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A people under judgement

January 2009 | by Nick Harle

A people under judgement

 

Our society bears all the hallmarks of a community under God’s judgement. This should spur us to intercessory prayer – as Moses pleaded for Israel, so should we plead with God for our sin-sick nation.

 

God has plainly revealed himself to all mankind, yet man, thinking himself wise, has rejected his Creator’s testimony and is reaping the consequences of his godless nature and mindset.

 

God revealed in creation

 

Romans 1:20 states that God has plainly revealed himself through creation, leaving man with no excuse for unbelief. The atheist has to convince himself against the clear evidence all around him.

     Scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins writes: ‘Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning’ (The blind Watchmaker, p.21).

     He admits that the overwhelming impression derived from studying the natural order is that a mastermind has created and planned the world – and then proceeds to argue himself into atheism against all the evidence!

     We gaze at creation and naturally ask, ‘How did we, and the world come into existence?’ The question arises because we ourselves create. We produce machines, computers, cars, roads, buildings and a host of other things. Hence our own experience leads us to ask, ‘Did a supreme being create this world?’ And the obvious answer is ‘yes’.

 

The power & intelligence of God

 

Creation reveals the Creator’s ‘eternal power’ (Romans 1:20).The universe shows the scale of God’s handiwork (Psalm 19). A God who can form the stars and galaxies works on an immense scale. Yet men reject God’s existence and rob him of his glory.

     Creation also reveals the Creator’s intelligence. Dean Kenyon, Emeritus Professor of Biology at the San Francisco State University was one of the leading chemical evolution theorists in the world. In 1969 he co-authored the best-selling textbook Biochemical predestination, in which he proposed that life is an inevitable outcome of the laws of chemistry.

     However, over time, his doubts grew. His problem was that even a single biological cell is incredibly complex, and by the end of the 1970s he no longer believed that his theory could explain such complexity.

     His final conclusion is simple. Describing how biological cells are built, he states: ‘This is absolutely mind-boggling, to perceive at this scale of size, such a finely tuned apparatus, a device, that bears the marks of intelligent design and manufacture’ (Unlocking the Mystery of Life; DVD by Truth in Science).

 

Man rejects God’s revelation

 

Paul states in Romans 1:21 what we experience on a daily basis – that although God has revealed himself to mankind, man neither thanks God nor glorifies him. In Psalm 104, all creation is described as being in harmony with God’s providential will. All, that is, except the very pinnacle of that creation, man!

     God sustains all creation. He controls the weather and sustains the wildlife. ‘He gives to all life and breath and all things’ (Acts 17:25). Yet man rebels against him and Psalm 104 ends by stating that sinners will perish.

     God has given society much reason to be thankful. He has given us health, strength and family. We have the gifts of conscience and government, without which there would be anarchy. Yet men prefer to use God’s name in cursing rather than give thanks to their Creator.

     Man not only rejects God’s revelation but thinks himself wise in doing so. In reality, however, his thinking has become futile (Romans 1:21-22). In rejecting God’s truth and exalting his own ideas over God’s, he exchanges truth for a lie.

 

Man rejects God’s purpose

 

God’s truth concerning our origins is clear – we are made in the image of the holy, wise, just, merciful and personal God. This imparts dignity, value and purpose to our lives. We have value because we are his creation, made in his image. To curse or devalue the individual is to devalue the Creator.

     Our Western society values those who are wealthy, beautiful and successful. Yet every individual has equal value, being made in God’s image for the express purpose of knowing him. When we discover that possessions, pastimes, work or human relationships do not satisfy, it demonstrates that our main purpose in life lies elsewhere – in knowing our Creator.

     The deepest meaning to our lives can only emerge when we learn to walk with God, to cast our care upon him, and to commune with him in prayer – thanking him for his provision, rejoicing in his faithfulness and adoring him for who he is.

     When our pseudo-scientific reasoning concludes that we are mere accidents of nature thrown up by chance and time, we rob ourselves of dignity and purpose. Our existence becomes meaningless.

 

Man and morality

 

Where there is no meaning, there is also no morality. Human life is devalued – over 200,000 abortions each year show society’s disregard for human life. The pressure for euthanasia likewise reveals an immoral disregard for the elderly.

     Baroness Warnock said recently that the elderly who suffer from dementia are ‘wasting the resources of the National Health Service’ and should be allowed to die. The logic of thinking of ourselves as animals is that any whose net worth to society is negative should simply be ‘put down’.

     Let us be thankful that the vast majority of people do not live out the implications of their own futile thinking. If nothing but the laws of physics, chemistry and biology govern this universe, then there is no such thing as right or wrong.

 

The effects of rejection

 

Paul describes some of the effects of man’s rejection of God in Romans 1:24-27. In his wrath, God allows people to become slaves to their own sinful desires. These verses suggest that the increased homosexuality and immorality exhibited by our society and reflected in the media are signs of God’s judgement – as individuals are degraded and receive the due reward for their sin.

     The great irony is that the doctrine the world hates most – that God punishes sin – is being worked out in people’s lives right now. Drugs and drink blight individuals and families, careers and relationships.

     The fallout from uncontrolled sexual passion is guilt and heartache. The covetousness of gambling brings financial ruin. The pride of life (keeping up with the Joneses) imposes slavery to worry and debt. These pressures, amongst others, are all symptoms of uncontrolled desire. They have blighted many families in our land.

     Justice Coleridge, a Family Division judge, said it ‘is certain that almost all of society’s ills can be traced directly to the collapse of the family life’. He continued, ‘We are experiencing a period of family meltdown whose effects will be as catastrophic as the meltdown of the ice caps’, its effects posing ‘as big a threat to the future of our society as terrorism, street crime or drugs’ (BBC website, 2008).

     How different it is for those who turn to Jesus Christ, who said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’ (John 10:10). He gives strength and stability to family life and other relationships, control over the sinful nature and humility when we fail.

 

God’s mercy the only answer

 

Those who reject God are not only delivered over to depraved desires but also to depraved minds (Romans 1:28-29). As men’s minds are darkened, they shut themselves off from God’s truth which alone can restrain their madness.

     They seek to control crime by education, punishment and psychology, but will not consider God’s ability to convert and change us. They are unenlightened by morality;  promiscuity and adultery run rife, with all the ensuing pain for those involved. Yet they will not repent of their sin, believe on Christ and, with the Holy Spirit’s help, live obedient lives.

     As man shuts his mind to God’s truth that brings eternal life, so ‘the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness’ (Romans 1:18).

     Faced with God’s imminent judgement on Israel for the sin of worshipping the golden calf, Moses pleaded with the Lord to show mercy. Should we not also plead with God for our nation? Who knows what will happen when we pray for a people under judgement?

     For he has said, ‘Seek the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord for he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon’ (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Nick Harle

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