QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 82
So, faith is the substance of things objectified? Do you believe everything you hear? How do you decide that what is in the Bible is actually reliable? Is it faith, or did you get visions like our Mormon cousins?
Surely you are exposing more of yourself than is appropriate. You do not want to answer for idle words like that -- but they are now logged in heaven. You must not forget Jesus has spoken quite clearly about the matter of eventually confronting and accounting for idle words (Matt 12:36). I am going to assume you spoke hastily.
If God has "magnified" His Word (Psa 138:2), and summoned men to keep it with the promise He will dwell with such (John 14:21,23), then we cannot afford to listen to anyone who casts doubts upon that word, or suggests it is not unique and reliable. There is not so much as a syllable in Scripture that suggests words written 1,500 years before Jesus were to be viewed critically, with skepticism, or with the slightest question about their integrity. Those words had been copied over and over by hand, but it never occurred to John the Baptist, Jesus, or the Apostles, to question their authenticity. In fact the Gospel itself assumes the flawlessness of the words of Moses and the Prophets, and appeals are made to them to justify faith in Christ. You have absolutely no precedent for questioning the reliability of the Scripture, nor will sound reasoning support such a thing.
Moses, the Prophets, David, John the Baptist, Jesus, the Apostles, Luke, James, and Jude have not provided us with a single word or testimony of nature or conscience that has justifying power or can save the soul. Their sole point of reference was what God has said --not something said for private observation, or something lisped to the human spirit in unintelligible language, or rooted in feelings. Instead of pointing us to nature, we have been told nature is looking at us, waiting for the revelation of the sons of God (Rom 8:19). Holy men have always communicated what God has said. They have also held the Scriptures in the highest regard, and that without a single Scriptural exception.
You DO have to have ears to hear, and God is the one who gives them (Deut 29:4; Matt 11:15; Rev 2:7). Those having those ears do not require elaborate explanations. They are content with Divine affirmations.
If you really do not know how to determine what word is reliable, then you should drop all other pursuits until you find out. As for "the substance of things objectified" (whatever that is supposed to mean), faith is itself the substance and evidence (Heb 11:1). Faith only requires a word from God. The person who believes will rest their whole life upon what God has said. No one could have produced any form of evidence, philosophical or pragmatic, to justify the belief that a hundred year old man and an old barren woman would have a son. But Abraham did not stagger at God's promise, or look about for evidence to support what God had said (Rom 4:19-21). As for Mary, the mother of our Lord, she could certainly have found no evidence that a virgin could conceive, but she believed on the strength of the word delivered to her (Luke 1:45). What kind of evidence was available to Moses that would confirm a sea would part when a rod was lifted over it? What did Joshua have that would substantiate a promise that great walls would fall at a shout? A little more seriousness, please.
Actually, quite a few people deny the existence of God. And, I wouldn't go as far as to say the existence of God is a trivial thing. In fact, it seems to be the big beginning of our search for important knowledge.
I really do not mean to push into this discussion, but your words bring great concern to me. God has spoken to this issue, leaving no question about its importance. "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God MUST believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb 11:6, NASB).
There could not possibly be anything more important than pleasing God, coming to Him, and being rewarded by Him because we sought Him. Further, there is no point in the life of faith when the priority of these matters gives way to other things. As for those who do not believe in the existence of God, they are fools (Psa 14:1).
Do you believe that the statement in Romans 1:19 and 1:20 is true? Many people did 'get it.' Others suppressed what they could clearly see. If people couldn't see, they aren't without excuse. But they could see. It's because they could see they are without excuse.
I certainly believe Romans 1:19-20 is true. Perhaps I have not said clearly what I intended. The testimony of both creation and the conscience was, indeed, seen. I am not sure what you mean by "Many people did 'get it.'" What I stated was, "Romans affirms that no one really RECEIVED the resounding testimony of creation." That is, of course, precisely what the text goes on to say. (1) They suppressed the truth by their unrighteousness, so that its testimony was not seen as is could have been (1:18). (2) They glorified Him not as God (1:21a). (3) They were not thankful (1:21b). (4) They became futile in their speculations (1:21c). (5) Their foolish hearts were darkened (1:21d). (6) They became fools while professing themselves to be wise (1:22). (7) They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image like man, birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures (1:23). (8) They changed the truth of God into a lie (1:25a). (9) They worshipped and served what was created rather than the Creator (1:25b). (10) They did not like to retain God in their knowledge (1:28). He does not say this was the response of only some of the people.
Seeing God as He is does not produce such results. The "knowledge of God" is the great Kingdom catalyst. Grace and peace come to us through it (2 Pet 1:2). Everything having to do with life and godliness comes to us through it (2 Pet 1:3). We escape the pollution of this world through it (2 Pet 2:20). It is also the environment in which we grow (2 Pet 3:18). The absence of those realities means God is NOT known. He has not been perceived as He really is.
Whether or not men could clearly see is not the real issue, for there is no question about that. My point is that none of them did -- that the universal indictment is "There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God" (Rom 3:11). That, of course, is what mandated the need for a Savior who would both seek and save the lost.
Throughout the heathen world, gross misrepresentations of God are consistently presented. Even though men are in His world, which bears His thumbprint, and even though they have eyes, "they see not." That is what I meant by no one receiving the testimony of nature.
Further, nature has a muted testimony. It cannot tell us of God's love, mercy, grace, longsuffering, or eternal purpose. It cannot declare to us what is right and what is wrong, give us access to God, declare the need for salvation -- or that there even is a salvation to be had. It does not speak of glory or everlasting shame. It cannot bring assurance, or declare to us that God is abundant in goodness and truth. No word can be heard from nature concerning God being jealous, light, or having a longing to have his offspring joined to Him.
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