Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
The most important personal relationship you will ever have is the relationship between you and God the Father, your creator. You will — literally — spend eternity learning about Him and interacting with Him when appropriate.
It may be somewhat difficult for you to accept, but you will be closer in your relationship to God the Father than any relationship you ever had, have now, or ever will have. Your relationship with God will be closer even than your relationship with Jesus Christ, your elder brother. God the Father is your Savior through Christ (1 Timothy 1:1, 2:3–4; Titus 1:3, 2:10, 3:4; and Jude verse 25). He is the object of your deepest heartfelt desires and the fulfillment of everything you seek in life now or in the future. As the apostle Paul said: “For in him [God the Father] we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
The article this month is “God: Contradictions and Harmony.” This article provides additional biblical support examining a basic and important teaching, a philosophical matter, regarding the problem of evil in the world and God’s role in it. This article will increase your knowledge about God so you can understand Him and His ways better, and so you can act with greater wisdom toward others in your life. After all, it is wise to learn all you can about someone who literally decides whether or not you take your next breath. 1
At the present time in God’s plan, He seems to be distant from mankind, far from His own children that He created, seeming to leave them to their own devices. At the same time, in the background He and Christ are working to fulfill their plan for all mankind and for you individually. Let me ask you, is He overtly showing that love to you or mankind in a personal way very much at all? 2 Nevertheless, read what Paul presented to the Greek humanists on the Areopagus (also known as Mars Hill, Acts 17:19, 22) where he states it is important for all human beings …
“That they should seek the Lord [meaning God], if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: ‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being’; as certain also of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’”
Depending on one’s physical or intellectual strength, or material resources, the life of every human being apart from God is particularly beastly and brutish. The psalmist Asaph describes himself, when envying wicked people who are prosperous: “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before you” (Psalm 73:22). Man perishes just like beasts (Psalm 49:12). This includes everyone who ever lived, except a small number of people chosen by God (like you), such as Israel and those the New Testament ekklesia. Even those to whom God has revealed Himself live difficult lives ending in death.
Man is only truly human when he is Godly. Why? It is because man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27 and 9:6). One must acknowledge God exists first, only then can one move to fear God. True, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 110:10; Proverbs 1:7, 9:10), but true fear of God must acknowledge God’s use of evil in His plan and in history.
Throughout eternity, as we learn about God the Father, we will be working. “Jesus answered them, ‘My Father works hitherto, and I work’” (John 5:17, note the context). Sometimes that work will involve creating things like God did (Genesis 2:1), but most often it will involve hard work helping and serving others (Luke 22:25–26). Indeed, Jesus acknowledged that the works He did were actually God’s works:
“Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”
Serving others will also involve the work of opposing evil. As Dr. Martin points out, evil will always be around, but for us the evil will largely affect others. After our resurrections when we begin to effectively serve others, the only way we will be affected will be by observing others (both innocent and guilty) suffer from mistakes and sins as they learn the truths of God.
One of the wonderful attributes of God is that He can bring good out of evil (bad). When man tries to bring good out of evil apart from God, only greater evil results. How many times in your life have you been forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, both of which were horrendous? Life is filled with such sad and heartbreaking situations. Some even lose their faith, turn from God, or even come to hate God because of their situations in life. However, in my own life and in the lives of my family and friends, many times I have seen how God over time has brought tremendous good out of the worst of evil. No doubt you too could give numerous accounts of God acting in your behalf or on behalf of loved ones or acquaintances.
Finally, remember that while we are always to consider death an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26), to God death is merely a tool. God has resurrection power. Those He kills or allows to die, He can bring back to life, and He shall bring back to life every human being who ever lived at a time of His own choosing. 3 Salvation will be universal. That means that every human being will be saved eventually, and achieve their intended station as part of the Body of Christ and as a son or daughter of God. Every bit of information that you can gain now about your God, your Creator, your Father, will give you a more complete understanding of His nature. This month’s article by Dr. Martin will greatly help you achieve this greater understanding.
Read this Newsletter again after you read Dr. Martin’s presentation.
As we approach the time of the end we will increasingly notice that “good information drives out bad” in all fields of human endeavor and study. In other words, true factual information will replace fantasy, misrepresentation, and scholarly supposition. This will be particularly notable in biblical matters. Scientists and the intellectuals of the world increasingly will be forced by their own research to acknowledge God as creator with all its implications. At the same time most will not want to obey God any more than you did before He revealed Himself to you through His Holy Scriptures. Read again Romans chapters 1 and 2.
ASK is doing its part (a substantial part I believe), in providing “good information” to eventually drive out “bad information.” We are grateful that you help us continue to produce this “good information.” You help provide a service that the world will need and use by your prayers for ASK and for each other, by your contributions, and by your comments of encouragement and support to us personally. Thank you, and may God bless you for helping ASK.
David W. Sielaff
1 It is literally God’s decision and “in His hand” whether you take your next breath — or not. Pay attention to the details and context in these Scriptures: Genesis 2:7, 6:17; Job 12:10, 27:3, 34:14; Psalm 104:29, 146:4; Daniel 5:23; and Acts 17:25.
2 His love to you is manifested through Christ, as He is both the primary actor in God’s plan, and the primary example of how to live our lives. Everything that we need to know about Christ’s actions and example are fully recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
3 See Dr. Martin’s Chapter 16, “Resurrections from the Dead” at http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess022a.htm from his book Essentials of New Testament Doctrine.
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