One may be a believer in the One God; or an atheist, a dis- believer in any god; or a heathen, a believer in many gods. Let's examine each of these positions:
HEATHENISM: -- In its plural number of gods heathenism is confusing and divisive. As a young man Solomon believed in and had the favor of God. His kingdom prospered and became the wonder of the world. The queen of Sheba having heard of the wisdom of Solomon and of the greatness of his kingdom, came to see for herself. After she saw, she said, "However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard" (1 Kgs. 10:7).
However, Solomon proved himself unwise in turning away from the God who had so wonderfully blessed him. Contrary to the law of Moses, under which he lived, he married many foreign wives. "For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David" (1 Kgs. 11:4). In turning away from God he built places of worship for the false gods of his wives. Now his kingdom was divided in the worship of numerous gods, and with the passing of time it was politically divided by rebellion, with ten of the twelve tribes forming a separate kingdom (1 Kgs. 12).
Heathenism is obstructive to material progress. Loyalty to the practice of heathenism has unquestionably been a deterrent to material progress in many of the nations of the world today. Further, it is obstructive to moral progress. Some of the lowest moral standards of the world today are generally practiced in the heathen nations.
Heathenism is unintelligent. Isaiah depicts the foolishness of one making an idol and worshiping the product of his own hands. The fellow cuts down a tree, uses part of it to warm himself and to cook his food. "And the rest he makes into a god, his carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, prays to it and says, 'Deliver me, for you are my god" (Isa. 44:13-17).
Heathenism offers no superior philosophy of life, gives no satisfactory explanation of the existence of the universe, nor the origin, purpose, and destiny of man.
ATHEISM: -- The atheist cannot prove there is no God. To do so he would have to be omniscient -- to know all things in heaven and on earth, in the material and spiritual world, in time and eternity. He would have to be omnipresent. Otherwise God could be in the place where he is not. Atheism assumes the eternal existence of matter. Its beginning point of the universe is Unintelligence rather than Intelligence. Atheism assumes that life came from dead matter without outside stimuli. This is contrary to fact. Someone has proposed that the scientist take a grain of corn, that he carefully separate it into all its component parts, that he reassemble all these parts, and make it again into a grain of corn as it was before. In appearance it is exactly like the original grain of corn. Yet there is a vast difference, for when it is planted it does not generate. Something within has been disturbed. The life has gone. It is nothing more than unproductive dead matter.
Atheism argues that the universe exists by chance. Automobiles are now produced by the millions. Each year there are improvements. Were they produced by chance through millenniums of time? Or did they come into existence more than a hundred years ago because engineers conceived the idea of such a machine and deliberately began work to produce it?
Atheism offers no constructive philosophy of life, no original moral code, no spiritual guidance, no handkerchief for the tear-dimmed eye, no hope.
THE GOD OF THE BIBLE: -- Surely it is more reasonable to believe in an eternal, intelligent, omnipotent God than to believe in the efficacy of dead matter.
The universe must be the work of supreme intelligence and power. Its functions are too precise, too orderly, to be the product of chance. For example, the sun has a surface temperature of 6000 degrees centigrade, with an internal temperature of perhaps 40 million degrees. The explosion of a distant star may mean nothing to us, but if the sun exploded 93,000,000 miles away, it would be the ultimate catastrophe for man. Heat and radiation would reach the earth in about 8.5 minutes. The entire surface of the globe would be burned to a crisp with such speed no one would know what hit it. However, an explosion of the sun would not be needed to destroy all life on the earth. A change in the sun's radiation by even as little as one percent, either to increase or to diminish would probably suffice to destroy all life. If the sun's radiation depended upon fickle chance, the earth would be in jeopardy every moment.
The Bible must be the work of supreme intelligence. The composition of the Bible shows order and organization beyond the grasp of mortal man. It is made up of 66 books, written by 36 to 40 different men, many of whom never saw the others, from three different continents, primarily in two different languages, written over a period of approximately 1600 years.
Yet when these books, written under such varying circumstances, are brought together, they unfold without contradiction one unified story of man's fall and God's plan for his salvation. No othr collection of books in all the world written under such circumstances could be characterized by such unity. Fulfilled promises, fulfilled prophecies without any failure show the hand of God in the revelation of His Word.
Further, the influence of the Bible shows it to be the work of a supreme being who revealed His Will for the good of mankind. The greatest characters, the noblest men and women, have demonstrated the influence of the Bible in their lives.
The very thought of God gives an inspiration that can be derived from no other source than this marvelous book that reveals the will and the love of God for us all.
We would do well to believe in the God of the Bible, and show that we do by obeying His Word. Our eternal destiny depends upon it.
By Billy B. Norris in Gospel Guide, Nov. 1995.
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