Sunday, 24 February 2019
Understanding God with human logic
Let us consider logically how man came to believe in God.
From the earliest of times, it seems, when man first started to think about life and the world around him, he has found a need to look up to something, (or Someone), more powerful than himself. A supreme almighty power that he could turn to at times of need and to worship. It is as if there's an inherent need in mankind to submit oneself, or one's destiny, to someone else far superior.
Early man worshipped fire. Some worshipped the sun, or the moon, or volcanoes or whatever else was seen as superior and more powerful than them. Something they believed controlled their destiny. Offerings were made to such gods to appease their anger or in return for favours sought.
Many ancient civilisations worshipped statues which they had made for themselves from valuable metals and jewels. The ancient Romans, the Greeks and the Egyptians had many gods which they believed provided for them and protected them throughout life and beyond.
So it is logical to assume that humanity has always searched for a superior power to believe in and to worship as being in control of their lives and their eventual future.
In the Old Testament we read that there was a departure from worshipping idols or similar gods. Some writers of the time wrote about a different God to believe in and to worship. They wrote about a living God. An all powerful and almighty Being who created us all, and created the whole universe and what is in it .
It is logical to ask what inspired such beliefs and writings? Was this living God the product of fertile imaginations, (for more than one writer wrote such things), or was it inspired perhaps by this living God they believed in?
As the early Old Testament writers wrote about this true living almighty all powerful God; this belief grew amongst the Jews who mostly accepted it as part of their religion. This living God became known as the God of Abraham, the God of Moses, the God of their Kings. He was the God who spoke to the prophets, the God who guided their nation throughout its long history. The God who got them out of Egypt and who gave them the law on how they should live and conduct themselves; the laws that became known as the Commandments of God.
This belief in one living God gained credence amongst the Jewish people for generations, and existed, side-by-side, with other beliefs such as those of the Romans, Greeks and the Egyptians. This was the norm for a long time.
Years later, a young baby appeared on the scene. He was no ordinary baby. Many stories about His birth and His very existence had been written about all those years ago by those prophets and writers of the Old Testament as we know it.
Gradually, people began to notice striking similarities between what had been predicted about this child and what was actually happening in His life. Things that He had no personal control over. Like His birth of a virgin, the place of His birth, the fact that a star would appear in the sky at the time of His birth, His lineage, the fact that He would flee to Egypt and so on.
There are in fact more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament specific enough that the mathematical probability of Jesus fulfilling even a handful of them, let alone all of them, is staggeringly improbable—if not impossible.
How did the many writers of these prophesies know what to write and what to predict so accurately? Was it just circumstantial guess-work or was it Divinely inspired? I leave the answer to your logical thinking.
As this baby grew up, it became apparent that He was no ordinary person like the rest of society. Somehow, He seemed more learned, although there is no evidence that He was a great scholar or attended places of learning and education. He spoke and taught with authority. Even at the age of twelve he discussed with confidence with religious elders with a degree of intelligence far superior than His age would suggest.
As He grew up He spoke with conviction. He lived a life different from that of others, on a higher moral level than the rest of society. He preached about universal love and forgiveness - concepts that were most probably alien to such people living under a foreign power occupying their land.
He performed miracles that astounded all those who witnessed them. He had supernatural powers of healing; even raising people from the dead.
He taught about a living almighty Creator God in Heaven. He even claimed often to be His Son.
This not only confused His listeners but antagonised and angered the established religion of the land who saw Him as a threat to their authority and power.
It is logical, therefore, that He was on a collision course with the established Jewish religion and He made enemies of its leaders wherever He went and by whatever He said and taught. Specifically, by His persistent claim that He was in fact the Son of this living God He speaks of.
No doubt, many of His listeners were confused by what this man, known as Jesus, said and did. As happens in such situations they took sides. Some felt comfortable following their established Jewish beliefs and be led by their elders; whilst others ventured, in blind faith perhaps, to follow this Man who claimed He was the Son of God.
As time went by, this small band of people got to associate this Jesus as being the Son of God. They had seen His many works and listen to His teachings and came to accept that He was Whom He said He was. In their minds, it was logical that the one living God had a Son and this Man was Him. To them, they could not think of God and not think of His Son Jesus, whom they had met and lived with for a number of years.
Eventually, the enmity against Jesus came to fruition and He was cruelly put to death. An act seen and witnessed by many.
Throughout His trial and cruel Crucifixion He maintained that He was the Son of God.
It is logical to assume therefore that He was either mad, insane; or that He was a liar, or that He was actually Who He said He was.
There is no evidence from His life and His behaviour throughout that He was not of right mind. In fact the opposite is true as witnessed by His teachings and His many miracles.
To say He was a liar is also a difficult proposition to consider. Would a liar submit to the torture He endured, and His cruel death, knowing full well it is not true? Would you?
This leaves the logical conclusion that He was Whom He claimed to be - the Son of God.
However, this was not the end of it. Three days after His death this same Jesus was seen alive again. There had been no doubt as to His death; and now, yet again, there is no doubt whatsoever about His coming back to life again. He was seen and spoken to by many people over a period of time.
Furthermore, His followers even witnessed Him being lifted up into Heaven and away from their eyes.
Unsurprisingly, and as expected, they were confused, worried, frightened even at what they had witnessed. This Jesus whom they had known and saw risen from the dead had now been taken away from them. Raised to Heaven.
As His followers hid in houses for their safety, suddenly, one day they were visited by a powerful unexplained supernatural force Whom they recognised as the Holy Spirit. The very Holy Spirit of the living God, had descended on them, as promised by Jesus.
They experienced this event in all its reality. It was not something they had read about in a scroll, or something prophesied by their elders. This to them was for real. It actually happened. And the result of this event was all too apparent. It gave them the courage, confidence and power to go out and tell everyone what had just happened. To tell it in every language possible even though they could not speak those languages previously.
And they went on telling their truth, their actual experience to everyone in many lands. It was the logical thing to do. Just as it would be logical for any of us to go out and tell everyone if something so great, so awesome, and so on the face of it unbelievable, had happened to us.
They went out and told the world. Even risking their very safety and their lives. Many died for that belief; and yet they held on to it to the last proving its truthfulness.
Again, the logical thing to do. Would you be willing to suffer persecution and death for something you knew was a lie?
And that is how the original belief in a living God, the belief in His Son Jesus Who was seen here on earth, and the belief in the Holy Spirit of God Who descended on His followers flourished over the years under the watchful protection of this living Deity.
It is logical, therefore, that each one of us, individually, have to make a choice.
To believe ... or not.