When reading the
Bible one can see clearly that God has a good plan for all of us. The Gospel of
John states that God loved the world so much that He sent His son, Jesus
Christ, so that nobody would perish (John 3:16). Furthermore, the First Epistle
of Paul to Timothy describes how God “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge
of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4). It is definite that He wants people to
come to Him and wants to give them eternal life.
Still, many people reject
God’s invitation of salvation and redemption. They do not want to turn to God.
They use all kinds of excuses to reject God’s invitation – just like those
excuses that were used by people who lived alongside the Apostles. Read about
them in the verses below. This is why we will study next the most common
excuses people use to reject the Christian faith. Let’s start with a person’s
claim that their nature is “scientific ”.
- (Acts 13:45,46) But when the Jews saw the
multitudes, they were filled with envy, and
spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and
46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed
bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been
spoken to you:but
seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, see,
we turn to the Gentiles.
1. "I am
One’s reliance on scientific examination and worldly wisdom
are among the excuses given by people who turn their backs on God and the
Christian faith. People want to believe that they are taking a scientific
approach to life, that they are rational beings who make sensible decisions,
and that their views are impartial, dispassionate and based solely upon facts.
Nobody wants to admit that he or she is a religious bigot or, for example, a
fundamentalist (a label some news
journalists and editors use with pleasure. Many people lump into this group all
religiousness and religions including Islam).
Almost everyone wants to separate faith from scientific fact, and wants to be
free from all prejudices and predilections. The writing below by a free thinker
well reflects this attitude held by people who consider themselves to be
I wish briefly that people would think
looks like most people try to manage by thinking as little as possible.(…) The most
important part of a scientific way of thinking is freedom from prejudices,
predilections and devotions.The target of a scientist is always the truth,
regardless of how unpleasant it may be or how much confusion it may cause to
people whose beliefs it shows wrong.(1)
So, what do people consider to be a scientific
approach? Most people believe it means following an atheistic philosophy that
includes believing that the universe came into being by itself, that life came
into being by itself, and that all species evolved from one simple cell that
came from the ocean. A person who claims that he or she is scientific usually
means that they believe such statements about our origins are true. We will not
address the accuracy of those claims in this writing. Instead, we will look at
this “scientific approach” from another perspective.
Scientific approach or
any people whose ideology is based purely upon scientific reasoning? How many
people act upon facts alone when they are doing science experiments, or when
they are leading their normal lives? How many people never use faith? Is there
such a person?
are honest, we must state that nobody acts completely without faith. In
science, people trust in the credibility of colleagues and the information
provided by them. They consider the opinions of others to be trustworthy
because they believe them to be well-educated. The same applies to normal life.
We also trust in what others say and consider their words to be true. We
personally check only a small percentage of the information that we assume to
Therefore, everybody believes in something; nobody stands on neutral
ground. We all -- including those who say they base everything on facts –
believe things to be true for which we have no proof.There is no such thing as a fully scientific person; getting
through life without exercising some faith is impossible.
following examples show how important faith is, and ways in which we experience
faith every day:
- A girl trusts her mother when the mother says
she will get a new dress. This is faith.
- People believe that there is such a place as the Antarctica even
though very few have actually visited it.
- When we see an advertisement of a store in the newspaper, we believe
in the information and shop based on it.
- History is one sector of life in which all our information is based on
what others have said. For example, it is no longer possible to completely
scientifically and conclusively prove that Napoleon or Caesar actually existed;
we must trust words written by others. This is faith, and we are all forced to
believe in something.
- Questions about the origins of the universe, life, and humans can only
be answered through faith. None of us were there to witness our beginnings.
There are only theories about what happened; it is impossible for us to prove
our origins in any scientific way.
So, whenever we deal with the
three basic pillars of the scientific ideology – the origins of the universe,
the origins of life and the theory of evolution – we end up having to accept
the following conclusions:
- The idea of how the universe started is based on faith. The two
opposing ideas are that the universe came into being by itself, and that the
universe was created by God. The problem is that we cannot prove either of
these scientifically because we cannot return to the past. Anyone who wants to
claim that they are scientifically certain must say that they were present when
the universe started, which is naturally impossible. This is why we can prefer
one or the other theory while having no definite proof of either. Anyone who
claims otherwise is wrong.
- The birth of life presents a similar problem: nobody was there to
witness it, either. This is why our opinions about the beginnings of life are
based on faith. So far, there is no shred of evidence proving that life could
have started by itself.
- The theory of evolution is based on the belief that complex life
developed from simple life forms at some point in the past. Nobody was there to
witness whether or not this really happened. Many renowned palaeontologists
strictly deny that there should be intermediate forms between basic groups in
the fossil data.
Can we trust the brain
of an ape?
