Upholding the official beliefs and doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and spreading the three angels' message of Revelation 14:6-12
LESSON 3 - GOD'S FINGERPRINTS
In the pedestrian precinct of a city young people are standing next to a placard with the words, 'Can anyone prove there is no God?' Passers-by express themselves spontaneously, 'I'm not interested whether God exists. I want to live my life in my own way. 'I only believe what I see.' 'God only exists in the imagination. Scientifically He cannot be proved.' 'God is only for children and old people.' 'For me God has died. It happened when my husband and my two children were killed in a car accident.' 'Why does a God of love allow
so much misery and injustice?' 'Stop talking to me about God. He was only used as a pretext for holding down and exploiting people.'
Other passers-by do not agree with these negative views and arguments. They witness to the fact that God lives for them and has an influence on human beings.
Have my ideas about God been influenced by my environment, my friends, parents or teachers? Is the thought of being responsible to a higher Being even unpleasant?
Do I deny the existence of God because otherwise I feel hindered in my personal freedom?
Do I believe in God because I have got to know Him through the Bible and experienced Him in my life?
The question of God should not be approached without proper thought. It needs time, yet it is worth while.
God cannot be explained scientifically.
'The finite cannot understand the infinite. God would not be God, but rather an idol if He allowed Himself to be subject to our "proofs". The assertion that the existence of God can be proved is just as senseless as the assertion that the non-existence of God can be proved.
'The fact that God cannot be proved says absolutely nothing about His existence or nonexistence. Therefore the arbitrary statement that science has shown that God does not exist is nonsense. There are enough scientists who can exemplify the fact that knowledge does not have to exclude belief in the existence of God.' S. Dehmel.
IDEAS ABOUT GOD
Although we cannot prove God, many people have particular ideas about Him. In children's Bibles or in religious paintings God is often portrayed as an old man with a beard. The picture impresses itelf quickly and deeply upon us.
Apart from physical appearance we also have ideas about the attributes of God's character. In this we are not dependent upon mere speculation or our imagination. Thus the verdict of the philosopher Follback is not correct: 'Man created God in his own image.' Our ideas about God are based on what God says about Himself in the Bible.
GOD INTRODUCES HIMSELF
IN THE BIBLE
In it men wrote down what God inspired them to write concerning His character, His work and His plans.
'For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.'
2 Peter 1:21.
THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
Jesus revealed God to us in the clearest way. Not only did He speak about Him, but He showed us, through His life, what God is like. He said,
'"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."'
God is also to be seen in nature. We have interfered with nature and distorted it through our irresponsible treatment of it. Nevertheless, in its stunning beauty and unchanging regularity it points to its Creator. Men who turn their backs on God still come face to face with Him in natural phenomena.
'For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without any excuse.'
Every human being has a feeling for what is decent and moral, which can be manifested in a variety of ways. God gave us this conscience to give us direction for what we do in life.
'Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now
accusing, now even defending them.'
IN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
God is visible in our lives. Far-reaching or even seemingly insignificant experiences show us clearly that He exists.
'"God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being."'
GOD IS NOT TRIVIAL
GOD CARES FOR ALL PEOPLE
We are used to forming a conception of our fellow human beings, sizing them up and putting them away in particular 'boxes'. In this way we reach a selection of people who are happy to have something to do with God.
God on the other hand deals in this way:
'"He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."'
Because God is concerned about all people we are not involved in a 'blind date'.
It is God's desire that
'"Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."'John 3:16.
GOD IS OMNIPOTENT AND OMNISCIENT
For God nothing is impossible. His strength and power go far beyond what we can imagine. We get some small insight when we look at His creation.
The prophet Isaiah writes:
'For this is what the Lord says - he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it.' Isaiah 45:18.
In this context the texts in Psalm 139:1-3 and Luke 1:37 are also very informative.
GOD IS OUR FATHER
God made us. He is our Creator. By Jesus Christ becoming man, and therefore our brother, He brought God so close to us that we can pray,
'"'Our Father in heaven.'"'
GOD IS LOVE
God does not love specially-selected favourites, but every single human being. He loves those who we gave up on long ago. All love which we receive or give has it origin in God.
'God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.' I John 4:16.
GOD DAY BY DAY
We hear it nearly everywhere. Deadlines threaten, people feel stressed, not able to cope with the pressures, completely overworked. In the morning they wake up with the feeling that they are unable to cope with the demands of the day no matter what they do. Hectic activity goes hand in hand with depression and loneliness. Some situations would be impossible without God's invitation to off-load all our problems on Him.
God is with me. He wants to help me to overcome my everyday problems. God is not a trivial God, and yet He reveals Himself in everyday matters. I can depend on Him utterly and completely.
David portrays it in this way:
'My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out
your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.'
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