In the previous two parts of this series, we answered the
two “big questions.” Who made us? God. Why are we here? To serve and
worship Him. A third question naturally arose: “If our Creator made us to
serve and worship Him, how do we do that?” In the previous article I suggested that
the only way we can serve our Creator is through obeying His mandates, as
conveyed through revelation.
But many people would question my assertion: Why
does mankind need revelation? Isn’t it enough just to be good? Isn’t it
enough for each of us to worship God in our own way?
Regarding the need for revelation, I would make
the following points: In the first article of this series I pointed out that life
is full of injustices, but our Creator is fair and just and He establishes
justice not in this life, but in the afterlife. However, justice cannot be
established without four things—a court (i.e., the Day of Judgment); a judge
(i.e., the Creator); witnesses (i.e., men and women, angels, elements of creation);
and a book of laws upon which to judge (i.e., revelation). Now, how can
our Creator establish justice if He did not hold humankind to certain laws during
their livetimes? It’s not possible. In that scenario, instead of justice, God
would be dealing out injustice, for He would be punishing people
for transgressions they had no way of knowing were crimes.
Why else do we need revelation? To begin with, without
guidance mankind cannot even agree on social and economic issues, politics,
laws, etc. So how can we ever agree on God? Secondly, nobody writes the user
manual better than the one who made the product. God is the Creator, we are
creation, and nobody knows the overall scheme of creation better than the
Creator. Are employees allowed to design their own job descriptions, duties
and compensation packages as they see fit? Are we citizens allowed to write our
own laws? No? Well then, why should we be allowed to write our own religions?
If history has taught us anything, it is the tragedies that result when mankind
follows its caprice. How many who have claimed to banner of free thought have
designed religions that committed themselves and their followers to nightmares
on Earth and damnation in the hereafter?
So why isn’t it enough just to be good? And why
isn’t it enough for each of us to worship God in our own way? To begin with,
peoples’ definitions of “good” differ. For some it is high morals and clean
living, for others it is madness and mayhem. Similarly, concepts of how to
serve and worship our Creator differ as well. More importantly and to the
point, nobody can walk into a store or a restaurant and pay with a different
currency than the merchant accepts. So it is with religion. If people want
God to accept their servitude and worship, they have to pay in the currency God
demands. And that currency is obedience to His revelation.
Imagine raising children in a home in which you
have established “house rules.” Then, one day, one of your children tells you
he or she has changed the rules, and is going to do things differently. How
would you respond? More than likely, with the words, “You can take your new
rules and go to Hell!” Well, think about it. We are God’s creation, living in
His universe under His rules, and “go to Hell” is very likely what God will say
to any who presume to override His laws with their own.
Sincerity becomes an issue at this point. We
should recognize that all pleasure is a gift from our Creator, and deserving of
thanks. If given a gift, who uses the gift before giving thanks? And yet,
many of us enjoy God’s gifts for a lifetime and never give thanks. Or
give it late. The English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, spoke of the irony
of the distressed human appeal in The Cry of the Human:
And lips say “God be pitiful,”
Who ne’er said, “God be praised.”
Should we not show good manners and thank our
Creator for His gifts now, and subsequently for the rest of our lives? Don’t
we owe Him that?
You answered “Yes.” You must have. Nobody will
have read this far without being in agreement, but here’s the problem: Many of
you answered “Yes,” knowing full well that your heart and mind does not wholly
agree with the religions of your exposure. You agree we were created by a
Creator. You struggle to understand Him. And you yearn to serve and worship
Him in the manner He prescribes. But you don’t know how, and you don’t know
where to look for the answers. And that, unfortunately, is not a subject that
can be answered in an article. Unfortunately, that has to be addressed in a
book, or maybe even in a series of books.
The good news is that I have written these books. I invite you to start with The Eighth Scroll. If you’ve liked what I’ve written here, you’ll love what I’ve written there.