“Who Is God? Who Am I?”
Is God dead? April 8th, 1966 John Elston’s article in Time Magazine, asked the question. “Secularization, science, urbanization — all have made it comparatively easy for the modern man to ask where God is and hard for the man of faith to give a convincing answer, even to himself,” Mr. Elston wrote.
Now in the year 2017, we can honestly answer the question Elston posed… “No, God is not dead, but John Elston is.” He has been dead for several years, and man is still entertaining the same questions, the same ideas, about God.
Elston isn’t the only one dead. So is John Lennon. “Imagine there’s no heaven, no religion too.” One has to ask if the two John’s, who were so influential in the sixties, might have a different opinion today, than they did in their lives 52 years ago.
If there is no heaven or hell, then John Lennon placed his bets on life and won. (If you don’t count the fact he was murdered at 40 years old.) But if he was wrong, then there can’t be a heaven without a hell, and scripturally speaking, John Lennon understands the existence of both…now. That’s probably a bad thing for John Lennon. He died suddenly and violently. Likely, He had little opportunity, or desire to rethink his life.
Elston was raised as a Catholic. Which means, according to his belief system, that his present resting place would be a purgatory. Neither heaven nor hell. A place you don’t want to go, and a place to be prayed, or payed out of. Yes, indulgences were paid to the church and it was taught that eternal destinations could be changed, if enough prayers were offered and money changed hands.
Of course if we listen nowadays to Oprah, we find a brand new, brand of religion, blending everything into nothing. What you find as your truth, is your truth, and it should be tolerated. We all have our own paths to whatever we see as God. Oprah and friends are much more comfortable with a god whose name is universe. A being/non-being of infinite randomness, concerned only with karma and balance. A nebulous, non-personal God, whose lowest creation is called humanity. Indeed, there is a growing “wisdom” that the rest of the world must be protected from humanity.
And then there is Billy Graham. Finally, at age 99, on Feb. 21, 2018 what Billy Graham preached all his life, he finally had the opportunity to affirm. Is there life after death? Does it all depend on being born again? Did “God so love the world that whosoever, believeth in Him, should not perish but have eternal life?” Billy, is what you preached real? Do you now see Him as you thought you would?
Well, I’m betting it is real. I don’t have to wonder whether I would prefer to face eternity believing like Billy Graham, or like Stephen Hawking. Hawking is yet another icon of our age who is, no longer. Graham and Hawking died a little more than a month apart. But Hawking, emphatically made his life a desperate epic justification of a progressively failing science. Darwin’s evolution had failed miserably. There is no fossil record of transitional species. Scientists themselves have vehemently disagreed about “Lucy” and other “Hominid” skeletons that have been unearthed. Darwin himself said if his theory was true the fossil record would prove it. Darwin said transitional species of every species, would be confirmed by the fossils. He said they would be so common you would be able to dig them up in your own backyard.
So neo-Darwinism with it’s Punctuated Equilibrium became the new scientific holy grail. Hawking said he had found his purpose and reason, in the science of black holes and gravity.
Who is more likely at this point, to believe his own theories about life, Graham or Hawking? Because they are both now…dead. As a matter of fact, this is a book about dead people. What they said and how much sense it makes in light of the fact, that we are all dying. Well…Oprah is not dead yet, but she is dying. And as she continues dying throughout the rest of her life, she may yet require something more than an “anything goes”, worldview.
In 1990, Life Magazine, asked the question, “Who Is God?”. Then, they proceeded to interview everyone they could about their opinion, about God. That is, everyone except mainline Christians who believe the only way to God is through Jesus. The only two “Christian” representatives in the entire book, were snake-handlers from Appalacia, and another equally insane viewpoint. Not Billy Graham, which millions of readers would instantly have had an affinity with. No, they found nutcases, who just happen to embrace some form of Christianity. Personally, I have never felt the need to bring any rattlesnakes into church and demonstrate to God that I have faith, by looking a rattlesnake eye to eye.
To put it mildly the article, “Who is God”, had an agenda. The agenda was simple. Anything was more valid, than Christianity, as postulated in the Bible.
