“. . . . Worship Him who made the Heavens, the Earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:7)
The expression “I believe in God,” has different meanings for different people because there are many “Gods.” Jehovah is not Allah and Jesus is not Shiva, Vishnu, or Shakti (Hindu Gods). Even within Christianity, Catholics and Protestants have very different views about “God.” Therefore, the phrase “I believe in God” is just a catch-all phrase.
Belief “in God” or “the absence of God” really does matter Beliefs shape behavior and behaviors have consequences. Currently, the radical Islamic group, ISIS, is waging a brutal war against so-called “non-believers” in the Middle East. ISIS is killing men, women and children, beheading non-muslims and forcing young girls into sex slavery. ISIS claims that “Allah” fully approves of its actions. Do you see how beliefs shape behavior? When people believe their identity is concealed, they are more likely to do things that they would not otherwise do. Beliefs shape behavior. With increasing frequency, people are doing terrible things to one another. Hatred and violence are rising, immoral behavior is pandemic, and ethnic relations are at a breaking point. We have reached this point because today’s harvest is the result of seeds sown yesterday. Beliefs shape behavior and man’s behavior has produced the conflicted environment we now see.
Does God Exist?
Beliefs about God can range from total denial to wholehearted commitment. Because this wide spectrum exists and space is limited, this study will focus on two aspects of believing in God. The first aspect will be “Does God exist?” and if so, “Who is He?”
For authority in spiritual matters, I have accepted the Bible as God’s Word. Even though there are other “so-called” sacred writings, I accept the Bible based on five reasons that will be presented in this study. The Bible declares there is only one God* who is to be worshiped. He is unlike all other deities called “God.” The God of the Bible is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is called “Jehovah” in the Old Testament and “Jesus” in the New Testament. Notice what Jesus says of Himself: “This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6) This declaration in the Old Testament is amplified in the New Testament. Jesus said to John, “. . . ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’ ” (Revelation 1:17,18)
(*Note: The Bible teaches tritheism, that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob actually consists of three separate and distinct Gods functioning as one God. The Bible teaches that the plan of salvation required the services of three Gods. One God, Jesus, voluntarily died for our sins. Another God, the Father, raised Jesus from the dead. The gospel which Jesus spoke came directly from the Father through the ministry of yet a third God, the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the only visible member of the Godhead. Jesus is also the spokesman (The Logos) for the Trinity. Ninety-five percent of the references in the Old Testament pertaining to Jehovah/Lord/God/Almighty pertain to Jesus. Because the Trinity is united in purpose, plan, and action, to the casual reader they may appear to be one God. However, as a husband and wife become one flesh at marriage, so three Gods surrendered their rights and prerogatives to each other in order to become one unified Trinity. For additional study on this fascinating topic, please see The Wake Up Report, December 2012.)
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is eternal and changeless. (Genesis 21:33, Malachi 3:6) He is omniscient. He knows the very number of hairs on each person’s head. (Matthew 10:30) He sees everything that occurs on Earth: “The Lord looks down from Heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” (Psalm 14:2) “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the Earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. . . .” (2 Chronicles 16:9) There is a great deal of confusion about God, so I ask you to consider five reasons why I worship and love the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Of course, my reasons may not be adequate for you, but I offer these thoughts in hope that they may help you to know God better. This month I will share the first two of the five reasons.
Heaven and Earth are the Products of Intelligent Design
My first reason for loving and worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is this: Heaven and Earth are products of an intelligent designer. Jesus Himself made them. He is the Creator of everything that exists. The Bible says:
“This is what God the Lord says – He who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the Earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it.” (Isaiah 42:5)
“For by Him all things were created: things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)
Even though the Bible makes these declarations, we must find support around us to affirm what the Bible says. The difference between a symphony and random notes is that music has a design, while random notes do not. The Mona Lisa is separated from random lines and patches of color because the Mona Lisa has a design, while random lines and colors do not. A jet airplane is a marvelous creation. Jet airplanes do not accidently or randomly occur without the handiwork of intelligent designers and builders. However, jet airplanes are very simple creations when compared to the human genome.
The total length of the human genome contains more than 3 billion orderly base pairs. Is the human genome the work of an Intelligent Designer or is it the result of 3 billion freakish accidents that just happened to occur in perfect order? When I consider the diversity of the plants, animals, fish, birds, and human beings that live on Earth, when I consider that each specie brings with it a unique contribution to life on Earth, when I consider that each specie has its own unique DNA and the ability to procreate, when I consider that all forms of life require the simultaneous presence of perfectly formed DNA, different types of solutions, and essential three-dimensional proteins, the evidence declares this is the work of an Intelligent Designer. When I consider Earth’s orbit around the Sun, I am impressed that Earth’s orbit is no cosmic accident. If Earth’s distance from the Sun varied by a mere 10%, life on Earth could not exist. The winters would be so cold and the summers would be so hot that nothing could live Looking at the structures of Earth, I conclude that it defies reason and mocks reasonableness to claim that life is the result of billions of freakish accidents that began with lifeless ocean slime.
If we take the probability of intelligent design one step further, we find that science itself declares the handiwork of God. It is baffling and ironic that many scientists deny the existence of God when science, by definition, involves the process of discovering and applying the laws that govern life. Intelligent laws, like jet airplanes, do not naturally occur. When we consider the laws of physics that govern this planet, when we consider the laws of biology that govern life on this planet, when we consider the laws governing the behavior of atoms, when we consider the laws governing mathematics, thermodynamics, economics, and the procreation of all living things, these profound designs point to an infinitely wise Creator. Of course, no one understands all of the mysteries of God’s Creation, but there is more than enough evidence to convince me that Heaven and Earth are not a freakish accident. The Bible tells the truth. Earth and all that is in it is the handiwork of Jesus, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob He created Adam and Eve on the sixth day of Creation.
God Has Accurately Declared the Future
I love and worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because He knows and declares the future with 100% accuracy. Here are three examples:
- “Then the Lord said to him [Abraham] ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” (Genesis 15:13-16, insertion mine)God gave this prophecy about 500 years before it was fulfilled in 1437 B.C. When God delivered Israel out of Egyptian slavery, the fourth generation returned to Canaan. The four generations are counted as Levi, Kohath, Amram, and Moses.
- God said to Jeremiah: “This whole country [belonging to Israel] will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:11, insertion mine) With uncanny accuracy, the captivity of Israel by the Babylonians began in 605 B.C. and ended, right on time, in 536 B.C. The Bible says: “The land [belonging to Israel] enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” (2 Chronicles 36:21, insertion mine)
- Just before His death in A.D. 30, Jesus made a startling prediction: “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’ ” (Matthew 24:1,2)
This prophecy was fulfilled with astonishing accuracy in A.D. 70 after the Romans set fire to the temple in Jerusalem. The gold that adorned the interior of the temple melted and ran into the joints of the massive stones that made up the temple. The Romans devised a system of pulleys and levers to pull the stones apart to retrieve the gold.
These prophecies (and there are many more in the Bible) demonstrate a profound fact. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob can foretell the future with 100% accuracy. Jesus said, “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) No other God can do this. Jesus said: “See, the former things [I predicted] have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. . . . I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please [there is nothing that can stop me]” (Isaiah 42:9; 46:9,10, insertions mine)
Next month, we will look into the next three reasons.