“scientific view” usually refers to the theory of evolution, which is based on
the idea that life evolved from simple life forms and humans evolved from ape-like
creatures. In fact, if we drill deep enough into the evolutionary way of
thinking, we find that it leads to the notion that man, too, was one of the
life forms that appeared as a consequence of a “big bang” that began from a
space the size of a pinpoint. This is the naturalistic way of thinking.
However, we can find a major problem in this way of thinking. How can
you trust the assessments made by people if they originated from apes or even
more primitive life forms? If people’s brains (thus their thinking processes)
are the result of random development, is it wise to give credence to such
information? Is it not true that we can reject the notion of rational thought
if we believe that such thought originated in the development of an ape-like
being, or even that it appeared randomly as a product of the big bang? The
value placed in rational deduction, the belief that “scientific” thought is
reliable, or that one’s intelligence is supreme, are all questionable
assumptions if we really do come from such beginnings. We might be deceiving
ourselves; we might be in danger of making a mistake. We cannot rely on our
scientific view of the world, if our origins were random or evolutionary.
Anyone claiming otherwise is not thinking scientifically.
I remember how a young man said in a seminar, “I cannot believe in
creation, I believe in the big bang. We are only a result of chance and random
events. There is no God. What do you say to that?”
I replied, “Well, if we are
the result of chance, then also your brain is a result of chance. Therefore,
your ways of thinking which determine your logic are also the result of chance.
If your logic is the result of an occasional series of events, you cannot be
sure that it has developed in the right way. You cannot even be sure that you
are asking the right questions because you cannot trust your own logic.”
He was speechless. Later, he
came to me and asked about the best books concerning the subject, saying that
he should think seriously about this issue. He had begun to understand that
without an absolute (God) he would have nothing. (2)
The question of the existence
of God. A person who has a “scientific view of the world” may also deny the
existence of God. People with such an atheistic approach are confident when
saying that there is no God who created everything and with whom people can
interact. Faith in God is only considered to be wishful thinking, something to
which reasonable and scientific people do not resort.
Naturally, it is difficult to prove that this atheistic view is right.
If somebody says, “There is no God”, that does not prove that God does not
exist. It is a question of a religious preconception not of sure knowledge,
because nobody has unlimited information about eternity. To be able to conclude
that there is no God would demand that we have a perfect and unlimited amount
of information about everything, which is impossible for a human. How does
someone know that God does not belong to that sector about which they know
nothing? This is highly plausible because we are all finite beings. This is why
we are left with believing or not believing that God exists.
The Bible teaches us, though, that we can know something about God. We
can know God in three ways.
beauty and complexity are proof of a Creator. Our personalities, physical
senses and emotional feelings; and the ways we differ from animals, are
accurately described in the Bible. This is not absolute proof of the existence
of God but one can consider them and deduce that what the Bible teaches is
correct: God created everything in the universe and He made us to be in His
image. This evidence we can find in our natural world supports a theistic view;
it contradicts the notion that our birth was the product of some random event.
- (Ps 19:1) The heavens declare the glory of
God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.
- (Rom 1:19,20) Because that which may be
known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal
power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse
What about the possibility that our
natural world was not created by an almighty God? There are major problems with
this atheistic way of thinking, and they have not been resolved. The Bible’s
premise -- that an almighty and active Creator exists – seems much more
- The big bang theory is one of the most
implausible theories. The notion that a hundred million galaxies and stars, the
Earth and other planets, seas, rocks, giraffes, elephants, humans, flowers,
trees, butterflies, birds, mosquitoes, fish and all the rest of creation
started from a space the size of a pinhead is completely senseless. People may
choose to believe that such an event happened, but little support exists for
that theory. Is it wise to believe such a conclusion?
- As noted above, the origin of life
has not been found. The more information we get, the harder it is to find an
- The fact that no intermediate
forms have ever been found suggests that species are separate and unique, and
they have been so from the very beginning. This fact supports the description
of species we find in the Bible and contradicts the explanation atheists would
have us believe.
Independentresearch has repeatedly confirmed that
the Bible’s descriptions of historical events are accurate. At least thirty of
the people mentioned in the New Testament are also found mentioned in sources
outside the Bible, so we know that they really existed. Of course, this alone
does not prove that the teachings of the Bible are true, but it gives us a good
reason to study historical records more closely.
God’s revelation. What about more direct evidence
supporting the existence of God? Atheists and agnostics often claim that if God
exists, why does He not reveal Himself to us? “Show us God and we will
believe,” they say.
However, God has already shown Himself to us. The whole revelation of
the New Testament is based on the fact that God became man in Jesus Christ,
lived a sinless life as a human, took our sins to the cross and opened us a
path to Heaven. God took the initiative and approached us in the form of a man,
just like the New Testament indicates. Jesus Himself said that He was not of
this world like other people and that He came from Heaven to do what His Father
wanted. This revelation is clearly shown in the verses below:
- (Hebr 1:1,2) God, who at sundry times and in
divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2 Has in
these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of
all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
- (John 1:18) No man has seen God at any time,
the only begotten Son, which is in
the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
- (2 Cor 5:19,20) To wit, that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them;
and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you
by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God.
