Pastor's Corner

Three questions only God can answer

by Daniel Ausbun, Moreland First Baptist Church

This past Christmas did you find yourself with the curious family member trying to answer, 'Where did God come from?'

Or examining the pros and cons of, 'How has God always existed?' There are some questions we must answer with, 'I don't know' or 'Only God knows.'

There are three theological questions that seem to unnecessarily bog down many Christians. These questions have good points on either side, but will leave many believers frustrated, stating, 'Only God knows the answer.' Here are three questions where 'Only God knows' might be the best answer.

First, 'Did Jesus die for only believers or for the entire world?'

This is a question about Christ's atonement. Whom did Jesus die for? Most Christians would initially answer, 'Jesus died for everyone.' Some would answer that statement with, 'How could someone be eternally condemned to hell if Jesus paid it all?'

There are places in Scripture that reference a particular redemption or Christ dying for His people. Jesus declared in John 6:37, 'Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me' and again in John 10:11, 'The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.' Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25, 'Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.' If someone read only these verses, you'd believe Christ died for His sheep and His church.

There are also a number of Scripture passages that favor Jesus dying for the whole world. John 3:16 says, 'For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.' In II Corinthians 5:19 Paul states that in Christ, 'God was reconciling the world to Himself.' Paul also wrote in I Timothy 2:6 that Jesus 'gave Himself-a ransom for all.' Whether you believe Jesus died for His people or the whole world, it's important to remember the death of Christ has no benefit for a person unless that person believes in Christ.

This is a question that probes into the inner council of God.

Second, 'How old is the earth?' Many scientists believe the earth is 4.6 billion years old. Others believe that scientific dating schemes are incorrect, and the earth is around 10,000 years old. Those who believe in a young earth claim the Bible dates Adam and Eve being created about 10,000 years ago.

Much of the disagreement is over how long a day is in Genesis 1. On first day of creation there's an evening and morning (Gen. 1:5) yet the sun and moon aren't created until day four (Gen. 1:14).

Also, day six had to be a busy day for God and Adam. The sixth day includes God's creation of Adam, God putting Adam in the Garden of Eden to take care of it, God giving Adam directions regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:15-17), He brought all the animals to Adam to be named (Gen. 2:18-20), and lastly, finding no helper for Adam, God had Adam fall into a deep sleep. Then God created Eve from Adam's rib (Gen. 2:21-25). What a busy day!

It is not taught directly in Scripture how old the earth is. God could have created fossil fuels that appeared to be 300 million years old, but really only one day old. We're on the wrong end trying to figure out the earth's age and the length of the first week.

Third, 'Is Jesus coming back before or after the tribulation?' We know Jesus is coming again (Acts 1:11). We also know there will be a great tribulation (Matthew 24:21).

Some Christians believe in two second comings of Christ - first a secret coming for the church and then - after seven years of tribulation have occurred on the earth, a visible, public, triumphant coming - with Christians.

Other Christians believe after the time of tribulation, Christ will return one time. When He returns, believers who have died will be raised from the dead, their bodies being reunited with their spirits.

We must never forget what Mark 13:32 instructs on the return of Christ. Jesus said, 'Now concerning that day or hour no one knows - neither the angels in heaven nor the Son - except the Father.' If Jesus doesn't know when He'll return, why should we expect to know?

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