Is God still speaking today? If true, What is the message? Who are the messengers and recipients? And how do we discern God’s voice amid diverse interpretation of scripture today? These are some of the questions a good number of theologians keep asking themselves these days as we find ways to understand the scripture better and respond to the emerging challenges faced by our society.
The world is moving at a fast speed at which most of us wonder of our ability to cope with innovation in the many fields related to our life. As we experience these changes some things come to our minds and we question the place of God and His word in our lives and society. Cultural evolution is interesting these days as it touches questions related to our spiritual lives and i just wanted to touch a few aspects that are so key to our faith in God and relation to others. I will try to be brief but also share some weird views that we often ignore.
Who is God?
The old testament gives us a positive and what i believe a more vivid understanding of the identity of God. God revealed himself to many people in the old testament physically and in other ways. He spoke to Adam personally and they easily identified Him in the garden. He spoke to Moses and manifested Himself to the many people that were close to him. He is the creator of the universe, He is the word and the father of nations. The image of God is manifested in human creation as He said ‘Let us make man in our image’. He is the holy one who is blameless, filled with love and leads human society through His word. He reveals Himself to humankind continuously and responds to their needs. The fundamental understanding and image of God is the ultimate creator of the universe who stays awake to provide the best for His creation.
Is God speaking today?
Yes, God is still speaking today and using many ways to express himself to humanity. Looking at the old testament scenario, God spoke to man face to face and they could easily identify Him and His voice. He would be walking in the garden of Eden and meeting Moses at Sinai/Horeb. He also spoke through the commandments that He offered to Moses and which has been passed unto us. God spoke through the prophets, these were the anointed people who had the responsibility to speak the word of God to human society in exact ways and word that God offered. To confirm the origin of the message, the prophets used the introductory prose ‘Thus says the Lord’ and it was true because those who prophesied falsely would be easily punished.
In the new testament God came to the world and took the human flesh and identified as Jesus Christ, and after the resurrection we have a new helper in our presence in the form of the Holy Spirit. So God is still speaking today, we have the Bible which is the written of God that provides a guide for our conduct on earth. It is holy and inspired. But some may ask, what other new ways is God speaking today? He is speaking today through His servants, there are prophets in our communities, only that we hardly appreciate the need to pay attention closely to the still small voice that at times may be against our expectations and feelings. The challenge with our modern communities is the extreme belief in our personal understanding that God’s voice and will. We believe to know everything or else no one else knows. We confine the truth to the justification of our feelings and thought, and little do we make an effort to listen to the prophetic voice of God in our time. I know that God is speaking because i have a personal testimony of the existence of prophecy in our time, but beyond that prophecy doesn’t go in opposite direction of the Bible for our God never changes. His thoughts are perfect and it is up to us to make the necessary adjustments to fit into his plan.
What is the message?
The message of our God unto us is very simple. Just like in the times of Israel, He is calling us to return to Him. He has seen us moving into directions that separate us from him and thus is sending His messengers to call us back to perfection. He is saving today and wants us to repent of our sins, change the direction of our lives, conduct and thought and depend on Him. The Theocratic God is back, where He wants to lead our societies into the promised land. We ought to pay attention to this message because it is evident in our times that we have reached the extremes of sinful life and rejection of the Almighty to the dependence of our own views.
We seem to place science and our human feelings at greater consideration than the spoken word of God. I often hear people say, i feel like or i think God would have accepted this, but little do we pay attention to what He said already. We tend to abuse God;s grace and redemptive opportunity for the sake of enjoying and satisfying ourselves. We define a Christian life as that which God has to accept our ways because we have the right excuses to justify our feelings and emotions. We seem to know more than what He said in the Bible and ready to ask Him to rewrite it so that it fits into our pattern of life.
It is not surprising that science is key to our understanding of the bible and faith but we ought to appreciate the greater mystery of our faith through the death and resurrection of the Almighty. We think science and culture should define Christianity, forgetting the need for us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed and transform this world so the kingdom of God may be extended throughout. I met a friend who said he stands for the legalization of prostitution and the need to provide care and consideration to the oldest profession of our world. In as much i have respect for these people, i do have the obligation to inform them of the negative nature of their job and call them to a new life, a life of committed partnership as their bodies are representative of God’s temple. We may claim for their rights but we are also the same people to be offended when we are referred to as prostitutes. Our faith and understanding should not be of double standards, but one which is moving in line with the spoken word of God written in the holy scriptures.
One of the debates i enjoy having with a number of friends attending seminary and other theological programmes is on how do we interpret scripture correctly in a society filled with the absence of truth and uncertainty of God’s will. I just want to raise a few aspects that i believe we often ignore. There is only one correct interpretation of scripture, the bible isn’t filled with ambiguity as we may claim. The bible was not written to justify our mode of life nor has it been written to bring judgment onto alternative lifestyles. There is truth in the bible and not in our imaginations. We can only be right if what we say or think compliments the written word of God. This may sound different but the ultimate truth that should guide our human life. If we don’t believe in he universal application of scripture in its entirety then what’s the basis of our faith, are we Christians or just fans of a popular religion. We also need to look at from what chapter or verse of the Bible do we start believing in? We do find ourselves in situations where the bible disagrees with our conduct and we should be humble enough to repent and change our ways without denying the truth of the bible. Our boastful attitude only works to the detriment of our salvation.
If we believe Jesus is God, we ought to trust His word. We have come to understand and appreciate Him through the scripture, how dare we claim its inadequacy to respond to the needs and questions of our societies? Denying the truth written in the Bible is a rejection of the faith in Christ and nullification of His death on the cross for our sins and our own humanity for we would be a people without a Creator and not accountable to anyone.
We are called to believe in the spoken word of God and offer it a higher place in our lives and societies just like the ancient Israel and communities who were obedient to the word of God when the prophets used the words, Thus says the Lord. The Lord is saying today, despite you going astray, i still love you and ready to accept you into the realms of the holy ones so i may be your God and guide.