UI – Part 232a – Salvation, God vs. Allah (1 of 2)
Several months ago this blog discussed Grace (read more) and Mercy (read more). Today we discuss Salvation. God’s Grace and Mercy allow for Salvation for those that believe in the Risen Lord. Allah keeps his options open. Salvation under Islam is subjective. You never know. We are discussing Salvation in the Spiritual sense, being saved to live with God in the Eternal Kingdom (Paradise).
Think about it. Have you ever sinned? If you say ‘no’, then I know the Lord has returned. We have all sinned. Why, it is inherent in the nature of man to sin. Do you believe otherwise? If so, then provide your comments.
The concept of Original Sin, often viewed as a Christian concept, takes the failure to obey God by Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden as a fall from God’s Grace at that time. Man was stained forever by a sinful nature. Find one human today that is not stained carrying the condition called ‘a sinful nature’. Jewish and Islamic persons do not accept Original Sin, but do accept the fact they sin. They say they are weak. What is the source for them? Where did it originate, if not in the Garden? Both rely on the Bible, the Old Testament and the source, in Genesis, is well before Abraham as the father of the Abrahamic religions. The sin of the Jew or Muslim is reflected upon as an error of judgment by the human, not God’s or Allah’s doing but man’s. Thus only God does good, but man does evil, without God’s or Allah’s help. But consider the Creator, who created man. God as the Creator made man and as the Created (man) was not God’s equal. The perfection of God was lacking. So God is as much responsible for the good in man as well as the evil.
How does one overcome this stain? How does one restore Adam’s original nature – true knowledge, true righteousness, and true holiness? Man’s attempt was to live without God, thus denying truth. It continues today.
God the Creator
God is the Creator. Before God there were no humans. Before God there was no Satan. Man and Satan were created by God. As God’s creation man in choosing to disobey God, the Creator, focused his attention on the Created. God is the ultimate authority. We can only describe God in man’s terms, for which the words cannot be wholly adequate. Beyond comprehension, greater than the greatest, higher than the highest, a Being, not human, divine, supernatural, thus not as the laws of nature would impact, and so much more that is indescribable, yet we know there is that which is more than we can ever be – God. Who would deny that? Man only exists because God exists, or man’s existence is due to God’s existence.
Man has a proclivity to worship, if not God, then something, anything. Man worships, from cars, to money, some specific material thing or in general (such as wealth), to others, to self, to Satan – the pleasures offered as Dante’s candy. Man worships. Man can choose to worship God too. Man can choose to worship other gods, like Allah, or Zarathustra. Or no God – as do the atheists. But if God is not the one worshipped, then what is worshipped is created, created by God, but worshipped by man, substituted by man so man can control that which he feels is right, feels is good, so man can justify his actions. This is sin. Such worship does not make the way to God’s kingdom possible. Thus Salvation is needed.
It is God who determines the salvation of man.[i]
What Next for Man
After the Fall, what next. Man is lost and can only rely on his own judgment, his own standards. How can man delineate between the good and the evil. “Without the interpretation of the universe by man to the glory of God the whole world would be meaningless.”[ii] The Bible provides answers. The value of Scripture cannot be overlooked. As the books of the Bible progress, understanding the wrath of God and the standards for man are recorded, inspired by God. It is informative and instructional. There is a chosen class with messages shared and directions provided along with a seed planted to establish the lineage leading to Jesus. There are leaders, judges and kings, and prophets preaching, their stories as reminders of God’s wrath and his love. Even the chosen rebuke God, resisting as did Adam. Their sinful selves dominate and they prefer the created over the creator. They continued upsetting God. The results were not positive. Man needed to be restored.
Man restored, as reconditioning a car, would be a human acceptable to God, righteous and enabled to enter the Kingdom of the Lord. After the Fall man was not righteous. Think how you think, often wrong thoughts, tempted and at times vulnerable and weak. A lie, a lustful stare, cheating on the golf course, an act of terror, stealing, failure to repay a loan or meet an obligation, and other transgressions none too small, all are failures to obey God. Cleansing man of his sinful stain was necessary, if not in fact, in principle. How? But for forgiveness, and not one-at-a-time, in the aggregate, the whole batch of sins past, present and future forgiven at once, none would be salvageable. A return to the Lord became essential. God had a plan all along. He provided the sacrifice, the means to achieve overall forgiveness, through his offspring, a perfect lamb to be offered and punished for the sins of man. That is quite the Gift. As with the restored auto, the imperfections may remain inherent in the history of the vehicle, but it was made right anew. It simply had to rely on the creative team to keep it that way; believe in those capable and supportive in maintaining the body to avoid future dings and dents.
The Garden – The Showroom
Adam was like a new car. It was shiny and worked perfectly. In the Showroom its beauty was enhanced. The surroundings were ideal. Taking the car Adam did everything the manual suggested. The car and driver were as one. Then came a woman. The manufacturer knew Adam needed a passenger to enjoy the car. But she wanted to go faster, to test the car’s limits, to take curves at speeds not suggested. Adam listened to her. In so doing he did not adhere to the manual. It caused damage. The car was never the same. Adam became more aware of what can happen when instructions are not followed. So too did the woman. There were dents, speeding tickets, flat tires, the wrong fuel, and torn seats. The car still worked, but it was not the same. It required knowledge of repair and proper operation. It would not last forever. It rusted. There were consequences. Only the manufacturer, his trio of specialists, could make the car like new. How was this machine to be saved?
(…..to Be Continued – Salvation – next week the Conclusion)
Grace and Peace