So, God has already revealed Himself and made
His plans for everyone clearly visible.
is one thing that prevents people from understanding this: disbelief. The
letter to the Hebrew states that without faith it is impossible to please God,
and this applies to atheists and agnostics who do not want to believe the
revelation of the Bible.
has announced Himself, and He exists, just as we are told in the Bible, but
lack of faith and refusal to see the truth – many people rule out the
possibility that God could announce Himself – prevents people from being sure.
Jesus said, ”He
that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened” (Matt 7:8) but
many people are not even willing to seek, so they cannot find anything. In the
Bible verses below we learn about wrong attitudes, disbelief, having faith, and
finding God. Is your heart frozen, your mind closed? Do you deny the
possibility that God does exist and that He wants you to to let Him draw near?
- (Hebr 3:12) Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil
heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
- (Rev 21:8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable,
and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars,
shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone:which
is the second death.
- (Hebr 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please him:for he
that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them
that diligently seek him.
- (1 John 5:10) He that believes on the Son of
God has the witness in himself:he that believes not God has made him a liar; because he believes not
the record that God gave of his Son.
- (Hebr 4:2) For to us was the gospel
preached, as well as to them:but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in
them that heard it.
- (2 Cor 5:7) For we
walk by faith, not by sight
- (Rom 4:3-5) For what said the scripture?
believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of
grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that works not, but
believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for
- (Mark 4:39,40) And he arose, and rebuked the
wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still.And
the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said to them, Why are you so fearful? how is it that you have no faith?
faults of the church
Disappointment with Christianity and its representatives is one reason
why people reject faith and God. This may be caused by disappointment with some
person close to them or disappointment with the church and “narrow-minded
religion.” Therefore, many cannot stand any talk about faith and God, but
reject it sharply and rebel against it.
As far as imperfection in people is
concerned, it is true that it appears. It is true that very few people are good
examples, and yet fewer can say like Paul, ”Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1). In
the same way, religion can be the kind that does not include spiritual life,
but is hypocrisy. People fought against this kind of religion during the
formation of the early church; John the Baptist said to certain people:
- (Matt 3:7-9) But when he saw many of
the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation
of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
9 And think not to say within
yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say to you, that God is able
of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
When the faults of the Church and wrongs done
in the name of God through the centuries are pointed out, one should note what
Jesus and the first disciples taught. If we take a look at their lessons, we
will see that, "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom
of God," and that Jesus has never known these
evildoers. Also, Paul predicted a similar kind of behavior after his departure.
He taught that savage wolves will come that will not spare the flock.
means that not all people who appear in the name of God and Jesus are his own,
despite claiming so (As Paul said in Titus ,“They
profess that they know God; but in works they deny him”). Jesus said about false prophets: "You shall know them by
(Matt 7:16), andthis is certainly true of every man:
- (Acts 20:29-31) For I know this,
that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking
perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that
by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with
- (Matt 7:21-23) Not every one that said
to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the
will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we
not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your
name done many wonderful works?
23And then will I profess to them,
I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
- (1 Cor 6:9) Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God?Be not deceived…
It is good to note that even though somebody has turned to
God, there can still be a lot of deficiency in his life, too – people are
on different levels. The Corinthians were a good example; in his letters Paul
described them as being infants in Christ, since jealousy, quarrelling and
other impurities were causing problematic behavior. By contrast, Paul said to
others, ”Be you followers of me,
even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor ),
and "Brothers, be followers
together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an example." (Phil 3:17):
- (1 Cor 3:1-3) And I, brothers, could
not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, even as to babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for till
now you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able.
3 For you are yet carnal: for whereas
there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and
walk as men?
Account of only ourselves. When someone points at the wrongs committed by
the Church in the past, it should be noted that everyone is only responsible
for his own actions, not for the actions of others. Even though many bad things
have been done, it does not mean that we can use the wrongs done by other
people as an excuse to justify our own behavior. When we put our own life in
order, we are first taking "the beam" out of our own life (Matt
7:5 You hypocrite, first cast out the
beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote
out of your brother’s eye.) Doing even this often requires a lot of effort:
- (John 21:21,22) Peter seeing him said
to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22 Jesus said to him, If I will that
he tarry till I come, what is that to you? follow you me.
- (Rom )
So then every one of us shall give
account of himself to God.
- (Rom 2:6) Who will render to every man according to his
- (-15) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;
and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of
life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in
the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and
death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were
judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.
This is the second death.
15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life
was cast into the lake of fire.
of God on the society. People criticising the so-called Christianity have plenty of justified
statements, as noted before. These are not unfounded accusations.
