Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp.147, 148.
“Christ's servants are to do the same work. In our day, as of old, the vital truths of God's word are set aside for human theories and speculations. Many professed ministers of the gospel do not accept the whole Bible as the inspired word. One wise man rejects one portion; another questions another part. They set up their judgment as superior to the word; and the Scripture which they do teach rests upon their own authority. Its divine authenticity is destroyed. Thus the seeds of infidelity are sown broadcast; for the people become confused and know not what to believe. There are many beliefs that the mind has no right to entertain. In the days of Christ the rabbis put a forced, mystical construction upon many portions of Scripture. Because the plain teaching of God's word condemned their practices, they tried to destroy its force. The same thing is done today. The word of God is made to appear mysterious and obscure in order to excuse transgression of His law. Christ rebuked these practices in His day. He taught that the word of God was to be understood by all. He pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority, and we should do the same. The Bible is to be presented as the word of the infinite God, asthe
The Bible has been robbed of its power, and the results are seen in a lowering of the tone of spiritual life. In the sermons from many pulpits of today there is not that divine manifestation which awakens the conscience and brings life to the soul. The hearers can not say, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?’ Luke 24:32. There are many who are crying out for the living God, longing for the divine presence. Philosophical theories or literary essays, however brilliant, cannot satisfy the heart. The assertions and inventions of men are of no value. Let the word of God speak to the people. Let those who have heard only traditions and human theories and maxims hear the voice of Him whose word can renew the soul unto everlasting life.” (Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 39, 40.
God and Galileo
In the early 1600’s the astronomer Galileo become increasingly convinced that the sun, not he earth, was at eh center of our solar system. While this idea seems unremarkable to us, in Galileo’s time it was a heretical thought. You see, when the children of Israel were fighting the Amorites, recorded in Joshua 10:13, the Bible says that to lengthen the daylight “the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.” The Christian church in Galileo’s time believed that because the Bible said that the sun stood still to lengthen the day, it must mean that the earth is at the center of the universe, and the sun moves around it to cause day and night. The church at this time also believed that a few other verses in the Bible, such as 1 Chronicles 16:30 and Ecclesiastes 1:4, 5 prove that the earth stands still while the sun revolves around it.
In 1633 Galileo was brought before an inquisition in Rome for the numerous works he had published advocating the idea that the sun was the center of the universe. The inquisition concluded, “The proposition that the sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to the Holy Scripture. The proposition that the earth is not the center of the world and immovable, but that it moves, and also with a diurnal [daily] motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically, and theologically considered, at least erroneous in faith.” The inquisition pronounced Galileo to be guilty of heresy and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
We now realize, based on further study of God’s universe, that the sun is the center of the solar system, and day and night are caused by the rotation of the earth. Galileo was right, and the church of that day refused to admit that they did not have a full understanding of God’s revelation in nature and Scripture.
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 149,152.
Here’s What I Think
One day you are spending time with one of your non-Christian friends when the conversation comes around to the Bible. Your friend claims that the Bible is untrustworthy because it is “scientifically inaccurate.” Your friend points out some verses such as Joshua 10:13, which says that the sun stood still, and Isaiah 13:10, which seems to imply that the moon gives off its own light. How would you respond?
Log on to http://realtimefaith.net to post your responses. Be up-front and honest. Say what you think. The lines below are provided as an alternative to posting. You may want to share your thoughts with your class later.
Decode the message by finding each substitute letter or symbol.
Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 24,25.
“Those who are not conscious of God's greatness, His omnipotence, will intrude themselves as great and wise, but they are mere nothingness. In God's sight they are as little children, that cannot walk alone, yet they feel fully competent to handle the greatest problems. They suppose that if they can unite and consolidate their talents, they will make a grand success. But the greater the number united, the greater will be the failure unless they seek to know and understand God. It is not numbers combined in unions that brings man into harmony with heaven.
“There are many, very many, who, inexperienced and unreasoning, suppose themselves wise enough to do anything they may wish to do. With God, their wisdom is foolishness. They need to remember that they are only children in wisdom, and that before they can know themselves, they must learn of God.
“God is our Father, and He will teach all who come to Him, realizing that their human wisdom is foolishness. As they take hold of His strength, and make peace with Him, living by His Word, He will unite His strength with their weakness, His knowledge with their ignorance, making them strong in Him. He will give them the care adapted to their necessities. Those who trust in Him as their Teacher will not stumble or fall.” (The Upward Look, p. 183).
Welcome to the age when the decisions you make are your own. (Not all of them, but most.) Without the resources and ability to find the truth, you will be susceptible to falsehood. What you believe now has a way of shaping what you think the rest of your life. If you base your life decisions on just what the world says is truth, you will never be satisfied. Satisfaction, peace, and purpose in life come through knowing the truth about God.
We have learned that, guided by the Holy Spirit, we can find out truth about God primarily through His Word, with help from the natural world, our experiences, and the experiences of those around us. It is important to recognize that there are also places we could look that would present lies to us as being truth. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference, but Paul gave us a good guideline when he said in Philippians 4:8: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
When we come upon things in the Bible that we do not understand, we should recognize that those things we don’t understand do not affect the things we do understand. The fact that we don’t understand everything about God does not mean that we should ever doubt His character of love and forgiveness that keeps trying to teach us more about Himself.
Match the phrase with the text.
“In the Word of God many queries are raised that the most profound scholars can never answer. Attention is called to these subjects to show us how many things there are, even among the common things of everyday life, that finite minds, with all their boasted wisdom, can never fully comprehend.
“All the systems of philosophy devised by men have led to confusion and shame when God has not been recognized and honored. To lose faith in God is terrible. Prosperity cannot be a great blessing to nations or individuals, when once faith in His Word is lost. Nothing is truly great but that which is eternal in its tendencies. Truth, justice, mercy, purity, and the love of God, are imperishable. When men possess these qualities, they are brought into close relationship to God, and are candidates for the highest exaltation to which the race can aspire. They will disregard human praise, and will be superior to disappointment, weariness, the strife of tongues, and contentions for supremacy.
“He whose soul is imbued with the Spirit of God will learn the lesson of confiding trust. Taking the Written Word as his counselor and guide, he will find in science an aid to understand God, but he will not become exalted, till, in his blind self-conceit, he is a fool in his ideas of God.” (Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 310)
What Does This Have to Do With Me?
God knows that we won’t understand everything about Him, and that we may have notions about life that aren’t completely correct. But God has revealed enough to enable us to know Him—not everything about Him, not everything about what has happened in history. But we have enough to know Him personally. And the wonderful thing is that His grace is big enough to accept and love us in spite of our questions. We don’t need to have a perfect understanding about everything for God to love us and for us to love Him. God will help us find the truth by the gift of His Holy Spirit. A gift? The Holy Spirit is a guide into truth—not just some truth, but according to John 16:12, 13, all truth!
What do you know about God personally?
How does the Holy Spirit help us find the truth?
How Does It Work?
Pick one or two issues that affect your life and research those topics using the sources we’ve discussed: the Bible, the world around us, our personal experience, and others’ experiences. The topic you choose can be anything that affects you. For example: relationships, drugs, sports, priorities, premarital sex, tobacco—anything you’re interested in finding God’s truth about. Be sure that you use all the sources we’ve learned about so you can get a complete picture of the issue. And be sure to ask for God’s Spirit to lead you to the truth. If you need help, you can ask your parents, your pastor, or other church members. When you’re finished with your research, write in the space below what you discovered.