In our past three Q&A’s, we have discussed three highly important topics: the character of God, foundations of Christianity, and Scripture. Yet so far, none of these topics have been as important as the one to be discussed today.
God and man. Deus et Hominum. Theós kai ánthropos.
The center of Christianity.
So why, exactly, is the topic of God and man important? Is the relationship between the Divine and the sinful that important? Does the work between the Creator and Created bear mentioning?
A discussion on any topic within Christianity will inevitably contain a conversation on God and man. Whether intentional or not, it will always work its way into conversation, and, because of its centrality to Christianity, will likely be discussed at length.
So, with that, we begin at the only starting point in this discussion: the character of God in relation to humanity.
1: Does God reveal Himself to man? And if so, how?
Yes, God reveals Himself to man through three general ways: Creation, His Word, and personal revelation. Before going any further, let’s define these terms.
Creation: Anything and everything created by God. Because God created everything, everything is His creation. Nature is most often recognized as Creation, but even matter as simple as a blanket or chair is God’s creation.
God’s Word: God’s holy Word as written in the Bible and divinely preserved for us to read even today.
Personal revelation: The spoken Word of God, given directly to humans through dreams or visions. This is not theological revelation (God “updating” theological beliefs through “speaking” to humans), but merely the revelation found often in dreams. An example of the latter is found within the Muslim culture, where many have come to Christ through dreams given directly by Him.
2: What does it mean to be holy? Why is this important?
To be holy is to be perfect and set apart, as God is. God is holy, and He is holiness itself. God cannot be un-holy, and the un-holy cannot draw near to Him.
This is important because it draws a line between man and God. Contrary to what prosperity gospel teachers may preach, man is not God, nor is he a “mini God”. Man is a sinful, fallen creature, unable to not sin. God is a perfect, diving, holy being, unable to sin.
The line drawn here is important because it shows the full effect of Jesus’ sacrifice. In dying for the scum of the universe, Jesus bridged the gap between holiness and evil and brought us back into the company of His Father.
“In dying for the scum of the universe, Jesus bridged the gap between holiness and evil and brought us back into the company of His Father.” -Elisha McFarlandTweet
3: Can God be both merciful and just to mankind?
Absolutely. While, in His justice, God condemns all sin, He saved the portion of humanity that believed in His sacrifice by sending His son to take their sin upon Himself, and pay the ultimate penalty for such a burden. In doing so, God was perfectly just (He punished sin by punishing His son who bore that burden) and perfectly merciful (He saved a portion of mankind that did not deserve salvation).
4: Can morality exist without God?
No. God is morality. He is the only source of true, perfect morality in existence, and because of this, He is the only source of morality that can be trusted. Moreover, this morality, given to us in the Bible, presents the ultimate source of right and wrong. The Bible solves all problems, wins all morality debates, and fixes all confusion.
The Bible solves all problems, wins all morality debates, and fixes all confusion.Tweet
5: What do secular theories of human origins get right and wrong about human nature?
Secular scientists often attribute sinful nature to chemical imbalance in the brain or a lack of strong parental figures in the early life of a human being. While many correctly state that man is sinful at nature, they fail to attribute sin to the right place: the Fall.
On the other hand, many secularists state that man is inherently good, a heretical opinion discarded by the early church as contrary to Scripture. As Christians, we know that man is inherently sinful, thus creating the necessity for Christ’s sacrifice.
6: How could a loving God send man to Hell?
This question is best answered with another question: How could a loving God sacrifice His son for the most disgusting, awful creatures in the universe, a group of beings that spit on God’s face and rubbed garbage in His divine eye.
God can still be loving and send a man to Hell. Justice must be served, after all. Yet an example given by an unknown writer puts this into perspective: A woman was once given a ticket for speeding way over the speed limit. She was summoned to court, and the Judge found her guilty of speeding and fined her $500 (the amount that the law stipulated a speeder must pay). Then, taking off his wig and robes, he stepped down, stood next to her, and paid the fine, for he was her father.
In the same way, God gives us the just punishment, but also paid the price of such a punishment, restoring us back in relationship with Him. Amen to that, eh?
7: Explain what is meant by the statement, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.
While God, the Holy and Compassionate Creator of the Universe, hates sin, He does not hate the sinner. Having created the sinner in the first place, He loves each and every person with an amazing, unfailing, unstopping, never-ending and always-awesome love. Regardless of whether we deserve such a love or not, He will always love us, even when we reject Him.
8: What is man’s purpose?
Man’s purpose, the sole reason for his initial creation, was to glorify and love God. Having fallen out of relationship with God, we were restored by Jesus’ sacrifice and brought back in to His family, adopted as His children.
9: When does human life begin? Why is this important?
Human life begins, as the Bible says it, at the beginning of time, when God, in His plan, foreordained the birth, life, and death of every single human being to exist in the past, present, and future. Thus, abortion is directly contradictory to God’s plan, for women committing abortions for the sake of fixing their mistake are going completely against God’s plan for life and violating Biblical tenant that God, not man, is the sole being with the right to take life.
10: How is it possible for an individual to have a personal relationship with an almighty God?
Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we are adopted into Christ’s family and invited into a personal relationship with Christ. Through prayer, an understanding of God’s word and character, and a lifetime spent talking with God in the understanding that He listens and speaks in return, we can grow in relationship with Him.
11: Can a person do enough good in life to get into heaven?
No. Never, under his own willpower, can a human being do enough good to reach heaven. To do so, he would have to live his entire life without sinning once, an impossible feat to any human being. The only human to do so was Jesus, 100% God and 100% man, who lived a perfect life so that he may die for all of mankind.
Never, under any circumstances, should any person say that man can reach heaven by his own power. This is heresy and should be treated as such. Only through Jesus and His sacrifice can we reach Heaven.
12: If God is omnipotent and holy, how could He allow so much sin and suffering in the world?
The introduction of sin into the world was entirely through the temptation of the Devil, who hates God and desires His power, and the succumbing of man to the temptation. Yet God, in His eternal wisdom, used the Fall of man to further glorify Himself through planning for the greatest redemption story in history: the redemption of man. In understanding both his complete sinfulness and inability to save himself, redeemed (no longer on Earth but with Jesus) man was brought into closer relationship with God than pre-Fall man, since the true understanding of Christ’s sacrifice creates a unique, greater relationship between God and man.
These answers have been given in as close of accordance to God’s word as possible. If you disagree with them, feel free to say so (and give your reason for disagreeing), but please understand that these were not written for debate purposes. Constructive criticism is welcome, but insults and anger directed at the author are not Christian and will be deleted.
Anyway, thanks a ton for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic day!
Author’s note: I removed the final two questions for the sake of wordcount and relevancy (they were, as implied, irrelevant). The entire question-worksheet can be found here.
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