What Kind of God Do You Have?


A DOSE OF FAITH

Richard G. Mendoza, MPH, PHD

Pr. Richard Mendoza works at the Central Luzon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. An educator and promoter of health, he complements his advocacies with spiritual and valuesoriented insights.

For comments, chardgrace@yahoo.com


(Part 1)

Our God cannot be stupid because He is “omniscient”. Dictionaries define the word stupid as “lacking intelligence or common sense,” while omniscient is defined as “knowing everything.” Our God knows everything!—the past, the present and the future. The Bible says, “God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” (1 John 3:20). “Great is our Lord and mighty in power. His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:5)

But, there are gods (small letter gods) who appear stupid!—man-made gods whose stupidity originated from the ones who installed or proclaimed them as gods. They are not stupid by themselves but their very existence and the teachings about them betrayed logic and common sense. Their creators are really the ones who are stupid for they made idols out of non-living things and worship them instead of the Living God. The Bible says:

“They are both stupid and foolish; the instruction of idols is but wood! Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz. They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; their clothing is violet and purple; they are all the work of skilled men. But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. Thus shall you say to them: ‘The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’ It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them.” (Isaiah 10:8-13)

Idols and graven images are not to be worshipped, we are warned about them:

“Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity.

A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.

“They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, for and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.”(Isa. 10:2-5)

God forbids even the making of gravenimages, in the Ten Commandments. His 2nd command states:

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”(Exodus 20:4-6 KJV)

Idolatry includes worshipping or devotion to living persons, not only kings and movie stars. According to Webster, it is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God. Be warned: Idolaters become spiritually stupid and perish with their idols. (Isa. 1:31)

Now, there are stupid teachings that make God or His Word, the Bible, look stupid. I’m referring to doctrines that misrepresent God and are wrong interpretations of the Bible. Our loving, merciful, just and fair God is sometimes portrayed as cruel and unjust, and the principal advocate is Satan.

How often do we hear parents, threatening their children with God’s punishment when they misbehave? He is sometimes looking upon as the one who sees everything and is always ready to chastise the disobedient. The wrath rather than the love of God is emphasized by some and that includes clergymen. No wonder, when someone criticized the church, the clergymen and their teachings, it’s sounded more like he was aiming against God.

One such teaching, being referred to, is the doctrine of original sin. Original sin is a Christian belief of the state of sin in which humanity exists since the fall of man, stemming from Adam and Eve’s rebellion in Eden, namely the sin of disobedience in consuming the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The criticism stems from the assumption that God will condemn men for the sins that they have not committed and this sounds illogical and opposite to the fairness of God.

Original sin as a doctrine says that everyone is born sinful. This means that they are born with a built-in urge to do bad things and to disobey God. The concept of original sin was explained in depth by St Augustine and formalized as part of the Church doctrine by the Councils of Trent in the 16th Century.

(To be continued)

Aug 2018 Health and Lifestyle

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