Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | April 20, 2006

I Believe in God – Part Three

Is there meaning to the events that happen in life? Or do things just happen randomly due to mere chance?  Many in the West since the time of the Enlightenment have affirmed that latter rather than the former view.  This affirmation has been the source of atheistic philosophies that have evolved over time.  One of these philosophies is known as existentialism.  Although, there are many nuances and different strains associated with this worldview I will attempt to summarize it in laymen’s terms.

The simplest definition that I have ever heard of existentialism was given by RC Sproul.  He characterized it by saying that atheism ultimately brings the person to arrive at the conclusion that life is meaningless.  Existentialism is the necessary result of living in this world without hope or meaning.  One existentialist philosopher (Jean-Paul Sarte, I believe) characterized life as nausea. 

This is actually a very logical conclusion to arrive at when you consider a life without God.  These atheists went a step further than the typical pagan that sought to experience as much pleasure in this life as was possible.  They seen that in a world that exists by chance causes based on no rhyme or reason that life and its pleasures were meaningless.

Belief in God is a basic necessity to human existence. When we look at our lives and this world we must conclude that things have happened for some greater reason.  There are numerous examples of this provided in the Scriptures.  In Genesis we read of the story of Joseph who was sold into Egyptian slavery by his jealous brothers.  As the story unfolds we find that God used this evil act to save Jacob and his family during a severe famine.  In 2 Kings and Jeremiah we read of how God used the cruelty of the Babylonians to punish Israel who had forsaken their God.  Then in Daniel we read how God humbled the King who attempted to take pride in the vastness of his dynasty denying the rule of God.  And of course, our Savior was given into the hands of wicked men, condemned, brutalized and crucified in the manner of criminal.  However, through this act, the most evil act ever commented our salvation was secured and our Lord was glorified.

Let us continue with where we left off yesterday and complete our current topic.  We have been utilizing the Heidelberg Catechism to provide explanations to the Apostles Creed.  Realizing that many people do not know what this document is it would be prudent to provide a little background information about this source.  Here is a link that provides a brief history of the formation of this standard:

http://www.crcna.org/pages/heidelberg_main.cfm

Question 28 of the Heidelberg Catechism states the following:

Q. How does the knowledge of God's creation and providence help us?

A. We can be patient when things go against us,1 thankful when things go well,2 and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from his love.3  All creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they can neither move nor be moved.4

1 Job 1:21-22:  He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord."  Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. James 1:3:  …knowing that the testng of your faith produces endurance.
2 Deuteronomy 8:10:  When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord you God for the good land which He has given you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18:  …in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
3 Psalms 55:22:  Cast your burdens upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.  Romans 5:3-5:  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseveranc eproven character… Romans 8:38-39: But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us…nothing will be able to seperate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
4 Job 1:12:  Then the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him."  So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.  Job 2:6:  So the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life." Prov. 21:1:  The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.  Acts 17:24-28: 
 …for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'

As we are taught in the catechism we can trust in God’s providential care for us and the creation.  Although, bad things may occur in our lives or in the world we can rest assured that it has happened for a reason.  God’s purposes are a great comfort to our lives and allow us to stand firm in the midst of adversity. 

Next time we will move on to the next topic in the Apostles Creed, until then peace be with you.

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