(March 14, 1990)
“If believing in God makes you feel good, then for you there is a God. But I don’t feel the need for religion. For me there is no God.”
This is relative thinking. What is real for you is real for you and what is real for me is real for me, no absolutes. But what is the Biblical response to relative thinking?
The Christian to whom this was said answered: “I am talking about a God who exists apart from me and apart from you. I am talking about a God who exists whether we believe in Him or not. If God does not exist objectively, according to true truth, then all my prayers, all my devotion, all my religious fervor cannot bring Him into existence... I have the power to imagine things that are not really there, but I cannot ultimately create such things out of nothing. By the same token, if such a God does in fact exist, then all of your unbelief does not have the power to destroy Him. The God of whom I am speaking does not pass in and out of existence at our whims.” (From One Holy Passion by R. C. Sproul)
The idea that man created God is not a new one. In fact, the creation of gods is one of our oldest activities. Every culture, every tribe and peoples of the world have gods of various sorts. Some are carved images, some are imaginative manlike creatures. Others are grotesque shapes with supposed powers. Yet out of all what man may call “god”, the God of the Bible stands utterly and wholly apart.
No one could imagine a Being like He. For one thing, we in our imperfection can’t relate to His perfect holiness. We cannot understand One who is all powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, holy, a hater of sin, just and yet merciful. Our gods, if we imagine them at all, are extensions of ourselves; but He is totally separate. We may resemble Him (we were made in His image) but He is not like us.
Hebrews 11:6 says that God, who is spirit (without a physical body), is pleased when we believe He exists. He even reveals Himself so we can believe... “The heavens declare the glory of God... there is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”
Creation gives us no reason not to acknowledge God. The awe felt when we (as well as pagan jungle savages) look at the stars or the colors on the wings of a butterfly or the variety of plants and trees is an awe that ought to be called worship and given to the One who spoke all these into existence. But the intellectual evolutionist attempts to explain away the awe. He claims all this was only chance, that none of these things are anything more than cosmic accidents.
However, God’s revelation of Himself in nature is not His only disclosure. He also appeared in a body, a perfect man, who changes lives and changed history, who cannot be explained away with pat theories and scientific jargon. This man, God in human flesh, burst into our creation, then proved His identity by healing diseases, commanding the wind and the sea, walking on water, turning some of it to wine, dumbfounding the wise and transforming the simple. Then He died and rose from the dead. His tomb is empty.
What can the relative thinker or the evolutionist say about the historic Jesus? All the world’s theories do not affect Who He is and what He did. He also is a visible rebuke to any of our imagined gods.
Furthermore, the relativist thought Christians make up “God” because He makes them “feel good.” Not so. There are many times His holiness makes me feel awful. I’d never invent a god who convicts me so deeply of my sin and unworthiness. Nor would I invent one upon Whom I am utterly dependent. I’m too independent to do that. Besides, the person of Jesus Christ is beyond even the most radical imagination.
Reject Him, or say YES and put faith in Him, but never dismiss God as revealed in His Son as a mere religious whim. None of us are that creative.