Questions: Does God exist?

This world is not what it should be.

Are you happy with the world?
More than two hundred thousand people died by the tsunami near Adceh.
A young woman with little children has a tumour in her head and is dying. Her old mother meanwhile is so feeble, that she even cannot visit her daughter any more; it would be her own death. She only can pray for her.
A cyclist early in the morning was threatened with death by two men passing in a car, without any reason whatever. Three realities.
What a misery!
In what world do we live?
Not in the world that had been meant for us. The world is no longer it.

On Januari the thirtieth in 1933 Hitler was installed chancellor in Germany. What a misery that man has brought over Germany cannot be told in a small volume. He promised mountains of gold and by his propaganda and deception he got the mass behind him. By following him that mass delivered the country into his hands and consequently brought disaster over the nation and the people.

Our first parents similarly delivered their territory into the hands of a much bigger deceiver by listening to him. I mean Adam and Eve, who delivered the world, that God had trusted to them, in the hands of the devil by listening to him and believing him. Now the world has not God but the devil as ruler. Do you realize that with such a ruler the world is not what was intended?
Perhaps you think it to be exaggeration and that would be no wonder. In deceiving the devil is a much bigger expert than Hitler ever has been. It is his metier (line of business). He is the Father of lies, so experienced that many do not even believe that he exists.

We can think that we are right when we blame God for so much misery, but forget hat we ourselves rejected Him and refused to listen to Him in the course of thousands of years. Is God nonetheless obliged to see that we have a pleasant life without sorrow?

The world is travailing in pain.

The world in which we live is not the normal world. She is no longer what God had in mind. She did become what she is now.
Some may wonder about that. They never have known another world, not have I. We therefore think that this is the normal world.
A world without misery, pain, suffering, sin, death, without theft, murder and war? Is that not a castle in the air?
Paul, the apostle, has written about it:
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:18-23).

The creation is subject to vanity, says verse 20, and verse 21 speaks of the corruption that characterizes the creation.
Vanity. What is the use of all things? After all we all die. All is transitory indeed. True, there are obstetric clinics and every day children are born. but the undertakers need not fear soon to be unemployed. Beautiful, the birth of a healthy baby, but were is the beauty of it, if the baby will only grow up to die sooner or later? Is death the ultimate goal of life? 

Paul wrote that the creation is subject to vanity and that not willingly. So it has been different.
It has been different indeed, before men had sinned and had not yet subjected themselves and the whole of their trust to satan. Then that wicked one was not yet the ruler of the darkness of this world, the earth had not yet been cursed and brought not yet forth thorns and thistles. By sin the whole earth has been dragged along into misery and life often is the reverse of a life in a paradise. 

Misery in own heart and life as well.

We need not look to tsunami’s or earthquakes to know that it is far from ideal. Looking into our own heart and life we find enough that is not ideal or ought to be or to be done different, enough sin.
We shake the head about so much misery and feel bewildered by the death of so many victims, but seldom shake our head over the misery that is our doing and fault. That is on a smaller scale, but has something in it, that tsunami’s and earthquakes have not: guilt.

The creation is travailing in pain. Something different, something new will come, a new world will be born. It is called the rebirth of the earthly creation:
28 And Jesus said unto them, "Verily I say unto you, that ye that have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28). 

Then it will be different from what we see now. Isaiah has written about it:
19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old; but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," saith the LORD." (65:19-25).

That is the sketch of another, a reborn world. That world will be when the sons of God will be manifested in glory, because their Lord has been manifested in glory. That is Gods promise in Colossians 3:4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
The question is whether you can be manifested in glory. Sons of God they are who have been reborn. The creation will know a rebirth. We also can have a rebirth. It even is necessary, for guilty and in sin, as we all were, we cannot stand before a holy God. Only a new man can, by rebirth.
How can that be?
By the Word of God.
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently,
23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever (1 Peter 1:22, 23).
And James has written:
18 Of His own will, He begot us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:18). 
Rebirth is by the Word of God indeed. The new life of a believer is eternal life and that life is the Son of God (1 John 5:20). Therefore, he that has the Son, has life and he that has the Son not, has not life. (1 John 5:12). We have the Son if we have accepted Him, that is believe in Him who is preached in the gospel. Of them John says in John 1 that they are sons of God, are born, not of the will of man, but of God: rebirth. 

