The question of evil has got some quarreling with any talk of a good and powerful God, or even the persuasion of the existence of one. It is difficult to defend a God who seems not to care whether children live or die, well fed or hungry. Yet, sensing deeply that there is a higher being, call Him what you will, Supreme Energy or God, we have created God in our own image and after our own pleasure. Worse still not knowing the certainty of our lot after death has left us in bondage to fear and consequently driven peace out of our hearts and minds. Some, atheists, have chosen rather to pretend that God doesn’t exist.. Others, the agnostics, claim they do not know since they have no proof. And others present this dreadful and frightening God and you wonder why this god of theirs is such a ‘bully’. But none of these fits into the picture of the loving God some of us have discovered and embraced. We do not see or feel God in any tangible way. The best we have to point us to Him is the beauty, order and majesty of His creation. That is a necessary first step, to acknowledge Him by His works, which is wisdom, and then humbly seek more of Him. He always shows up. Yet, some think the universe exploded from nothingness into being. To know Him, we must acknowledge that there must be a supreme intelligence behind creation that our finite minds may not completely wrap itself around. When we refuse to acknowledge God, we are stuck with an unfair world and driven to looking out for number one, self. That is foolishness, according to the Bible. It perverts our thoughts, and ultimately our knowledge of the love of God.
“The foolishness of man perverteth (corrupts) his way: and his heart fretteth (resents) against the LORD.” Prov. 19:3
But God exists and is knowable in the due order; first with the head and then with the heart. The alternative is to forsake any evidence that nature provides and cast off all restraint. Where we do not retain the knowledge and love of God, selfish ambition and envy are the order of the day and where those exist, all manner of evils abound, says the Bible. So the answer to the question of evil is the knowledge of God, specifically of love; for God is Love.
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
To know the truth is to walk in liberty. Love has life in and of itself. To know love is to walk in it. But we have a choice in the matter, for God has given man an inviolable will. He would not violate that will, and satan could not either but keeps man’s will subject to his will through deception.
What is love? That is an important question. In a world that thrives on the ephemeral, even a profound virtue as love has been turned on its head. What men call and celebrate as love is nothing but lust; inappropriate or wrongful desires. So what is love? This is the Bible’s version:
Love is patient and is kind; Love envies not; Love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up,
Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;
Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
And Love never fails.
Lust is the very opposite of these virtues enumerated above. Like today’s fast food, lust comes very quickly and seems attractive but it lacks true value, and deep satisfaction. Even worse, it usually leaves a sour taste in the mouth, breeding frustration, depression and sometimes death. Lust leaves you running ever faster and wilder in meaningless circles. Ask the single mothers who have to cope alone with a ‘love child’, borne of lust. Or those in prisons who suddenly have their running circles of greed severely constrained and in deadening emptiness.
There is something better, much better. That is the freedom of knowing the love God, your heavenly Father, and reveling in His delights, even in the midst of the worst sorrows the world may bring. There is no knowing it by the hearing from another. Ginosko, the Greek word translated as ‘knowledge’ in the English Bible, connotes something much deeper. You have to experience it to know it.
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John
There you have it. There is no more definitive challenge than that. So try it. I have walked, imperfectly, with this God for the past 24 years, as a believer through Christ’s doctrine. I never cease to wonder at His goodness, and my depravity, in the light of His ever unfolding truth. I would consider myself a ‘good man’ by the world’s standards but herein is the truth: NONE is good, as Jesus said and I’ve come to find out. Yet, His goodness and mercies abide with us still. Have you ever asked why the world is not simply rid of ‘villains’ by God? If He did, you would be gone too! But God is patient, not willing that any should perish but that all come to a knowledge of the truth of His love.
Let no man take it for granted, however, for this God yet remains a just judge who will judge every man according to their deeds. Knowing this truth, we have fled to take hold of His grace. That grace that delivers us from His wrath and teaches us righteousness is in His Son, Jesus Christ, through whom we also have become sons. Some are stumped at the mention of sonship, immediately conjuring the image of a conjugal relationship. We must never forget that God is a Spirit, as Jesus clearly taught us.
‘Flesh begets flesh and Spirit begets spirit.’
The Jews understood a bit of it, for they said at one time: “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” Yet they took up stones to kill Jesus for claiming to be God’s Son. Many still take umbrage at this claim and would readily ‘take up stones to kill’ anyone who would dare lay claim to the truth. But it is what it is. Remember the seed principle? Everything begets its kind. God is Love, and Love begets love. We could never love; self or others, if we do not know love.
As through the Adamic bloodline we all inherited our lustful sin nature, even so now, through the bloodline of the Christ we all can inherit a new nature, the nature of Love. When we know God the Father as Love, our entire world view changes. We see not just self and our kind as God sees us but we see all mankind in the same light, as it is written:
“God has made of one blood, all peoples of the earth.”
