Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Why we think that our God is the only true God

What about the God of the Bible?

On Sun, 19 Oct 2003, a friend wrote:
> 1. Why we think that our God is the only true God ?
> 2. Why God create Evil in the beginning ?

Dear Friend,

The answer to your two questions gets to a philosophical issue: How do we know what is true?

Because of our nature, i.e., we are born into the world as infants, we necessarily must know truth by learning truth. There may be some things we innately know, e.g., instinct and genetic modeling, but propositional truth must be learned.

We can learn things that are true, but we can also learn things that are false, even though we think they are true. How do we discern what is true from what is false?

Ultimately, we learn things like this by induction, i.e., by experimentation, or experience. This is where the scientific method of investigation is useful. We experiment, make hypotheses, experiment more and make theories, experiment more, and call what we have learned, Laws, e.g., the Law of gravity.

Unfortunately, we sometimes find outliers or events that don't fit the paradigm or law. Sometimes we throw them out as bad experimental results, but sometimes, these lead us to greater knowledge, e.g., quantum physics as opposed to Newtonian physics.

Sometimes, there is no way to handle the non-fitting observation. People deal with this in various ways. Some throw the result out. Some say it is a miracle, and allow for one-time, unique, observations.

But, the problem is, there is no way by the scientific method of
investigation, to determine what is true in an instance such as this.

Take, for example, the virgin birth of Christ. Did it really happen?
There is a lot of evidence that it did. Can I prove that it happened? Not by the scientific method. It requires multiple occurrences of the
phenomenon in order to establish the law, but this, by definition, is a unique occurrence. It is, therefore, outside the realm of science, but that does not mean it is outside the realm of truth. It may be true. It cannot be disproved and it cannot be proved.

What that all means is there is a category of truth that is outside of
science. How can we know what is true if we cannot verify it my the scientific method? One way we learn truths like this is by the testimony of witnesses. For example, is it true that George Washington was the first president of the United States? This kind of historical question is also outside the realm of the scientific method of investigation. But we readilty accept that George Washington was the first president. The reason is that we have the evidence of witnesses, i.e., we have documents that confirm the truth of the statement.

This is a whole category of things we believe to be true, i.e., things
that are witnessed by others and reported by them to be true. Even in courtrooms, this method is used to establish what is true. A jury will listen to the testimony of witnesses and look at the physical evidence, and establish what is true.

The Bible is a book of testimonies of witnesses. But, you may be saying, even in a courtroom, some of the witnesses may be lying. How do we know that the Bible's witnesses are telling the truth? It is a good and honest question, and the answer is that you do it the same way the jury does in a courtroom. You establish the credibility of the witnesses. If the lawyer can discredit the witness, he can get the jury to disregard the testimony of that witness.

What about the people who wrote the Bible: Can they be trusted? The short answer is, Yes! Some of the apostles faced torture and death unless they recanted their stories; yet, they stood by them until death. Many of the stories presented accounts of their own weaknesses and failures, not something liars are prone to do. And many of their accounts were written while other eye-witnesses to the stories were still alive who could have come forth and contradicted the Bible accounts.

Back to our original question. How can we know what is true? If the people who wrote the Bible are telling the truth, then we can know what is true by reading the Bible.

The Bible says our God is the only true God, so that is how we know it is true. The Bible does not say why God allowed Evil, so we don't know why. That is how I answer your questions.

Your friend,

Thursday, October 09, 2003

God's purpose in our lives.

The sermon at our church tonight was about finding God's purpose in our lives. It centered on the book of Ecclesiastes, where Solomon looked at the question in detail. He was rich, a king, and was known for his wisdom.

The first two parts to understanding what you are to do is to remember where you came from. God made you and has a purpose for your life. You are elect, i.e., the chosen one, and you have the power to do what He enables you to do, and nothing can keep you from doing it.

Well, nothing but our lack of knowing Him and His word. That was Solomon's answer: 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God, and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether evil.

Basically, we seek first God and His kingdom, and then He adds all good things to us. So be sure you are surrounded by believers, and in a church, and get them to pray for you. And don't neglect a quiet time to read the Bible and pray.

Remember that I am praying for you, too, and I know that God will not allow you to lack any important thing. And that includes your baby, too.

I understand your frustration. My first degree in Chemistry/Geology. Then, Theology. Then Computer Science. Now, what am I doing with all that? Nothing, directly. But I don't feel those degrees are wasted. God still has something for me in the future.

Right now, I will just serve Him every day and do what I can to help people.

He keeps me alive. He keeps my cancer from growing. So I just try to live for Him.

I pray the same for you.

In His Love,

Monday, September 29, 2003

Questioning Our Faith.

> 1. Most of people said that reglion just try to persuade people to be good, include christianity ?

Dear One,

The Latin word from which the word "religion" comes, means to hold in regard. Religion is something man does, because men have to regard something highly for it to meet the definition. Religions are man-made, and because of that, they do try to pursuade people to be good.

Christianity is not really a religion, because it is made by God. God does something for our benefit. God became a man and suffered and died. And the reasons for it were that we might have an abundant life, and that does something for our benefit. God became a man and suffered and died. And the reasons for it were that we might have an abundant life, and that we might have joy, and that our joy would be full. As you might understand, if we are full of joy and thankfulness to God, we will probably be better people, but that is a byproduct, and not a purpose, of our faith.

And yes, people do hold it in high regard, so some people call it a "religion," but it is very different from other religions, because it focuses on God, not on man.

> 2. People said that we do have some miracle things nowaday. Certain things can be recogized as miracle, but if people don't have that kinds of talent or skills or background, that things might not happen either. For example, certain people can find good and right job, however, some people couldn't...

This is difficult. I know someone who wants to have a baby, but has not been able to. She sees people all around having babies, even a teenager in the church, who probably didn't want to get married, had a baby. It all seems so unfair. She knows God can do a miracle and she can have a baby, even though she is too old and even though she has other medical problems. So why won't God do the miracle for her?

The only thing I can do is to look at Jesus. God could have done a miracle and kept Jesus from suffering and being put to a cruel death on the cross. But he didn't. He had a purpose that was bigger than what people could see at the time. Suffering and persevering are the ways Jesus earned our salvation. So suffering and persevering are very important things in our lives. They make us to be like Jesus. Paul says in II Corinthians that when we share in His suffering, we will also share in His comfort and glory. That is just part of the christian life. God is treating us like sons and daughters when we go through the same kinds of things Jesus did, and we are becoming like Jesus.

I hope you are comforted and encouraged by these words.