2. Why God is Important Now
When we turn to history, whenever we find civilisation, there so often goes with it a seeking by the people of that society for answers about the world they live in. This extends primarily to the origins and meaning of life, together with the question of why things happen the way that they do. As people look at the complexity and order of the world about them, civilisation after civilisation has concluded that there is a greater force behind the world, typically in the form of a god or gods. In current times, we are still left with the same questions.
There are two primary questions about God that people worry about in modern times. One is whether there really is a God that controls the earth, and the second is whether it is a good thing to be concerned about such a God.
Is there a God?
The basic idea of whether there is a God or not is very abstract. It is impossible to prove that no God exists, and it is for that reason that it is not considered a scientific concept. The onus is more to show that a specific God is real, based on the information that we have about the teachings and actions of that God. This section examines the case for one specific God.
Three of the world's major religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, all have their origins in a set of writings that date back to a period starting about 3500 years ago. They teach that there is a God who has supreme power over the world, and that people have a responsibility to him. These writings form the greater part of what is now known as the Holy Bible. Because it has such wide acceptance, even among such widely different belief systems, the Bible is a very good place to start looking.
In claiming to come from an only true God, The Bible offers something exceptional. That is the knowledge of real truth, and an insight into what we can expect from the future. Not only that, but it contains a specific offer of a presence in a peaceful and idyllic future age on the Earth. So the Bible potentially offers great rewards for those who seek to learn about it and understand it.
Given that so few things can be proven about the “laws” of nature, the Bible is remarkably provable. There is no doubt the Bible is a very old book, and that it has been accurately been preserved over that time. There are several ways in which it demonstrates that it has come from a power much greater than that normally known to humans. These include it's internal consistency, and also in the external consistency with history. Further to that, believers in the God described in the Bible attest to having seen his power working in their lives, and so gain further faith from that.
Internally, the Bible is unique because it was written down over a very long period of time, spanning many writers, living under different political systems. Yet despite the 1500 year span of time, the message is consistent in basis from the start to the end. It was certainly not possible for one person, or even a small group, to coordinate the effort. This points to the authenticity of the claimed divine authorship.
While the Bible is a marvel in itself, it is more revealing to see it in the context of the historical events that surround it. In particular, it describes the plans of God in terms of events he was going to cause to occur. Thus it shows the ability to predict events in the future before they happen.
Many people see the Bible as a book that tells truth about God on account of these predictions, because it has been able show history in advance, and be consistent with it. We know that to tell the future of the world centuries in advance requires a power beyond human capability.
An Example: God's Witnesses
One stream of predictions in the Bible is centred on the nation of Israel. This is considered as a special nation, as this passage in Isaiah states:
Isaiah 43:11.: "I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior. 12. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses," Says the LORD, "that I am God." NKJV
As an example, the Bible contains a number of prophecies of how Israel would be scattered and then gathered again to form a nation at a future date. This is something that we can now see that has happened over the course of history. The culmination if this was the formation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. An example of one of these prophecies is in Ezekiel,
Eze 11: 16.: ... 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone. ... I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." ' NKJV
The prophet Zechariah also reveals great modern insight. It is beyond question that these words were written before the time of Christ, but yet it paints the picture of the Middle East as we know it today. Jerusalem would again be a place of conflict. This passage in Zechariah This aptly describes the very difficult region of the middle east today, despite being written over 2000 years ago,
Zech 12:3.: And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. NKJV
Although this is only a sample of the content of the Bible, it shows how it does have strong evidence of authority.
Is any Action Necessary?
When the authenticity of the Bible is established, it offers two opportunities. One is as a source of knowledge about the world, revealing good principles about how to live. The other is that it contains a number of specific offers to those people who choose to seek out and follow God. In particular, those faithful are offered a place in God's “kingdom” and to live forever. This is described in the Bible as being of great value, for example:
1 Cor 2:9: ...Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. NKJV
However, the message of the Bible is that the issue is not simply about being a good person in whatever way we feel it means to be “good”. Instead, it is specifically stated that it is important to seek out and believe in God in order to be part of His people. One of the gospels in the Bible says,
Mark 16:15: ... "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16. "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. NKJV
In particular, the Bible reveals that all people are sinners in the sight of God, because of failure to follow his commandments. The result of that is the great number of problems in the world, and a condemnation to death. A way of forgiveness is offered, and that requires an association with Jesus Christ, the son of God.
The Bible as a book was miraculous in it's very writing, but since then has stood as a symbol of authority for a long time. It's value as a source of wisdom and truth has been upheld by it's ability to predict into the future, and remain relevant for centuries following.
Although the general principles of Christianity as detailed in the Bible are something many people feel they have a grasp of, having a relationship with God requires getting to know Him. The best way of doing that in modern times is by reading and seeking to understand his book, and allowing it to be a guiding force in life.