By Bisi Lawrence
The fool has said in his heart that there is no God. He has therefore no basis to believe that God would be speaking to anyone. By the same token, anyone who says God speaks to him is a liar and there is no truth in him. To aver that the belief in the Deity is an inheritance of falsehood, and trickery even, has been a mark of knowledge, though not discernment, that men of letters have always ascribed to themselves, and the astuteness of their intellect, down the ages.
And there a contradiction is compounded as against the position of those who believe in God, and those who consider the non-believers as unwise. In between these mortals, that is, those who believe in the existence of God and those who do not, we have the uncommitted ones who believe in nothing, because they do not know what to believe, or how to believe. They are welcome to the vacuity of their lives.
The whole plot may then rest on belief as a determinant of the human status. The strength to hold on to a notion appreciably defines our sense of right and wrong, though it does not, at the same time, justify itself. Indeed, the idea of the non-existence of God has to be intense to hold at all, but the intensity does not by itself make it right. The greater the intensity could make the fault even that much more grave.
But human beings are capable of exercising the privilege of self-will which is really not as much of a blessing as it may appear. It carries a baggage of responsibility which cannot be shed in any way, since it is only too true that what is sown is what will be reaped.
That notion does not hang on any scriptural doctrine as such, but a reality that is constant in human experience. It is accepted as a legitimate concept because it is seen to happen, at least, in the physical circumstances of plants and has thus grown into universal acceptance. That takes us back to the issue of belief, that is, the acceptance of the substance of a given proposition which is either self-generated or externally presented.
It is enabled, usually, by what we can apprehend by any of our senses: what we can see, or hear, or taste, or smell or touch. But belief can also be activated by intuition, which some refer to as the sixth sense, while it is in no ‘way corporeal. All the same, it is not on the same level with faith without which homo sapiens may be accounted to be no more than a shell. It is very well accounted to be the grandest of all human commitments.
We are on religious or semi-religious grounds here since it is no less than what all religions demand. Its essence is well captured in the definition: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen”. Unbelievable. But that is what the Holy Bible says. That Good Book which is like “a lamp to the feet” of all Christians, also says several other things which many people also find incredible.
For instance, it says if you can have as much faith as a little “mustard seed”—that is less than a grain of rice— you can move mountains by merely saying so. One has never seen anyone do that. To believe in that is to embrace the “evidence of things unseen”—that is, to accept that there is indeed a force that can come, and indeed does come, to life in naked faith.
That is what Jesus Christ says even now to those who scorn the people who are of faith. He himself suffered the full measure of disdain which climaxed at Calvary, where he was executed for the sins of the whole world. Incredible? He even rose from the dead to contend with, and confound some who would not believe what they had not seen with their own eyes. Ah! Incredible! But blessed are they that see not, and yet believe.
He had come to his own, but his own received him not. They did not believe in him. Just as it was in the Garden of Eden when humanity grabbed for himself the awful burden of free will. It is now common to postulate that this was a freely-given attribute by God to men. But it was really Satan who made Eve break the commandment of God to keep away from the Forbidden Fruit.
That act of disobedience marked the inception of sin. One does not need to be a rocket scientist really to fathom that evil, including all manner of calamity and diseases, was born into the world the day Satan won over the goodness of Eden to himself.
The fact that the Devil’s reality is rarely factored into the perverse aspects of the world’s existence, makes it easy for those who deny that there is God to blandly hold a negative position about apportioning responsibility for the cause of any event beyond that which they can see. They say if God exists with all the powers that are claimed for Him, why do we have disasters and ailments in this world?
The simple answer is in the fatal slip-up in Eden when Satan’s machinations were let into the order of the Almighty. These intellectuals seem to find it difficult to capture the fact that good and evil have always traverse the cosmic terrain, each responding to the appeal that suits its nature. Evil exists in this world as well as good— that is ancient wisdom— and those who say one does not exist have to also state that the other does not exist.
There are self-proclaimed Satanists but nobody asks them why they failed to stop the beautiful events which enrich the world, since they do not pretend that their lives are not dedicated to the creation of calamities and tragic events all over the world.
Those who worship the God in whom they have faith, however, stir up the ire and envy of others including, of course, the non-believers. Yes, there are men and women who are led to worship the object of their faith openly, gloriously, and who lead other people to embrace the love, compassion and the promise of salvation their belief offers. They are no longer in doubt of their reward, strengthened by their conviction that the order and progress that hold the universe together must surely have a source.
They continuously strive to establish the assurance that there is another level of existence which awaits all human beings after this one. That is the abode of the Eternal Spirit whom they serve in faith all their lives through. In doing that, they make every effort to live holy lives, for He whom they worship is holy and demands nothing less.
We who are of the same faith with Pastor Enoch Adeboye in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, believe in his life as a good Christian, and enjoy our emulation of his example in the imitation of Christ. Yes, he testifies to the glory of God that he has been blessed by miracles of healing in his ministry; that his car had once been wonderfully fuelled over a journey of considerable distance to his home; that several of his projects have been clearly sustained by our everlasting creator. And we believe him for many of us have received, and equally testified to the amazing grace of Almighty Jehovah.
His recent admonition against young men who care little about working for a living, not because they have lost their jobs but from a sense of utter carelessness—and they are legion— derives as much from scriptural precepts as from rational principles. Or which of these superior critics would advise his daughter to give herself away to a man who is not serious about life?
Such are they who are too wise to know, to feel, the existence of God. We can only commit them to the infinite forgiveness of the Almighty and ever-living God; the Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; the creator of heaven and earth; the source of all goodness and mercy; and unto whom belong all the power and glory. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.