John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6 is my worldview. I consider nothing unless it has passed through the mind-sieve of this, and other scriptures. Each of the people I have mentioned previously, either has, or had during their lives, their own worldview. All of us do. At 59 years old, mine is as clear and unencumbered today, as it has been for the past 30 years. I believe the Bible.
Yet, in making that statement, I know that it is one of the most reactionary statements I could possibly make. Everyone reading this book has seen a televangelist on TV, promising to answer prayers, if you just “sow into the kingdom.” We’ve all seen someone using the Bible to misrepresent who God is. The love of money is, indeed, the root of all evil.
There is perhaps no concept more foreign or inane, to most people than the concept of giving money to God. And the hypocrisy of many famous preachers has derailed so many people when they started asking questions about God. “All they want is your money!” is historically, a very true statement.
So what if there was a book about what God wants you to know Him…, and nobody asked you for a lifetime of donations? Listen, let me let you off the hook. Don’t give me any money. Well, I’m not giving you the book for free, so you will have to buy the purchase price of the book. But other than that, don’t now, or ever, give me any money. If you find the information in this book to be real, then someday, sometime in the future, you will find a local church and you will participate in it, to the extent that it makes sense to you.
But for now and forever…don’t send me any money. I don’t want it, and God doesn’t need it. I dislike the greedy televangelists as much as you do. So does God. They will give an account to Him someday, concerning their lives.
So we have plainly established, that I don’t want your money. But I do ask for your ears. Listen. Read this book and ask God to speak to you…if He’s there. God is ok, with you asking if He’s there. Actually, He’s been waiting for you.
As a matter of fact, let me help. Pray this pray aloud with me. Dear God. If you are there, I want to know it. If you have a plan that is revealed in the Bible, I want to understand it. I need you to reach out to me and show me. If you do lead men, then lead me. If you do love men, then you must be fair enough to love me too. Teach me. In Jesus Name, Amen.
God is a fan of honest, sincere prayers. His promise to you is, “He rewards those who diligently seek Him.” So whatever your baggage, whatever your hang-ups, whatever questions your have, seek Him. And He will seek you…back.
It is His promise. Matthew 7:8 “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Everyone is you. We all have the same spiritual shortcomings. So ask. Search. Knock. God says He will answer you. You may say, “But I don’t have any faith.” The Bible says “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing, by the Word of God.”
So let’s explain what is going to happen. You are going to read the Bible Verses in this book. As you do, God is going to tell you, “Yes”. When you come across a Bible verse in this book, read it aloud. Ask God to tell you if it is really His Word. As you seek Him, He will put inside of you, what it takes to believe, even if you’re not there right now.
God manufactures faith inside of a man, when that man truly wants to know if God is real. That is what the Holy Spirit is for. The reason Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, is so that the Holy Spirit could teach you, lead you, and help you. God will help you to find Him, if you really want to know Him.
If you are really interested in trying to understand the Bible, and you have chosen my book to explain it, then I have good news. I can give you a concise and simple explanation of the most complex book that has ever existed. The Bible in its simplest form, has a very simple purpose. The Bible exists to answer these two questions. “Who is God”, and “Who am I?” My book is written for you to be able to understand who God is. And if you understand what He has said about Himself, then you will be able to understand what He has said about you.
The Bible is designed to be understood. God intended for it to answer the deepest and most probing questions of life, from His perspective. The bad news is He is not really concerned with your perspective. He considers you and I broken and not capable (without help) of finding Him.
In other words, you might consider your life to be yours. He doesn’t. You and all you see, belongs to Him. He thought it up. He spoke it into existence. He will explain it to you. But He won’t act as though you are god.
He perfectly described our time and our humanity, centuries ago. Read this passage from the New Testament. It may seem harsh, unless you realize God has always been ahead of us, knowing what we would “discover” about life and about Him, in our time. He knew we would be dead wrong about most everything that matters, while all the time believing ourselves to be wise.
Romans 1:16–32 HCSB “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
24 Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever.Amen.
26 This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.
28 And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. 29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. 32 Although they know full well God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.”
Yes, I believe the Bible. I think He has nailed exactly who man is and how we will approach life, without Him. We will miss. But He doesn’t want us to miss, and that is where our story begins.
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Yes, He (God) wants you to know Him. And the only way to know Him, is by learning what He has said, in His Word. That is what this book is about.