WHAT IF there were no GOD? I was startled when suddenly that question flashed into my mind. This column is personal. In it I want to be free to talk with our readers in a more intimate, personal way. I think it's good for people to be able, once in a while, to be more personal — intimate and frank, without embarrassment. Let me tell you what led to that opening question: "What if — just what if there were NO GOD?" It is now, as I write, ten minutes to four in the morning. Rather early to be up and writing a PLAIN TRUTH talk with our readers! Yet not "early" for me. You see, I just arrived back in Pasadena from England last evening about six. Only, for me, it was not 6 p.m., but 2 a.m.! For I had left London the same morning at 10:45 a.m. There was no space on the nonstop "polar" flight, so I had to fly to New York, and with an hour-and-a-half stopover, take another flight on to Los Angeles. My stopwatch said I had spent 12 hours 35½ minutes in the air, not counting the 90 minutes clearing customs and changing planes in New York. It is eight hours later in London than in Pasadena. So, by the time I arrived home in Pasadena it was 2 a.m. by the time to which I had been adjusted. Even though it is now summer vacation, and college is out until September, quite a group of students, working for the summer on campus, were waiting to greet me. It was only 6 p.m. for them! But I was very travel-weary. I got to bed about 7:30. But that was 3:30 a.m., for me! So, you see, here I am in my study, at home in Pasadena, at my typewriter, before 4 a.m., Pasadena time. But it is already NOON in London — according to the time to which I had become adjusted. This jet-flight gets one a third of the way around the earth in a hurry — but it does upset and unbalance one's bodily metabolism, and require some adjustment. But we live in a fast-moving, speedy age — the SPACE-AGE! And my very urgent responsibilities require that I move at a fast clip! Now back to my question: "What if there were no God?" I was unable to sleep longer, so I dressed and came in to my study to get some work done. But first, I knelt at my prayer-bench, and began THANKING God (as I also did last night) for delivering me safely back at Headquarters, and for a new grandson, the news of which came by long distance telephone on arrival home; and for many, many other things. But just then I was reminded of Jesus' "Lord's Prayer," in which He told us after which manner to pray. His "sample prayer," as a brief example to us of the manner in which to pray begins with "Our Father which art in heaven, HALLOWED BE THY NAME!" First of all Jesus taught us, we should EXALT GOD! Nearly always I do begin a prayer with exaltation of God, which brings to my mind HOW GREAT — HOW WONDERFUL — is the ALL-Mighty One to whom I am speaking! So immediately I broke off the thanksgiving and the gratitude temporarily, to praise and exalt and extol the Supreme CREATOR GOD! Yet I just naturally continued my giving thanks — now thanking God for Himself — and realizing how grateful I am that God IS — that there IS the Great GOD — that He is the living God! And immediately, as if God Himself put the thought in mind, came the question, "WHAT IF THERE WERE NO GOD?" What if the highest power that exists were just MORTAL MAN? Immediately it flashed to mind HOW HELPLESS man really is, of and by himself! And of course, that status is precisely that which the greatest minds in this world suppose does exist! They — most of the finest, most scholarly, most "educated," greatest-capacity MINDS — do suppose THERE IS NO GOD — or, at least they are skeptical — agnostic — doubting — and, in reality, assuming that no such Supreme Being exists! If those human leaders — those self-exalted, vain people who are the leaders in this world's civilization, were the HIGHEST POWER in existence for the guiding of humanity's destiny — for solving the world's colossal problems — for delivering mankind from its overwhelmingly tragic state — if man's ONLY HOPE lay in these misguided and vain MEN and in our own selves alone — HOW UTTERLY HOPELESS we would be! If I did not know that the living God IS — and that He is very soon going to intervene in world affairs I would rather be dead. In working out HIS PURPOSE here below God has appointed a 6,000-year duration of keeping Hands off — of allowing mankind full freedom of choice to demonstrate, once for all by human experience, just HOW helpless man is to save himself, and to bring himself peace, and happiness, and abundant well-being. If I did not KNOW these things I should not want to live — I should rather be extinct! Man must yet learn not only that GOD IS, but that ALL GOOD THINGS come from GOD — that He is man's only HOPE — and that He has set man's potential destiny — if by free choice man is willing — as the highest glory that any mind can possibly conceive! Yes, I am GRATEFUL that I have been brought safely back to the Headquarters of God's Work for the continuance of the responsibilities the Great God allows me to be used in performing. And that new grandson? I have mentioned before in this Personal column, I believe) of how Mrs. Armstrong and I were simply unwilling to give up our daughter-in-law, Lois, from being our daughter. She was the wife of our elder son, Richard David. She was widowed when Dick was killed in an automobile crash nine years ago, leaving a three-months-old son. After about two-and-a-half years, one of God's fine young ministers, Me. Ben Chapman, and Lois, wanted to be married. They asked our permission. (Of course they didn't need it, but they asked it anyway, because they wanted to). We were not willing to sever the "daughter" relationship with Lois, so I suggested that, to consent) we should have to just consider Ben as our son. "O.K., Dad," said Ben, with enthusiasm — and so, Ben and Lois are just like my very own children. Little "Dicky" is not so little anymore — he's a fine big boy past nine, and he has two younger sisters whom we have considered our grandchildren. And now I have to think how happy Mrs. Armstrong would be to know that Ben, who has been such a fine and loving father to Dicky, has another son, this time of his very own "flesh and blood," and to carry on his name! God has granted to us humans the wonderful, GOD-plane FAMILY relationship — the only creatures in all God's creation to be blessed with the marriage — home — family relationship. Truly all GOOD things do come from GOD! My lovely wife of fifty years is no longer living — until the Resurrection — but my heavenly Father, and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, still live eternally! How grateful I am for that I And so I end this little Personal talk by quoting God's Word through David: "O GIVE THANKS unto the Eternal, for He is GOOD!... O that men would praise the Eternal for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men." (Psalm 107:1, 8).