In the beginning God created the heavens and earth and all was very good (Genesis 1:1, 31). There is an inherent goodness about all things God makes. A beautiful scenic overlook, the graceful flight of a bald eagle, the wonders of the human brain, a charitable act, these are all glimpses of the goodness of God’s creation.
Yet, despite these glimpses of the goodness of God’s creation, it appears that what was made good has been marred. Continue reading
Ancient stone towers litter an ancient village located at the southernmost tip of Greece. The stone towers served as family homes, at a time when the village was self-governed. The towers not only protected the village from outside invaders, but protected the villagers from each other. The families of that village had turned family feuds into a blood sport. When one family offended another, they would hurl rocks and boiling oil from the height their tower on to the other family. The families built higher and higher towers to gain the advantage; the cycle went on until the village nearly destroyed itself. Continue reading
Are human beings generally good or generally evil? How we answer that question affects how we view ourselves, view others, rear our children, and even how governments are formed? Continue reading
The Bible begins with the affirmation that both creation and humanity were created “very good” (Genesis 1:31). In last week’s article we discussed what it meant for humanity to be created good in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27).
If God created humanity and creation good, what happened? Why all this strife, conflict, division, and suffering? Continue reading
2 Timothy 3:14-17
How can we say anything meaningful about God? If God is transcendent, defying our cognitive abilities to fully comprehend him, how can we say anything of certainty about God? Continue reading
The rock star Bono once said, “The Scriptures remain a plumb line to gauge how crooked the wall of my ego has become.” Many Christians who read the Bible regularly find this function of the Scriptures helpful, even therapeutic.
Something happens in our lives when we receive the grace of God given to us in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. We used to be under a slave master who seemed quite charming but turned out to be very cruel. The Apostle Paul says, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness” (Romans 6:20) In other words, you really did not care about what God desired for your life. That seemed like a pretty good deal, but you were under a spell. In the end, what did that master give you? Death. Death in the fullest scope of the word with its attendant misery, sadness, and frustrations. He tricked you into thinking that freeing yourself from what God commands would make you happy, but it did not.
Do you know the everlasting, always flowing love of the Father? Before we knew the love of the Father in and through the Son, our thoughts of God may have been filled with fear, uncertainty, and disquiet. Now seeing the Father’s love in the Son, we know the heart of the Father, the endless beating of his heart for the sinner.
The ever-flowing love of the Father, like a river, flows to the lowest point. It gives us life. Like the heart supplies blood to every part of the body, God’s love gives life to our otherwise self-loathing, despairing, prideful or egotistic self, our living but not really living self. Like a river it flows down to the lowest point, because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The Bible, spoken out by God himself through the pens of his servants, assures us of this rock-solid proclamation of truth. The Apostle Paul, for instance, wrote down for us and human perpetuity, “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ESV) You can take those words to the grave with you, because, though flowers may fade, God’s Word endures forever (Isaiah 40:8).
No one, in their right mind, wants to suffer. Yet, all people experience suffering in their lives at some point. If you have not yet experienced suffering, just give yourself time. In a fallen world, suffering is inevitable.
The Bible says something very counterintuitive about suffering. It says the Christian can rejoice in suffering. “Through [Christ] we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:2–5 ESV)
The journey was long, arduous, around many bends, through streams, and up many mountains. Yet, their spirits remained high. A benefactor ensured they had all they needed to complete the journey, and his promise that they would make it too their long awaited and most desired destination was surer than money in the bank.
The Christian can use the word “hope” in a special way. Christians do not hope as the rest of the world hopes. The world often uses the word “hope” for something one would like to see happen but can never be sure it will. The Christian hope is different. It is a sure, certain, unalterable, and everlasting hope. The Bible tells the Christian in Romans 5:2, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”