“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) From Creation to the Creator — and Following Through (Tom Edwards)
2) Led By Whom (Boyd Sellers)
3) News & Notes
From Creation to the Creator — and Following Through
Though we differ in some religious views, yet I found the following comments of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who lived from 1712 to 1778, interesting reasons for his belief in the Creator — and perhaps you will, too. So I included some of them for you.
In the creation, Rousseau sees the “mutual concurrence,” the “reciprocal relations,” their “intimate connection” and their “mutual assistance” as an indication of the reality of God and in which led Rousseau into likening himself to “a man who sees the inside of a watch for the first time, and is captivated with the beauty of the work, although ignorant of its use. I know not, he may say, what this machine is good for, but I perceive that each part is made to fit some other. I admire the artist for every part of his performance, and am certain that all these wheels act thus in concert to some common end, which as yet I fail to comprehend” (Harvard Classics, Volume 34, pp. 258, 259).
That can be quite a site to behold, especially when never having seen it before. Early in my youth, after taking off the back of an analog watch, I had been thoroughly impressed with all the various intricate parts that made it up, and with each component being meticulously placed in its necessary and exact position. What a fine and delicate work it was!
But even more complex than that watch is our own anatomy with its numerous and differing constituent parts that all work together to form one body. But how did they come to be that way? As Rousseau writes, “If organized bodies are fortuitously combined in a thousand ways before they assume settled and constant forms; if at first they are formed stomachs without mouths, feet without heads, hands without arms, and imperfect organs of every kind…how comes it that none of these imperfect essays have engaged our attention?” (ibid. p. 259). In other words, why is this disorder or lack of needful parts and arrangement not what is being seen everywhere — or even traces of? Instead, in regard to whatever the creature — and regardless of how different one is from the other — we see it having exactly what it needs. What are the odds of that, if by mere coincidence or random selection each part was acquired? And how would even such a “choice” of all the needful components be made by that which has no intelligence?
Rousseau likens the possibility of organized bodies just so happening by chance to “a number of printer’s types, jumbled promiscuously together,” but then “had arranged themselves in the order of the letters composing the Aeneid [of which a paperback edition by Vintage is 442 pages]”; and if anyone would say to him he has forgotten the number of chances that would make such a combination possible, his reply would be, “I , who see only the one, must conclude that there is an infinite number against it, and that it is not the effect of chance. …hence life and organization can never result from a blind concourse of atoms…” (ibid.). “How absurd the attempt to deduce this wonderful harmony from the blind mechanism of a fortuitous jumble of atoms! … It is impossible for me to conceive that a system of beings can be so wisely regulated, without the existence of some intelligent cause which effects such regulation. It is not in my power to believe that passive inanimate matter could ever have produced living and sensible creatures,–that a blind fatality should be productive of intelligent beings,– or that a cause incapable itself of thinking, should produce the faculty of thinking in its effects. I believe, therefore, that the world is governed by a wise and powerful Will.” And that “Will” is what Rousseau refers to as God, who wills with intelligence and power (ibid., p. 260).
For those who know the passage, how can we not be reminded of it, as we read these previous thoughts, where David so gloriously declares of God, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You” (Psa. 139:13-18).
Yes, in that sense, God is the Father of us all. As we can see in the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3, which traces it back through the many ancestors mentioned, and all the way back to “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (v. 38). So just as Seth was a son of Adam, Adam was a “son” of God. When Paul preached to the men of Athens in the midst of the Areopagus (Mars’ hill, KJV), whom he noted as being a very religious people, though wrongly caught up in idolatry, he then spoke of the “unknown God” to whom one of their altars was dedicated and to whom they had “worshiped in ignorance” (Acts 17:23). He spoke of Him as being the one who “made the world and all things in it,” who is “Lord of heaven and earth” (v. 24), and “gives to all people life and breath and all things” (v. 25). Paul also pointed out that God “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children [offspring, KJV].’ Being then the children [offspring] of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (vv. 26-31).
So even though everyone’s ancestry can be traced back to God, who created Adam and Eve, yet all of us who reached an age of accountability had soon become guilty of sin (cf. Rom. 3:9,10,23) and, thus, severed ourselves from that spiritual relationship with the Lord (cf. Isa. 59:1,2) and brought ourselves to a need for repentance and meeting God’s conditions for salvation to not only be forgiven, but to also be able to enter into a spiritual union with God, in which He truly is our Father. For though God blesses even the atheist with rain and sunshine (cf. Matt. 5:45) and has brought “fruitful seasons” to all, thus, “satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17), yet these blessings pertain to just this physical world and are, therefore, temporary; but the spiritual blessings of God, for those who have entered into a harmonious relationship with Him, are eternal!
If it be that our sins have not been blotted out by the precious blood of Jesus, then we are still spiritually “dead in…trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). And, if that be the case, then we are still in “the domain of darkness” (Col. 1:13), do not have God the Father and Jesus in our lives (2 Jn. 1:9), and have Satan for our father (cf. Jn. 8:42-44; Acts 26:16-18). So our connection with God must come through the gospel. For “it is the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16), and that which brings us into a spiritual relationship with our Creator.
As mentioned, just our realization from the creation that God exists is not enough to save a soul. It is only through the New Testament, which is “the faith” that was “once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3), that one can acquire saving faith and see the way of salvation.
So may the knowledge of God, which we can each acquire through observing the creation, motivate us to want to examine that holy book He has given us, and to not only come to a much deeper understanding of Him, but to also submit to His commands, so that His message will save our souls and become a way of life for us, with the Lord daily on the throne of our hearts, and as we journey to that ultimate goal of heaven, from where our Creator keeps a constant and compassionate watch on each one of us and forever reigns.
Led By Whom?
Some claim that the Holy Spirit is still speaking to them in a direct, miraculous way IN ADDITION TO what He recorded in the Bible. However, the Holy Spirit Himself tells us that His revelation, the New Testament of Jesus Christ, is “perfect,” “complete,” and “final” (See Jas. 1:25; 2 Tim. 3:16717; Jude 3). The New Testament is the Word we must live by because it is the Word we will be judged by (Jas. 2:12; Jno. 12:48). It is the ‘ONLY’ way God speaks to men today.
It would be interesting to know just what the Holy Spirit would say to these men that He has not already said in the Bible. If He said the same thing as the Bible, it would not be necessary, and if He said something different, one would be “accursed” if he taught it (Gal. 1:8-9).
Please consider these obvious facts: FIRST, the Holy Spirit would not teach a doctrine that denied what He already said in the Bible. Yet, all who claim direct guidance today teach doctrines which conflict with the Bible. SECOND, the Holy Spirit would not teach conflicting doctrines. Yet, such as claim direct guidance (Mormons, Catholics, Pentecostals, etc.) teach opposing and conflicting doctrines. Who can believe that the Holy Spirit is the author of such chaos? CONCLUSION: Men who claim miraculous guidance today are frauds who teach THEIR OWN doctrines instead of God’s. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall NOT pass away.” Read your Bible and do what it says. It’ll make you perfect and thoroughly furnished (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
— via The Beacon, 5/26/15
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)