A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Monday, August 20, 2012

Honest Doubt: Not in some things--the most important!

Ac 9:5 "And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

How do you verify your thoughts?  What makes them true or false?  You think there is no biblical God, the Creator, perfect in power, love, justice, knowledge, wisdom, etc.  That is something pretty important not to be certain about.  But how can you be certain?  If certainty is impossible, then if He does exists He cannot be loving.  To even raise the doubt destroys the only comfort that is possible for man.  Before you can ever decide whether anything is true, you have to make a decision about whether you are capable of knowing it.  You must affirm something about yourself in order to affirm anything else. 

To tell the parents that there is no reason, no loving purpose, nothing but bitter chance or cruel nature, for the death of a beloved child; or the birth of a severely handicapped one, or any of the other harsh tragedies of the world is to deprive the experience of meaning, to take away hope, the support of life.  Anyone who does this is not loving, but bitter and angry.  "But it is true," they say.  "There is no God.  We have to face the truth."  But how can you be sure?  Isn't it important enough to be certain about?

Because the doubt raised by the skeptic represents a most bitter and unloving spirit, the doubt fills the soul with bitter knots and fears, especially in a world of tragedy. If the doubt is from God, then He is no loving God, and the skeptic represents no love and no compassion. 

Again, the doubt raised by the skeptic is not humble, but imagines that those who believe in God have been conditioned by others and do not think for themselves.  They think that only stupid people would believe stories about talking snakes, water from rocks, bread from heaven, parting of seas, etc.  Stupid people from all the world believe such stupid myths in all religions.  The skeptic hasn't seen such things and like Thomas, he demands that he be given a private viewing before he will believe.  He is a cut above everyone else intellectually, he thinks.    

Ob 1:3 "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee...."  Pride is the greatest of all intoxicants and blinds the mind and the heart.   It demands the right to define the boundaries of truth.  As such, at the very beginning of the inquiry, it refuses to recognize Jehovah who resists the proud and calls men to forsake their own thought and live. "The light shines in darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not."  Understanding requires an act of the will to "take hold of," for the mind is not a wax tablet upon which experience writes, but people must have a "spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." [Eph. 1:17]  This is the reason that Paul and all faithful ministers pray that "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints...." [Eph. 1:18]

Why the Knowledge of God Must Be Clear

The existence of God would be clear from physical reality, and the universe would abound with a veritable downpour or hurricane of evidence, that would reveal the folly of doubt.  It would be clear from the intellectual reality, and the vanity of thought that would result from denying Him.  It would be clear from the spiritual and moral realities and the selfishness, corruption, and spiritual bankruptcies of those who doubt.  Without Him the whole world becomes a bottomless pit, intellectually, morally, spiritually, physically.

If Jehovah is possibly a myth and the very doubt is warranted, then all the evil results follow.  To start with doubt is to deny the existence of Jehovah.  To doubt His existence is to deny it, a frightful offense against God and all his creation.  Denial is in the doubt; for it is impossible for an all powerful and all loving God not to have revealed Himself clearly.  How could a loving God permit the world to believe in Jehovah?  How could a loving God permit Moses to be so deceived and the Jews to suffer so much to preserve their Scriptures and the knowledge of Jehovah?

But because the biblical God is real, then no doubt cam be warranted, for His love would make His existence transparent and written in all His works.  The man who knows God will realize that the doubt is culpable and is to be condemned, as the Bible says.  The doubt itself would be worthy of judgment and the wrath of a good God, though He bear long with it. The doubt itself would reveal the bankrupcy of man's intellect, his spirit, his very powers of observation, and use of His senses.   The doubt would reveal that the skeptic has refused knowledge; not that the knowledge is obscure.   The doubt condemns the doubter, not the evidence.

Because of this, the skeptic cannot deliver himself from his own doubt; how could the blind man see? how could the dead feel? how could the deaf hear?  If he does not believe he is condemned already, because he does not believe.  There is no excuse for his unbelief, for the unbelief itself is culpable.  His jaundiced eye makes everything yellow, and nothing he finds in his friends, the birds of the air, or the fish of the sea, or the moon and the stars, or even in the love of family can convince him of the truth of that which is self-evident.  His heart is hardened in pride.

Such men are to be prayed for and pitied.  "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."  2Tim. 2:25,26
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