Three primary religions are considered monotheistic—maintaining belief in one supreme Creator: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. All three revere Jerusalem as a holy city. None agrees fully on the way to worship the one God they all espouse.
Logic demands that if there indeed is one God, then it ought to follow that He would define the proper manner in which to worship Him, and reveal that way to man. Yet these religions differ vastly in doctrine and in practice.
One of these, Judaism, claims that the Old Testament writings preserved from ancient times by the Jews are the revealed instructions to man on how to worship God.
Varying divisions of Christianity lay claim to the same book, the Bible—incorporating both the Old Testament preserved by the Jews (albeit in differing versions) and the New Testament preserved by the Greeks—as the basis of their religion. Yet they disagree on their interpretation of its teachings.
The third of these great religions places faith in another book as the Creator’s revealed knowledge of how to worship and obey God: the Koran of the Islamic faith.
Within each of these religions are many diverse branches, differing on religious beliefs and practices to the point of confusion as to just what it is that represents core doctrine. If religion is, indeed, the opiate of the masses, as Marx declared, then among these religions there is a brand to suit all tastes.
Is there one true faith? If not, then based on the assumption of all three of these religions that there exists one supreme God over all, has that God destined mankind to a life of confusion over the very basic questions about His nature, His religion and the reason He created man? These are fundamental questions with which countless generations of thinkers, philosophers, religionists and educationalists have wrestled for 6,000 years of documented human history.
Many men of science refuse to face this most fundamental of all questions about the nature of our being and of the universe. British historian Paul Johnson has stated that such men of knowledge “are not going to confess their own ignorance, indeed, their intellectual impotence” (Spectator, Nov. 12, 2005). In his subsequent writings, as he proceeds through his eighth decade of life, Johnson occasionally reverts to musings on the metaphysical. But that piece in November 2005 stands out for its challenge to skeptics who doubt the very existence of the supreme Creator.
Paul Johnson is a deep thinker. He dares to consider questions that most scientists tend to discount due to their inability to come to terms with their outstanding relevance.
He dares to consider God!
In that same Spectator column, Johnson challenged one of the most brilliant of mathematical minds, Dr. Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time. Referring to a tv interview during which Hawking was asked, “What existed before the universe began?” Johnson quoted Hawking’s reply: “That’s a meaningless question.”
To this Johnson retorted, “Oh no, it isn’t. … No question is meaningless if it is prompted by a genuine thirst for knowledge. Physicists expect us to believe their claim … that not merely something but everything was created out of nothing, thus breaking the fundamental law of physics. … [T]hey fear that trying to answer [questions about what happened before the ‘big bang,’] or admitting that they are meaningful, will involve them in debate about the three-letter word which, to them, is the final obscenity—G-O-D.”
Zeroing in on his own unique quest for answers to this question, Paul Johnson admitted, “Since an early age I have always been puzzled by God” (ibid.). Yet, unlike the men of science whom he derides for ignoring these most basic of questions, he has obviously been honest about his search to find answers. The logical foundation for his quest is this: “The fact of an all-powerful God, who transcends all the laws of physics, and equally supplies order in the vacuum left by their non-existence, is the only explanation ….”
Johnson’s questions are akin to those asked by every true and honest thinker through the ages: “If God had always existed, why did He suddenly decide to create the universe and humanity? … He created space and time at the same moment. But what was His motive? What did He hope or intend to achieve? What exactly is God’s plan?” (ibid.).
Here is a man now in the eighth decade of his life’s experience—a true scholar, well traveled, who has written volumes on the human quest for meaning in life—who has spent most of his own lifetime in an intensive search to find the answers to the very realities of the universe—of why it exists, what is its past and what is its future.
Chances are that many of the regular subscribers to our Trumpet magazine are involved in a similar quest.
Dr. Johnson, in fact, does get so close to the answer: “Only when we eliminate the material dimension altogether do those who believe in God acquire an overwhelming advantage” (ibid.). In other words, to take a leaf out of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book, if we seek to prove the existence of God we need access to what he termed “the missing dimension.”
Paul Johnson gets as close as any human being can in this search for God, without direct access to that “missing dimension.” He realizes that there is an essence that is part of the human persona—a non-physical component, a spirit in man—that gives a direct connection to man’s Maker, who is the source of that spirit. This reality is a literal extension of the divine Godhead. Johnson expresses this reality thus: “God is essentially a spiritual rather than a physical being, and if He exists outside space and time and all the factors which owe their complexity to them, then the problems of existence begin to seem soluble” (ibid.).
That said, one needs a guide from one’s Maker to work toward resolving these “problems of existence” of God.
