How Can I Find God?
The world is filled with people who will help you find "God." Some will suggest meditation, delving deep inside yourself to find some sort of "divine spark." Others will suggest helping the less fortunate, perhaps working at a soup kitchen or at a shelter for the homeless. Still others will point to the wonders of the creation all around us, to the beauty of a sunset or the grandeur of the mountains. In doing one or all those things, you may feel something - you may even think that thing is God. But how can you be sure?
What if the only way to find God is for God to find you?
Jesus told a story about the kingdom of God being like a woman searching for a lost coin, sweeping her house up and down until she finally found it. (Luke 15:8-10). That's what God is like. He is looking for us more fervently than any of us are looking for Him. He spoke through the prophets and apostles, whose words are written in the Bible, so that we could learn what He is like, what He wants from us and for us, and how much He loves us. God wanted to find us so much He became a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, so that we could learn what He is really like. When you read the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, you will not only find God. You will discover that God has found you!
Does God Really Exist?
Since the dawn of recorded history there have been people who have doubted there is any such thing as a "god" or "gods." This is certainly nothing new. However, a great many other people, from all cultures and religious traditions, have argued the opposite. The Greek philosopher Aristotle argued that since every effect has a cause, there must be some original cause that, itself, had no cause. It could be argued that this first cause is God. More recently some scientists have proposed that they can see `'intelligent design" in the complex inner workings of living cells. Since design implies a designer, if could be argued that the designer of life is God.
But what if it was impossible to prove absolutely that God exists?
What if, in fact, faith that God exists is, itself, a gift from the God who created the world? The Bible teaches that God has shown Himself to the world, but that we humans have exchanged belief in the obvious for the lie that there is no God (Romans 1:18-25). Now only God can remove the veil of unbelief from our hearts, so that we can believe through hearing God's message in the Bible, God's Spirit can indeed unveil our eyes to see Him and know Him as He really is. Then we are able to see that there is indeed much "proof" of God's existence all around us. Most importantly, we can see that God was at work in Jesus of Nazareth, restoring our relationship with Him in Jesus' life and death, and sowing the seeds of a new creation in Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
How Did the World Begin?
Judging from common scientific statements, it would seem that our observations about the beginning of the world and the Bible's account of creation could not be further apart. The common scientific presentation of the beginning of creation is that billions of years ago the universe started from nothing, and that space, time, energy and matter expanded outward to form the stars and planets we see today. On our planet, a few billions of years ago, molecules came together to form more complex molecules, eventually resulting in the diversity of life we see today.
But what if none of that were true?
Most modern scientific approaches to understanding the world assume that there is no God, design, or purpose to the universe. Theories based on that belief assume the universe came to be through natural, undirected processes. But scientists who are willing to accept the existence of a God or a creating intelligence are willing to speak openly about the flaws in these theories. The universe, they point out, is suspiciously fine-tuned to support intelligent life: it didn't need to be that way. Life, in turn, has turned out to be more complex than anyone suspected a century ago. The odds of life "just happening" are astronomical. It turns out that the Bible's account of creation has not actually been discredited by the modern scientific community; it has simply been ignored.
The Bible teaches that the universe, our planet, and all life were created by God in an orderly, purposeful fashion and declared by Him to be good (Genesis 1-2). However, when faced with the moral choice of trusting God or trusting in their own wisdom, the first two humans made the wrong choice (Genesis 3:1-7). Their decision caused a reaction throughout creation that twisted it out of line with God's original intent (Romans 8:20-23). The original perfect world now bears the taint of death. Jesus, God's incarnate Son, lived and died in that creation to begin the process of restoring it. In His resurrection, Jesus became the first fruit of a new created world without death, disease or destruction. Christians live in hope, waiting for that perfect world that is yet to come.
Why Are We Here?
There are two prevailing theories in the world about our purpose in life. One is that we are the chance product of a long line of selected mutations, the result of a natural but purposeless process that began billions of years ago for no apparent reason. In that view, there is no "why" for why we are here, so we ought, simply, to make the best of the limited years we have before we die. The other view is that there is a God or designing intelligence who brought the universe into existence, and that humans are here for a purpose.
Since Christians believe that God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible, we also believe He has revealed the purpose for human beings in general and for you in particular. In Genesis 1:26 God said that humans were created in God's likeness, and that as men and women they were to have "dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth," and also over "every plant yielding seed" and "every tree with seed in its fruit". Humans were to be the caretakers of creation, living in community with their Creator.
Since the moral choice the first man and woman made, to follow their own path rather than God's, creation and humanity's purpose within if has been lost to most people. By nature, we don't know as clearly as our first parents why we are here, and even when we do know what we should do, we often choose not to do it. Instead of loving each other, we distrust, hate, and even hurt each other. Instead of binding with a mate for life and creating a family, we end up using sex for personal pleasure. Instead of loving and serving God, we seek to love and serve ourselves.
The 10 Commandments that God gave to the Israelites show the kind of people God created us to be. Living according to those commands is God's will for our lives. But because of what the first two humans, Adam and Eve, did, living out that purpose is a burden and not a joy. Christ Jesus was sent into the world to remove the burden and guilt of not being able to please God and so live out a purposeful life. By His life and death, He atoned for our failing to live up to our purpose, and by His resurrection He became a new human being who did fulfill God's intended purpose for us. All Christians who cling to Jesus in faith are declared to be part of that new human being, strengthened to live lives of purpose in preparation for the perfect new creation that is yet to come.
The book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, recounts an epic disaster that destroyed almost all of life on earth and effected every corner of the planet. That event is the Flood, and it is capitalized for the simple reason that the word in Hebrew for this event refers to something more than just an overflowing river or even a tsunami. The only survivors of this event, according to Genesis, are a man named Noah, his wife, and his six sons and daughters-in-law, along with pairs of every kind of animal Noah was instructed to bring with him on a giant ark which he built at God's instruction. Most people dismiss the story as a legend, or at best as an overblown accounting of a much smaller, local crisis.
But is it possible there really was such a global catastrophe?
Stories of a global flood, from which only a few survived, exist in almost every culture around the world. The similarities between these accounts are startling: a flood that occurs because of rampant evil on the earth, a handful of humans and animals selected to survive, the global nature of the catastrophe, even the giving of a promise by a god or gods never to inflict such a disaster again. A small group of geologists believe a global, catastrophic flood would explain many fossils and their locations, the vast coal and oil deposits across the globe, and other geophysical phenomena.
Jesus himself believed the Flood to be a historic occurrence. He said that life on earth at His next appearing would be much like it was in the days of Noah, when people "were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away" (Matthew 24:38-39).