If God didn't exist, how do atheists explain that every civilization in history had a flood myth? Doesn't it prove that a global flood (the deluge of Noah) happened in the distant past of humanity?
One does not access God through proof. Proofs are limited to what mankind can observe and figure out on his/her own. God is beyond the human’s ability to ‘figure out’ and so one has to encounter God through revelation. See Jesus’ response to Peter in Matthew 16 as to HOW Peter came to understand Jesus’ identity. People who do not want to acknowledge God won’t. Their loss.
No, he protects children from the sins of their fathers to the 3rd and 4th generation for those that hate him and to the thousands of generations for those that love him. The word for ‘visit’ in Numbers 14:18 KJV is פָּקַד pakad. While later Christian interpreters, concerned with sin, translated it to mean ‘visit’, there are several other meanings including to care for. So in looking at the context of the verse, there is a comparison to the lovingkindness (hesed) of God (also weakly translated) toward both those who do not acknowledge Him (those that hate Him) and those that do (those that love Him). English is not the best language to translate Hebrew. We are separated by thousands of years of language change and cultural differences. I would suggest using
Chesed is complicated. It is more than lovingkindness that is often used to translate chesed. The term implies four actions that are interrelated.
First it is benevolence or kindness toward someone within the context of relationship. It must be from the heart. Second, one one has experienced it, one now has an obligation to reciprocity. Third, it assumes a pay it forward attitude whereby I am obligated to pass chesed to someone else. Fourth, chesed is relational. It is the attitudinal and active posture of community. It is not isolated to the individual as lovingkindness might imply. Chesed cannot exist outside of community. Chesed almost defines Matthew 5:3–10 in that it the glue to a covenant relationship in a collective identity.
This is why it is difficult to define Chesed in one English word.
Courage is not the absence of fear, its just the willingness to ‘do it anyway’. My courage comes from God’s call on my life. If I am in line with His Word, to the best of my ability, He will guide my path. However, I must be willing to say what Queen Esther said in Esther 4:14–16, ESV. “If I perish, I perish”. God will take care of that too.
Because the failure is built into success. You are not a failure if you fail, you are only a failure if you give up and don’t learn from the wisdom that failure teaches. God uses your failures to make you stronger, wiser and mature.
No an atheist is one who has claimed that ‘there is no god’. He/she has decided on that. An agnostic is one who may believe in a supernatural being who may be God, but doesn’t know enough to make a decision. A believer who doesn’t pray is ignoring God and will have to deal with the consequences. There are many believers who don’t go to church but who still maintain contact with other believers (like home groups or Messianic synagogues). There is no mention of a ‘church’ in the Bible anywhere. The idea of ‘church’ came hundreds of years after the last NT book was written. The word ‘ekklesia’ just means a gathering. In Greek it could even be a secular gathering. However, the Jewish disciples used that word to indicate a kehilah or assembly of Messianic believers (both Jew and Gentile in the same group).
Yes, praying works if you are praying to the right God and for the right reasons. Praying for things to get better is subjective. What does God think? How have you gotten to know God? What do you know about God? It would be useless to pray to something you don’t know exists unless you are seeking to know that God. Then your first prayer would be to know the God you are praying to. Second, find out what God demands of you as his child, then third ask for the things that are consistent with that relationship.
Yes, as God makes that a pretty important issue…even for Gentiles. See Isaiah 56:6. If God makes that a standard for a relationship with Him, then it should be heeded by anyone who seeks to relate to the God of Israel, even Gentiles who are attached to Him through by following the teachings of Messiah Yeshua.
In Roman times, as Paula Fredriksen says, “Gods ran in the blood”. The populations were all thinking that there were many gods. As time went on, and especially after the Enlightenment, people began to move away from that idea and now, when we think of ourselves as individuals, it is hard to imagine a world where everything is run by a multiplicity of gods. Monotheism, however, is not new. The uniqueness of Jews in Roman times was that they were monotheists. Ironically, the Romans called the Jews ‘atheists’ because they did not believe in the power of multiple gods. While they may have acknowledged their existence, the ONE GOD, the GOD of Israel, was the most powerful God of all.
Cheryl Durham, Ph.D.
Cheryl is the Executive Director at Living Truth. She is also currently Dean of Students and Professor of New Testament Culture and History at Master's International University of Divinity. She holds a Bachelor and Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling, a Doctor of Biblical Studies in Worldview and a Ph.D. in New Testament History and Culture.