What we should note, however, is that when
God touches a person, that person should change. If the person does not change
for the better and continues to kill, steal or break the law, then the person
is lost – as proven by the verses above.
next example is about what can happen when God influences the society to a
greater extent, as it sometimes happens. In such a case, He changes the lives
of many people. This is not a Big Brother society, of which we can see examples
in history; it is an internal change that occurs in a large number of people.
This description is from the 19th century:
have told that the moral situation changed greatly through this revival. The
city was new, economically prosperous and enterprising but full of sin. The
population was especially intelligent and ambitious but as the revival swept
through the city by bringing large crowds of its most remarkable people, men
and women, to conversion, there happened a very miraculous change concerning
the order, peacefulness and morality.
I had a talk with a lawyer many years
later. He had been converted in this revival and was a general prosecutor in
criminal cases. Because of this office, the criminal statistics were thoroughly
familiar to him. He said about the time of this revival, “I have examined
documents of criminal law and noticed a surprising fact: while our city has
grown three times larger after the times of the revival, there has not been
even a third of the indictments than there were before. So miraculous an effect
did the revival have on our society.”(…)
(...) Both public and personal opposition
gradually abated. In Rochester I
did not know anything about it. The salvation had its own great visitation, the
revivals were so powerful and moved so widely, and people had time to become
acquainted both with themselves and the results of them to such an extent that
they feared to oppose them as before. The priests also understood them better,
and the wicked were convinced that they were acts of God. This idea of them
became almost common, so clear was the sane nature of the conversions, so
really transformed, “new creations”, were the converts, so thorough a change
occurred both in individuals and in the society, and so permanent and
undeniable were the fruit. (3)
3. Evil in the world
When a negative attitude towards spiritual
matters is justified, one reason, in addition to the faults of the churches, is
evil in the world. It is thought that God cannot possibly exist because there
is so much evil and suffering in the world, and because justice does not exist.
It is difficult for many people to reconcile these matters with the existence
and love of God, as the next quote indicates:
But this is
actually only a part of a larger problem. It is namely difficult for me to
relate to an idea about a God of love. The problem is not only evil in the
church, but evil in the whole world. If God created this world and if He cares
for it, why is there so much bloody suffering in the world? You answered in
your letter that God cannot be regarded as being responsible for that, because
He has given man freedom to choose between right and wrong. But I think that
this question cannot be pushed aside so easily. When man, in his freedom of
choice, decides to do wrong, which results in innocent people having to endure
pain and suffering, God is definitely not a loving God, as you claim! (4)
However, when we think about this matter, we see it proves that the
word of the Bible is true. This is how it really is, and we are told about how
it all started in the first chapters of the Bible that teach us about the fall
of man and entry of sin into the world. Man originally lived in wonderful
harmony with animals, but the situation changed after he chose to disobey God’s
will. Then man’s mind got dark, he yielded his will to evil, and he lost peace.
Man’s relationship with God was also corrupted, and sin and death came into the
world, as it is stated in Romans. It is difficult to deny that we are in that
condition as described in the Bible:
- (Rom 5:12) Why, as by
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death
passed on all men, for that all have sinned.
Our fall is real and it can be seen in the world. It appears in our evil
deeds, suffering, selfishness and death – all are consequences of our fall. The
mass murders of Auschwitz and Rwanda
could certainly not have happened unless the world was under the control of the
evil one (1 John ). We need the
police and armed forces because we cannot trust in the goodness of our fellow
man. These terrible things we do are not the result of our having the wrong
upbringing or the wrong home environment; they are a reflection of the evil
that lives inside us. The evidence of practice is too great, so that the fall
could be denied:
- “Professor Joad was an
intelligent and quick-witted opponent.” The pastor interrupted him. “I
remember, when I was in England,
how a vicar preached about the subject, ‘God, the devil and Professor C.E.M.
Everyone burst into laughter.
Michael continued his speech:
- Professor Joad was of the opinion
that in human nature there is not any fault which higher civilization, better
possibilities and betterenvironment would not improve.
