Who created God?

We humans have the ability to observe, remember, and record phenomena over time, even over centuries or eons, and to use those observations to deduce cause and effect relationships.   What a blessing this is for us, having enabled all the understandings and products of science, industry, and technology which we enjoy today.   Our minds cannot comprehend eternity – something that had no beginning and that will never end.

Yet something can not arise from nothing; something can not disintegrate into nothing.  If there is existence at all, there must be some original ultimate existence.   We recognize that existence as God, the beginning and the end.   Not created by anything.  The creator of all other things except evil.                 TOP

Why does God allow suffering?

God has created us as His children.  As a wise and loving parent, He does not want us to remain babies forever, pampered and protected but completely incapable.   Rather, it is God’s plan what we grow up in His image to become agents for good in His creation.  As we grow, the skinned knees from falling off a bicycle seem major injures at the time, but enduring them and recovering strengthens us to face much greater pains and challenges.

God makes “…his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45)  If God is fair, how can any of us expect Him to grant our own wishes every time, if that means denying someone else’s wishes?   In a world that is finite, it is inevitable that each of us sometimes encounters disappointment, even pain.

To view these disappointments and pains from the point of a view of a passive victim, they cause suffering.   For those who see themselves to be in training as disciples of Christ,  God transforms their disappointment and pain to make them stronger, more wise, more capable, ready to join Him in victory over all the world’s troubles including death itself.                TOP

Why does God hate me?

When little children do not get their way with their parents, they sometimes scream, “I hate you!”  When these children grow up and become parents themselves, they realize that to love a child does not mean to indulge that child with whatever she wants.  Rather it means to protect that child from the harms which he is  too young to recognize or to avoid.   When a parent requires a child to clean up her room, it is out of love, knowing how much orderliness will contribute to future success.  When a parent takes the child to get his shots, it is out of love, knowing that the temporary pain is inconsequential compared to the potential ravages of the diseases themselves.  When a parent forbids the child to play with fire or to smoke, it is out of love, knowing how a moment of fun could lead to horrible death.   Loving parents want nothing more for their children than for them to grow up to be happy, successful, responsible citizens.  Sometimes that means having their children misunderstand such love as “hate.”

God is our parent in heaven.  He loves us more than any human parent could, and He has a place prepared there with Him for every one of us.  Who would not want to be  with Him in a place where there is no hate, no deceit, no greediness, no arrogance, no discrimination?   But it cannot be such a place unless everyone who comes there has left his or her own hate and deceit and greediness and arrogance and discrimination behind. God, in His parental love, requires some things of us, and forbids others, so that we will learn to live the life His son Jesus lived here on earth.   This is the only way that we can “grow up” in the Spirit and be ready to be welcomed as heaven’s citizens.                TOP

Why does God want us to worship Him?

God wants us to have the gift of eternal life.  We are unable to open ourselves to receive that gift if we are clutching tightly the temporal life of this world.

God does not gain anything if I worship Him.

When I acknowledge God as a wisdom and morality and power beyond anything I can conceive – the one by whose will the universe exists – I hold God in immeasurably reverent awe.  When I experience God, in all His hugeness, reaching out lovingly to me, the tiniest of specks in the universe, I feel immeasurable gratitude toward Him.  When Christ, the son of God, stirs within me, offering and accomplishing the birth of a new me, for whom the requital of all this divine love is its greatest pleasure, my heart is delivered from the power of temptation and forgiven for its past crimes.

When I do all these things, I am worshiping God.  In this worship I let go of the temporal life and open myself to the gift that God wants me to receive by worshiping Him.                TOP

Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?

The only answer to this question is faith.  God is our ideal parent.   His wisdom, His knowledge of eternity, His plan for our immortal souls is beyond human comprehension.   When a child asks for candy and his mother gives him raisins, she is not answering the letter of his request but surpasses it, giving the child something better.   Often the situation is similar with our prayers to God; what He has to offer in terms of ultimate eternal value is far greater than the temporal value of what we ask for.

         If I pray for God to do what I want, it usually seems that He does not answer.   When I pray that God will use me for His purpose, He always gives me what I have asked for, although I may not realize it at the time.                TOP

Why doesn’t God show Himself?

God does reveal Himself – to those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand.   God is spirit.  We do not see Him with our physical senses, but with our spiritual sense.  We see God in the majesty and intricacy of His creation.   We hear God’s still small voice in His whispers of guidance, encouragement, and correction.   We feel God’s love in our hearts.   God is truth, mercy, judgement, love, power, purity, holiness.   When we perceive these things, God is showing Himself.                TOP

Why did God make me ugly, or rich, or black, or musical, or gay, or challenged?

