|Gateway to Paradise|
Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be alive and unable to see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. Close your eyes and imagine a world of unending blackness and silence. Imagine having never seen or experienced anything of this world and universe. Imagine eternal nothingness. Then, without the aid of anything you know about this universe, pretend you were God. How would you design a universe? Would it have people? animals? water? gravity? laws? freedom of choice? friends? love?...
In nature there is found a profound sense of wonder that cannot be found in any other place. Whether it be glaciated mountain summits, lush virgin forests, exotic tropical beaches, or just plain old grassy meadows, there is enough diversity in nature to satisfy anyone. From the softness of tender mosses to the fragrance of delicate wildflowers, from birdsong to brookside, from delicious tropical fruits to the awe-inspiring majesty of a towering Redwood forest, nature is a treat for each of the five senses!
Amidst all of its grandeur, there is a theme woven through all of nature that even the worst of skeptics occasionally acknowledge. It often goes beyond words. It defies comprehension. But it is there nevertheless... The feeling that somehow there has to be a Designer behind all of the universe's mind-boggling beauty and complexity.
In his well-documented book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Dr. Denton quotes from leading scientists in order to show the complete bankruptcy of the idea that life originated by random chance. Although Denton is apparently not a religious person, he demonstrates conclusively that the sciences of microbiology, genetics, paleontology, taxonomy, etc. do not support Darwin's theory of evolution. In his chapter "Beyond the Reach of Chance", Denton writes that: "The Darwinian claim that all the adaptive design of nature has resulted from a random search, a mechanism unable to find the best solution in a game of checkers, is one of the most daring claims in the history of science. But it is also one of the least substantiated. (emphasis added) No evolutionary biologist has ever produced any quantitative proof that the designs of nature are in fact within the reach of chance..."(1).
Although the fossil record shows a considerable amount of diversity, and although genetic variation and natural selection have produced a considerable amount of variation within the different kinds of animals and plants, there is an appalling lack of evidence for what most people regard as true evolution -- that humanity and life developed by random chance from unorganized molecular chaos. As Denton clearly shows, the fossil record does not even come close to containing the huge number of "missing links" required by Darwin's theory. (1). In fact, powerful new evidence from molecular biology is not only rendering neo-Darwinism obsolete but also is making it seem as if evolution is believed not because of lots of supporting evidence but rather because of willful disposition! In other words, many scientists and educated people believe in evolution because it provides moral justification for godless living. Unforeseen and unimaginable complexity at the molecular level is resulting in one of the greatest scandals of modern times -- the willful suppression of blatant evidence for intelligent design by the popular media and by secular authorities. Indeed, for those who have been enlightened by the facts, it would seem as if the Inquisition has taken on secular garb. (2).
Many skeptics of the existence of a personal Creator-God protest by claiming that such a loving God would never allow the suffering, injustice, and cruelty that exists in the world today. They also point out, and rightly so, that there is much about God's creation that is not "very good" as Genesis says it was when God created it. Nevertheless, it is important to read what the Bible says, and not what people think it says. The books of Genesis and Romans both describe the Fall of Man as being a universal catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. For anyone willing to believe in the existence of God, the reality of supernatural intervention has to be seriously considered. Certainly the Fall was a supernatural event with tremendous universal consequences! The Bible says that death was a direct result of Man's rebellion during the Fall, and not a natural part of God's original good creation (3). The Bible also says that the effects of the Fall were universal and devastating, both to nature and to humanity (4). The Laws of Thermodynamics give scientific support to the reality of Creation and the Fall by testifying that the universe had a supernatural beginning and is "wearing out" with time. The often heard claim that the Bible is full of errors is not supported by the empirical evidence (5).
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." (Psalm 19:1-3) While all of nature testifies to the existence and sovereignty of God, The Bible reveals the heart of God. To those who are familiar with its touching stories, amazing prophesies, unique laws, profound sayings, and beautiful poetry, it is not difficult to believe that the Bible's 66 "books" are indeed inspired of God. But for those who have not read it carefully through, how can they be in a position to evaluate whether or not it is true? Either God is a liar or unbelievers are. There is no compromise, because the Bible claims from cover to cover to be the Word of God. "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear..."
"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, (or) death and destruction..." Thus spoke the Lord God to the people of Israel as they were preparing to enter the promised land. Much like in the days of Moses, God is looking at the hearts of people to see if there is anyone who is willing to come to him for eternal life. Yes, even after all these years, the wonderful offer of entering the kingdom of heaven still stands! Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and seated with the Father in heaven, ready to forgive anyone who calls on his name with a sincere heart. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened." God is not willing that anyone should perish. He wants everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved. In fact, God so strongly yearns to have people enter his kingdom that all of heaven rejoices when just one sinner repents!
However, the Bible says that not everyone wants to come to God and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Given a choice, many people love their sinful lifestyles more than they love God. They refuse to repent of their evil ways and glorify God. As it is written: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened... They exchanged the truth of God for a lie... they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God... They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity... There is no one righteous, not even one; ... no one seeks God. All have turned away... There is no one who does good, not even one... (their) righteous acts are like filthy rags..."(6).
Since "everything apart from faith is sin", it is impossible to please God in any way other than the Way he has established (7). This is why there is only one way into the kingdom of heaven. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it..." (8). "I (Jesus Christ) am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved."
The wonderful truth about the awesome extent of God's love for individuals is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the Incarnation. In the person of Jesus Christ, God walked on Earth as a man. God the Creator "... became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (9). Jesus claimed to be God and asked people to believe on the basis of the miracles he performed. "I and the Father are One." (8) "'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" (9). Over 500 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah the prophet said,"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (10). Isaiah chapter 53, in stunning detail, foretells of Christ's crucifixion on the cross on our behalf. When it is realized that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was actually God the Creator in the flesh, even the hardest hearts are overwhelmed with awe and gratitude to God! For if love is defined as the greatest possible gift given at the greatest possible expense, then surely there cannot be a greater definition of love than what God in Christ has done on behalf of his people! "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
If you want to know and experience God's love, ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin. Call on the name of the Lord (Jesus) and he will open the gateway to Paradise. Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life... Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."(John 14:6 and 5:24) If you have questions about how to be saved, call Single Christians in Outreach, Prayer, and Encouragement at (717) 392-2421.
1. Evolution: a Theory in Crisis , Michael Denton, 1986 by Adler and Adler, Publishers, Inc.
2. Darwin's Black Box : The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution , Michael Behe, 1996 by The Free Press.
3. Genesis 3:1-24; Romans 5:12, 14, 17, 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 26.
4. Genesis 3; Romans 8:20-23.
5. Many excellent and scholarly publications are available. One such work is Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell, available at many Christian bookstores.
6. Romans 1-3; Isaiah 64:6.
7. Romans 10:3.
8. Matthew 7:13-14.
9. John 1:14.
10. Isaiah 9:6.