A beginner's guide to Christianity
How can I be sure that the Christian religion is true? Is
there any proof? There is a simple procedure to answer those questions:
How is it that this amazing
universe and planet exist? How is it that human beings, with all their
abilities, exist? Some say it just evolved out of nothing, with nobody
overseeing it. But that is not a credible explanation. Many Christians believe
in evolution, but not in the incredible idea that no rational being oversaw
such a wonderfully complex, amazingly interrelated process.
I wrote the following to show how incredible it is to think there
is no Creator: “Once upon a time
(except there was no time) there was nothing. Then, one day (except there were
no days), out of nothing, for no reason, there was an enormous bang, caused by
nothing. This enormous bang formed something out of nothing. And this enormous
bang, formed out of nothing, was so clever that eventually it caused
everything. Amazingly, although the bang was formed out of nothing and by
nothing, it brought about intelligent life.”
I am quite convinced that the idea that there is no Creator is, in fact,
irrational. There must be a God.[i]
Good and evil matter very much to
human beings. By definition goodness is a very high quality without which human
life would be extremely difficult. So God created human beings with moral
character, capable of displaying goodness.
If we regard goodness as a very
high human quality it is only to be expected that God, who created human
beings, is totally good (separate from evil - holy). He is the origin of our
The highest quality in personal
goodness is love. This being the case it is clear that God, who is personal and
who created us, must be supremely loving. He is the source of our love.
As God is eternal, it follows
that he has been loving for all eternity. But who did he love before the world
and human beings were created? Christianity is unique in teaching that God is
multi-personal, yet still one God. God is Trinity – three persons (Father, Son
and Holy Spirit) – totally united in love.
Christianity is all about love.
us and calls us to love him
Love reaches out to a loved one
and yearns for that loved one to return the love. So God loves us profoundly
and created us to love him. He yearns for us to return his love and we shall
only find fulfilment if we do.
Communication is foundational to
intelligent beings, hence communication from God (divine revelation) is to be
calls us to communicate with him
Love calls for a response so
communication is at the heart of love. Therefore God wants us to respond to his
communication (revelation) by communicating with him (prayer and praise).
is both loving and holy has to deal with our unholiness
God must be perfect but humans
aren't. Perfect holiness excludes sin. God is utterly holy. It is therefore
impossible for anything unholy to remain in his presence. Holiness and
unholiness are, by definition, totally incompatible. So only that which is holy
or has been spiritually cleansed by God can remain in his presence. But there is
a condition to that spiritual cleansing - repentance.
decided to take upon himself the Hell we deserve
A human being with a precious loved
one who is proved guilty of a serious crime might say “I wish I could take his
punishment on myself.” But they
can’t. However, God can.
God created us to love him – we
failed. Instead of condemning us he decided to take the pain of our punishment
on himself – because he is perfectly loving. This was planned to satisfy both
his holiness and his love. So he made it possible for unholy human beings to
escape the eternal separation from him which they deserve.
10. God had to take human nature upon himself
in order to experience Hell
God decided to allow himself to
experience Hell. But that is impossible. Hell is separation from God and God
can’t be separated from God! So God (the Son of God) chose to take human nature
upon himself. God became human in the person of Jesus. Jesus was truly man but
he was also God in human form. He allowed himself to be crucified and to
experience Hell in the full sense of the term –separation from God (his Father).
It was a hideous experience. He, the God-man, alone could cause the full
punishment of all human wrongdoing to fall upon himself.
11. God proved who Jesus was and what he had achieved
through the resurrection
On the third day after he died
Jesus came back from the dead. This clearly happened because the first
Christians, who were not expecting it, were prepared to die for the truth of it
– that they had met him after his resurrection. His resurrection showed that he
was the Son of God and that his sacrifice on the cross was more than sufficient
to bring about the spiritual cleansing of any human being. But the condition of
receiving that cleansing is to repent of our sin and to love him (which
includes trusting him, honouring him and serving him).
12. God is longing for our response
The incredibly sad thing is that,
even after all this, many of us didn’t love him – and don’t love him. And his
sacrifice is wasted for us until we do start to love him. He is longing for
human beings to do this. How about turning to him now, in simple faith, and
starting to love him to the best of your ability? God the Holy Spirit will give
you all the help you need.