God Communicates With His Creation
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Dr. Jeff Myers:So let’s take a look at Christianity from the standpoint of these criteria. What is Christianity source of revelation? Well, we’ve already seen it a little bit. The source of revelation would be twofold. Number one, it would be in nature. Romans Chapter One says nature is such that people can look at it and see it is self-evident that there is a God. The second thing that reveals to us who God actually is, is the Bible. But you see the Bible is one of those books that’s everywhere but nowhere. I think the average American has 4.3 Bibles in their house. And yet, if you look at the statistics, you realize that most people have never apparently read the Bibles that are in their house.
Barely one quarter of adults, 27% are confident that Satan exists even though this is a key teaching of the Bible and something that Jesus taught about. 47% of American Christians, strongly agree or agree somewhat that the Book of Mormon, the Koran and the Bible all express the same spiritual truths, which means only one thing. They can’t have read any of the three of those books. 65% believe they are knowledgeable about the Bible, but 58% were unable to correctly identify the first 5 books of the Bible. 45% of adults in the United States strongly, but erroneously believe that the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves. 60% of Americans can’t name 5 of the 10 commandments. Only 52% of young adults knew it was false to say that Sodom and Gomorrah were married. 50% of Americans, including Christians, can’t name any of the 4 gospels.
So a lot of people had Bibles, but that doesn’t mean they actually know what the Bible is all about. No wonder people mistakenly believe it’s just a book of stories, fables to help you better live your life. But what is the Bible actually? First of all, if we want to understand the Bible is revelation from God, we have to accurately understand what the Bible says about God. There are a lot of attributes to God listed in scripture. We’re not going to go into all of those, but we will at least to give this one right here.
The biblical word in the Old Testament for a God is the Hebrew word, yahweh. And it means I am. That’s the actual translation. So if your Bible says, I am said, and you’re confused by that, not very many Bible translations do, but some do, then you can understand now, well, that’s actually God’s name. But it’s not just a name as in like, your name is Suzanne or your name is Thomas. It’s a name that describes who God actually is and his nature and character. To say that when God says I am is to say, I, in other words, he exists as a person. God is not merely a force. Electricity, light and sound. God exists as a person, God has a personality so to speak. That God is not a person in the same sense that human beings are a person, but human beings are modeled after God. We are made in his image and in his likeness. Also, you understand, when God says, I am, that God is saying something about where and when he exists. He exists now. He has always existed. His existence never ceases.
So just this simple little phrase, I am, tells us something about the Bible’s revelation about God, that is untrue of any other revelation about God, anywhere in the world. And there are more aspects to this too. We can get into some of the others, but let’s just take a brief look at this one. One thing I found fascinating because it affected so much of Western culture about God being I am, is that when God spoke to people, he actually expected them to understand what he meant. Genesis 1:26, “And God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it and so forth.” In other words, God spoke to the people and expected they would understand. This is unique in religious traditions. In most cases, most religions that believe there is one God, believe that he is utterly mysterious. You can’t actually know him.
In Islam, for example, you don’t actually know anything about God. The only thing God reveals about himself is his law. He doesn’t reveal himself. He just reveals his law. This idea that we can not only know God, but we can actually understand what he says is really strange to me. It’s wonderful, but it’s strange because to me, I could easily imagine God speaking in a way that would be incomprehensible. Do you know what I mean? Like God would speak to us and it would be so grand and eloquent that we couldn’t possibly understand a word. I can imagine this passage reading like this. “And God said to them, it is to be considered an axiomatic imperative for you to consummate your consanguinity and proliferate through the Diaspora, acclimating your autonomous ego to the vicinity, which you must tenaciously subjugate and exercise prepotency over the ichthyoids of the oceanica and the columbiformes of the caelum and of the animated quadrupeds that traverse the terra firma.” Are there any questions?
And all God’s people said, what is he talking about? I don’t understand, but that’s not what God did. He spoke to people in a way they could grasp. Paul David Tripp, in his book, War of Words said, “God reveals himself, his plan and his purpose in words. Immediately after creating Adam and Eve, God spoke to them. It was his choice to reveal himself, to define his will and to give identity to Adam and Eve by means of language. All of his other means of self-revelation were explained and defined by this one central means.”
It’s important to how distinctive this really is in the course of all of creation, because you see, almost all creatures, God has made communicate. Fish communicate. I remember going on a diving trip one time in Indonesia, and I was told we were going to do a night dive and this was going to be awesome because all of the creatures that are awake during the day go to sleep and all the creatures that are asleep during the day wake up. So you’ll get to see all new things. Out of 26 people at the dive resort, only 2 of us showed up for the night dive. Apparently 24 people don’t want to see what wakes up in the ocean in the middle of the night. So I was very excited. It was scary and a little bit nerve wracking at first. We had small flashlights. We took down into the water with us. Other than that, it was completely dark.
At one point I saw a puffer fish. Now, puffer fish, you don’t want to touch them but they’re very cute. Do you know what I mean? They’re just like in Finding Nemo, they’re just so cute. And they have great big eyes and they don’t dart away like other fish. If you approach, they just kind of back up and just keep staring at you. So I motioned to my dive guide what I had found. And he came over, he pointed his flashlight at his hand and he did this and then he held his hand and the puffer fish came down and landed in his palm. And I was thinking, this is incredible. My dive guide is the puffer fish whisperer.
I was amazed until I woke up the following morning and saw some people take their breakfast bread out into the water and stand in the water and go like this to crumble the bread up and attract tropical fish. I realized that this is the universal sign to tropical fish, that you have something for them to eat. So it wasn’t in fact that the puffer fish and my dive guide were communicating, using the kind of symbolic language that I think of as communication. Animals don’t seem to communicate this way. You might think they do, but you might be actually imposing on them, meaning they don’t possess.
Let’s say you have a dog at home and you come home at the end of the day and your dog is laying on the kitchen floor, looking very sad. And you think, oh, the dog is sad. You don’t really know the dog is sad. All you know is if you had to stay at home and lay on the kitchen floor all day, you would be sad. People are so good at taking what they understand to be true about language and imposing it on things. They actually do this on inanimate objects. Very near [inaudible 00:08:32] Ministries is the Garden of the Gods Park. The most prominent feature of which is a huge rock that appears on the top to have two camels sitting next to one another and kissing. I have heard people at the visitor center say, oh, isn’t that cute? They’re kissing. It’s a rock people.
You see, we’re so good at language and bearing God’s image that it never even occurs to us, that the things we impose on the world around us to make other things appear to be orderly may actually say more about us than they say about those individual things. Now that philosophy can be taken way too far. I don’t want to dig into it too deeply, but I just want you to simply understand that God communicates with his creation. In fact, God doesn’t just communicate with only the leaders. God communicates with everybody.
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