We need not marvel that it is a mess in the world and in life if there has not yet been rebirth. Things will be different, far better, when Jesus has come. That is true for the world and for us. Did He come into your heart and life, did you open the door for Him?

Believers live in the same world as unbelievers and therefore verse 23 of Romans 8 says that we groan within ourselves.
But there is another consideration.
God sent the King He anointed into the world, but the world did not want Him. Jesus Christ has been rejected and crucified. Pilate, the judge, asked 
Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?"
10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him out of envy.
11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.
12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, "What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?"
13 And they cried out again, "Crucify him!" (Marc 15:9-13).
And again: 
Pilate said unto them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" (John 19:15).
So the world rejected the only righteous Ruler. They now have to accept them they have chosen. They have no right to complain about their own choice.

Trials God thinks necessary.

In the book of Job we read about the man with that name, whom God called perfect and upright, one who feared God and eschewed evil. Satan said “Does he fear God for nought? Thou hast made an hedge about him and his house and all that he has. Thou hast blessed him and his work. But now, touch all that he has. He then no doubt will curse thee”.
God answered: 
12 And the LORD said unto Satan, "Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand." (Job 1:12).

What happened?
13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house,
14 and there came a messenger unto Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them,
15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away. Yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I only have escaped alone to tell thee!"
16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, "The fire of God hath fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I only have escaped alone to tell thee!"
17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, "The Chaldeans made up three bands, and fell upon the camels and have carried them away, yea, and have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only have escaped alone to tell thee!"
18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, "Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house,
19 and behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only have escaped alone to tell thee!"

What satan hoped did not happen. Job said: The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 
That was not what satan wanted. When the Lord pointed to Job again as an exceptionally God fearing man, he said:
Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
5 But put forth Thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face! (Job 2:4, 5).
Then happened the following:
7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
8 And he took him a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and he sat down among the ashes.
9 Then said his wife unto him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die!" (Job 2:7-9)
But again satan was disappointed, for Job said: Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
So Job did not sin with his lips.
It was nevertheless very difficult for him. We therefore read very severe complaints of him.
Who would not understand that? How could God give permission to the devil for such an ill treatment of Job?

The Lord has said: 
My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 and 9)
Job was convinced that he had a right to be blessed by God, but did not realize that God knew him better than he knew himself. In referring to his practical righteousness Job made no mistake. But God saw that Job thought to be right when he tried to bind God by his view of acting right towards him. Job finally learned that he could not prescribe God how He ought to act. That was a blessing for him. And God added more blessing, for God gave him twice as much as he had had before.

The trial was necessary for Job and proved to be blessing, though he did not realize that in the beginning.
The history of job learns us, that satan has great power indeed and could bring disaster in the life of Job, but could not go farther than God permitted him.
It is moreover evident, that God made all things work together for good to Job. And that is exactly what the Lord assures us in the epistle to the Romans: 
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28).
So the book Job gives one of the answers to the question “why?” in relation to much suffering.

The poor man Lazarus.

His story we find in Luke 16:
19 There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores
21 and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried.
23 And in hell, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they who would pass from here to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from there.’
27 Then he said, ‘I pray thee therefore, father, that thou would send him to my father’s house,
28 for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them lest they also come into this place of torment.’
29 Abraham said unto him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
30 And he said, ‘Nay, father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.’
31 And Abraham said unto him, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.’

