[Thought questions for Through a Glass, Darkly Feburary 13, 2013]
1. Nature belongs to God. Have you ever turned your TV on to a nature program only to be sickened by the scenes of a lion conquering a deer and ripping it to death? Or of insects calmly devoring their mating partner after their own eggs are fertilized? Or a herd of elephants trampling an African village and destroying everything within it? Or a line of ants or a herd of locusts devouring everything in sight? Have you ever trembled as you faced the possibility of death by flood or other natural disaster? When you drive past a forest turned into black cinders, do you feel close to nature? Do you rejoice at the power of nature when an earthquake swallows homes and families? Or when tornadoes, hurricanes, or extreme weather leave the bodies and torn-up homes of families behind? Where is God in all of this?
2. Our Father’s world. Should we praise the Lord for making this earth a home for us? Or should we plead with Him to send it back to the drawing boards? What right does God have to claim this earth as His own? Does He relish that right? How can the God who is perfect and good claim ownership of a world that is so depraved by sin? Did God create you? Even before you were born, did He know you were coming? Does God own everything in and of this world? Does He own you? Is it possible to be created by God and live in a world formed by God and not belong to Him? Is it possible to live a life of sin and be claimed by God as His very own? How is a miracle such as that possible?
3. A fallen world. From where you are right now, how far do you need to go to find evidence that the world is fallen? What are some specific examples of that evidence? How can we account for the splendid beauty and artistry of creatures of the deep seas that we almost never see up close? Does it strain credulity to think of these marvelous fish and other underwater creatures as the result of pure chance? Have you ever seen the burst of gorgeous flowers months after a ravaging forest fire? Why was God so upset with the world that He destroyed all of it except for eight human beings and a collection of animals? Does that seem to you to be an overly powerful punishment to the people? If not, how do you justify God’s decision? Why did He promise never to do that again?
4. Ruler. Who rules the world today–God or Satan? Why? Can Satan change the orbit of the earth around the sun? Can God? Jesus overcame Satan at the crucifixion, so why are evil powers so prevalent everywhere today? How does Satan communicate with you and me and tempt us to do wrong? Doesn’t Satan ever get tired of killing, hurting, and destroying human beings? If he doesn’t, why not? What good does it do you and me to recognize the power of the evil one? Can you see evidence of the great controversy between Christ and Satan in your personal life? What powers over nature did God apparently give to Satan for these final days? How are the evil one’s powers of the earth limited?
5. The “Widsom” of the world. What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? Can a Christian possess the knowledge of a highly educated scientist and still cling to the belief that God is in charge? Why does this happen so seldom? Is the information provided to us by science useless to us? Can a scientist be a Christian? How can we prayerfully use new discoveries and findings by scientists to advance the cause of divine truth? Where did the idea that the Bible is a mythical collection of stories from antiquity come from? Have you ever been concluded that some of the stories told in Scripture are “fantasy”? Do you think it is God’s will for us to scorn or poke fun at the beliefs of scientists today? How can we build credibility with men and women of learning? Should we even try?
6. Eye of Faith. Do you have an “eye of faith”? If so, what do you see through this eye? Did you read Psalm 8 for this week’s lesson? What sense of your relationship to the Lord filled your heart as you read these verses? Can God give you spiritual eyesight to see the beauty of Bible passages such as this one? Does it take faith to believe the Creation story as told so briefly in the Bible? Does it take faith to believe the story of the Flood, which is also delegated to only a few verses of Scripture? What degree of faith does it take to see into the future and behold the power of God overwhelming the world? Why is so much “evidence of things not seen” required to behold the beauty of truth from God?
7. The conflict today. Are religion and science in opposition today? Are discoveries by science today undermining the teachings of the Bible? What teachings that we hold are most likely to be discredited by science? What premises of modern science will be overturned at the Second Coming? Are you surprised that God allows mankind to conduct close-up examinations of our solar system, such as Mars and Jupiter? Does that mean that sin has been extended that far in our universe? Or is our travel to outer space evidence that sin grew to gigantic proportions here on earth. In any case, how would you like to be in heaven with God and see a spent rocket or man-made satellite zoom by? Do you think God will allow any reminders of this sinful world to survive the Second Coming?