|We the Ryan family are Christians. We love Jesus and believe in the Bible. At one time, it was enough to just make this simple profession. However, in the present time, a statement of faith is often precisely formulated doctrinal boilerplate, and sometimes includes theological disclaimers about “original autographs” and such things. But we aren’t theologians and don’t know all the answers. We simply seek to learn about the LORD by studying the Bible, and to humbly stand before Him as unworthy sinners redeemed by His grace. What follows is a short list of things we understand from God’s Word, the Bible.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
People in this world so often comment that they “see no proof of the existence of God.” But in a way, faith is the opposite of proof. And in another way, faith itself is our proof. Many times faith is a choice. We first choose to have faith when we first trust God and accept Jesus. We continue to choose to have faith as we walk with Jesus. We especially choose faith through times of tragedy and despair. And by faith we choose to accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. – 1 Timothy 3:16,17
From the Bible, we find life lessons, God’s plan for humanity, and instruction for living a life pleasing to Him. And in so doing, we learn how to live harmoniously in our families, communities and societies. The Bible also includes many other things — narratives of the past, prophecies of the future, and literature and wisdom that sit at the foundation of western culture.
Some today do not place a high standard of authority on the Bible. Some would pick and choose and dismiss whatever they don’t like. But if we follow that process to its logical end, we open the door for dismissing the entire Bible. And others try to rationalize the miraculous elements of Scripture, to bring God’s Word into harmony with human understanding. But if we enthrone human rationalism as the standard for judging Scripture, we essentially elevate Man over God. But even a quick glance at the newspaper would prove the folly of that.
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. – Genesis 1:1
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. – Hebrews 11:3
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead; so that they are without excuse. – Romans 1: 18-20
From the Bible, we understand by faith that God created the world in seven days. We read that plant life was created on the Earth on the Third Day, and that the Sun, Moon and stars were created on the Fourth Day. Having already chosen to put our faith in Jesus, and having seen His powerful work in our lives and the lives of others, we also choose to hold to these things as God’s revealed truth.
But this goes against the grain of the human rationalism prevalent in our modern culture. Some modern thinkers insist that the miraculous stories of the Bible are mere fairy tales. But upon comparing the works and nature of God to the works and nature of Man, we would rather choose to place faith in God’s fairy tales than Man’s wisdom.
Humanity Lost to Sin
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. – Romans 3:10-12
Through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, our first human parents, sin entered the world, and through sin we are all thereby separated from God. And the evidence of sin abounds in the world. The newspaper each day attests to murder, greed, and corruption. But even “nice people” do wrong things, and have placed their own selfish interests over those of others. And so compared to a perfect God, we are all found lacking in the balance, and cannot stand in the presence of His righteousness.
Jesus – God’s Solution
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made…. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. – John 1:1-3, 14
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
We understand from these verses and others that Jesus is the pre-existent and co-eternal Son of the Father, who with the Holy Spirit form the three persons of the triune Godhead, the Trinity. Jesus is the Word of God through whom the cosmos and all things in it were created.
And it was this Jesus who was pleased to enter human history as an incarnate man, to be born of flesh in a most humble fashion. Having a dual nature, both fully God and fully Man, Jesus lived among humanity for over 30 years. During Jesus’s public ministry great lessons were taught, and miraculous signs and wonders were performed, including healing the sick, controlling natural forces, and raising the dead.
God’s purpose was fulfilled in Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross, in which the collective sin of Man was atoned. And in rising from the dead, Jesus conquered death and opened the door of heaven, thereby providing a single path through which men and women of all nations and cultures may enter into the presence of God.
Through God’s unmerited grace plus nothing else, we are redeemed by the perfect atoning sacrifice of Jesus. In this way, our sins are washed away and we are made acceptable to God by placing our faith in Jesus.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. – Proverbs 25:2
In the first couple centuries of modern science, early scientists such as Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Faraday labored to discover the mathematical order concealed within the natural world, “to think God’s thoughts after Him.” And these workers and many others discovered many mathematical principles of nature that can be controlled and manipulated in our present modern technological world.
But emboldened by the tremendous success of these early workers, a scientific establishment later arose that presumed that all things could be discovered through scientific investigations, including things existing very far away in time and space. This same establishment today works largely on inference rather than observation. Increasingly sweeping conclusions are drawn from increasingly slim physical evidence, such as in modern fields that have grown out of traditional classical astronomy. Since the 20th century, it appears that “science” has become mostly a reflection of consensus opinion among members of the scientific establishment.
In essence, the body of scientific discoveries should be regarded as a product of human reasoning, and must be constrained by the finite limitations thereof. While people may be able to use scientific methodology to uncover true things about the natural world, they can never uncover truth.
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These are things we choose to hold and accept, on the basis of faith. We encourage everyone to ponder these points with a mind open and free of preconceptions, and decide for themselves. Please drop us a line if you have any questions or comments.