Does God Want Us to Worship His Creation?
Tom: You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. The topic we have been discussing for the last few weeks is “Who Is God?” which is the second chapter heading in Dave Hunt’s book In Defense of the Faith. Dave, shouldn’t we add to that, “according to whom”? In other words, who says so and on what basis?
Dave: Obviously, God is going to have to speak for Himself.
Dave: We’re not going to come up with our own ideas about God. That’s why . . .
Tom: But that hasn’t stopped a lot of people.
Dave: Oh, of course, but that’s absolute folly. If God does not reveal Himself—the Bible even says it: “Man, by his wisdom, cannot find out God.” God says, “You will seek for me and find me when you seek for me with all your heart.” That means God will be willing to reveal Himself to us.
So we can make certain logical deductions about God. The Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament shows His handiwork.” So you look at the universe around you, you know first of all, it had to be created. We’ve gone through that, and we won’t go into that again. But, I mean, I look out my kitchen window, and I see all kinds of creatures out there. You know we have deer come by, and ducks and quail, and there are spiders, you know. How did a spider learn to spin a web? You can go on and on, but when you get into the depths of the atom, where did this organization come from? Or you go into the cell, the smallest living unit. The organization, the information, put into the . . .
Tom: The complexity, right.
Dave: The complexity—but the organization of the complexity, and the information, literally, words coded into DNA with the operating instructions for the body and so forth. There is absolutely no way this could happen by chance! Now that is total folly. We can prove it mathematically and in many other ways. Einstein himself said—although he did not believe in the God of the Bible—he said, “There is no way that matter can produce information any more than the ink and paper page that I am looking at in front of me, can produce the information that is on it.”
So now we know that God is infinite in wisdom and power. He would have to know everything; otherwise He couldn’t hold this universe together. In fact, it would be folly for God to create men not knowing what they were going to do. That’s a whole other thing—God’s foreknowledge. So there are many things we can learn about God. We can deduce from our own bodies, from the universe around us, but that’s not going to tell me about God’s love. It won’t tell me about His justice.
Now, I do have those concepts in my mind—the very fact that I recognize that there is such a thing as justice. Justice is not determined by the courts or the legislative bodies. Now, they do make the laws, but there is a higher law written in our conscience, and every person would say, “But wait a minute! You came up with a law, the courts made a ruling, or the legislative body came up with a law—that’s not just.” When you say that, you are not referring to some other ruling, say, by the Supreme Court, because we don’t even know those things—an ordinary person doesn’t. We are saying that there is something wrong with this. This isn’t fair, it’s not right, it’s not just.
So then the fact that we have these concepts within our minds—these are not physical. Justice doesn’t have any texture, weight, odor, and so forth. They don’t originate within us. They don’t originate in the brain. That tells me that I am a spirit being, because I have nonphysical thoughts! Truth [is not] physical. Then I know that the very fact that I have these concepts would indicate to me that God must be the perfection of all of this. This is not platonic ideas, although it’d be close to what Plato reasoned about. But the God who created me, He must have given me the concepts that I have of truth and justice, purity, holiness, morality, and ethics. All men have these, and the Bible says so. Romans chapter 2: God has written His laws. He didn’t just give them on Mt. Sinai. He has written them on everybody’s conscience. So we can reason with one another about these things. So I can move a long ways in the direction of understanding God.
Tom: Right, but you can’t understand our purpose. What’s our point? Why do we have these attributes, and why did God create us? That we can’t figure out.
Dave: I know there must be a purpose, because my . . .
Tom: Dave, let me just add to that—we can’t figure it out on our own.
Tom: We can understand because of His revelation, which is where you’re going with this, I’m sure.
Dave: Now, then it would only be logical that the God who created us, who gave us these qualities, these capacities: to love, to have a sense of what is right and wrong, and so forth, He would have a purpose for us, and He would communicate it to us. Now, He does speak to us in our conscience, but we need more than that. So you can look around and—well we’ve talked about this before—there are all kinds of writings of the world’s religion’s sacred books. You have the Qur’an; you have the Hindu Vedas and so forth. The sayings of Buddha and Confucius and all of this.
Tom: The Book of Mormon.
Dave: Yeah, and I often say, “I can save you a lot of time. You couldn’t live long enough to study them all. Let’s go to the Bible first, because it claims to be the revelation from God. It claims that all the rest are wrong, and if we can prove that, then you have saved a lot of time.”
We’ve been through this in our past talks. We can definitely prove that the Bible is true, that God exists—the God of the Bible. And that is not the case with the Qur’an. You cannot take the Qur’an and prove that Allah exists. For example, Allah has 99 characteristics, and not one of them is love. The Bible says God is love!
