What Do You Know About God?
I was returning to my hotel in New Delhi some years ago from a private conference with the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. Ever since arriving in India I had noticed cows and oxen wandering through the streets. I had never seen such animals straying loosely through city streets in any other country.
“Don’t these cattle stray quite a distance from home?” I asked of the car driver.
“Oh yes,” he answered.
“But when,” I asked, “they wander all over the streets so far away, how do their owners find them, to drive them back home for the night?”
The car driver smiled. “The owners don’t. But the cattle and oxen know their owners and where they live. They find their own way home in the evening.”
Immediately I thought of the scripture in the first chapter of Isaiah, which I had never understood so perfectly before this living explanation.
“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, … they are gone away backward” (Isaiah 1:2-4).
And this was spoken of ancient Israel, a nation to which God had revealed Himself by many evidences and miracles. How much less do other nations know about God—about who and what God is!
Nevertheless, other nations are human beings just like the nation Israel. It is important that you notice God calls these humans His own children. Many people say, “God just doesn’t seem real to me.” God is a great mystery to them. Their own human fathers don’t seem like a mystery. They seem real.
God does reveal Himself to us in the Bible, if we will just understand it, so that He will seem real to us.
Why Does God Seem Unreal?
Of the peoples of the Roman Empire, God inspired the Apostle Paul to write: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity [spiritual], has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made [physical]. So they are without excuse; for although they knew [about] God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:18-22; Revised Standard Version).
The billions now living on Earth not only are ignorant of the most important knowledge—who and what God is—they seem not to want to know! They are willingly in ignorance of this most important knowledge and relationship possible in human life!
And why have humans been willingly ignorant of man’s most important relationship? One explanation, only, is possible! All nations have been deceived (Revelation 12:9).
First Century A.D. Concept
Coming to the New Testament, we catch a glimpse of the ignorance of any knowledge about God. The scholarly of the world in the first century were the Athenian intellectuals. Some of them encountered the Apostle Paul in Athens.
“Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus [atop Mars Hill], saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? …
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions [objects of worship—Revised Standard Version], I found an altar with this inscription, to the unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth … he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on … the earth, … For in him we live, and move, and have our being …” (Acts 17:18-19, 22-26, 28).
And now what of the scholarly of our Western world today? Education has become a matter of memory instillation. From elementary grades to higher graduate levels of study, our educational systems inject ready-made concepts, ideologies and a mixture of facts and fables into the unsuspecting minds of children, youths and young adults. Students in our school systems are graded according to how well they accept, memorize and can recite or write in tests what has been taught—whether true or false.
Modern education has given universal acceptance to the fable of evolution. Evolution is the agnostic’s or atheist’s attempt to explain the existence of a creation without the preexistence of the Creator. It removes God from the picture. It blinds itself to the mystery by attempting to remove God altogether.
Material Creation Seems Real
The creation is material, visible, and therefore seems real. The system of modern education has become entirely materialistic. The modern scientific concept denies the invisible and the spiritual as having existence. Yet all our seemingly unsolvable problems and the evils in this world are spiritual in nature.
I quoted above from the first chapter of the book of Romans. The 28th verse says, “… they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” Little or nothing is taught about God, but even in the elementary grades the basic concept—the approach to knowledge—is evolution.
Is it any wonder, then, that the scholarly do not know who or what God is? They believe what they have been taught.
Why willingly ignorant? In Romans 8:7 it is stated plainly that the natural mind of humans is hostile against God. This does not necessarily mean that all unconverted human minds are actively, intentionally, maliciously hostile. Most humans are passively hostile against God. They simply do not normally think about God. If God is mentioned they become embarrassed and often try to change the subject. They probably do not realize, in their own minds, that they have a hostile attitude toward God. Yet that is the very reason, psychologically, why they want to avoid the subject. In other words, the average person has an unrealized passive hostility against God. Without realizing it actively, they want God to “keep His nose out of their business”—except at a time when they are in deep trouble and they cry out for God’s help.
Spiritual things—invisible things—are a mystery to them. They do not understand those things, real though they are, because they cannot see them. They remain a deep mystery so they deny their existence.
What does the Bible reveal about who and what is God? It is only in this inspired book that God reveals Himself. But mankind in general has never believed God—that is, what God says!
God, Creator of Universe
God is Creator of all—of everything in the vast universe—the stars, the galaxies in endless space, this Earth, man and everything in the Earth.
That is what God is—what He does. He creates! He designs, forms and shapes. He gives life! He is the great giver. And His law—His way of life—is the way of giving, not getting, which is the way of this world.
But what is God like?Who is God? There have been many conceptions. Some believe God is merely the good or good intentions within each human—merely some part of each human individual. Some have imagined God was some kind of idol composed of gold or silver, or carved out of wood, stone or other material. The Israelites thought, while Moses was communing with God on Mount Sinai, that God was, or looked like, a golden calf.
Many think God is a single individual supreme Personage. Some thought He was a spirit. But the generally accepted teaching of traditional Christianity is that God is a trinity—God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which they call a “Ghost.” The word trinity is not found in the Bible, nor does the Bible teach this doctrine.
So what does the Bible teach?