IS THE CHRISTIAN FAITH REASONABLE?

REFLECTIONS BASED ON EVERYDAY OBSERVATIONS AND EXPERIENCES

J. LINDELL

Many people, even religious ones, think that many biblical truths are absurd or at least difficult to explain. Pontius Pilate´s question : "What is truth?" is even today an actual question. Many reject Christian belief only because they don't understand everything - but simultaneously they approve the newest accomplishments of technology, although they don't know at all how do they operate. The thing that matters is only, that technology works.

The gospel works still today, too. Thousands of people even in our country as well as millions in the world can prove that. Some people might have been disappointed, as Christian message has not indicated its power. But that is perhaps just because they haven't wanted to accept it. Christianity is to many people only a pleasant doctrine or respected habit, which has no practical meaning - and they lose a lot.

Although we are not able to comprehend God's acts with our brain, it does not mean that Christian belief has to be absurd. On the contrary it can be more absurd not to believe in God. Unfortunately there are many authorities nowadays trying to annul spiritual issues. Evolution-doctrine tries to verify that no Creator is needed any more. Liberal theology tries to abrogate the Divine inspiration from the Bible claiming that it is just written by men and its contents are very contradictory. In addition there are many non-biblical religious sects and trends today about which people are very confused. It seems very difficult, almost impossible to find out the truth. Does the truth exist at all?

I will not deal with these questions scientifically or theologically. My intention is just to try with the help of common sense indicate some facts, which came to my mind at that time I struggled with these problem's myself. Before one can get to any solution it is important to examine different alternatives versatilely and without prejudices, honestly selecting the most reasonable solution among various possibilities, or the least absurd, if not all can be explained. Often in our disbelief we can remain staring at some small details, according which we make up our mind, without realizing, that the entity is pointing out to quite another kind of direction.

IS THERE GOD?

To many people this is completely needless question, while other people enormously struggle in their minds with this question without reaching any clarity. Evolutionists try to explain, how everything developed phase by phase from nothingness. First there was an enormous explosion. After that life was born by itself. An enormous evolution chain got it start leading in time being to the appearance of a mankind. Because all this can be explained "completely naturally", there is no need for Creator nor God. All this is scientist's theory, in which we laymen are unable to interfere. But - how does a healthy common sense react to this issue?

Let us compare a small detail in the majestic macrocosm - a person – with a process of modern chemical industry. All we know, who is a person, man or woman. Many have some kind of picture of industry as well. Between these pictures there are many kinds of similarities. A person is a really well developed "process industry". Our body produces large amount's of chemical compounds in order to be able to operate. The amounts of these compounds may not be large but in the diversity and complexity they exceed those achievements of a large chemical industrial plant. And these human "industrial plants" are already over 5 billions in this world.

Our body is equiped with its own power plant, which produces power and heat to us. We use as fuel many kinds of food material. There is a large pipe network, which reaches every place in our body. Blood circulation system takes care of both food and waste product transport. This transport is kept running by a pump, which continuously without intervals works even 70 - 90 years (our industry would take gladly so longlasting devices into use).

Our small process industry is also equiped with extremely high level instrumentations. Sight of eyes, hearing ability of ears, taste, smell, and tactile senses are even today nearly undefeatable dispite the enormous technical development. Do we still have an addition sixth sense?

In addition to this we have also a very developed computer, which registers enormous amount of impressions and controls that quite complicated automatism, which allows us to remain alive and do our daily jobs. We are so accustomed to all this, that mostly we do not react until some part fails. In other words we live and do our work normally without thinking how all is possible. If our understanding would be prerequisite to our living functions, we would have to admit, that our live were completely absurd, which we under no circumstances can believe in. But there are also many kinds of differences, such as person's instinct or person's capacity for reproduction, which are only a distant dream as far as today's industry is concerned.

The result from this comparison is, that a normal person is much more complicated and further developed being than any of the most developed industry to which an enormous developmental resources are invested. If now, from the evolutionists point of view, the mankind is developed from nothing quite accidentally without Creator, so it should be much more simple and more logic to think that some industrial plants have developed from nothing without assistance of researchers, designers, device manufacturers and builders.

All we know, how enormously all kinds of resources have been needed - and still are - to technological development. Each article in our shops has required a huge amount of development and manufacturing work. It seems to me, that only evolutionists dare to insist to theories, which are against this normal, everyday common sense. "Everything has developed and happened slowly during millions of years!" But all we know also what sort of "development" happens already in few years in an industrial building, which nobody takes care of. After thousands of years there is no sign left anu longer.

When we speak about randomly developed evolution, we deal with such kinds of probabilities, that nobody hardly understand what it is about. For example our body's genes include such an amount of information that is equivalent to thousands of pages of normal text in a book. How have "letters" in this gene information been able to arrange themselves into a functional and reasonable order? On the other hand there is a big probability of the "letters" in some situation to form a command, which destroys all previous development. How are the "building stones" of this gene information, aminoacids, been formed? They are formed of the initial material only in very limited conditions and in reducing environment. In other words: oxygen may not have been present. But we know, that life needs oxygen. So, how is it possible, that life has developed in conditions in which it can not function?.