So let’s go to the Bible and see what it says. Now one of the interesting things about the Bible—and, again, we’ve mentioned this in the past—you know everything is related, and so many things are basic, we have to keep repeating basic things. You do not find in the Bible the nonsense that you would get in the Qur’an for example. Some of it is like the Arabian Nights fairy tales. We’ve talked about that a bit in the past. There are contradictions and so forth.
In the Qur’an or the Bhagavad-Gita—I mean this is obviously a mythological story. It isn’t true; it doesn’t give you any revelations of the person of God. But the Bible does not have this nonsense. The Bible is not a book of science, but whenever it talks in a scientific area it is absolutely correct. It does not make the mistakes of these other books. The religious writings of the world have many absurd concepts of God. They present all kinds of gods. The Bible is very clear in its presentation of God, and the God of the Bible has definite characteristics as to who He is, which contrast . . . . One of the things you will notice when you study the religions of the world (and I am certainly not the expert on that), but one of the things you will notice is that the Bible is on one side, the writings of the world’s religions are on the other side. They are all similar, and they are in opposition to the Bible! The God of the Bible is on one side. The gods of the pagans or all the concepts of god of the various religions and writings of this world—they are in contrast to the Bible and they are on the other side. The distinction is quite clear, and, Tom, I don’t know where you want to take us, but maybe that’s where you want to get—what you want to get into.
Tom: I want to go to, again, your book. In Defense of the Faith has numerous questions in it —questions that have been asked of you throughout your ministry, throughout your life in Christ, and you’ve put these together. Before I get to the question though, Dave, this chapter heading is “Who Is God?” and I think that is what we are asking our listeners. Who is God? If they are Muslim, if they are a Mormon, they have to ask that question. Who is the God that they believe in and on what basis?
And we are encouraging, as you said earlier, we are encouraging people to seek out God through the Bible, which claims—which has incredible claims—with regard to . . . if it’s wrong at any one point, then it’s not what it claims to be—the Word of God.
Dave: There is a difference between saying who is God?, and what is God? We can dispense with that very quickly. We are personal beings and a . . . what . . . force? Star Wars Force? That’s an absurdity. It’s amoral. It has a dark and a light side. What? You can play either side. Just forget it, it doesn’t work.
Tom: But, Dave, that’s related to the question. Let me just throw this question out to you . . .
Dave: Well let me just finish . . . There’s got to be a personal . . . God has to be a personal being and not some force of some kind. Okay, go ahead.
Tom: “The oldest and most popular concepts of God are either pantheism, the belief that everything, that is, the universe, is God, or polytheism, the belief that there are many gods. Why couldn’t either or both of these be true? Why is the Bible so adamant against these beliefs and why does it so severely condemn what it calls the ‘pagans’ who have sincerely held these beliefs for thousands of years—certainly long before Jesus Christ came along.”
Dave: There is nothing more important than knowing God.
Dave: Knowing who He is, first of all, and then to know Him—to be personally acquainted with Him. Now, the Bible says . . . it makes it very clear in Romans 1 that everybody knows God! They know who He is, they know His power and Godhead, but it says, “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God. They became vain in their imagination. Their foolish heart was darkened, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and they changed the glory of the incorruptible God . . .”— like creatures, you know. I mean, some worship, in Egypt, a scarab; they worship all kinds of animals and even insects, or even trees, or stones! Now, wait a minute. This little creature did not create the universe! A stone did not create the universe; a tree . . . Furthermore, the universe did not create itself. If it did, I mean, you can’t pray to a hurricane, you don’t get in touch with a tree, even though some people hug them. That’s a complete delusion.
So, to know who God is—there is nothing more important! Now wouldn’t you think that the true God, if there is a true God (and there must be), do you think He just doesn’t care what people think about Him? Somebody wants to think He’s a rock; somebody wants to think He’s a waterfall. Somebody wants to think He is the Great Spirit, or that He is the universe? He just doesn’t care? No! Jesus Christ said (and logic tells you this), “This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.” So, if I have a mistaken idea of God, it would be like having a mistaken idea of my wife, or of some friend. “Oh, I think my wife is a chimpanzee.” [Laughing—“Boy, I hope she’s not listening to that!] Wouldn’t that upset her a little bit? And wouldn’t that affect my relationship with her? You see?
So, if I have a false idea of God: “Well, I think there are many gods out there”—polytheism. A major problem with polytheism is who is the head god? Well, they fight wars with one another. They steal one another’s wives. There’s no unity, there’s no peace among the gods even! So what is the point?
Or I think the whole universe is god. Everything is god. Well, then, if everything is god, that’s just another form of atheism. Nothing is god, because there is no difference. There’s no difference between me and a book, or me and a tree. Come on, now wait a minute! You can’t really believe that! And then, “Well, God is just everything.” Well, then, God is sickness as well as health. God is death as well as life. God is destruction—tornado, or an erupting volcano? “Well, that’s just God doing his thing.”
