Susan Beckett | Dwelling Place City Church
A man saw a small boy drawing a picture and asked him, “What are you drawing?” “A picture of God,” he replied. The man told the boy that no one knows what God looks like, to which the boy confidently responded, “They will when I get done!”
Funny stuff, but it’s in stark contrast with the direction we’re headed in today. On Easter weekend, the New York Times published an op-ed: “Let’s Get Rid of God,” whereby the author (Shalom Auslander) proposed eliminating belief in God. “Killing gods is an idea I can get behind,” he penned. The article claims that “God is responsible for war & violence’ and for ‘oppression & suffering’ and suggests that people stop teaching children about Him. Shalom needs the Lord.
But this is nothing new – in 1882 Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God. Following a psychotic breakdown in 1889 at the age of 44, he was admitted to a mental asylum with a diagnosis of cerebral syphilis, where he remained until his death in August of 1900. Nietzsche needed God in his brief life!
And on Good Friday of 1966, just over 55 years ago, Time Magazine published its famously controversial cover story, “Is God Dead?” With giant red letters against an all-black background, we were asked to contemplate the very existence of our Creator. Time Magazine people need God too!
There are those who actually believe that whatever happens results from God’s will. If that were true, then Shalom is right and God is fully responsible for some of the most vilest atrocities ever recorded in the history of mankind. But truth is, the Bible actually teaches that while God is indeed in charge, He’s not in control. He’s handed that over to mankind, as free-thinking agents of our own lives.
And when you really think about it, you can’t make the argument that God does not exist unless God does exist. It boggles your mind! Ecc 3 tells us that God has placed eternity in our hearts so we all have an ‘inner knowing’ of Him. That’s why Paul tells us in Romans that everyone is “without excuse” for rejecting the God they know in their heart exists.
A character in a Dostoevsky novel remarked that if there is no God then everything is lawful; all things are permissible. Think about it – without God; there is no such thing as truth; there are only opinions and preferences. All you have is truth based on what each person believes. We must have an absolute Law-Giver to make an absolute truth, yes – it’s wrong to murder!
The same holds true for morality. Without God, there can’t be an objective standard of morality. Saying rape is wrong – if God doesn’t exist – would be on par with saying I don’t like ice cream. Many have claimed that morality has evolved and that society can give us an objective basis for morality. Says who? Just check out America’s stunning moral decline.
And while we’re at it, all scientific experiments are based on the belief that the universe is logical and orderly and that it obeys mathematical laws which are consistent over time and space. We rightly assume these laws of science and math, etc., will continue to operate in the future as they have in the past. If God doesn’t exist, on what logical basis can we assume the future will be like the past?
The thing is, we are pretty much a “seeing is believing” society, but God is a spirit – and if we want to know Him, we have to experience Him in spirit and in truth. Psalm 14 declares, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” According to the Bible, belief in God is a matter of common sense. Why? Because of all the evidence that exists! Psalm 145:3 reveals: “God is great and worthy of the highest praise! For there is no end to the discovery of the greatness that surrounds Him.”
There’s an interesting story about Louis XIV of France who called himself, “The Great” – he died in 1715. His court was the most magnificent in all of Europe and his funeral was spectacular. His body lay in a golden coffin and to dramatize the king’s greatness; the cathedral was only dimly lighted, with one candle set above his coffin. Thousands waited in hushed silence as Bishop Massillon began to speak. Slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle, saying, “Only God is great!” Louis XIV also needed God. Point: some get it and some don’t – but either way, God is very much alive!
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor the Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you may contact them at DPCitychurch.org
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