Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paradise Lost and Restored

If you were God, how would you handle the world and people in it? You are the creator of the universe and have absolute power. What would you do? Me? Well, I would create paradise and walk in person with my people. They would have every need provided, never shed a tear, and have a warm, loving relationship with me forever.
Isn’t that what God did? But there was a problem and he knew there would be. He knew that the people would have to have free will in order to truly love him back. Love cannot be coerced or manufactured, it must be freely given. I can’t make my wife and children love me, it must be their choice. And God wants us to love him. The Bible says it is the most important commandment.
So God gave us free will, knowing full well that we would choose to rebel against his authority. That’s how important love is. The price? Paradise lost. That’s the incredible story of the Bible in a nutshell: Paradise Lost and Paradise Restored.
God knew subsequent generations would need to see and touch him in order to believe he exists. So, he used prophets to announce that he would come and walk among us. And then he did. Because God is God, he is absolute holiness, so he cannot overlook rebellion – if he could he would not be truly holy, and therefore, he would not be God. So, someone had to pay for our sins so we can have a right relationship with him. God took care of that on the cross. How would he prove it was really him walking among us? Miracles and rising from the dead should do it.
But he isn’t going to come to each generation and walk with us. If he did, we would be back in paradise, and paradise doesn’t fit into a fallen world. So, he left witnesses to tell us he came and walked with us. The only question is, are the witnesses reliable? We have two thousand Greek manuscripts, extra-biblical writings, the emergence and growth of the church, conversion of the skeptics, and some 350 internal prophecies fulfilled testifying that the scripture can be trusted.
If you were God, would you come and walk with each generation? Would you die for each generation? Or would you place your Spirit in their hearts? (Remember, you are an omnipotent God)
Nature tells us there is a God. Only a fool would deny that. The big bang is an empirically-proven fact. Something outside the universe had to cause it. The only way a person could not see this is if he refused to. The incredible diversity and complexity of life on earth tells us there is a designer. Only a fool would deny that. Computer code doesn’t write itself and neither does DNA code.
But which god? The internal prophesies that Jesus fulfilled, and the evidence of his resurrection show that the God of the Bible is the right one.
We must experience some suffering now, but God has told us that he will walk with us and that this life is only temporary. Our true existence is back in paradise with him. There, he will walk in person with us in a warm, loving relationship forever.
Again, how would you do things differently if you were God? Would you treat the people you created like pets? Would you treat them like robots? Or would you give them free will and the capacity to truly love you back (more like children)? Would you allow everyone into your heaven – or would you screen out those who chose not to love you?
My mind is finite and God’s is infinite, but I’m trying to understand why he has veiled himself from us so that only the humble will find him – and why we need faith. When I think it through, it really does make sense.

1 comment:

Jason Huffman said...

God is so much bigger than me, the closest I can think of being God is playing a SIM video game (where the player controls the characters and builds cities or zoos or amusement parks). Roller Coaster Tycoon is the only one these games I've played and in that game, the people in the game paid no direct attention to the me, the park manager unless I do things they don't like. Then they are angry and quit coming to the park. I never thought about it until this post, but I think that's the way we are with God sometimes. I don't know how I'd treat my people if I were God.