Proof of God
There is but one source that contains the requisite proofs of God’s existence: the documented Word of God. We call this collection of divinely inspired writings the Bible. But to the average man, this most published, most translated and most widely distributed book in the world remains an enigma. It is subject to countless individual interpretations. Numerous professional theologians call the concept of its inerrancy into question. Hence the confusing multitude of Christian denominations, each claiming a right to understanding its truths, yet none in complete agreement.
The plain truth is, unlike other so-called holy books, the Bible can be proven to be the inerrant Word of God. The most powerful of proofs of its divine source and its consistency in declaring truth is fulfilled Bible prophecy! (Request a free copy of our booklet The Proof of the Bible.)
One whole third of the Bible is prophecy for the future, most of which is being fulfilled in our day. Indeed, we who live in this age are among the most privileged of people, for we are surrounded by and indeed part of the unfolding of the most dramatic of all prophecies in the Bible!
For nearly two decades, the Trumpet magazine has exposed the proof of the fulfillment of these prophecies. Month by month, as current events link with history and biblical prophecy, the Trumpet has offered the most dramatic proof of the accuracy of biblical prophecies, some having been originally documented over 3,000 years ago!
Never was it more crucial to convey this message of prophecy to this world. In fact, the future of mankind depends on the continuance of the enterprise to which God gave a divine commission to preach and publish the Bible’s prophetic message to the whole world.
That original divinely commissioned enterprise has historically been called the Church of God (Acts 20:28). God declared of His Church, at its inception, that it would never die (Matthew 16:18). Thus it must be extant today in its original Spirit-led form, under its God-given manner of government and administration (Ephesians 4:4-16), preaching the same message given it originally by God (Mark 13:10). Otherwise, God Himself is proven a liar! And God, by His very nature, cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Romans 3:4).
Simply find that church—the proven continuance of the one true Church that teaches God’s law and has the revelation of prophecy (Isaiah 8:16, 20; Revelation 19:10) and of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind (Hebrews 10:12, 26)—and you will find the answers to these burning questions about the real meaning of life!
The Way to Life
Honest searchers for truth must sympathize with a man of grand intellect such as Paul Johnson: a cultured, erudite teacher of history, a student of the fine arts, a common-sense commentator on human affairs who has genuinely spent all his life, from precocious childhood to his senior years, pursuing the answers to questions about God. The honesty of such a quest is the very opposite to the dishonest denial of the validity of such questions by the bulk of intelligentsia. As Johnson declares, their intellectual impotence is proven by the fact that they “have no explanation of being. Their attitude is simply an abdication of thought, a cosmic despair in the ability of the human mind to devise any explanation of the most interesting and deepest problems of existence” (ibid.).
Dr. Johnson at least has the vision to understand a great overarching truth: that man possesses “an essential element or dimension with God, thus explaining the … belief that we are all ‘made in God’s image’” (ibid.).
Paul Johnson makes just one critical error in his musings on the meaning of life. He states, “Death of the body is thus an insignificant punctuation in the life of the soul, which continues indefinitely” (ibid.). Yet the Book of books plainly declares, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). The corollary of this would be, “The soul that is sinless, it shall live”! This presupposes that in order then for the soul not to die, one must find out the meaning of that term sin, then ensure that the soul finds the way of becoming sinless. Such knowledge opens up the way to eternal life!
But even before we begin that quest, we need to find out just what is this thing called “soul.” The answer to that question gets to the very heart of what a human being is, why he is, who created him and just what is his eternal destiny. These are questions that still puzzle esteemed thinkers such as Paul Johnson. After decades of searching for the answers, Dr. Johnson muses, “What remains puzzling is why God decided to create a temporal universe, and a material dimension, subject to space and time, in which to put the souls of His creatures to the test of life. The answer may be infinitely complex or infinitely simple” (ibid.).
Indeed, the answer is infinitely simple (2 Corinthians 11:3). So simple that it can be only understood if we literally take on the mind-set of a child—being willing to be taught by God, wiping our mind clear of all previous bias, and allowing the clarifying light of biblical revelation to reveal the wonder of the meaning of life to us. As the Son of God declared, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). That conversion is a literal mind-changing, life-changing experience that links the human mind with its Maker, thus opening it up to revelation of God-breathed truth.
There is a book that will guide you in your search for the answers to these burning questions. It will lead you to the biblically proven, inerrant answers to these mysteries that have intrigued man for millennia. Request your free copy of Mystery of the Ages. It opens up a fantastic vision of real, genuine hope for man’s relationship with his Maker!