I am convicted about the fact that in order to discuss religion or theology there must be an objective standard of truth by which to measure everything. That standard is God and His revealed truth in the Bible.When God speaks of religion in the Bible the reference is always to the external behaviors of the people. Religion identifies a system of behavior guided by one’s set of beliefs. Our actions follow our beliefs. The greatest danger of religion is that people tend toward replacing God’s truth with man’s opinion. Jesus’ problem with religion is that it tends to make people more like the Pharisees than like Jesus. Jesus said, “You invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.” (Matt 15:6b-8).
So, in order to start discussing matters of religion we need to establish our starting point. The best place to start is at the beginning. According to the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God is eternal, meaning He has no beginning and no end. He always has been and always will be. Yet, humanity and history most definitely have a beginning. Genesis 1:1 is the beginning of the account of redemptive human history explaining where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. God is the sovereign Creator who started it all, oversees it all, and will bring it all to His conclusion.
But how do we know that this Creator God exists? According to Romans 1:19-20, “… that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” According to Romans 1:18, people try to “suppress” this innate knowledge of God. Suppressing something is active not passive. It is the intentional effort to hold something down. I am reminded of the little boy who wanted his dog to sleep in his room with him. His parents had told him that the dog was not to come in the house. One night he snuck the dog into his room to sleep with him. When he heard his parents coming down the hall toward his room he quickly put the dog in his toy box and sat on the lid to try and keep the dog quiet and out of site from his parents. Many people are like that little boy when it comes to the truth of God’s existence … they are suppressing the truth by trying to hold down the evidence.
“What evidence?” According to Romans 1:19-20 it is the clear evidence of God’s power as creator that is evident in the creation around us. According to Psalm 19:1, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the works of His hands.” We can know that God’s is real simply by looking around us and seeing His glory in the handiwork of His creation. The fact that the soon, moon, stars and planets are right where God created them is evidence of His creation. The changing of the seasons reminds us that creation is working just like God created it to work. The blooming of the rose bushes, crepe myrtles, lilies, etc. at this time of the year scream of God’s existence. The precious gift of human life requires a Creator who planned the intricateness of our bodies.
According to Romans 1:19, “God made it evident [plain] to them.” God’s existence is as we would say, “As plain as the nose on our face.” The truth is that it takes a concerted effort to deny the existence of God. Since our actions follow our beliefs, it is imperative that we get our beliefs right by starting at the beginning.