In recent blogs we have looked at why the world is in such a mess. God Himself gives us the reasons through St Paul in Romans, chapter 1. We saw that it is due to human rebellion against the Creator-God. Paul describes this in three areas where He as Creator is exchanged for, or substituted by, created things.
We saw that the first of these exchanges is Replacing the true worship of God by Idolatry. Romans 1:21-23,For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
The second exchange is Replacing the revealed truth about God by False religion. Romans 1:23, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
The third exchange is Replacing God’s revealed purpose for sex by False expressions of sex. Romans 1:26-27, For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
In this article we look at the first of these exchanges. We consider the practical outcomes that have resulted from that exchange as God has been substituted in people’s minds by idols. Romans 1:22-23, Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Humans failed to recognise God (YHWH) as the Creator. They failed too to see themselves as dependent on Him for their existence. They rebelled against Him seeking to do their own thing whilst ignoring the evidence in creation that a Creator exists.
Admitting that there is a Creator means that one, as a created being, has some responsibility towards Him as a Higher Being. But when people refuse to acknowledge the existence of a creator, they feel that they are free to do whatever they wish. When God is “removed’ from the scene it means there are no absolutes. People feel that they can become the masters of their own destinies. But there is a tragic consequence. The Judaic-Christian viewpoint based on the Bible is that humans are made in the image of God. However if people believe there is no god then humans lose their special significance in the creation. If humans are not made in the image of God then they are just material entities. As such they have no special significance. In the eyes of many people their fellow humans are not to be valued but can be exploited for their own personal benefit.
If humans are of no special significance then they can be treated as one wishes. So people who are regarded as having no ongoing value need no special care. But the great tragedy of tragedies is the attitude adopted to the young. If an unwanted pregnancy occurs then many such people in rebellion against God do not regard the foetus as a potential human made in the image of God, but an unwanted “entity”. It means that “unwanted” or “inconvenient” foetuses or even new-born babies can be got rid of. They can be removed from the scene like pressing the “Delete” button on a computer to get rid of unwanted “material”.
It seems to many Bible believers that an abortion is often used to “delete unwanted material”. To believers the “material” is a brand new life, a being made in the image of God. There are those now who argue that women must have the freedom to do what they want with the foetus even after the child is born. So while they call it “exercising personal freedom”, Bible believers call it “terminating life”. Others call it “murder”. On a grand scale in even many developed countries, some call it “infanticide”. For example, it is estimated that since 1973, in the United States alone, roughly 50 million legal induced abortions have been performed. Many of them have been for medical reasons such as protecting the life of the mother. But a massive number would have been from other less worthy motives. It is absolutely tragic from a Christian point of view that so many leaders of the developed nations of the world are not only pro-abortion but are actively promoting abortions in their own countries and in foreign nations as well. Many of them seek to silence the voices and influences of “pro-life” supporters. Human rebellion against God and against His purposes in creation is never over-looked by God even when the rebellion is by a President or a Prime Minister or a Bishop or some other notable person.
Does God, if He exists, care? Obviously He does if we read the words of Psalm 139. Here King David sees his existence as coming from the hand of God, Psalm 139:13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. David saw all life originating in God Himself. Thus human life is valuable. To deliberately destroy the lives of the young is seen to be repugnant in the sight of God. For example we read in Jeremiah 7:30-31 “For the sons of Judah have done evil in my sight, declares the Lord. They have set their detestable things in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. There are many well-known figures in society who in reality are promoting the termination of lives that God is fashioning in human wombs. They receive great applause from fellow humans for doing so. But the deliberate death of the young was never God’s intention; never part of His purpose for the world. It appears that it did not enter His mind for humans to do that. Humans in rebellion against the Creator choose to do it. They are foolish! They are guilty! But the innocent suffer – suffer Death!
The Bible says in Psalm 53:1, “ … The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (ESV). Or in the words of the Holman Christian Study Bible, ‘The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.”’‘ Foolish humans who rebel against their Creator come under His judgment. We saw that when we looked at the 3 areas of human rebellion against God in Romans 1. Each is followed by the phrase, “God delivered them over…”. In other words He allowed them to do what they were determined to do in their free-will and in their rebellion against Him. But they were accountable to Him for their actions. To deliberately continue to do what He declared was contrary to His will, makes them even more guilty. When such people, (the foolish in God’s eyes) act in this way, they cause great human destruction. But they also bring others who follow them under the judgment of God as well as they become complicit in what is happening.
My personal prayer is that those who are acting contrary to God’s revealed will, especially national leaders, may come to understand that they have been at odds with the purpose of God for His world. Not only that but I pray that they may publically repent of all they have done in encouraging a practice that is utterly abhorrent to God. My prayer is:-
Dear Lord, we pray that You would open the eyes of those who are deceived, who cannot recognise You as the Creator of all things. May they come to recognise You as the One who is responsible for all life on this earth. Convict them of the sin of regarding humans as merely things that can be disposed of as desired. Enable them to recognise the truth of Your word that all humans are created in Your image and that all human life is sacred. May they turn to You to ask for forgiveness for promoting what is evil in Your sight. Bring Your healing to those who are now living with guilt and shame and regret. We ask these things in the name of Jesus, our Creator, Saviour and Lord. AMEN.
Blog No. 126. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Wednesday 23rd July 2013