomenally. The problem we must face is that evil still exists even when we do not acknowledge it in our laws. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned – for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses …” (Romans 5:12-14). Notice that even before God gave the law to Moses, sin was still in the world. Yet, God did not impute the punishment for sin against mankind. Consider the age-old exclaim, “I didn’t know that was illegal!” Does our ignorance of a law mean the law doesn’t exist for us? Obviously no. We are still held accountable to uphold a law even if we did not know of its existence. Yet, if we truly had no way of knowing the law, the judge might be lenient in passing sentence. In a similar vein, though people sinned (broken the law) before God gave the law to Moses to record, he did not count the sins against the people who broke the law. Yet, the consequences of sin, in this case death, remained even though sin was not imputed. To summarize, sin exists even when the written laws do not acknowledge a particular action as sinful. Putting on blinders to avoid seeing evil does not make the evil go away, nor does it make it any less evil. In other words, laws do not create evil. Where, then, does sin originate? If we come to a fork in a road, we must choose which direction we will take. Because a decision must be made, I can guarantee that everyone approaching the fork will not choose the same path. Even if I put up a sign explaining the desirability of one direction over the other, I can still guarantee that the less desirable path will still be used. James 1:12-18 explains that sin comes from people making the wrong choice. Sin comes from man and not from God. We all have desires that are necessary for us to live. Satan uses these natural tendencies to put us in situations where the satisfaction of our desire would cause us to break a command of God. It is a trap, but it is a snare that we willingly walk into because we want what is offered. Not only does Satan tempt us, but our fellow men, already caught up in sin, will use our desires to gain their own goals (II Peter 2:18-19). Temptation is so prevalent in this world that none are immune to sin (I Corinthians 10:12). Yet, the situation is not hopeless. God remains in control, even when we are tempted to violate God’s laws (I Corinthians 10:13). Yet, if evil exists, and people will choose to do evil, why did God bother giving men a law? Paul explains that the law does not cause people to sin, but it does clarify our sins (Romans 7:7-12). The law, being from God, is holy and good. It defines for man what God sees as sin. It helps us understand the nature of sin and of evil. Unfortunately, the law is also exploited by Satan. By defining sin, it lets us know about options we might not have considered before. Every parent faces this dilemma. We want to warn our children against the dangers present in this world, but we don’t want our children to lose their innocence toward life. Paul spoke of this same problem in Romans 7. He, by nature, would not be one to covet what belongs to another man. But when he learned about coveting through the law, he faced the temptation to covet from the simple fact that he was now aware of the possibility. This does not excuse our decision. We have been warned in advance by the law. Hence, the law leaves us with no excuse when we violate the law. Perhaps now we can address why evil continues to exist in this world. Sin exists because people want it (Jeremiah 5:30-31). God tolerates its existence because it creates a distinction between the righteous and the wicked (Romans 7:13). When we sin, and we see the affect of evil on our lives, then we learn, however reluctantly, that God was right. We are forced to see that God’s laws are actually the best path because we see the devastation caused by people who sin. The existence of sin and the existence of people willing to commit sin show us just how bad off mankind is (Ecclesiastes 3:16-18). When we battle against sin, we are strengthened by the effort (James 1:12). What kind of shape would I be in if I laid in bed all day? Many of us work out in some type of physical exercise. Yet, why do we bother? Simply because we understand that exercise, even when we don’t fully enjoy it, helps us to enjoy life more fully. What kind of shape would I be in if I never exercised my faith? Even though the choices are not always enjoyable, I need the opportunity to make them so that I may be better able to serve God. We must also acknowledge that evil continues to exist in this world because we refuse to recognize sin. This is the trap the Jews fell into (Romans 2:17-24). When you don’t pay a bill, are you not stealing? If you leave out some of your income at tax time, are you not lying? How can a person lead others out of sin if they wallow in sins that they feel are not so bad? This was a major point in Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Murder is awful, but it is preceded by the sin of anger (Matthew 5:21-22). Adultery is evil, but it is preceded by the sin of lust (Matthew 5:27-28). We cannot make a half-hearted stand against evil. Evil will not go away if we accept some sins but reject others. This is an all-or-nothing war. Evil cannot be defeated if we allow sin to continue to exist in our own lives. Where do you stand in this battle against evil? Either you are for righteousness and God or you are against him (Matthew 12:30). There is no middle ground. May God bless and use this article and message to challenge us to be more conformed to the image of Christ.
