|Volume 17 Number 2 February 2015||
An old story is told of three men who had met at the end of a dock on a Florida beach. One of the men was a homeless alcoholic; the second man was a family man with a promising future; and the third man was a well respected business owner and financial genius. While gazing into the ocean, the alcoholic ran and jumped into the water, landing five feet from the dock. The other two men, confused, yelled to the man now floating in the water, “What are you trying to do?” The man in the water yells back, “I am trying to jump across the Atlantic Ocean.” The second man, now intrigued by this seeming challenge, ran and also jumped into the Atlantic, landing about 10 feet from the dock’s edge. Feeling challenged, the third man ran and splashed into the water landing 15 feet from the dock, beating the distance of the other two men. The third man confidently yelled, “I won!” However, his “win” was crushed when an onlooker brought to the three men’s attention a sign that read, “no swimming, shark infested waters.” What seemed like a win was in reality a loss, because he found himself in the same situation as the other two men; all three were in serious trouble.
Often times in life, this illustration becomes reality when mankind feels as though he is better than another concerning spiritual things. Some people are heard to say, “I am a good person, and I know God will accept me into heaven.” This type of attitude is a “good, better, best” mentality, which does not exist in God’s eyes. Consider…
Firstly, consider the facts. Each and every person, on his or her own, is floating in “shark infested waters.” “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:9-10). Isaiah concluded the same truth when he affirmed that every person is “an unclean thing” (Isaiah 64:6). No matter how moral a person may be, outside of Christ, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23)!
Secondly, consider the formula. A “good” person must obey the same formula that a “really bad person” must obey! In our earlier illustration, all three men, in order to survive, had to leave the shark infested waters and get to safety. Money, education, position and background did not matter! The same is true spiritually speaking. A wealthy man must do the same as a homeless man if either are ever to be saved. Scripturally, every accountable soul must hear God’s Word (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (John 8:24), repent of past sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) and live faithfully until death (Revelation 2:10). There is simply no other formula for salvation!
Lastly, consider the fairness. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34)! Thus, God is 100% fair in His demands of His creation. How unfair it would be if God required some to follow the above formula and others to simply live anyway they desired, and yet, both groups would enjoy heaven. Would it be fair for God to grant Hitler the reward of heaven, just because he may have been better than Osama Bin Laden? God’s invitation (Matthew 11:28-30) is open for everyone from the Hitler’s of this world to the little old granny that sits and knits sweaters for the homeless. Each must come, each must obey, and each must live faithfully until death!
The alcoholic, the family man and the business owner were all in the same situation. Dear reader, spiritually speaking, outside of Christ, we each are in the same place as well. The only way anyone can stand in the presence of a righteous God is to be forgiven and declared righteous by Him (Philippians 3:9)!
Our God, He Is Alive!
Is God real? Is there any proof of His existence? These questions are increasingly met with skepticism. Over the past few decades, technological achievements have given some an overinflated view of man’s cleverness.
Consider the scene of a teenager who proudly looks down from his makeshift tree fort, constructed crudely from scrap 2x4s. On the ground below his little brother plays with his toys and admires his big brother’s creation. On this Saturday, his father, a construction worker, looks out the window observing his sons. In this allegory, the teenager represents some modern-day scientists. His tree house creation was impressive to his sibling, but would pale in comparison to the high-rise buildings his father erects. It’s a matter of perspective.
There is a scientific principle known as cause and effect. Simply stated, wherever there is an effect, there must be an adequate cause. If you go to your mailbox, which was empty yesterday, and there are letters inside, what can be deduced? Someone put them there. If a locomotive train is traveling fast on the tracks and hits a fly with its windshield, will the train be derailed? Obviously not. Hitting a fly would not be an adequate cause to explain derailment.
The universe contains a multitude of intertwined systems. How can the existence of the universe be explained? Three theoretical possibilities are: (1) It has always existed, (2) it created itself, and (3) it was created. Let’s eliminate one or more if we can.
Does evidence point to the universe being eternal? The Second Law of Thermodynamics in simplified terms says everything is running down. For example, our sun is burning up. Like sucking a lollipop, it keeps getting smaller. Such depletion makes it obvious that the candy cannot last indefinitely. The universe shows signs in keeping with this law, and therefore, it cannot be eternal.
Consider option number two; could the universe create itself? According to science (observation and experimentation), something cannot come from nothing. It is misleading to speak of the “big bang,” since the material for the bang is not properly addressed. To disguise the problem by speaking of “spontaneous generation” does not turn the theory into reality. The fancy phrase still is asking folks to believe in something coming from nothing. This option is neither logical nor scientific.
The universe was created. Genesis 1:1. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Read Romans 1:20.