Then came war.When Joad contemplated misery, pain and
destruction, he came to the conclusion that the events of that moment and those
in history are a long account of man’s inhumanity towards man.He came to realize that theologians had one
common viewpoint, which philosophers did not emphasize, namely, that in human
nature there is some fault, and that fault could be called original sin. From
these starting-points Joad progressed from sin to the need of salvation and
from Saviour to God, who sent His Son to reconcile the sins of the people. Joad
experienced an intellectual conversion to Christianity, and he became a member
of the Anglican Church. "Higher civilization, better possibilities and
better environment", he finally said, "have not even nowadays brought
about a better society, such as the growing crime statistics of the welfare
countries indicate." (5)
The will of God and man. When Jesus lived on Earth he taught the Lord’s
Prayer to His disciples. One of the things Jesus taught his disciples to ask
God for was that His will would be done in earth. He advised His disciples to
pray for this because it was God’s plan and because for the time being, His
will comes true perfectly only in Heaven:
- (Matt 6:10) Your kingdom come, Your
will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
This suggests one of the biggest reasons behind the existence of
suffering in the world. Here on the Earth it is not the will of God that comes
true, but the will of man. There is no evil and suffering in Heaven -- they
appear in the world because of the evil of man. Here, people choose to serve
evil and do wrong instead of eliminating evil from the world. If we just loved
our enemies (as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount), and repented (as John
the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles taught), then the world would be a much
better place. However, we choose to hate our enemies and stubbornly refuse to
repent, so the world cannot become better than it is now. We do not serve the
will of God, and we do not allow him to enter our lives, and we do not always
want to become better people:
- (Matt 3:1,2) In those days came John
the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
- (Acts 26:19,20) Whereupon, O king
Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision:
showed first to them of Damascus,
and at Jerusalem, and throughout
all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that
they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
- (Matt 25:42-45) For I was an
hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and
you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when
saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in
prison, and did not minister to you? 45 Then shall he answer them,
saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of
these, you did it not to me.
Only a temporary state. Even though there is evil in the
world and the will of God does not come true very often, the good thing is that
the present state in the world is only temporary. Wars, suffering and diseases
– the reasons why so many people have difficulty believing in a loving God –
are temporary troubles that we must face before entering into perfection. We
learn from the Bible that all the consequences of our fall from grace in the
Garden of Eden will be removed and a new Heaven and a new Earth will be
created. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old
order of things will have passed away. Death – our last enemy -- will be
destroyed and will not disturb anyone anymore. Jesus told us that he is the way
into this kingdom:
- (John 10:9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be
- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I
am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father,
but by me.
- (1 Cor 15:26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
- (Rev 21:1-6) And I saw a new heaven
and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming
down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and
they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and
there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there
be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.And he said to me, Write: for these words
are true and faithful.
6 And he said to me, It is done. I am
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty
of the fountain of the water of life freely.
4. What is God
One stumbling block for many people, and an issue that should be
pointed out, are the wars mentioned in the Old Testament and the understanding
of what God is like. The next paragraph written by a former agnostic provides a
good example of the opinions held by many people:
another problem. You have spoken very much about the love of God, etc. But I
remember that the God of the Old Testament is quite different! Didn’t He
destroy the whole planet by sending the Flood? Quite an angry guy! And didn’t
He order that the Canaanites must be destroyed – including the women and
children? And didn’t he burn Sodom
and Gomorrah to ashes? It does not
sound that your loving God has done this. (6)
When responding to the honest criticism above, it is good to take into consideration at least the next observations. They can provide
new perspective on the issue:
Historical writings. Firstly, it is good to note that the Bible’s description of wars and other events is like those
in any other book of history, even though the Bible is the word of God. It
describes these events and early phases in the history of mankind, as do other
history books, except events in the Bible happened over many centuries.
Wars and other events and
people are mentioned in the Old Testament because history books usually do
this. Very seldom do they describe peaceful times and normal people: very often
times of crises are focused upon.
The Second World War is a
good example of this. It is remarkable that many more stories have been written
about WWII than about the decades preceding it, even though it lasted for only
some years. This demonstrates that exceptional events (including the miracles
that are described in the) are more likely to be recorded than events that
occurred during peaceful and normal times. The Bible is no exception in this
The debt of sin. Secondly, it is good to note that when the Bible describes events involving
and the Canaanites,God’s judgment of these nations followed their own
evil behavior. When it is known that the Canaanites burnt their childrenin
fire sacrifices (Deut 12:31, 2 Chron 28:3) and they were in other ways bad
people, it is easy to see that God’s judgment was no accident, but happened
when the evil of these people had achieved its peak and their debt of sin had
become full. Similarly, the Israelites later angered God and had to suffer
because of it. This same full debt of sin is weighing down the present society,
because people have done many evil deeds.
- (Gen 15:16)
But in the fourth
generation they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not
The view of God.
When in the quotation
above a former agnostic criticized honestly the view of what God is like, so it
is good to first study this issue in the light of the New Testament.
For if we look at the New
Testament, Jesus is – according to it – the express image of God (Hebr 1:3) and in whom God made Himself known perfectly. Jesus
said, “he that has seen me has seen the Father” and there is all the reason to believe it. The Bible also says,
that “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
Therefore, if we want to
know what God is like, the best verses are, first of all, such passages that
speak about Jesus, His character and what He said. Let’s study this issue in
the light of the next verses:
- (John 14:8,9) Philip said to him,
Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us. 9 Jesus said to him, Have I been so
long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has
seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?