Struggling with Life’s Injustices
By Wayne JacksonA gentleman who professed an identification with the Lord, became quite disenchanted with Christianity. When an interested friend inquired as to the nature of his problem, he replied: According to the Bible, God promised that those who follow him will be blessed with health and prosperity. As I observe Christian people, I see vast numbers who are sick and poor. I can no longer believe in the promises of God. What response should be made to this troubled man? There are three possible ways to evaluate the argument stated above. First, there is the charge that God has failed in his promises. This suggests either he is unable to complete his pledges (in which case he is impotent), or else he had no intention of fulfilling his bargain (which would make him deceptive). In either event, the fault would lie with God. Second, one may suppose God is both willing and able to bless humanity with physical-material health and wealth; and, invariably, he does. Those who enjoy wholeness and prosperity are the righteous; those who do not are flawed in character. Any lack, therefore, is with man. Third, another possibility is that the assumptions of the argument cited above are grounded in a misunderstanding of certain passages relating to physical and material well-being. In this case, the problem would be with the critic’s misinterpretation—not with the texts of the Bible. Let us give consideration to each of these possibilities. The Skeptical Theory The first of the above listed propositions partakes of the nature of that ancient argument employed so often by skeptics. If God cannot do it, he is powerless, hence, not God; if the Creator will not do it, he is malevolent, thus, not God. If he has both the power and the will, why the seeming injustice? The assumption in this position, of course, is that ignorant man is qualified to pass judgment upon divine actions. Consequently, if the Maker of men is not operating according to how we might do it, he is faulted as lacking either ability or will. But the “ways” of Heaven are beyond human analysis (Job 9:12b; Isaiah 55:8; Romans 11:33). The fact of the matter is, God, in real history, has demonstrated both his ability and integrity in keeping his promises. Twenty centuries before the birth of Christ, Jehovah promised Abraham that through his “seed” all nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). The prophecy pointed to the coming of Christ (Galatians 3:16). Even though Abraham and Sarah were aged, and without offspring at the time, the patriarch never wavered concerning the promise, for he knew that “what [God] had promised, he was able to perform” (Romans 4:21). Too, God’s integrity was never suspect, for, as the writer of Hebrews noted (in discussing this very circumstance), it is an immutable proposition that it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:13-18). The messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, combined with the facts relative to Jesus of Nazareth, confirm both the integrity and ability of the Almighty. The Character Argument The idea that one’s character can be determined by his physical well-being, or his material prosperity, though widespread, reflects an erroneous generalization. While it occasionally is the case that the Bible provides examples of prosperity as a result of righteousness, that is far from the rule. Consider two cases from the Old Testament. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar insisted that Job’s plight (during which he lost all his material resources and his health) was a result of his lack of spirituality. The patriarch supposedly had committed grievous sins; if he would only repent, God would restore his well-being. The truth was otherwise. Job’s losses were the result of his goodness; he was Jehovah’s unique servant (Job 1:8; 2:3). The Lord permitted Job’s deprivation because he was proud of him, and knew he could maintain his integrity (13:15). Reflect upon the case of Asaph (Psalm 73). He surveyed society and noted the “prosperity of the wicked” (v. 3). He almost abandoned his faith at this seeming inequity—until Jehovah showed him the “latter end” of evil people (v. 17), and he learned the lesson that godliness cannot be judged by material status. And what of this?: (a) Jesus’ circumstances during his earthly sojourn were those of the impoverished (2 Corinthians 8:9); the Son of man did not even have a place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). Did these meager conditions reflect God’s lack of fidelity? (b) Paul frequently was in situations where he lacked material prosperity (2 Corinthians 11:27); in addition, he was afflicted with a terrible physical malady (12:7). Surely it will not be suggested that these difficulties were the result of the apostle’s evil way of life. Misunderstood Texts Without doubt, there are biblical passages that promise prosperity and well-being, in some sense, to those who are faithful to God. When the nation of Israel left Egypt, Jehovah informed them: “I will put on you none of the diseases which I have put on the Egyptians: for I am Jehovah who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). And Isaiah declared that “by [Christ’s] stripes we are healed” (53:5). Solomon affirmed that the one who honors God with his substance, with his first-fruits, will have overflowing prosperity (Proverbs 3:9), and Malachi described the Lord as opening the “windows of heaven” and pouring out a blessing too bountiful to receive (3:10). How are these passages to be explained? There are a number of scriptural truths that will help bring balance to this oft misunderstood subject. Principles of Well-Being Death was visited upon man because of his transgression of divine law (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12). In this earthly environment, therefore, humanity will never be exempt from sickness and death. Be that as it may, there are principles within sacred Scripture that will, as a general rule, enhance longevity. There were many sound principles in the Mosaic