By Jeffery Kingry
It is possible to tell something about man in the things that he makes. Take the back off of your T.V. set or look at the circuitry in your stereo amplifier, and it will tell you something about the intellect of man. Gaze at a Rembrandt painting, or a sculpture from the hands of Michelangelo and it is possible to infer something of the eye and talent of man. If we can tell that there is intelligence and personality in man by looking at the things he creates, is it not also possible to infer something of God from looking at His creation? Indeed, that which can be known of God is plainly seen in his creation. We can tell something of the power and character of God in the things he has created (Rom. 1:19,20). Whether it be a butterfly upon a flower, or the vastness of space, we can look to all and say, “God is greater than these.”
This is what is so repugnant in the idea of reducing God to our level. The God who created the universe and all that it contains must be greater than His creation. He does not live in man-made shrines, neither can he be waited on by human hands, as if the Power who made all things needed anything that man has to offer Him. Indeed, it is God who gives us life and breath, and our existence in this life. It is not right for us to imagine that the Divine Image can be represented in gold or silver or stone-a work sculptured artistically by the inventive ingenuity of man’s thought (Acts 17:24-29).
This entire creation-from the intricate mathematical precision of the atom, to the raging power locked in the heart of the sun in its swift orbit-all proceed forth from the power and wisdom of God. How presumptive-how arrogant-how totally deceived we are when we presume to tell God by our lives and actions that we know more about living and the true reality than He does.
Do I Do That?
You might imagine that you are free from such presumption. But, when man is presumptive enough to set aside the will of God to follow what is aesthetically pleasing to himself–he has set his tastes above the will of God. Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31,32). The truth is what makes men free, not man-made systems of thought. As a child, my father would sometimes bring me a model airplane to build. My first effort at putting the pieces together resulted in a lopsided plane, with many bits and pieces left over. My father viewed the disarray, reached into the box, and pulled out a folded piece of paper I had overlooked. “When all else fails, son, read the directions.” God did not give us this life and creation to “put it all together” by ourselves. All the unhappiness we see in this world is a result of men trying to put it together without the directions.
The things we see as quality-worthwhile-of lasting value, ultimately decay and pass away. The new car rusts, the flowers fade and fall, the fame passes away in the history books, beauty turns to wrinkles and grey hair, and eventually the dust receives them all. This is the crux of the whole of existence. What is enduring? What is of lasting beauty and quality? What is life for? Only the One who made all this to start with has the answers. We find the answers only when we submit to what He has said.
The Answer of God
When you submit yourself to God in true humility, then God will make you enduringly beautiful, and transport you into a way of life whose fruit is everlasting life. Not everlasting existence alone, but everlasting life! An eternity of pure beauty-unrivaled by any created glory which we can experience in this life. “For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psa. 194:4). The beauty of this world will all eventually pass away, but the beauty of an eternal spirit, cleansed of all that is unclean, can never pass away. That spirit is you. Not your body, what you own, your job, or anything else tangible-but you.
Sin is what keeps us from eternal life. The only thing that can take away sin is the blood of Jesus Christ, His sacrifice upon the cross (Eph. 1:7). That blood bought the church of Christ (Acts 20:28), and the church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22, 23). There is only one way to partake of the sacrifice of Jesus: Baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). In baptism we are added to the church (Acts 2:41, 47). We are baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13). We are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27). This baptism is a burial in water (not sprinkling or pouring) and a planting (Rom. 6:3, 4).
Man’s soul is the only thing of eternal value worth saving in this world. Do not throw away the beauty that could be in your life upon the beauty that fades away like a flower. What is a life? It is here but for a little while, like the brief existence of a frosty breath on a cold day. Why don’t you invest in the future what no man can take away from you? Why not become a Christian today?
Truth Magazine XIX: 34, p. 530
July 10, 1975