Oh yes, we may still see things differently and even have differences in perception but the love within will engender respect for one and all. We are all God’s children.
Troubles will come but we know, that we know, that there is more and better beyond all that we may be called to bear in this fallen world.
I was in London as I wrapped up my book, The Tribal god, from which I took the above excerpts. Two observations stood out for me.
My travels out of Africa always leave me pondering on why we have lagged behind the rest of the world socio economically. As I walk around, I am amazed at the abundance everywhere. The stores are falling over themselves to satisfy the ‘king-customer’. You buy one and get another for free. You may return any purchase and get a refund. Some even give you 90 days to do that. Public services may not be perfect but you sense a genuine desire to serve the people. People are valued here! It wasn’t always so. Christians intentionally brought their values to bear on the market place, especially during the industrial revolution. Some credit also goes to the enlightenment thinkers, the David Humes and Adam Smiths of the 17th and 18th centuries, who reasoned that governments could make a difference and indeed should be intentional in empowering the people. The more the people were valued, the more the community blossomed. The lesson for Africa is simple. It is time for leadership in all spheres and at all levels to appreciate the value of people rather than abuse them. People matter to God, and creation responds to every genuine desire to improve the lot of people. Besides people are repositories of boundless talent. Singapore and UAE (Dubai) are shining examples. Africa does not need more aid. Africa needs more love, first and foremost from her people especially the leadership across the board,. Then whatever resources are available will give us better returns and we can grow sustainably.
But of course, life isn’t all about material prosperity. With all the material blessings in London, I had a surprise, a paradox…
I had a meeting with my counterpart in the UK, who informed me that over 17% of all crimes in the UK are rape cases! I look around at the beautiful, scantily clad ‘fun loving’ faces and marvel. With so many ladies, seemingly waiting for the asking, why rape? Are men now too ‘afraid’ to simply ask? Too vulnerable perhaps? In this age of #metoo syndrome, when innocent flirting could land one in jail, are men hiding their deep need for a significant ‘other’ to complement them in a truly loving relationship? Whatever. Rather, they lust after seemingly ‘fun seeking’ ladies (who for all the brazenness are perhaps seeking validation for their fragile personalities) and rape them lustfully; violating and inflicting horrendous wounds on the psyche. Looks are deceptive. In a world of social media where people rake up likes and friends in the thousands, people are lonelier than ever. So much so the UK has a minister for loneliness! It was no big surprise when my son and I walked into a KFC and beheld the spectacle of two boisterous ladies bemoaning a lack of ‘man’ in their lives. “Look at me, am 34, and she is 37. We do not have any man. But you, how lucky; you even have 2 children”, one of them was telling a perfect stranger.
You walk into stores and condom vending machines are everywhere, some telling you how to enjoy more sex. Yes, the world is selling sex rather like they do food. Check out the adverts all around us: we sell beautiful faces and figures in all shades of undress on everything, including toilet paper! Sometime later or earlier, we are in the tube (London underground train) and two young ladies can’t seem to let go of each other. In a coach filled with more men than women, they seem to have found their significant ‘other’ in a person their own gender. What is going on? As mankind runs further from true love, in the knowledge of his maker, he embraces lust more and more. And so, marriages are failing. The ‘increase’ in LGBT activities may be nothing but a reflection of the same longing for true love. Folks are finding it less and less in the regular ‘other’, and seeking it more and more in lusts through extra marital relationships and in all forms of perversions. It is shocking but I stumbled on a form and a simple matter of gender had 6 or more options. Our world! This is not homophobia but a reflection of the confusion in the hearts and minds of people. Seven genders? Soon, man will begin to seek ‘love’ in animals. Come to think of it, some are already at it.
But of course, these things are nothing new; nothing is ever new, not even bestiality! But soon, and very soon, even LGBTs will discover that true love in not in another human being or thing.
No, nothing is new. The truth is, the more we lose sight of who we really are, the more we objectify ourselves. Will it get better? I doubt it, not if Bible prophecy is anything to go by. No, men and women will lust even more for the ‘new’ and evils will abound. So why bother? Yes, I’ve asked myself that question many times. Why write what may not even be read by those who need to read it the most? I’m compelled, like my Lord Jesus, to share the love of the Father for all with all. Perhaps, some out there may discover the true love “that is passeth knowledge” and enjoy the liberty that is liberty indeed. Even one soul coming to the knowledge of the truth would be gratifying.
And so my earnest prayer for you, my reader is that you find this love and be happy indeed. It’s not that hard. Just believe and receive it as a gift of grace. And enter into the joy of your Father. May your joy infect your world and make it a better and more livable place, in the name of the Messiah, Jesus. Amen and amen (truthful and reliable, so be it).