“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
“… he upholds the universe by the word of his power. …” Hebrews 1:3
Modern computers and computer games give many useful examples that point to what God said thousands of years ago. Of course, life is not a game and God is not a computer. But, Jesus often used every day things as examples of God’s truth. Like a painting or statue, a computer game “world” is just a weak imitation of the real world. A computer image of a sunset may be complicated to make and beautiful to see, but it is nothing compared to the beauty, power and genius of a real sunset. In spite of that, let’s do some comparisons.
In a computer game, the computer can make an electronic “world” where game characters can move around in game “places”, use game “things” and talk with other game “people”. The computer is the creator and upholder of the game world, in a sense. The computer can exist and work without the game, but the game can’t work without the computer. Likewise, God doesn’t need us, but we are totally dependent on Him. So, it was known long ago, “… In him we live and move and have our being …” Acts 17:28
If the computer closes a game program, the game stops going. Likewise, human life (and the universe itself) can’t exist without God constantly holding it together. So, it is written, “If he [God] should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.” Job 34:14-15. In other words, God could “close the program” of human life and it would immediately stop.
If a game character could think, he could know about the computer by being told about it and even by details about his game world. Again, it is written “… his [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. …” Romans 1:20. So although we can’t see God directly, there are things that are known about Him by what He made.
But a character could not step out of the game to experience the computer directly. From the game character’s point of view, the computer would be both far away and at the same time the closest thing of all. It would be everywhere present and nowhere visible. In fact, the computer would also go beyond all bounds of the game world. It would be separate from the game world, but the game world could not be apart from it. This is very similar to what was written long ago, “Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.” “… he [God] is actually not far from each one of us,” "… heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you [God] …” Jeremiah 23:23-24, Acts 17:27, 1 Kings 8:27
Since the computer makes and upholds the game world, it not only supplies the power for them, but it must know and keep track of every detail whether large or small. God also knows all details, as was said long ago: “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” Psalm 147:4, Matthew 10:30
Though the game character can’t come out of the game world to see the computer, the computer could show itself in the game world as an image that the character could see and partly understand. God did something like this by temporarily appearing in a pillar of fire, or like a man or some other form, but the greatest way was in Jesus Christ. Though God forbade people to make an image of Him, He provided a living image of Himself in Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “… the Word was God … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us … No one has ever seen God; the only God [or Son], who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.” “… [Jesus is] the very image of his substance …” John 1:1, 14, 18, Hebrews 1:3 (ASV).
God can do anything except deny Himself (see 2 Timothy 2:13). God will not stop being God. A man could never become God. But, nothing stops God from becoming a man if He wants to be both God and man at the same time. God permanently became a man in Jesus, but He didn’t stop being God. Maybe something like a computer could be the computer and yet keep a permanent image of itself in the game world at the same time. So, the Bible teaches that Jesus existed before His human birth and that Jesus is the Creator & Sustainer of the world. If you want to know your Creator, who has all the answers for life & all the power to live, you need to know Jesus. (Bible quotes from ESV except as noted)
It does not take long living in this world to realize the need for forgiveness. God has placed within each of us a conscience that accuses us of having done something wrong. For the vast majority of us that moment took place when we were very young. A choice was made—and action was initiated—which then led to us having the sense in our minds that something was wrong. An awareness of guilt arose in our minds and hearts that gave us a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs. After this moment we were never the same. There was a very real sense in which that moment convinced us that at some point we needed to be forgiven. But that raised additional questions for us—questions that demanded answers.
Our first question is this—Who has said that we did something wrong? If forgiveness is needed—just who needs to forgive us? Who is it that has such a sovereign reach over all mankind? Who is this who has established in every heart a sense that a wrong has been committed? Philosophers have tried for centuries to remove this sense of guilt from mankind with philosophies making man responsible to no one greater than himself—but to no avail. Conscience continues to be a universal phenomenon—bringing all under a sense of guilt as well as a need to be forgiven.
Our next question dove tails with the first. If there is a wrong that has been done, how can we be forgiven that wrong? What is it that needs to happen in order for us to be forgiven? Much of this depends on the answer that we give to the first question. For most of history mankind has answered the first question by stating that there is a god and that this god is the one who has been offended by our actions. Once man conceives of divine displeasure his actions are fairly predictable. There must be some kind of payment—a way of appeasing the god or gods who are offended. In history the religious nature of man has attempted a myriad of cures to this divine offence, but one thing is certain—man senses the need of obtaining forgiveness in some way—through some kind of payment. Unfortunately for man—he has to rely for the most part on the religious gurus to tell him what to do—and if we were to be honest—they really are not in any better position to answer that he is. If only we could know the mind and heart of God—through some kind of revelation given to us by Him. Then we would know how to get forgiveness.
That is where the Bible comes into our picture. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us. It is the sure guide to the definitive answers on forgiveness. It gives us answers to the questions that we have. It answers the question concerning Whom we have sinned against. Our consciences bother us because we've disobeyed God and His Law. It also shows us the way sin has been paid for—as well as how God offers to us that forgiveness. We learn from Scripture that God Himself has paid that price. And the most amazing thing we learn is that after paying the price for sin through the crucifixion of Jesus, He now offers to us forgiveness for every single one of our sins as a gift of His grace. It seems too good to be true—that forgiveness requires no payment on our part—because God Himself has paid the penalty for sin Himself through Jesus Christ. But that, dear saints, is His grace. It is God acting on the issue of sin and a compromised conscience—and solving them through the death, burial, and resurrection of His own Son, Jesus Christ.
Most of these articles are taken from the Calvary Courier, a weekly newsletter that is sent to the folks who attend Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. Due to the response to these articles, we've decided to print some of them which proved to be very helpful to God's people at the fellowship.
Thank you for visiting our website! Everything on this site is offered for free. If, however, you would like to make a donation to help pay for its continued presence on the internet, you can do that by clicking here. The only thing we ask is that you give first to the local church you attend.
Copyright 2024 Calvary Chapel Jonesboro | all rights reserved