Why Ancient People Needed God, Why Modern People Don’t, and Why I Still Do

Grace For The Journey

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13Apr

Imagine living in the ancient world, a world without internet, without computers, without electrical power, without complex machines, without running water – without the conveniences of modern life.  Just imagine it – the work required to gather and prepare food and water, clothing, and shelter.  Also, imagine the limited knowledge available to you.  It is the knowledge of your family, your clan, your people, your ancestors.  It is mostly practical knowledge required for survival.

Imagine how you might explain how things happen around you.  Imagine that after several months of planting and cultivating your crops, one day they suddenly begin to turn brown and die.  Imagine struggling through the next few months with just enough food to survive.  Imagine that the following year a swarm of grasshoppers tears through your crops, consuming them to the ground.  Another year of hungry survival.  What would you do?  How would you explain what has happened?

For those living in the ancient world,

Both scenarios illustrate how much of the world

Is beyond direct human control

And

Beyond immediate human explanation.

Yet, ancient people looked for ways to explain the events in their lives and to influence what might happen.  For this, the ancients “needed” the concept of “God,” or at least the supernatural.  They turned to spirits, deities, or their dead ancestors to explain why things happened as they did and to somehow influence what happened in their lives.  Why did the crops suddenly turn brown and die?  Because they didn’t offer sufficient sacrifices to the fertility deity.  Why did the grasshoppers swarm at this time? Because evil spirits had invaded their land.

Therefore, by performing certain rituals or by making certain sacrifices, they believed they could appease these powers of the unseen world and hopefully make their lives better. Ancient people needed the idea of “God” or the supernatural to be able to make sense of their world and try to control it in some way.

The situation changes with the developments of modern society.  Modern science can provide logical, natural explanations for the events in normal life.  So, why did the crops die?  Because a virus infiltrated the fields.  Why did the grasshoppers swarm through the crops this time?  Because climate conditions forced them to change their regular movement patterns.  Science offers answers to these kinds of everyday questions.

In addition to that, through technology, people can manipulate the world around them in ways not even imaginable in the ancient world.  They can prevent the virus from destroying the crops or prevent the grasshoppers from eating the crops.

In today’s world man think that the idea of “God”

Is no longer necessary to explain or

Manipulate the world around us.

In this sense, modern people no longer think they need the idea of “God” or even the supernatural.

In fact, it is only with the arrival of modern man that real atheism emerges.

Atheists have decided that they no longer need “God” most often because they believe science provides sufficient answers to explain and even control our world.

In fact, if science and technology have come so far in explaining so much of our world and if they continue to explain more and more with each new discovery, why does anyone need “God?”

In one sense,

The answer to the question is that no one does,

At least not the “idea of God.”

It is true that the vast majority of people, even modern people, have recognized that science itself is always limited both by the people who develop it and by the phenomena it takes into account.

For this reason,

Science often does not provide satisfactory answers

To many of life’s deepest, most difficult questions.

But ultimately, it is not the idea of “God” as an explanation for the everyday world that matters most to me.

The truth is I need God . . .

Not just the idea of “God,” but the true, living God.

I need Him for innumerable reasons,

But the most pressing reason is

That I am condemned as a sinner.

Although someone may object that sin is something made up in my head or something pressed upon me by my social environment, I know better, as do millions of others. Since I was a child, my conscience has condemned me.

Even when no one ever indicated that

What I was doing was wrong,

My conscience convicted my heart.

My conscience testifies to my need for something that is beyond myself to achieve: forgiveness.

In addition to that, when I look at this world, with all the destruction, all the deterioration of relationships, all the disease, all the disasters, and all the deaths that occurs on a routine basis,

I have to conclude that something is

Terribly wrong with man and the world . . .

Something so wrong that even with modern education,

Science, and technology man can solve all these problems.

I have to conclude with the truth of the Bible …

Only God can remove the condemnation of sin,

Its consequences, its guilt, its shame, and its punishment.

Sometimes people lose their sense of guilt or shame about some behavior, but this loss most often results from a choice either to excuse the behavior or to just live with it.

But God’s work exemplified in Christ

Does not excuse sin,

Nor does it ignore sin.

It takes the sin away through Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

His sacrifice, God’s sacrifice, brings forgiveness to those who believe.

Forgiveness stands at the heart of the Christian message, the Gospel.

Paul demonstrates this point when he describes the Gospel to the Romans.  The Gospel is God’s power to rescue us from the judgment of God to come (see Romans 1:16-20).

Our sin convicts, condemns, and controls us.

Only God can overcome sin. Only God can forgive.

And that is why I still need God. In fact, it is why all people need God.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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