God made every person, male and female, in His image.   Since God is spirit, and invisible, and since no two human beings look exactly alike, being made in God’s image does not have anything to do with our physical appearance, our height or weight, or anything else material.   God did not make anyone “ugly” or “beautiful,” or “black” or” white” or “rich” or “poor” “gay” or “straight.”   God made us creative beings, as He is  We are able to perceive beauty, we have a moral sense, and we are capable of sacrificial love even for strangers and for those who hate and harm us. Our true value as persons is not what other people (subject to being selfish, proud, spiteful, etc.) think or say.  Each person, from the moment of conception, is of incalculable value to God.   He loves each one of us regardless of what we are or what we do in the material world, and He offers us the coaching, correction, direction and strength that we need to rise above the material world and its flaws, to join Him in the heavenly kingdom.  Mat 6:25-26 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  Mat 6:25-26                 TOP

Love thy neighbor.

Before Jesus told us to love or neighbors as ourselves, He reminded us that our first duty is to love the Lord thy God with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds, and with all our strength.  This love for God causes us to rejoice to live as He directs and to recoil from thought and acts which He forbids.   In the power of this love for God, we cannot love ourselves if we are disrespecting or disobeying Him.   It is from this point of love for God and for self that Jesus gave us the second commandment, to love our neighbors as ourselves.

The word translated in our Bibles as “love” is often used casually in modern English as a synonym for an number of positive feelings.   In His parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus made it clear that the love He intended was compassion – suffering with.  The Samaritan sacrificed his time, effort, money, and trust to care for the wounded man.   He did not necessarily have any pleasant, friendly feelings toward the victim. What is more, the victim was probably not someone who lived next door to the Samaritan.

With this parable, Christ shows us that we are to have compassion, to suffer with, other people who are suffering.   We are to do what we can to restore them to health and safety.   The outward wounds of poverty, hunger, disease are so numerous and visible, we are quickly focused on them.   Let us realize, though, that the inward wounds of sinfulness, self-criticism, and despair are those that cause the deepest suffering and which should receive our first attention.                TOP

Does God exist?

Look at a bird’s nest, or a gopher hole, or a brick wall.   Do you think that these things happened by accident?   Now look at yourself, how complex you are physically and how much more complex is your mind.  Did that all just happen?   Look up at the stars at night and acknowledge all the laws of physics that hold the universe together and make our own existence even possible.   If it has taken millennia and super computers for humans to begin to list all those laws and the mathematics through which they interact, do you think that those laws just randomly all appeared from nothing?

Some people will answer, “Yes,” to these questions, out of faith in those people who have told them it is so.   To us, seeing all the complexity and majesty of creation is obvious proof of a creator – God.  God is!    Without an external, eternal being to create and maintain order, no rules of gravity or quantum mechanics would apply.   There would be nothing.   The fact that there is a universe, and that we exist in it, proves the prior and continuing existence of God, the creator and the law giver.                TOP

Is our God a God of War?

In the Old Testament, God warred against the pagan gods, and those who worshiped them.   These were external, worldly wars against the Philistines, the Amalekites, and so on, who worshiped Dagon, Baal and other idols of their own creation.  Sometimes God warred against the Israelites themselves when they sank to worship of what their own fingers had made.   During this time, the worship which God prescribed for His followers was external and worldly, also – the sacrifice of lambs and steers and goats.  But driving our pagan people or subjecting Israel to captivity did not necessarily rid them of idol worship, and the outward, vicarious sacrifices did not purify the people.

Eventually, as Moses and the prophets has predicted for centuries, God send His son, the Messiah, the Word of God, to write His law in people’s hearts, to teach them to worship in spirit and in truth, and to eliminate once for all vicarious sacrifice.  By offering up His own life on the cross, Christ made the grace of God available to all who seek Him.  He established a new covenant, one that called people to be pure on the inside, in their thoughts and in their hearts.   He demonstrated by His example that the way, His way, to eternal life of the spirit in heaven was the offering up our own earthly life on our daily crosses – to crucify greed, hate, pride, impure sexual thoughts, and all other evil within ourselves so that generosity, love, humility, chastity, and all other fruits of the spirit might spring up and thrive within us.

So God under the new covenant, God is at war, but that war is spiritual.  It is against satan and the evil which he sneaks into our hearts and minds.  It is fought with the spiritual weapons of truth, righteousness, the preparation of the gospel of peace, faith, and Christ Himself who is the word of God.  This is the ultimate war of good against evil, a war.  We can offer up all that we have in this life to serve the cause of Christ, or we can cling to all that we have and be satan’s minions.   In the end, Christ will win and those who have sacrificed their earthly lives in the war will gain heavenly lives in eternity.  Those who have held onto their earthly lives will have them, and nothing more, and earthly lives always end.                TOP