Wednesday, October 22, 2008

People Are Looking for Answers

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).

I am constantly honored to have people in my life asking me questions about God, Christ, faith, hope, sin, and related topics. I have become convinced that people are looking for solid answers to their questions. They have grown dissatisfied with questions, uncertainty, and insecurity in their lives. More than ever, they are willing to consider God and his word.

These are some of the questions I have been asked this week (along with my answers):

1. If God created everything, where did God come from?

For anything to exist, something has had to have always existed. Something needs to be eternal. Nothing produces nothing. If at some point in the past nothing existed, we could not exist now, because something cannot come from nothing. So the question becomes, "What has always existed?" We could say that the material universe has always existed. However, physicists and astronomers point to a beginning of our universe. They also expect an end to it. If they are correct (and I believe they are correct in recognizing that there was a beginning), the material universe cannot be eternal. So, the only other option would be: something beyond the material universe must have been responsible for creation. It would need to be outside the laws of physics, because it would need to be eternal itself. God is a spirit who is beyond the laws of physics. He is eternal and the source of the physical universe.

2. My Muslim daughter asked her spiritual leader why God answers my prayers since I am a Christian, and he answers her prayers as a Muslim. He told her that God answers the prayers of everyone, but that only Muslims will go to heaven. How do I respond?

Jesus Christ is unique. He said that no one could go to his Father (God) unless they followed him as the Way. He is the only begotten Son of God. He is the only one who has lived a sinless life. He is the only one qualified to be a sacrifice on behalf of sinners in order to satisfy the penalty for sin. He was proven to be acceptable in his sacrifice when he was resurrected.

The issue is not whether Muslims are superior to Christians. The issue is whether Jesus Christ is uniquely qualified to be our Savior. If he is (and I believe he is), then he is the one worthy of following.

3. My Muslim son-in-law is always lying to my daughter. He is dishonest with her all the time, but he calls himself a good Muslim. How can he do that?

I don't know. I do not know the rules of Islam concerning lying. I don't know what they consider to be "good." (My answer was completely inadequate, but honest.)

4a. What church are you a member of, Terry?

The Church of Christ

4b. I didn't know you were a member of Barack Obama's church.

I'm not. He's a member of the United Church of Christ. It's a liberal denomination. The Churches of Christ are conservative. (I wish I had given a more complete answer. I should have said that the United Church of Christ is a theologically liberal denomination while the Churches of Christ are theologically conservative, because I probably left the impression that I was talking about the churches' political stances.)


Christy said...

I think your answers were great. Even the one where you had to admit you didn't know. We're not always going to know the answers to all of the questions.

Anonymous said...

Looking back on my own life before becoming a Christian, it's amazing how many simple conversations like this profoundly shaped who I'd become later.

Looks like you planted some good seeds here - keep up the good work!


Terry said...

I'm often caught off guard with questions I have never considered, but I've learned not to try to bluff. It's obvious when I have never thought about something.

I have been impacted by simple conversations in profound ways, too. You never know what will happen in simple conversations.

Thanks for the comments!