“Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves….” Psalm 100:3
I entered the ICU in a Tampa hospital to pray with a family who was about to lose their mother. The mother was a Christian. The daughter was near believing, but I soon found out where her two sons stood. When the daughter announced I was here to pray, the two grown sons said, “No!” When the daughter said it was the mother’s wish, and I was going to pray, both sons stormed out of the room. As the youngest son went through the door, he shouted at me, “There is no God!” I kept silent, but wanted to ask him, if there is no God, what are you running from?
You can tell me I’m crazy, but I think a lot of people “don’t believe” in God, because they can’t manipulate Him to do exactly what they want, so they “hurt Him” by not believing in Him. Some people tell me God is just some fairy tale made up to give people a make-believe hope beyond the grave.
Here is my question. If there is no God then why do we die? That’s right, why do we die, if there is no God? Scientists do not know exactly why we die. They can’t explain death. It seems our cells should just keep on recreating themselves. Why do they stop? I mean if we just all happened to be here, and the universe is millions of years old, why aren’t we millions of years old too? I will tell you why. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death.
In order to get an explanation for death you have to go to the creation story in Genesis 1-2 where God tells Adam and Eve they will die if they disobey. Without the creation story, you have no explanation for death. While people accuse me of making up God so I have a fantasy hope beyond the grave, fact is, the grave proves to me there is a God! There is no scientific explanation for death. The creation story gives us the only explanation.
Many Christians try to disprove the big bang theory by saying, it takes more faith to believe “bang! There is life” than it does to believe there is God. While I fully believe in God, I did not think that was a good argument. To me, “bang! there is God” is no more or less a coincidence than “bang! there is life.” That is, until it dawned on my feeble brain that with God there was no bang! He did not just happen. Fact is He never “happened.” He has always existed!
Do you see the difference? Nothing coincidental caused God to exist because He has always been. I can’t wrap my brain around it, but it makes sense and satisfies my mind that it makes more sense than something out of nowhere just causing a universe to exist. I can set off a million firecrackers and I will never get a universe out of any of them.
Okay, back to Christians just wanting a make-believe hope beyond the grave. The accusation is that we dreamed up this God to give us life beyond the grave. Now I can see man making up some form of god who rewards you for being good. That is legalism, and legalism is human nature. So, sure it is in our nature to invent legalism and a God who rewards those who are good.
But seriously, folks, could any of us left on our own invent a God who rewards bad people? Could any of us dream up this God coming to die and give hope beyond the grave to sinners?
In pagan religions man sacrifices himself to get the blessings of the god. Aztecs used to have a human sacrifice every day just to get the so-called sun god to rise. But Christianity offers something none of us could dream up – a God who sacrifices Himself! And He sacrifices Himself to give life beyond the grave to sinners!
Paul saw this contrast too in Romans 5:7-8, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Paul is making a contrast between Christianity and man-made religion. Mankind is legalistic by nature, so it is in our ability to invent a religion where someone may save a good person, but Christianity is unrivaled in that is presents a God who died to save bad people!
Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to look logical to be believed. Truth can defy logic because it is truth regardless if it is logical or not. A God coming to die for bad people defies all human logic. It is not in the human psyche; therefore it is an idea out of this world. Man can invent a religion where man saves himself in his own strength by his own works, which is legalism. But Paul says we were saved without any strength of ourselves. Christianity defies legalism and human logic!
The Sabbath also defies legalism. The Sabbath reminds us we are not saved by our works. We are saved by resting our faith in our Creator.
“The Sabbath was instituted in Eden, as a memorial of creation. It points men directly to the true God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth. Thus it stands as a mighty barrier against idolatry, atheism, and infidelity. Had the Sabbath been universally kept, not one of these evils could have gained a foot-hold in our world. There could not have been an infidel nor an idolater.” – Ellen White, Signs of the Times, September 14, 1882.
The Sabbath is a sign of creation. After all, you have the sun to mark a year, the moon to mark a month, and the earth’s rotation to mark a day. Yet the only thing that marks a week is the Sabbath from the seven-day creation story. Like death, the seven-day week can only be explained by the creation story in Genesis 1-2.
More than that, the Sabbath is a sign of rest and grace as opposed to works and legalism. It is a sign we have a Creator. Not just any creator, but a loving Creator. None of the pagan man-made religions offer a loving god, but always an angry god to which man must make sacrifices. The Sabbath not only tells us we have a Creator, it tells us we have a Creator full of love and grace. Something mankind could never dream up.
I wish those two young men would not have run away that day from their mother’s ICU room. Maybe one day they will get tired of running and rest. When they do, I know a great resting place. In my Creator’s arms of love.