God Lets Us Choose Him

If we encountered God “face to face” in our daily lives and if God was so evident in creation that we could not deny him, we would not have free will.

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In back-to-back chapters in the Gospel of John (8, 9 and 10), Jesus has conversations with Jewish crowds who question who he is. Jesus never tells them in direct words, “I am God,” but the crowd clearly knows what he is talking about. This is similar to what we experience in life.

The world is made in such a way that it is governed by natural laws that have existed since the beginning of time. The cosmological constants were set from the beginning and are so finely tuned that they could not be changed this way or that way, even the slightest bit, without negating the possibility of life on Earth. Many scientists look at these laws and draw the conclusion that either they have always existed or they are simply all there is.

But where did the laws come from? Where did the universe come from? There is plenty of other evidence that God, the Creator, exists. The cosmological constants do not eliminate the possibility of a God. In fact, if those constants had a beginning, they must have had a beginner. But, there is room to question and to dismiss the idea.

Many of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus, especially the influential leaders, questioned who Jesus claimed to be.  Jesus did not get in their face about it. Just like God does not reveal himself in the created Universe in a way that we could not ignore him, Jesus was subtle, but clear.

I find this to be fascinating. It reveals a deep thread that has been coming into focus for me going way back in time.

God created us with free will. If he was in our face, we would have no free will. He would overwhelm and overcome us if we could not ignore Him.

Continue reading “God Lets Us Choose Him”

Warming up to the Wrath of God

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Putting the Wrath of God in Perspective Part 1

The wrath of God has long been a source of discomfort for believers and a stumbling block for unbelievers. The subject is one step away from the question, “How can a loving God allow evil to exist in the world?” The counter punch is, “I cannot believe in a God who kills people, who wipes out innocent men, women and children.”

I am going to tackle this prickly subject in a series of writings. I have already written on the subject a number of times because it is a perplexing one.

It seems clear to me that the “answers” one finds are largely determined by orientation. A person who wants to understand will seek resolution and understanding; a person who is not interested in resolution or understanding will camp on the questions and make them rhetorical. I am writing for the person who is seeking to understand.

Continue reading “Warming up to the Wrath of God”

Jesus Is

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I have heard it said that Jesus never actually called Himself God. Even if the Gospels recorded those exact words in Jesus’s mouth, I believe many would find ways of discounting what He said. It was no different in Jesus’s day.

Jesus did not say, “I am God” in those exact words, but what he did say could not have been misunderstood by his audience. Jesus made many statements, but one in particular strikes me as the most significant. Before I get to that one statement, a little background is helpful. Continue reading “Jesus Is”

God Simply Is

We are here today and gone tomorrow. God simply is. God always is. God defines the rules.

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19)

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Did you ever stop and think, “If God is God, He can whatever He wants”? Somehow it seems politically incorrect to think like that. Should we not love all people? Should we not wish everyone well? Should we not be judgmental? Should not God be like that?

If you think about it without preconceived notions and with a little rational thought, is not God the one who decides those things? I can see why people would want to believe there is no God. “He is not a tame lion” as my favorite author has said. If God is God, we do not control Him. We have no say in the order of the universe or the laws that He put in place. There is no question of right or wrong when it comes to God; God simply IS!

As God instructed Moses when he sent Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, tell them, “”I am who I  am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ”I am has sent me to you.”” (Exodus 3:14) God simply is.

We did not make God. He made us. We did not create the rules for the operation of the universe. God made those rules. We do not define how God must relate to us. God defines how we relate to Him.

God made us like Him. “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) I suppose there should be no wonder that we would be like Him in wanting to control the universe and define it. The thing is, though, it is not our province to establish the rules or define how they work. We may want to control things, but we do not control them.

We are here today and gone tomorrow. God simply is. God always is. God defines the rules. God has mercy and compassion on whom He will.

I consider from time to time the possibility that things might be different. God might be a tyrant. God might be cruel and unmerciful. Some even think He is that way. If it were true, God would not be wrong. God is.

I am thankful God is not that way. God assures us that we will find Him if we seek Him with all of our hearts and souls. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

In the context of God is, however, we do evil when our hearts are not set on seeking God. (2 Chronicles 12:14) Still, even if we have followed after false gods, have worshiped idols and have sinned in the sight of God, if we humble ourselves, pray and seek God, He will hear; He will forgive the sin; He will heal. (2 Chronicles 7:14) I, for one, am very thankful that God is that way … because He does not need to be that way. God is, and He defines the way it is.

The ultimate evil is in not seeking God. We do not think of evil in that way, but it is not for us to define evil. In the context of God is, evil is not acknowledging Him, not recognizing Him for who He is, not seeking Him. Evil is ultimately being separated from the God who made us.