(Continued from Part 1)
The Bible tells us that "God is a spirit: And they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) It also speaks of Him as "the Father of spirits" in Hebrew 12:9, and "the God of the spirits" in Numbers 16:22 and 27:16. So He is a spiritual God Who dwells and operates in the spiritual realm, and from there conducts His behind-the-scene labours which are almost totally invisible: The work of creation that produced the universe and keeps it running, His design and plan for man and His constant care for His creations.
However, the churches concept of God is quite different! They see Him as a sort of sissified, namby-pamby, Sunday-school-poster type of kindly old gentleman with bushy grey hair and long white beard, a Santa Clause that loves and brings everybody presents, especially church people! Well, Santa Clause is not my idea of God! In fact, my God's getting bigger all the time, and more and more beyond my comprehension!
He's not the traditionally manufactured God of hypocritical churchianity and verbose religiosity, but the genuine Basic Power and Guiding Light of the Universe which has brought men into being, and, as man's benevolent fatherly Creator, has some kind and benign purpose in store for him, a final fulfilment of his undeniably human aspirations for love, life, liberty and happiness!
His visible creation is an illustration of the things in the spirit of that which is invisible. "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead." (Romans 1:20) Everything God created, everything God ever made, all the visible creation, is in some way, an illustration of something spiritual. And what did God create to illustrate and show what He Himself is like? What creation gives us the best picture of what God is like?
In the first chapter of the first Book of the Bible we are told that "God created man in his Own image, in the image of God created He him." (Genesis 1:27) In other words, God made us very much like Himself in many ways, in His image and His likeness. We are like God!--We have the majesty of choice, we can do good or evil, and we are similar to God in our thinking and in our emotions and in our personalities.
He says in other place, "Ye are gods"--"are ye not gods?" (John 10:34,35 and Psalm 82:6) We indeed are like gods. Man was created to be like God Himself, like the gods of the spirit world, yet in a body of flesh bound with the earth and earthen things, "and of the earth, earthy." (1Corinthians 15:47)
But man has not quite as much freedom by any means as the spirits, the spirit gods of the spirit world, who are much greater in power, mightier in influence and have more ability to either do good or to do evil. Man is confined to this world and to a certain environment and to certain limitations, physical weaknesses and restrictions, so that though he were a god on spirit, in a sense, he being on probation and being put to the test of choice, cannot do too much damage in a fleshly body.
"But, if this is all true," we often hear, "and there is an all-powerful God behind the scenes, why then does He allow war and pain and suffering and the atrocities of man's inhumanity to man?--Why doesn't He put a stop to such evils?"--Well, although He hates war and its rich perpetrators, and deplores the poverty of the poor and their suffering, and is soon going to step in and set things right, He hasn't yet because He would have had to put a stop to the entire thing and man's choice, which is the main idea of the whole Great Design.
Man was created and put here to make a choice between good and evil, to do right or wrong, to serve God or himself and the Devil, and to learn the benefits of serving God--reaping the joy and happiness and pleasures of keeping God's loving rules for his own good and worshipping and thanking God for it all in return, as grateful children of their Heavenly Father, to believe in Him and have faith in Him and trust Him and His Word and obey it for their own good and His glory.
Or man can believe the lies of the Devil and rebel against God and disobey Him and refuse to believe His Word and go their own way and suffer the consequences of violating His law of love, rebellion against which and disobedience to which brings ill health, misery, pain, suffering, man's inhumanity to man, cruelty, atrocities, wars, economic ills, unhappiness, mental anguish, insanity, and finally death and Hell hereafter.
God is interested in our decisions. He's concerned to see that if we are given the great majesty of choice we will make the right choices. Of course He is sad to see when we make the wrong choices. This is why He put us here and this is what we're here to learn: How to make the right decisions. So He has had to give us the opportunity to have our own way and choice to see what we will do.
But even if we don't fully understand why God created us the way He did, I'm sure He did it for whatever reasons He felt best, for His sake and our sake and the sake of a lesson to all the Universe. Perhaps it's a great lesson to all the spirit world and all the gods and goddesses and the good spirits and evil spirits including the Devil Himself, to give them all a good sample of what is right and what is wrong and how that right pays off and wrong pays off too! (Continued in part 3)