Randomly developing evolution occurs against the second wellknown law of thermodynamics. According to the law of entropy the disorder of a system will steadily increase without external supply of energy. The very good order of this creation does not thermodynamically fit with the random evolution.

These were only some very simple statements indicating that the evolution theories have not been proved enough. When we look at that enormous harmony, which predominates in the world, if the mankind do not disturb it, we must humbly and in deep respect honour Creator, who has planned and made all this.

WHY IS EVERYTHING EXISTING?

Previously I tried to indicate simply, without complicated scientific or theological theories, that it is much more simple to believe that God is the Creator of this universe than to believe that it has developed by itself from nothing.

If God has created all this, many kinds of questions raise up to mind. Why did He creat the world? What is his intentions? Who is God? What is the purpose and the tasks of the mankind? Questions like this have been asked innumerably.

But let us return to our process industry. Behind each modern industrial plant there are people, which either as private persons or representants for some company, foundation, or the state's agents have made the decision to build up the manufactory concerned. There have always been clear motives and intentions for the decision. In addition there have been plans for financing and other resources. (It is another question if these plans have always been realistic.)

No reasonable person will build a complicated manufactory just for fun. In the same way we can assume, that God has had a clear intention and accurate detailed plans, when he created the world and the mankind. Like the staff of a manufactory, the mankind neither have always the accurate information about all things, and often we can wonder, why everything is and happens in a particular way.

A newly built industrial plant is not left empty. The managers employ workers, they give them working rules and training. There are very accurate instructions, mostly in written form, how to operate in various situations. It is a serious crime against the employment conditions to neglect these instructions. For example neglecting security instructions can cause both for oneself and other workers serious damage, and punishments could be considerable.

If God has created the mankind to this world, has he also given us some instructions? Yes, He has done it.

Earlier He often spoke directly to His people,or through the prophets. Nowadays we have the Bible from where we can learn His will and instruction for the mankind.

IS THE BIBLE RELIABLE?

Is the Bible then really reliable? What is the difference between the Bible and other books? Liberal theologians insist, that the Bible is just written by men, and it is equivalent with other books. That is why it can be examined with the same methods as other books. Many things in the Bible are difficult to understand with human sense. What is the testimony of the Bible itself?

The Bible is really written by men but these have been inspired by The Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:10-11 etc.), and they have been able to bring messages directly from God. Even if their own human nature can be seen in the writings, these are still reliable.

Translation difficulties can cause problems to understand, as also our lack of knowledge about the people and their customs at that time. The Bible tells us about things from many points of view. If we ask four persons who look at the same building from different directions to describe what they see, we would get four different descriptions. Many details may seem to be in conflict with each other, but they are however real. Perhaps most of so called "faults" in the Bible arise from translation inaccuracies and from our inability to see the multitude of aspects in God's creation. Even as believers we are often blind in this sense, which has often scattered the Christians into smaller separate groups. We can't take some single verses from the Bible to support our own opinion if the Bible as a whole does not support them. We should try to seek and find the true message of the Bible and form our opinion according to that.

Who is the person, who dares to set himself above God and decide in which Bible verses we can trust - and which not? Because the Bible is given to us for teaching and guidance, I believe, that God has supervised His Word so that it is to us sufficiently reliable, if we really want to obey it.

When we people try to examine various things, we need suitable gauges and methods. Nobody would even try to measure electrical flow in a cable with a kitchen scale or a liquid capacity with a measure of length. Somebody think, that they can examine the nature of God and His Word with same methods they use to examine people and their writings. They don't realize, that "The Allmighty God"-concept requires new dimensions, for which new "measure methods" are needed. The Bible tells us, that only through the Holy Spirit we can examine God's depths. Otherwise we make serious mistakes. This demands great humility because nobody can "command" God's Holy Spirit. Paul deals with these questions in 1st letter to Corinthians chapter 1-2.

But how react to the miracles and other points in the Bible, which are difficult for us to understand?

Firstly we must understand, that God, who has planned and created all, has also possibilities to act in various situation in a manner we do not comprehend. Many people have clear experience of this, when they humbly trust in God's assistance. For example there are no difficulties for some device manufacturers to modify the working manner of some device. Or think about a computer program, which under certain circumstances acts in a quite unusual way.

Unless we believe in the Bible as God's Word, how can we then for example explain those prophecies, which after thousands of years have been fulfilled very literally with small details. Professor Kaitera has mathematically counted the probabilities for this kind of fulfillments of some prophecies and has found out the probability non-existent, if they were just human attempts.

And how can we neglect the experiences of those thousands, even millions of people, who have found, that Bible's Word has been reliable, when they have trusted in it. These pieces of evidence can not be annulled even by liberal theologians.

When I weigh all these alternatives for and against Gods Word, I become convinced that it is much more reasonable to trust the Bible as the Word of God, although I do not understand everything, than to refuse it and reduce it to some sort of "mytology".

The biggest and most important question is: do we obey the instructions given by God or do we leave them carelessly aside? "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." This truth from the Bible can never be annulled by a man.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE?

