Soooo.... my sisters and I, along with David R, are going through Worldviews of the Western World - I think I mentioned that in an earlier post. This week, we had to write an essay and answer 3 questions from a Biblical perspective:
1. Is There A God? What Is He Like?
2. What Is The Nature Of The Universe?
3. What Is The Essential Nature of Man?
This is all so interesting to me, and it is really helping me to know God better. I have a feeling that pretty soon, we are going to have to do an essay on basically the same thing from the Greco-Roman perspective. Should be some good stuff!!! OK.....so, here's my essay. Critique it, tell me it's boring, amazing, true, or whatever you think!!!!
A Different Set of Beliefs
Over the ages, the Christian belief system has proved to be different than all other religions. For some reason, the nation of America, founded on these beliefs and principles, is the world's most successful country. For some reason, throught earth history, men and women have been brutally tortured and murdered for these beliefs, and yet died willing, even joyfully, able even to pray for and forgive their persecutors. Why? What do these people have that others do not? They have the knowledge that there is an infinite God, who is also a personal God, guiding and governing the lives of each and every individual.
Throughout Scripture, we see many times that God has two main character traits - He is infinite, and He is personal. In Jer. 10:16, it says the God of the Bible is not like other gods, "He is the former of all things." He existed before anything else did. Again in John 17:24, Jesus Himself states that both He and God were existent "before the foundation of the world." As finite humans, it is impossible for us to fully grasp what that means. All we can know is that it is true, and that God is much bigger than us, and for beyond our comprehension. This would be a disheartening realization if we did not also know that He is a personal God. Before the fall, (Gen. 2:16) and after the fall (Gen. 3:8-9), God communicates with man in a loving and personal way. Considering that this is God's nature and that He created all things, it is easy to see that all of His creation was created for a purpose. The universe did no form because of random chance - it was created by the infinite, personal God.
Originally, God created the universe to be subject to and serve man, yet ultimately to be subject to and serve God, but after the fall, things changed. We know that God created the universe (Gen. 1:1) and that He is able to work into it and change it whenever He wishes - as in the time of the Flood (Gen. 7:10-11). Thus, it is not hard to believe that God could change the way His creation worked. Before the Fall, man had dominion over nature and was in harmony with it. When man fell and his nature changed, that which was subject to him changed in it's nature, also. Gen. 3:17-18 shows that God spoke, and the earth changed - it now would not be easy for man to till the ground; it would oppose him. So now, the universe is abnormal. Man knew why the ground opposed him (Gen. 5:29); God cursed it. However, even though the universe is abnormal, it is still under man's dominion because he bears God's image.
God created man in His image and gave him dominion over the earth, but when man chose to disobey, God cursed him. As God's image bearer (Gen. 1:27), man is set apart from the rest of God's creation. He has dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:28), and that dominion is given to him by God. However, in spite of his superiority, man is fallen. God created man with the ability to make choices, and man chose to disobey God (Gen. 3:6). Because man sinnsed, God, as a just God, cursed man (Gen. 3:17). No longer a sinless being, man still has dominion over creation, but he governs imperfectly. However, God, in His mercy, ahs always provided a way for man to still have fellowship with Him. For us today, we have open communication with the infinite, personal God through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
In conclusion then, we see that God, as an infinite Being, created the universe and man to relate to Him as a personal Being. We, as sinful, fallen creatures, are able to have fellowship with our Creator. Being made in His image, we are different from the rest of His creation and have dominion over it. This givews us a responsibility - no man can deny the existence of God. For those of us who, as Christians, accept and believe that fact, we are responsible to help others accept it, also. This is the reason that Christianity is different - we have a God-given purpose and meaning in our life.