Tom: And, Dave, if God is everything and He’s the universe, then there is no hope, there’s no solution.
Dave: Right, then nothing is God. The very thought of God is meaningless. The universe is running down like a clock.
Tom: And, Dave, these ideas—again, going back to the question, “pantheism,” which, what we’ve been talking about here is it means that God is in everything. That’s one idea, and polytheism, as you’ve just mentioned, means that there are many gods. Now, the God of the Bible contradicts this. There are statements, claims, and verses in God’s Word that state that He alone is God. There aren’t “many gods,” and He is transcendent—He is not part of His creation.
Dave: See, what happens, Tom, ultimately this whole idea of God deteriorates, and man wants to play God, which was the lie of the serpent. So he fashions gods to his own liking—a god that he can negotiate with, so his morals begin to deteriorate. Because if I’ve got a god who will let me do things if I make a deal with him, then my morals go down, then my selfishness increases, because I’ve got a god that I can pacify. And if I do certain things—I can make a deal with him. And if I do this, he’ll give me that. So, ultimately, your view of God—it will influence your life . . .
Dave: . . . so that you become the kind of a person that your god would have created, and you become in his image. The Bible says God made man in His image, and man rebelled. Now, if I’m going to know God—you see, God says, “You will seek for me and find me when you seek for me with all your whole heart.” He doesn’t say you will find some concept of God, or you will begin to believe in some higher power. Anybody can do that. But God says if you want to know the true God—and I would say that to anyone listening out there: if you don’t know God—if you’re not sure—first of all, you must decide that you are not going to determine who God is, what God is like, what His purpose and plans are for you. He created the universe, you did not, all right?
Now, do you really (just think about it seriously) do you really want to know the true God? Just out of curiosity? Or do you want to know Him so that you can willingly obey Him and fulfill His purpose and plan for your life? That’s what has to be decided.
Now, you make up your mind. Do you want to just continue on in your little world and come up with your own ideas and live for yourself and one day find out too late that you were created for a purpose and that you have rejected this God who made you? Now, when you consider that God is love, you would have to come to that conclusion because all of literature would tell you that. I mean, the most beautiful poetry, the most beautiful stories, and so forth, are all about love—selfless love, sacrificial love. We wouldn’t even appreciate that unless this is the kind of a god, the God who created us.
And so, when I consider that God really loves me, that His way is best, and He’s infinite in wisdom, His purpose for my life must be good! I may not always see it that way, but if I will trust Him, it will turn out that way.
Well, then, if I refuse to allow God to have His way in my life, and I miss the purpose for which God created me, you have missed everything, and you will be the prisoner of that disparity between what God desired for you and what you yourself have selfishly created. You will be the prisoner of that forever!
Now that’s very serious! Why not get to know God and trust Him and put yourself in His hands. So, first of all you have to decide—do I really want to know the true God (He’s the Creator!) so that I can willingly submit to Him and know His purposes for my life. If you don’t want that, He will not force it on you, because He gave us the power of choice so that we could willingly love Him and so that we could love one another.
So you’ve got to decide right at the very beginning. He’s the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, but you must seek him. You mustn’t seek some phony Star Wars Force or Higher Power. That’s what you’ll find. Do you want to know the true God? So this is—there’s nothing more important, Tom, than deciding, “What God do I want to believe in? Do I want to believe in the true God, or some God that I can manipulate and supposedly make deals with?” You have to come to that conclusion.
Tom: Yeah, Dave, for our listeners out there, whether they’re believers, or those who are seekers, or maybe we’ve caught somebody’s attention on the basis of what you’ve said—God has revealed Himself to us, as you’ve said, generally through His creation, but specifically through His Word. This is how we can get to know Him. Even for true believers, for Christians, who, yeah, they believe in the Bible, but do they seek Him out through His Word so that they’re are on track with what He wants, what He desires, the promises that He has for them, all that He’s done for them, and all that pleases Him with regard to what they do? But we have to do it His way. That’s what we’re saying here. We’re not saying follow Dave Hunt, or T. A. McMahon, we’re saying . . .
Dave: . . . or some church.
Tom: Right, some other leader out there. We’re saying God’s Word reveals His love, His character, His truth, and if we want to know Him, there’s no other way.
Dave: The ultimate revelation of God is, of course, in Jesus Christ. You can get to know Him through His Word. He is the living Word. But there is no greater desire than to know Him. And you read this of the great characters in the Bible. David: “ . . . as the hart pants after the water brook [that’s a deer], so pants my soul after thee.” Paul: “O that I might know him (Christ).” Do you want to know someone who is worth knowing? Seek God; tell God you want to know Him, the true God. Look in His Word, the Bible, and study it, and allow Him to reveal Himself. We suggest you might start with the gospel of John, which we will be studying here shortly.