Earlier I briefly argued, that the belief in God as Creator and in the reliability of the Bible can be much more reasonable alternative as denial of those things. I want to continue by telling about some every day phenomena.

When I personally began to deal with these problems, God himself spoke to me through the process plant, where I was working. I found how difficult it is to accept spiritual truths, while on the other hand we very easily accept similar things on the technical side.

One of today’s very serious delusions is to believe, that we do not need spiritual things as long as all goes well and we have a feeling that we can easily manage our lives on our own. In an industrial production chain even small deviations in the initial stage of the production line may cause serious faults to the quality of products seen not until in the final stage of the process or not until in the customer’s use. Otherwise process goes on well and anything suspicious can not be found in the tests during the manufacturing stages. But the small unclean infiltrations at the initial stages will be revealed during the special tests for the end product. But then it is too late to repair the faults. In the same way can our selfmade "small" (?) deviations from Gods "instructions" be exposed on the judgement day, although otherwise we have lived an exemplary life. Everyone needs to be made righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. (One of Luther's main principles.)

What is justification and salvation from sin? The Bible says: "Thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Can it really be so simple to get saved? Do we not need almost superhuman efforts to repair the broken contact with God?

My thoughts turned to electric lighting. It is twilight outside and darkness comes also into the rooms. We switch on the current and - immediately there comes light. What would one of our ancestors think if visited us now? In stead of touching the switch he would have started to examine the system with great wisdom. After having found only metal wires, no chips, no oil, the conclusion might have been: It is impossible to get light! But however it will work - on condition that the system is connected to the power source. Otherwise it don't work. Also spiritual salvation works only, if we accept the redemption prepared and offered to us by God in Jesus Christ. Any home made faith, no matter how fine and intelligent, cannot save us.

What about relationship with God, who seems to be so far from us? (Although He is everywhere.) Can God hear our prayers? We know, that with today’s technology distances do not hinder us to get connected. From our living room we can talk to people on the other side of the world. Through television we can see what happens simultaneously on a distance of thousands of kilometers. Few of us understand, how all this is possible, but all we can benefit this technology by using our devices according to given instructions. But "with own connections" we do not achieve anything. To our "wise ancestor" stories about these accomplishments of modern technology had been mere insanity, fairy tale or just a nice daydream.

Is God aware of everything we do? When I think about the today’s developed measurement and information technology, there is no difficulty to assume, that it does not cause any difficulties to Him, who has planned and created everything in details. We must also recall, that God is not material, but He has much wider dimensions and possibilities in use than we can image.

A journalist mentioned recently, that he could not understand resurrection, about which the Bible speaks. Ironically speaking we could say, that it is good that this journalist did not become a farmer. Farmer needs a strong believe in "resurrection"! What an insanity it is in spring time to throw away and "bury" it in the soil valuable grain of which could be prepared food to many people. But the farmer knows, that although he does not get his seed back, soon will come the "resurrection" day in the autumn when he can harvest the crop in manyfold. Paul deals with this subject in the first letter to Corinthians chapter 15.

What it means to be born again what Jesus emphasized so many times (John chapter 3)? It is life in connection with the living God. Dead materia can not produce life. Nor can spiritually dead person, because of sin, by himself create this connection to God. Only through Jesus we can get this connection. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." What is this connection and spiritual life about? Obviously nobody can satisfactorily explain that.

But who can explain, what as a matter of fact our physical life is all about? Nobody can define that either, although we know much about how it works. But to most of us it is enough that the life works in practice. One just lives without knowing, what the life itself is. It is the same with spiritual life, too. We cannot create life on our own.

In order to live we must eat and breathe. In our spiritual life we must also get nourishment from God's Word and prayer.

It is often said: "Faith is my private issue and nobody else needs to know about it". Is it so? In principle perhaps it could succeed that way, but we have to admit that it is very odd and exceptional, if someone lives so isolated and apart from other people, that nobody knows about him. According to the Bible we should spiritually be light and salt in our environment.

In all education and research this paradox is valid: "The more we know, the less we know". When a person penetrates into a new subject area, he will find, that all the time new views open up before him and new questions arise. This is how it is regarding reading the Bible, if we approach the text with open and humble mind. "Omniscient" and critical attitude can however hinder us from finding answers to the real life questions.

Almost all of us have sometimes been driving car with help of a map. In that kind of situation three questions are quite important: Where am I coming from? Where am I travelling to? Where am I right now? These three questions are also important, when we seek the right direction in our lives with help of the map given by God, the Bible.

I hope, that these scattered thoughts could stimulate those who honestly seek answers to their life questions. However we must remember, that real Christian faith is not a belief of our brain, but a belief coming from our hearts. You cannot create faith no matter how much you struggle. The true faith created by Jesus Christ gets birth in our hearts, when we realize that before God we are sinners who need to confess our sins and repent, and receive in our hearts the gift of reconciliation that Jesus brought us through his death and his resurrection.


Israel and the prophecies in the Bible   |   How can you find relationship with God   |  

    after 17.6.2006.

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