The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"Why does God seem so far off — so unreal — in this twentieth century?" — R. G., Wichita, Kansas
When 2,975 undergraduates at 11 colleges were asked in a poll about their belief in a God, only 1% reported they were atheists. But, paradoxically, in a society which professes belief in God, people find it HARD to see how God has anything to do with daily life. God seems so far off! There is a reason why God seems "way off." In your Bible one entire book — the book of Job — reveals the experiences of a man who had this very twentieth-century problem. Job believed in God. He was not an atheist. In that one sense, at least, he was like those college undergraduates. Job not only believed in God, he obeyed Him. That was rare! Notice Job's good deeds! He wept for those in trouble (Job 30:25). His integrity was unquestionable (Job 31:6). He was not guilty of adultery (Job 31:9-10). His servants received just wages and fair treatment (Job 31:13). The widows were relieved of their suffering through his efforts (Job 31:16). These are only a few of the works of Job (read the remainder of Job 31). God Himself said of Job: "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a PERFECT and an UPRIGHT man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [shuns] evil?" (Job 1:8.) Then what was wrong with Job? Job was no average man — either in character or in his abilities. The Bible explains that "this man [Job] was the GREATEST OF ALL THE MEN of the east" (Job 1:3). It will come as a shock to many but it can be proved! Through the skill of Job, the most massive structure on the face of the earth was built THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZEH! (We have an eye-opening article explaining the historical proof.) Job would have been on the TOP of the honor role in any modern-day technological university. Job also would have been among the 99% of college students who reported they believed in a God. Listen now to the lesson Job had to learn. Turn to the beginning of the 38th chapter of the book of Job. "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirl wind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE? Gird up now thy loins like a man: for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me" (Job 38:1-3). Notice! One of the first words the Creator told Job was that he (Job) was "WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE"! What a strange paradox indeed! God said Job — the greatest man of all the men of the east, the it "brain" behind the building of the greatest structure on the face of all the earth — was WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE! WHY? Do you suppose God would say the same thing to the thousands of students in the 11 colleges who professed belief in Him? Do these soon-to-be great men in chemistry, astronomy, biology, physics, and geology need to learn the same lesson Job did? God required Job to answer a number of questions: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of THE EARTH? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the cornerstone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7.) Job was there when the foundation of the Great Pyramid was laid. He was there when the lines were stretched out in anxious anticipation of its building. Job, you see, was a king of Egypt. He really got excited about his little project — the "Great" Pyramid. Job knew God created the earth. Job knew the earth was here before he came into being. He took the earth for granted. He accepted the fact that God had created it. But he had never COMPARED his own works with those of God! He had always compared his achievements with the achievements of other MEN — and he knew no man could approach what he had done! Comparing himself to those of lesser ability gave him the "bighead." Maybe you, too, have been comparing yourself with men — seeing how your accomplishments rate in comparison with those of other men — or women! Don't. (II Cor. 10:12.) Compare yourself with GOD! How do YOU "stack up" with GOD? How do you think Job felt when he compared the line he stretched forth to build the Great Pyramid with the INCOMPREHENSIBLE EXPANSE OF THE UNIVERSE! How do your efforts compare with the Almighty's? Too many — like Job — believe in God only because it's "reasonable." Many today have a mystical idea of God. They go through the ritual each week of attending church services, and with their lips they profess there is a God. Yet, like Job, they are "without knowledge." This is NOT speaking of physical knowledge. Job was without the knowledge of how great God IS and what man's relationship should be to that God. Job was used to cataloguing and collecting facts and applying them in his own pursuits. This is what man is doing today. In this materialistic age we easily see the accomplishments of man — the cities of steel and concrete, with masses of cars rushing back and forth, jetliners zooming overhead. True, we are amassing a vast store of technical knowledge. This generation — like Job's — has gotten so close to its OWN "pyramids" — its OWN accomplishments — that we cannot comprehend GOD'S greatness! Job's own personal achievements loomed BIG in his mind. He thought HE was the great one — and wondered how God ever got along without him.' It took a direct visit from God Himself to bring Job low! Notice further what God told Job: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades [a group of seven stars], or loose the bands of Orion [a well-known star constellation]? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus [a star] with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances [laws] of heaven' canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?" (Job 38:31-35.) Job knew he could only see the stars. He could not MAKE them! But God not only made the stars, He SUSTAINS them and keeps them on course! Now look at insignificant man. Puny man is now able to tap a tiny bit of the lame power which causes the stars to shine. From that power man devises weapons of war to DESTROY himself (see Matt. 24:22). God uses His great power wisely. But when man gets a little power, he becomes so vain he abuses that power. In like manner man invented the telescope. With the aid of the telescope the VASTNESS of God's universe begins to be seen in even more of its glory. But, what have men done? Instead of praising the One who MADE all the vast universe their telescopes revealed, they began to praise the one who made the telescope! Man set up SCIENCE as a god, and FORGOT about the true God! This is exactly what Job did! He could see his own works and how great they were in comparison to the works of other men. But he forgot how small and puny they were when compared with GOD'S handiwork! No wonder God seems "far off" to most people. They reflect only on their own works and forget about God's. Meteorologists are able to study the weather, but they are not able to CONTROL it. GOD controls the weather. Whatever accomplishment one might name that man has done, GOD has done something greater. What if man has put a satellite weighing several tons in orbit? How does that compare with the moon in orbit around THE EARTH, or the earth in orbit around THE SUN, or the sun in orbit around THE CENTER OF OUR GALAXY, or our galaxy, called the Milky Way — which is in orbit with still OTHER GALAXIES? Vast multiplicate systems, each composed of billions of stars, all orbiting in a systematic way! Can man accomplish something like this? WHERE were the three billion people on the earth today when all this went into orbit? Is there ANY man on earth today who can answer that question and still feel BIG and IMPORTANT? Yes, there is a great difference between knowing there is a God and COMPARING one's self with the handiworks of God and seeing one's own INsignificance. Job, after suffering and heartache, had to admit: "I have HEARD of thee [God] by the hearing of the ear: but NOW MINE EYE SEETH THEE" (Job 42:5). Yes, even though walking before God perfectly, Job had still not come to see his own INsignificance and the GREATNESS OF GOD. Job's measuring rod had been himself — not God. WHY does God want us to compare ourselves with Him? Is it in order to appease a harsh, stern God who selfishly wants people to worship him? No! GOD'S purpose is to SHARE HIS VAST UNIVERSE, His vast POWER with us. Can we visualize the magnitude of the goal He has placed before us — can we see ourselves as utterly insignificant compared with God's greatness? Astounding? Yes, to a world doped with wrong teachings about the Bible. If you have not understood the TREMENDOUS purpose for which you were born, then you should write — without delay — for the amazing article entitled "Why Must Men Suffer?" You will learn the real meaning of Job's experience.