- (Matt 11:28-30) Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek
and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
- (Matt ,16) Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they
might entangle him in his talk.
16 And they sent out to him their
disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that you are true, and
teach the way of God in truth, neither care you for any man: for you regard not
the person of men.
- (Luke 15:1,2) Then drew near to him all the publicans and sinners
for to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes
murmured, saying, This man receives sinners, and eats with them.
- (John ,11)
The thief comes not, but for to steal, and
to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they
might have it more abundantly.
11I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
- (1 John
4:8,16) He that loves not
knows not God; for God is love.
16 And we have known and
believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that
dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
5. What is love?
One reason why people reject the message of the Gospel is their idea of
what love is and what it is not. Many are offended by attitudes of some people
or if certain behaviours are described as sinful. They say straight away: “Do
not judge,” and “We must not be narrow-minded.” Because of these attitudes they
reject the whole message of the Gospel.
One behaviour is homosexuality
– an act often justified by those who favour a position of tolerance and love.
It has been said that there cannot be anything wrong if two adult men are in a
relationship with each other. The next passage reflects this kind of attitude:
However, we made mistakes. We
noted, for example, that preaching against homosexuality caused a fully
negative reaction. In the city that had been famous for a protective attitude
towards minorities of the societythrough the ages, our preaching, in which we
judged homosexuality, offended the desire of Amsterdam’s
inhabitants to protect weaker. We offended the sense of justice of an ordinary
man. A part of that sexual liberation is a monument for homosexuality in one of
the market places of the city. Sexual freedom has been taken to glaring
extremities in Amsterdam, which is
regarded as the capital city of homosexuality in Europe.
It is estimated that every weekend ten- to fifty thousand homosexual men or
women come to Amsterdam because of
its famous night life and events. Also heterosexuals, including grandmothers,
react powerfully, if we spoke against practising homosexuality and when we
emphasized that it indicates how far the city of Amsterdam
has gone away from the norms given by God. (7)
The love of God. As we start to
study the matter, it is good to begin from love because it is true that
everyone needs it -- homosexuals and heterosexuals -- and that cannot be
denied. Who would not like to be accepted and loved? This basic need is in
every man and it is good that the need is filled. It is good to experience it
from the womb. In the background of many homosexuals are often traumatic human
relations (men have usually had a bad relationship with their father, been
rejected by peers, or suffered sexual abuse by someone of the same
sex; women have usually had problems with their
relationship with their mother).
However, we are taught in the
entirety of the New Testament that we are loved unconditionally. Several verses
teach that when we are far away from God, when we are His enemies and sinners,
we are still loved by Him. His love covers homosexuals; it covers the greatest
and smallest sinners. Everybody receives the same love:
- (Rom 5:8) But God commends
his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- (Rom )
For if, when we were enemies, we
were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
- (John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
What is the truth? Even though every man – including homosexuals –
receives God’s love, it is still good to point out the truth and consider
whether or not our actions are significant. This is hardly ever mentioned in
the worldly mass media.
However, this question is
essential. If the message of the Bible, especially of the New Testament, is
true, it teaches us that fornicators, adulterers, murders, homosexuals – whose
way of life is often justified by love in our society – will not inherit the kingdom
of God. Thus, good questions to ask are how true the next verses are and how
many of us take them seriously. If we reject them even though they are true,
aren’t we then acting stupidly? In any case, our fault is that we think too
short-sightedly, only from the point of view of pleasure, and do not think
- (1 Cor 6:9,10) Know you not that
the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom
of God?Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom
What the previous passage then means in practice, so it is clear, is
that an unrepentant man cannot get the connection with God and to heaven. Jesus
and the apostles taught repentance and advised people to give up sins (Matt
From that time Jesus began to
preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.) It is important to
take these words seriously and not to revoke them. The problem had by many is
that they never think the whole matter through or admit that they have sinned.
They do not admit, for example, that the homosexual way of life, or relations
outside marriage, are sinful. That prevents them from being forgiven. Even
though Jesus is the Savour of sinners and grace comes through Him, His nature
does not in any way benefit people who claim to be sinless and do not admit
doing wrong. In the Lord’s Prayer, which is familiar to many, we pray for the
forgiveness of our sins but it benefits only us since we must first admit that
we have sinned. This is the starting point for real forgiveness:
- (Luke 11:4) And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to
us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
- (1 John 1:8-10) If we say that we
have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10If we say that we have not
sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Furthermore, the same love and
grace of God that appeared to us through Jesus Christ can change our whole life.
His love cleanses us of homosexuality and addictions and lusts;
it breaks the hold of alcohol, tobacco, bitterness, pornography. If people
claim that such healing is not possible then they also declare that the next
words of Jesus are not true. The practice at least indicates that many have
been freed from these illnesses. Are we ourselves then ready to change and to
join in this process?
