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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Is it possible to find God without human assistance?

Most priests/pastors/ministers would probably answer that question with an emphatic NO! After all, if they answered yes, they would run the risk of making themselves irrelevant. Many of them would tell you that the average man/woman/child needs guidance and help to properly understand/interpret Scripture. Which brings another question to mind: Is it possible to find God without the Bible? "OF COURSE NOT!" the majority of the priests/pastors/ministers would shout. Nevertheless, it may surprise some students of Scripture that the Biblical answer to both questions is a resounding YES!

In the post preceding this one, I referenced Paul's sermon to the Athenians at the Areopagus. In that sermon, Paul mentioned that he had observed an altar dedicated "To the Unknown God." (Acts 17:23) He told his audience that they had been worshiping this God in ignorance. (same verse) He then proceeded to tell them that this God doesn't live in manmade temples and is the author of all of the life on this planet. (verses 24-25) Continuing, we read: "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us..." (verses26-27) Is Paul suggesting that God has instilled a desire within all humans to seek the Lord? It sounds like that's what he's saying to me.

Paul wrote to the saints at Rome about Gentiles who had never heard about YHWH: "that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..." (Romans 1:19-20) A little later in the same letter, he wrote: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another..." (Romans 2:14-15) In both of these passages, Paul is clearly talking about Gentiles who were not Jews or Christians, and who had never been exposed to the Torah!

In the Gospel According to John, we read that Jesus Christ said that God was the source of the impulse that motivated people to come to him. (John 6:44) In other words, the Christian calling is of Divine origin - It does not depend on any human (apostle, prophet, priest, pastor, minister or elder). You don't need a sermon, magazine, book, booklet or Bible study to draw you to Christ. In that same Gospel (John), we read that Jesus later proclaimed that "if I be lifted up from the earth, [I] will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32) Indeed, one only has to consider how Paul was converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus to see the absolute truth of this principle (that human intermediaries are not essential to the process). (Acts 9:1-6)

Is it possible to find God without human assistance? I think that we just demonstrated from Scripture that other humans (or their writings) are not necessary to find God.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed.

    It raises the question, at least in my mind, of how much does one need to know about God for salvation? If x knowledge is required, who determines what x is? What if someone else thinks x + 1 is required? Or x - 1? Methinks it would be easy to fall into some form of Gnosticism.

    In the old WCG some people had to have studied the correspondence course, read Mystery of Ages, given up smoking, been tithing regularly, etc., before they could even be baptized. And then they'd be taught "new truth" and hear II Peter 3:18 quoted. They'd also have to be able to identify the King of the North and the King of the South and the identity of modern Israel, etc. Lots of hoops.