A Reasoning Faith — Lesson 5
More Common Misconceptions
In our last lesson we considered some of the issues men face when they realize the demands of the Gospel of Christ. In this lesson we are to consider some more of these common objections to the Bible message of sin and of salvation through Christ alone.
Could God Not Have Prevented Sin?
Why didn't God make men incapable of disobeying His will and therefor incapable of sinning? That question is like asking why doesn't God draw a crooked straight line or a round square, or make an object pitch black and pure white at the same time. Man is a creature with the power of intelligent choice, so the question really is: Why didn't God make a creature with the power of intelligent choice and yet without the power of intelligent choice? For example, if I put my two little boys into an hypnotic state, thus robbing them of the power of intelligent choice, and then said, "Sit on those chairs til I return," "Get up and eat," "Stop eating, "Kiss me good night,"unfeeling arms would go around my neck, and unresponsive lips would be pressed to mine. I would have a prompt and perfect obedience to my every command, but would I find satisfaction in it? No!
I want my boys to have free will, thus being capable of disobeying me, but, who willingly obey because of our mutual love for each other. Hopefully my instructions would always be for their own good and not just mine. I cannot conceive of God being satisfied with anything less.
God does not want Puppets who jump in a given direction according to the wire that is pulled, nor does He want robots in the form of "men" who mechanically and absolutely obey His will as do the planets that whirl through space. God can find satisfaction in nothing less than the spontaneous love of our hearts, decisions to live to please and honor Him. But it is obvious that this same power enables us to defy and dishonor Him if we so choose.
Man And The Universe
What does God care about this little world of ours compared with the vastness of the universe? Think of even our own solar system, with the planet Neptune thirty times as far away from the sun as our earth, so that it takes 164 of our years to make one of Neptune's and beyond this, suns with planets revolving around them as our solar system revolves around the sun! Of what importance can our earth be to God, and of how much less importance can man be?
The vastness of the heavens robbed a young astronomer of faith, for how could God trouble Himself about man, who is less than a grain of sand in comparison? But his thirst for knowledge would not let him rest. The heavens were available for study at night; how should the free hours of the day be spent? Why not a microscope? New worlds were opened at his feet - worlds as wonderful as those above, and slowly his faith came back. Yes, the God who could attend to such minute details as to make a drop of ditch water throb with miniature life was sure to be interested in man, the highest form of His creation - he found balance instead of bias, and balance brought him back to God. John 3:16 was true after all. Are you balanced or biased? Can you see the present in its true relation to the future?
Balance Or Bias?
Benjamin Franklin said we are all biased. When he had an important decision to make, he took a sheet of paper and headed two columns, respectively, "Pro" and "Con", then thought the matter out carefully. When he arrived at a reason "for," he put it under "Pro"; when he discovered one "against," it went under "Con." After his lists were as complete as he could make them, he went through them, saying, "This `Pro' is as strong as those two `Cons' and this "Con' is of as much value as those three `Pros,'" until he had "balanced" off all that he could' then he gave his decision for, or against, according to the reasons still left. A good pattern? Perhaps!
But are you willing to give the question of your future destiny unbiased consideration?
The Logic Of Faith
Is faith logical? Yes, it is logical. It is a mistake to think that faith is opposed to reason. Faith and reason go hand in hand, but faith goes on when reason can go no farther. Reason, to a great extent, is dependent on faith, for without knowledge it is impossible to reason, and knowledge is largely a matter of faith in human testimony. For instance, I believe that strychnine administered in a large enough dose will poison a human being, but I have never seen the experiment performed. Yet I have such faith in the written testimony of men that I would not take a dose of strychnine for a million dollars.
If you check your facts carefully, you will find that most of what you know is a matter of faith in human testimony, written or spoken, as you have not verified them for yourself. Then, having accepted the testimony of other men so freely on other matters, will you not accept the testimony of thousands of Christians when they affirm that they have verified the things written in God's Word and proven them to be true?
Eternal Punishment For Sin
Why should God judge my sin worthy of death? I cannot answer that, but I would suggest that because of His infinite holiness no sin could exist in His presence. Our problem is that we don't understand infinite, perfect holiness.
In some primitive cultures a native chief may club his wife to death on slight provocation without committing a crime and without falling in the slightest degree in the estimation of his people. The same act in another land would result in arrest, conviction and punishment for murder. Men, and cultures, are thus able to view the same act quite differently. Man and God obviously views acts on earth quite differently. Think what some sin, which appears to us as nothing, must look like to an infinitely holy God - "For God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1;5). The contrast is understandable. Think what would it be like for someone, who has not believed God and accepted the only way of salvation, to stand before God. God's absolute holiness would show this persons sin in all its awfulness? It becomes quite easy to understand the penalty of eternal punishment.
In Revelation 6:16, God tells us of the feelings of those who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour and persist in going into eternity in their sins. They call on the mountains and the rocks to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and yet it is the presence of this same Christ that will make heaven so wonderful for those who have accepted Him as Saviour and Lord.
You can also see the absurdity of God taking all to heaven. Heaven is a condition as well as a place. The presence of the Lord Jesus Christ will fill heaven. That same Presence will make a hell of remorse in the hearts of any who, still in their sins, stand in the infinite light of His holiness for judgment. Be quite reasonable - could you really stand in the presence of the One whose love you had rejected, and whose great sacrifice you had not counted worthy of your acceptance?