- (John 8:36)
If the Son therefore
shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
6. Why is there damnation?
Damnation is an
issue over which many may stumble. It is difficult for people to comprehend the
existence of such a place and they cannot understand why God will send some
people there to suffer an eternal sentence.
We should think this through
and consider the following important points.
The goodness of God. Damnation is, perhaps, a difficult idea for many
people to accept. They may deem it unjust and wonder how it fits together with God's
goodness. They may struggle a lot with this issue.
Damnation can also be seen
differently: God would not be a good God were He to forgive unrepentant
evildoers. If evildoers, dictators, torturers, and tyrants who enjoy their
wickedness and do not want to change, were forgiven, would it not be the same
as accepting their wrong actions? Would not God then be giving his acceptance
to these evildoers who have deliberately done bad things to other people? How
could that God be good who accepts bad and lets bad gain victory over good?
This cannot be expected from a perfect and good God.
(The same issue also appears in
the Old Testament. When the Canaanites who burnt their children are mentioned
[Deut 12:31, 2 Chronicles 28:3], it is said that the judgment did not face this
nation by accident, but arose from the fact that the evil of these people had
achieved its peak and the debt of sin had become full [But in the fourth generation they shall come here
again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. – Gen 15:16].
Similarly, theIsraelites later
on angered God and had to suffer because of it.)
Just the fact that there will
be a day of reckoning and damnation to evildoers leads us to believe in the
victory of good and in the goodness of God. Because if there is no final day of
reckoning when the unjust will receive their judgment, when those who have
suffered unfairly get their compensation, God is not a good God – He accepts
evil and consents to it. That there will be a day of reckoning proves that
goodness will win and that evil will be conquered. This proves that God is good
and defeats the bad.
Nobody needs to be damned. It is good to understand that nobody needs to go to
hell, because God is love (1 John 4:8) and does not want anyone to go there.
Actually, the main lesson of the Gospel is that Jesus came into the world to
save sinners (Luke 19:10 For the Son of
man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.) and that all sins
were laid on him (Isa 53:6 …and the LORD has
laid on him the iniquity of us all.) Each of us can be saved from
damnation through the atonement work of Jesus if we turn to Him and repent our
sins. At the same time we get eternal life as a gift:
- (1 Tim 2:3,4) For this is good
and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
4 Who will have all men to
be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- (John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- (Luke 15:3-7) And he spoke this
parable to them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose
one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go
after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders,
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends
and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which
7 I say to you, that likewise joy
shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
- (Eze ,32)
Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked
should die? said the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and
32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, said the Lord GOD:
why turn yourselves, and live you.
The only reason
why many are not be saved is that they turn their back on God's grace and
ignore His call. Luke 14:15-18 indicates this:And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard
these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom
of God. Then said he to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade
many:And sent his servant at supper
time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.And they all with one consent began to
A very popular Finnish
preacher, Niilo Yli-Vainio, was used by God as an instrument for awakening. He wrote
about this topic. He described the nonchalant attitude taken towards God by
people, and tried to get people to understand the grave consequences from such
"Confusion gnaws me day
and night. There is enough of it.
But I am gnawed more by those people who are going to Hell. I see
a line of people, a crowd that only walks. Shout to them, explain to them,
teach them, try to gesticulate and to describe, that they are walking towards
devastation! So what happens then? They just go! They just walk! They
just slide! They laugh and walk toward the gates of hell!
You think about 'old Niilo' now, I can see by your face. You
think, So you spoke and preached, and what of that.
I am compassionate by nature. I have always been like that. I
would so love people to Heaven, if it helped. But when I was younger, I tried
to frighten people to faith.
My intentions were good.
People say that my preaching was hard and harsh, and indeed it
was. My intentions were good. I thought that if the frightfulness of the
Judgment and the heat of Hell are described to people in the correct way, they
will come to their senses.
Then, I still tried to prolong the moment of
resolution. I asked and asked, persuaded, and tried to win time in order to
give them a possibility until the very last moment. (…)
Yes, some were also saved by frightening. It worked on many. They
understood that I wasn't scaring them for the sake of money, but that I was
serious. Being hard, if you are blunt, has its bright sides. I was hard,
because I worried about them. I thought that it is now up to me whether these
people go to Heaven or to Hell.
It was honest work in the sense that people
were honestly told where they were going. Being honest was hard on me. It cost
me my strength and health already as a young man." (8)
Charles G. Finney wrote about the same topic in the 1800s. He proved in
a good way what sort of treatment God received from people, even though He had
sent His only Son and loved them. Many people have reacted in the same way as
these people in the example, in other words they have rejected time and time
again the love of God:
I had my pocket Bible in my hand and I read this text from it, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I don't remember much of what I said, but I
know that I couldn't stop thinking about the kind of treatment God receives
from people as gratitude for His love. This thought filled my heart with
pain; that's why I poured my whole heart onto them, with tears flowing out
of my eyes.