code that facilitated the good health the Israelites generally enjoyed. Dr. S. I. McMillen has discussed this theme in his book, None of These Diseases (1963). (See also our chapter, “The God Who Heals,” in Jackson, 2000.) As a rule, it is assumed that parental love will motivate mothers and fathers to train their children in sound health principles, so that it “may be well” with them, and that they “may live long upon the earth” (Ephesians 6:3). This certainly does not mean, though, that the Christian’s children are immune to illness, or will never die prematurely. This is a principle, not an inflexible law. The proverb cited above (3:9) contains a secluded truth supplied by the subsequent context. Derek Kidner has observed that generously giving to God of one’s first and best in “the face of material pressures” is, in truth, a test of faith, and is a vivid commentary on a man’s character (1964). Such a person, who so selflessly serves God, will be honor-bound to treat his fellows fairly. The practice of noble ethics in business (discussed in vv. 27ff) will generate respect and rebound to the righteous man’s personal prosperity. Again, though, this is not an iron-solid rule; obviously there will be times when the generous and honest Christian becomes the victim of those who take advantage of him. Such cases, however, do not invalidate the principle. The Use of Figurative Language The Bible abounds with figures of speech. Hyperbole (exaggeration for emphasis) is common (cf. John 21:25), and metonymy (one thing put for another) is a frequent teaching device. In his classic book, Hermeneutics, D. R. Dungan consumed more than forty pages in discussing this latter figure alone. How does an understanding of this type of expression fit into our discussion? There are occasions in Scripture when spiritual concepts are conveyed in physical or material terms. A failure to recognize this teaching mode can result in the misinterpretation of important biblical texts. (1) When Isaiah declared that “healing” would result from the benefits of Jesus’ death, he was not speaking of physical healing, but a healing (forgiveness) from sin, as the immediate context reveals (53:5-6; note “transgressions,” “iniquities”), and this was confirmed later by Peter (see 1 Peter 2:24-25). (2) The prophet Joel spoke of “those days” when Jehovah would pour out his Spirit and supernatural phenomena would result (2:28-30). In Acts 2, Peter informed his Hebrew auditors that the events of that day (the apostles being overwhelmed by the Spirit’s power – v. 4; cf. 1:5) were a fulfillment of Joel’s oracle (2:16). This was the commencement of the Christian age. In connection with this wonderful era, Joel announced that “the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk,” etc. (3:18ff). The prosperity here described is not an agricultural boon; rather, the material is used to depict the spiritual. Those who attempt to literalize all the prosperity passages should take note of this idiom. A survey of the terms “rich” and “riches,” as used in the New Testament, will demonstrate that these words are employed far more frequently of spiritual prosperity than they are of material wealth. The Mysteries of Providence We do not deny that God can, and does, bless his people in a physical-material way, consistent with his own will, by means of his providential activity upon the earth (see A Study of Divine Providence). God had mercy on Epaphroditus, who had been “sick to the point of death” (Philippians 2:25-27)—with apparently no miracle involved. This does not mean, though, that every child of God will recover from terminal conditions. To draw general conclusions from isolated Bible examples can lead to a variety of errors. The Lord providentially directed his ravens to provide Elijah with bread (1 Kings 17:4, 6), and he has urged us to petition him for our daily sustenance (Matthew 6:11); but that does not mean that the child of God will never be bereft of food. He may be in need due to self-sacrifice, persecution, natural disaster, or plain laziness (see 2 Corinthians 11:27; Acts 11:28; 27:21; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). One’s level of physical-material well-being, or lack thereof, is: (a) not a reflection upon God’s ability or his concern, and (b) not the measure of a person’s standing before the Lord. A Concluding Point There is a strong argument that may be made against the position being reviewed that almost seems too obvious to mention. If it were the case that an inflexible rule obtains in the divine order of things, that spirituality produces health and wealth, the following would clearly result: (1) Little children, the purest of earth’s society, would never get sick and die; yet, in many third-world nations, sweet children starve, their bodies are racked with disease, and they prematurely go to God. (2) The wicked of the earth sometimes are more prosperous than the godly, and the righteous do not always outlive the non-Christian population. (3) If wealth was the direct result of becoming a Christian, men would be prone to accept the gospel, not because of their convictions regarding God’s Son, but merely out of materialistic self-interest. Such would bring no honor to either the Creator or the creature. The Almighty expects motives nobler than this. One should never allow life’s difficulties to distort his view of God.
Good evening to everyone out there in the blogger world. I trust you all had a great weekend, just a short note to inform everyone that I will be out the office for at least close to two weeks. So until we meet again, stay faithful serving the Lord, be the salt and light we were meant to be, be a witness for the Lord. Again let me just say; Thank You So Much For Your Prayers And Support. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I created Vertical Viewer, it’s been quite challenging to say the least but worth every moment of preparation. Trust me I know there are other blog site’s that put mine shame but I do the best I can.So until next month my friends, I bid you farewell.