Recently, I was part of a an open ask-any-question discussion time. It was enjoyable but as in all things, I did not get to address all the questions. There were two questions I got from some young people that I thought were intriguing.
The first was this: "Do you think there are any other life forms on other planets?"
This is a fun question. I believe there are two parts to the answer. One, is it possible? Two, is it likely? In answer to the first one - it is certainly possible. The God who created the heavens and earth out of nothing is not limited to one planet with one form of humanity. We know how vast the universe is, the incredible variety that it contains. With all we know, we stand on the shore of an ocean of ignorance. God could have certainly created other life forms.
In answer to the second - we simply can't know. What we do know is that God does not change. He has been and always will be consistent and unchangeable. If in fact he did create other life forms on other planets, it would have to be consistent with his character. There is no definitive word in Scripture that tells us whether he has done this. Some might argue that it appears to indicate that we are the focal point of his creation. The bottom line is that he could, but we don' know if he did.
The other question I liked was: "Why did magical things happen back in the bible times but not now?"
In essence, why is Scripture filled with miraculous stories that seem to happen constantly but we don't see them now? Has something changed? Did they actually happen? What's different?
God has been involved in his creation since the very beginning in miraculous ways. A miracle is simply God breaking into the normal course of events to do what he desires. It can frequently be contrary to what we would expect or believe is possible, which is why we believe it is miraculous.
Without getting into a long discussion about miracles, I believe that some of this is related to our willingness to pursue God and his intervention in our world. When God established the church, it seemed that he (and his followers) expected miracles as a matter of course. In fact, miracles do happen regularly and are happening regularly all over the world. Amazing stories of God's provision, healing, dreams and deliverance occur with regularity. But we don't see it as much here? Why? There are probably lots of reasons, but I can think of two big ones.
1. When the industrial age started, the western mindset became preoccupied with science. We were logical, rational people. Everything can be explained. The laws of our world are exactly that - laws. We began to see everything as explainable. Accumulation of right information, right doctrine and belief became more important than anything else. We are a self-sufficient people with many resources that only go to God when all other options are exhausted. God is frequently not sought or expected to do anything outside the norm.
2. The other reason that we don't see miracles much is that we don't ask for it. Many churches responded to sensationalist abuses of believing God for all sorts of weird things by deciding that they would swing to the extreme opposite end of the spectrum and relegate God to only certain things. The unfortunate side effect is that we rarely believe that God cares enough to intervene.
I believe that God wants to be a part of everything we do. He is doing miracles and wants to do more. The purpose is always the same. To draw men to himself and for his glory. Every miracle we read about in the bible drew attention to himself, his glory and was an invitation into deeper relationship with himself. His desire has not changed. So pray boldly. God is at work.
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