I saw several men there, from whom I had heard awful mockery on
the previous day. In the meeting I referred to them and told what they had said
and how they had shouted condemnation of God to each other. I poured my whole
heart onto them. I said that they "barked blasphemy along roads like dogs
of hell", and that I had come here as "to the edge of hell".
Everyone knew that my words were true, and it made them shiver. But they didn't
look like they were hurt, they only cried like me. There was hardly a dry eye
in the whole room.
The restaurant owner had refused to open the meeting room in the
morning. But after this first meeting, he rose and announced that he will open
it in the afternoon.
The people scattered all around the area and
spread the information everywhere, and in the evening the meeting room was
almost as full as a school in the morning. Everyone who could come was in the
meeting, and the Lord allowed me to attack them in quite a miraculous way. My
sermon seemed to be quite new to them. I also felt as if I had let hail and
love fall on them at the same time, hailstones accompanied with a great deal of
love. The mockery and profanation, which they heaped and heaped on the name of
God, seemed to expand my love toward Him to extreme pain. I rebuked and
disciplined them with all my heart, but in spite of it all I felt so much
sympathy for them, that they could not have mistaken it. I have never heard
them blame me for excessive severity, even though I have probably never before
in my life spoken so severely.
That day's work caused large amounts of people to be converted.
Since then, whenever I informed that I was having a meeting anywhere, at any
time, people came to hear me. The work started immediately and progressed with
great speed. Twice I preached in the village church, sometimes I held a prayer
meeting, and usually I preached in a school in the neighborhood at five o'clock
in the afternoon. (9)
Call to the new life
We have addressed the objections that people sometimes raise when
someone tries to teach them about the Gospel and eternal life. They are very
common objections and seem to be reasonable, and are often used to reject all
spiritual matters and the act of turning to God. They may be used by people to
thwart a good idea and the message of the Gospel that God wants to save us and
lead us to His eternal kingdom.
God makes everything ready.
We can receive eternal life as a gift. We can also reject His call and His love
by turning our back on His gift of eternal life:
- (Luke 14:15-18) And when one of
them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him,
Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom
16 Then said he to him, A certain man made a great
supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them
that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18And they all with one consent
began to make excuse...
- (Rev 21:6) And he said to me, It is
done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him
that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
- () And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears
say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him
take the water of life freely.
Next, we teach how you can be saved and answer
1. Turn to Jesus Christ and give your life to Him
Turn to Jesus Christ. Tell Him that you are a sinner who needs salvation
and that you want the plan of God to come true in your life. At first, there is
no need to try to become better. Just go to Him as you are with all of your
faults. According to the Bible, there is eternal life only in Jesus and
therefore we must turn to Him so that we can get it:
- (John 5:40) And you will not
come to me, that you might have life.
- (John 6:68,69) Then Simon Peter
answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal
69 And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ,
the Son of the living God.
- (John 10:9) I am the door: by
me if any man enter in, he shall be saved...
Receive. Eternal life is received as a gift through Jesus, the Son of God.
Receive Him into your life. You can simply say, "Lord Jesus, come into
my life.” According to the Bible, He already stands behind the door of our
heart and waits to step into our lives:
- () Behold, I stand at the door,
and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
If you ask Jesus to come into your heart then, according to Scriptures,
you are a child adopted by God and you receive eternal life. You have this
regardless of how you feel at this moment. Do not base your assurance of
salvation on your emotions. Feelings change. Anchor your knowledge of salvation
in the word of God and on Jesus Christ, just as a ship’s anchor is never thrown
inside the ship but always set outside.
- (John 1:12) But as
many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name
- (1 John 5:11-13) And this is the
record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his
12He that has the Son has life; and he
that has not the Son of God has not life.
13 These things have I written to you
that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have
eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.
THE PRAYER OF SALVATION: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I
confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your
will. However, I want to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my
heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement
and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation
that You have given me. Amen.
Aaltonen: Miksi en ole kristitty, p. 199, 200
2. Ken Ham: Valhe, evoluutio, The Lie: Evolution, p. 44
G. Finney: Ihmeellisiä herätyksiä, p. 245,246, 249
4. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd: Epäilijän kirjeet, (Letters from a
skeptic), p. 26,27
5. J. Edwin Orr: 100 kysymystä Jumalasta (100 Questions about
God), p. 59 - 60
6. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd: Epäilijän kirjeet, (Letters from a
skeptic), p. 169
7. Floyd Mcclung: Elämää helvetin esikartanoissa
(Living On The Devil’s Doorstep), p. 186,187
8. Mauno Saari: Saarnaaja, p. 268,269
9. Charles G. Finney: Ihmeellisiä herätyksiä, p.