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Christian Faith and Life.
1. The Purpose of Man.
God created us in His own likeness and image. He gave us
intelligence, free will and an immortal soul, so that knowing God and becoming
like Him, we would all become better, perfect ourselves, and inherit eternal
blessed life with God. Therefore the existence of man on earth has deep
meaning, great purpose and a high goal.
In the universe created by God, there is not, nor
can there be, anything unplanned. If a man lives without faith in God, not
abiding by the commandments of God, not for future eternal life, then the
existence of such a man on earth becomes senseless. For people living without
God, life seems incomprehensible and accidental, and such people are often
worse than beasts.
For each man, in order to fulfill his purpose on
earth and to receive eternal salvation, it is necessary, in the first place, to
know the true God and to rightly believe in Him, that is, to have the true
faith. Secondly, one must live according to this faith; that is, to love God
and people and to do good works.
The Apostle Paul says that without faith it is
impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), and the Apostle James adds that faith
without good works means without love, and such faith is ineffective and dead
Thus, for our salvation, it is necessary to have
the correct faith, and a life in keeping with that faith, the doing of good
True teaching about the necessity to rightly
believe in God and how to live with people, is contained in the Orthodox
Christian Faith, which is founded on Divine revelation. Divine revelation is
the name given to all that God Himself reveals to people about Himself and
about true faith in Him. God conveys His revelation to people by two means:
natural revelation and supernatural revelation.
Natural revelation is called Divine revelation
when God reveals Himself through normal, natural means to each person, through
our visible world (nature) and through our conscience, that is, the voice of
God in us. It tells us what is good and what is bad. God also reveals Himself
through life, through the history of all mankind. If a nation loses faith in
God, then misfortune and unhappiness overtake it. If it does not repent, then
it perishes and vanishes from the earth. Let us remember the Flood, the
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Hebrew nation dispersed to all corners of the earth,
and so on.
The entire world which surrounds us is a great
book of Divine revelation, testifying to the omnipotence and wisdom of God the
Creator. People who study this world are, with very rare exceptions, believers.
In order to study something, it is necessary to have faith that everything
fulfills a given concept and exists according to a definite plan.
"Even the most simple machine is not able to come
into existence by chance. Even if we see a systematically arranged group of
stones, we immediately conclude from the form of their arrangement, that a
human being put them there. A chance arrangement is always without form,
irregular. Long ago Cicero, an ancient scholar and orator, who lived before the
birth of Christ, said that even if one threw alphabet blocks a million times, a
line of poetry would not result from them. The universe which surrounds us is
much more complicated than the most intricate machine, and it contains much
more thought than the most profound poem" (from a discussion by Archbishop
The Apostle Paul was a well-educated person for
his time. He says every house is built by some man; but He that built all
things is God (Heb 3:4).
The great scientist Newton, who discovered the laws of movement of the heavenly
bodies, thereby disclosing a great mystery of creation, was a religious man and
studied theology. Each time he pronounced the name of God, he reverently stood
up and took off his hat.
The renowned Pascal, a mathematical genius and one
of the creators of modern physics, was not only a believer but one of the
greatest religious thinkers in Europe. Pascal said, "The contradictions which most of all
might seem to separate me from religious knowledge, on the contrary, lead me to
Louis Pasteur, the founder of contemporary
bacteriology, and a thinker more profound than others in penetrating the
mystery of organic life, exclaimed, "The more I occupy myself with the
study of nature, the more I stand in reverent amazement before the works of the
The famous biologist Linnaeus concluded his book
about plants with these words, "Truly God exists, great, eternal, without
Whom nothing is able to exist."
The astronomer Kepler confessed, "O, great is
our Lord and great is His omnipotence, and His wisdom is without boundary. And
you, my soul, sing praise to your Lord for all your life."
Even Darwin, the scholar who was afterwards
exploited by half-learned men to refute belief in God, was a very religious man
all his life. For many years he was the lay leader of his parish. He never
thought that his findings contradicted belief in God. After Darwin set forth his teaching about the evolutionary development
of life on earth, he was asked, "In the chain of evolution, where was the
Darwin answered, "It was riveted to the throne of the Most
The geologist Lyell wrote, "With every
geological finding we discover enlightening demonstrations of the foresight,
power and wisdom of the creative intelligence of God."
The historian Muller declared, "Only with the
recognition of God and by thorough study of the New Testament did I begin to
understand the meaning of history."
It is possible to cite an unlimited number of
scholarly witnesses to belief in God, but we think for the present it is enough
to relate one more eloquent argument. The scientist Dennert conducted a survey
about belief in God with 432 naturalists. Fifty-six of them did not respond,
349 indicated belief in God, and only eighteen declared that they either did
not believe, or were indifferent to faith. The result of this survey of
scholars concurs with results of other similar investigations.
"Only half-knowledge brings people to
godlessness. No one is able to deny the existence of God, except those for whom
it is profitable to do so," says the English scholar Bacon.
The young holy Great-martyr Barbara, seeing the
majesty and beauty of Godís world, came to a knowledge of the true God. Thus
God reveals Himself through the visible world to each person who is intelligent
and of good will.
Belief in God is the fundamental essence of a
personís soul. The soul is given to man from God. It is a spark in man and a
reflection of God in man. Originating in God, having a kindred being in Him,
the soul by itself, according to its own will, turns to God, seeks Him. My soul
thirsts for God, for the living God (Ps. 42:2). As when eyes turn to the light
and are constructed in such a way that they are able to see, thus the soul of man
rushes to God, has the need of intimacy with Him, and only in God finds peace
and joy. A flower stretches toward the sun, from which it receives warmth and
light, without which it is not able to live and grow. As with the flower, the
constant, irrepressible inclination of man to God comes from the fact that only
in God is our soul able to find all that it needs for a righteous and healthy
Therefore, people in all times have believed in
some deity and offered their prayers to it, although they often have erred by
believing in God incorrectly. They never lost faith in a deity, always keeping
some form of religion.
General belief in a Supreme Being was known even
in the time of Aristotle, the great Greek scholar, philosopher, and naturalist,
born in the year 384 B.C. Scholars confirm that all peoples who have inhabited
the earth, without exception, have had their own religion, faith, prayers,
temples, and offerings. "Ethnography, the science which studies the
existence of all people inhabiting the earth, does not know of a people without
religion," says the German geographer and traveller Ratzel.
If there exist pockets of atheistic persuasion,
they are rare exceptions, unhealthy deviations from the norm. As the existence
of the blind, deaf, and dumb does not disprove the fact that mankind possesses
the gifts of sight, hearing, and speech; as the existence of idiots does not
deny that man is a reasonable being, so the existence of atheists does not
disprove the fact of the existence of religion in every society.
However, natural revelation alone is not enough,
for sin obscures the intelligence, will, and conscience of a man. Proof of this
is revealed in every possible pagan religion, in which truth is mixed with the
falsities of human fabrications.
Therefore, the Lord supplements natural revelation
with supernatural revelation. (Compiled from Frankís book Religion and Science,
and Does God Exist? by G. Shorets and others.).
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