Unbelief: God, afterlife & the end of the ages

The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.

He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red; and in the morning, it will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.

Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah."

And He left them and departed.

Matthew 16:1-4

False doctrines and religions have filled the world to such an extend that many have become skeptical to the point of doubting or refuting the existence of God.

While some simply believe there is no God (atheists), some others – the agnostics – assert that any absolute certitude of the existence of God is intangible and unknowable. In other words, atheists and agnostics are refusing “the burden” of faith and total surrendering to one God who is all powerful.

A simple definition for unbelief would be: the complete absence of faith in one person on matters that mostly deal with religion, faith, and God.

Reasons behind this denial of the existence of God are broad. Among them are assertions like: “if there is a God, why such calamities and evil plague the world?” – or – “Why can’t we see God?”

God is real!

Critical thinking goes beyond assumptions and dogmas, analyses facts, and tries to determine what is true and what is not. Thus, critical minds are wondering: is there a God? If yes, did He create the universe and everything that is? and, has anyone ever seen Him?

The Holy Bible gives us answers to these questions:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). God is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8).

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). They are the works of His hand (Psalm 102:25). The world and all its fullness, He founded them (Psalm 89:11). Sun, moon, and stars; Morning and evening; Sky and land; Earth and seas; Seed trees of all kinds; Seasons and years; Living creatures and mankind He created (Genesis 1:1-31). “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

In making know His works, God wants us not to be ignorant about how heaven and earth were created, and mostly how He made man according to His own likeness (Genesis 1:26), cutting short any debate on the origins of humanity. Indeed, The book of Genesis tells us man is not self-made or the result of an evolution process, but the work of God’s hands.

In the garden of Eden (Genesis 2 and 3) Adam, the first man, and his wife Eve were close to God. They met and talked to Him on a regular basis until the day they disobeyed Him and got evicted form His garden (Genesis 3:23-24).

By disobeying God command not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve brought separation between God and men, for sin is what separated us from the Holy one (Isaiah 59:2).

Ever since, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father” (John 1:18).

On the day man fell in the garden, evil entered the earth. Desires to follow other leads than the voice of God also took roots in his heart. Genesis chapter four (4) to six (6) give us a record of wickedness that happened even in the early days of humanity.

As men began to multiply on the face of the earth, evil increased as well within them. Man’s wickedness became great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Therefore, God decided to destroy mankind by a flood of water, but Noah and his family found favor in His eyes and were spared (Genesis 6:8).

Ever Since the time of Noah, disasters have plagued the world simply because man has completely strayed from the path God originally intended for him and has not stopped following the inclinations of his heart.

Man, science, and faith

Within the last two centuries, man has conquered air, space and the depths of the sea; Knowledge has increased; And so has medicine.

Science and technology have tremendously changed the way we live today. From cell phones to global positioning systems (GPS), Penicillin to Neutron therapy, their successes have reached such peaks, many have since built their trust and foundations in them.

Scientific minds have even resorted to science – that is the body of reliable knowledge that can be tested and explained – to question, unravel, or refute faith – the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith requires trust in God for things that cannot be currently observed or perceived, while science requires factual, noticeable, and tangible proofs. Thus, proving the sacred and establishing the reality of God through scientific evidence can be a pretty desperate quest, since “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Unlike faith that can do all things (Matthew 17:20), science has all kinds of limitations.
Pills cannot heal everyone and [usually] come with side effects; Surgeries do not have a 100% success rate; Machines overheat, break down, and fail; Predictions are not always accurate; And on top of all: science cannot save – for it has nothing to do with the soul.

Faith goes beyond science. Faith believe the invisible, the impossible, and the divine.

A good example about man, science and faith can be found in the twentieth chapter of the book of John.

After His crucifixion, death, and burial, Jesus rose from the dead three days later, just like He told His disciples (Matthew 17:22-23). However, some of them did not believe He was alive, among them was Thomas, called the “Twin”.

As they were gathered together in a room, Jesus appeared to them, blessed them, and showed them His hands and His side. Report of this encounter with the LORD was later told Thomas who was not with them in the room, but he refused to believe the testimonies of his fellow disciples. He stated :”Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

Eight days later, Jesus appeared to them a second time and said to Thomas: “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27). Then He added: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

End of the ages and afterlife

Men throughout the ages have tried to predict the future, to foresee what was to come, and see beyond their time and generation. They have also wondered a lot about the existence of life after death, resurrection of the flesh, and paradise and damnation.

Because God knows the heart of man (Psalm 44:21) He revealed all these matters in His Word so we may be instructed and well-informed.

Jesus speaks about afterlife in Luke 16:19-31. He describes two men who lived two different lives and ended up in two different places, one in Abraham’s bosom and the other in Hades where he was being tormented.

The second man begged even for the little relief a drop of water from a fingertip can procure him, but was told that nothing could be done at this point.

He then, supplicated that the first man be sent as a witness from the dead to his siblings, who may be living the same life he lived and making the same choices he made, so that they may not come to the same place of suffering he was into; And Abraham told him : “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them… If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead”. In other words: Nothing will be given them but the choice to believe the Word of God.

To many prophets of the old testament (Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, etc.) God has revealed what is to happen at the end. Jesus also showed His disciple John soon to come events that will affect the whole world and precede His return. These events are recorded in the Book of Revelation.

Throughout the twenty-two chapters of the Book of Revelation, there are (1) indications of rewards for those who not only believe, but remain faithful until the end; (2) Numerous warnings to those who refuse to repent from their evil deeds and acknowledge God; And (3) mention of the final destination of each group; Believers will receive everlasting life while unbelievers will be tormented forever in the lake of fire.

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A cure for sin

Sin is what separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Like a soiled robe or garment, it keeps us from being acceptable before Him (Rev 3:4). Sinners will not inherit the Kingdom of God, but will be cast into the lake of fire that is the second death (Rev 21:6-8).

However God’s will is not that any man, woman, or children ends up in the lake of fire, therefore He has laid down a plan. Jesus-Christ, His only Son came to earth two thousand years ago to offer Himself up for us so that "whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Jesus-Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). He is the only path to salvation (Acts 4:12). For anyone who confesses with his mouth the Lord Jesus and believes in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead, will be saved (Rom 10:9).