For what purpose Lazarus had to have such a difficult life? What has been the use of it? Has it not been useless teasing?
The ways of the Lord are higher than our ways. We should not suppose that we can take in things better than God and steer better than He. And when we do not understand Him, is God wrong then, or are our insight and our wisdom hopelessly deficient? It is the last indeed.
Has Lazarus been protected by his misery, that he could not forget God? Perhaps.
Had he to be a warning for the rich one in order he might see that the worth of wealth and health are relative and life can be short? Perhaps.
Had he to endure his suffering in order to give us the history in Luke which is an instructive warning for all, who are inclined to reject the Word of God? Perhaps so.
We know that after his death angels carried him into Abrahams bosom, whereas the rich man was buried. He opened his eyes being in torments. A warning indeed, reader.

Has the way of God with Lazarus been wrong? 
Look to the end and you have the answer.
Did you listen to the word of God? Did you repent? There is no other way to salvation than by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Men, indifference, oblivion, licentiousness, lusts, they do not bring salvation, peace, happiness and a good conscience. Jesus alone is the way, the truth and the life. Nobody will come to the heavenly Father than by Him

When the cup is full.

Judgment is coming. In history God sometimes judges it necessary to do what a surgeon does now and again, excise an ulcer. Sometimes here or there the cup is full before the time of judgment has come. Than God intervenes by judging partially.
He did so in the days of Noah: 
1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them,
2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair; and they took for themselves wives of all whom they chose.
3 And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he also is flesh; yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years."
4 There were giants on the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagining of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And the LORD repented that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in His heart.
7 And the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping thing and the fowls of the air, for I repent that I have made them." (Genesis 6:1-7).
Of all the inhabitants of the earth God could say of one only that he was righteous, Noah. All other flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. It was corrupt and filled with violence.
God commanded Noah to build an ark and in that big vessel he, his family and many beasts have been spared. After the flood he entered a clean earth.
God waited one hundred and twenty years with his judgment. During that long time Noah preached with words and hammer, but nobody listened. The cup was full indeed and God finally let judgment come.

In Sodom it happened again. There too sin had risen to a summit, just as in the days of Noah. There too still was one righteous man, Lot. He has been spared with his daughters. Sodom and Gomorrah have been destroyed and burned with all inhabitants.
God had warned before. Enemies had come and captured all and everyone. Abraham liberated them. That ought to have been a reason to change their wicked ways, but they did not. Then there too the cup was full and God judged.

How many warnings has God given in our days? Who pays attention? Men think to be able to explain everything. We know how earthquakes occur and why, we can give warnings for great tornado’s, let satellites make photography’s and measure many things.
Marvellous! But when the tornado is there or a tsunami, when there is an eruption of a volcano or a heavy and long rain,whereby a whole village is covered with mud and earth, we have no power with all our wisdom. 
When terrorism comes over us like huge billows, when we are confronted by an epidemic, killing old and feeble people, when radiation therapy and chemicals are no longer effective, and we stand there, powerless, is God not speaking then? Does He not say: Man, wise and powerful independent man, where will you be when I call you?
What will be your destination when I will judge you and your life if you have not been cleansed by the blood of my Son, Jesus Christ who died for sinners? 

In how many cases of disaster and suffering has the cup been full somewhere? I do not know nor need I to know. Investigate into your own heart and life and ask yourself whether God had no reason to judge you in days past.
When we consider all the unrighteousness, corruption, sin and sex scandals in our world, I think judgment cannot be far away. It soon will be Sodom on a greater scale. How long will God have patience with that Sodom around and in us? 

How can God allow it?

How can God allow so much disaster, oppression and other wickedness? Why does He not interfere?
Because He is sparing you.
You see that the cup is full. 
God saw it sooner and better. The time of judgment possibly is very near. Properly speaking it is high time already.
Judgment is coming. God only still has mercy owing to the sacrifice of his Son, who died and prayed for sinners, even for his enemies.
When judgment comes, God will not only judge your neighbour. If you do not repent He will judge you too.
It is still the time of grace. God still invites sinners to accept Jesus as their Saviour. Therefore bow before Him who died for you in order you get forgiveness of sin and everlasting life. Whosoever believes in Christ never will be judged. That is his promise in John 3:18 
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.
17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 "He that believeth in Him is not condemned; but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

J. Ph. Buddingh