Ask Your Preacher
If God knows everything that will happen in one’s life, then why does He put people on earth if He knows they are doomed to go to hell? Like, if He knows that one will go to heaven but the other will go to hell, why put sinners who are damned to hell here? Why is that? Isn’t that a little unfair?
Feeling Toyed With
Dear Feeling Toyed With,
God knows our days upon this earth, but He also gives us the freewill to shape various aspects of the world that we live in. Just because God has knowledge of how you and I will behave does not mean that He causes our behavior to happen in a certain way. Foreknowledge is not the same as causation. A doctor may know that a patient is going to die of cancer, but that doesn’t mean the doctor caused the patient to die of that ailment. God gives mankind the freedom to make decisions, but He also has the wisdom to know how those choices will affect the future (Job 12:13).
Does God hear or answer an unsaved person’s prayer? I am saved but have been wanting some Scripture to answer my question.
Is He Listening?
Dear Is He Listening,
God recognizes the prayers of the faithful only. There is no doubt that God hears the prayers of christians (Jas 5:16). God hears the prayers of the righteous, but He is far from the wicked (Pr 15:29). God is constantly listening to hear the prayers of christians, but He sets His face against those who do evil. God says that even a christian who isn’t treating others well (specifically their spouse) will have their prayers hindered (1 Pet 3:7).
God does not answer the prayers of those who are ungodly. When Israel turned away from God, He stopped answering their prayers (Micah 3:4). When Judah became wicked and followed false teachings, He stopped hearing their prayers and accepting their worship (Isa 1:13-15). The same would hold true for those who fall away today. God will stop listening to and answering their prayers. It isn’t that He doesn’t hear them – He simply ignores their requests. Those outside of Christ are promised that if they seek God, they will find Him (Lk 11:9). All of mankind has the ability to ask for truth and find it, but only christians can ask God as a child asks a father (Mat 7:11). The ability to seek God’s help through prayer is a blessing given only to those who serve God (Jhn 9:31).
I ran across an old Scandinavian myth that mentioned that in Genesis one, God created man and woman. Then in Genesis two, He took a rib from Adam and created Eve. Was there a woman created before Eve?
Missing A Missus?
Dear Missing A Missus,
Scandinavian myths aside (after all, they call them ‘myths’ for a reason), the Bible teaches that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman. The confusion comes when people read Genesis 1 and see that God made man and woman and then read Genesis 2 and see God making man and woman all over again. The key is to realize that chapter one is an overview of the entire six days of creation (which includes the creation of man on day six), and Genesis chapter two is a more detailed account of what happened when God made Adam and Eve.
Think of chapter two as a microscope honing in to get a closer look at the most important detail of the creation story – the creation of humans.
Where did Jesus go after He died?
Dear Location Services,
Jesus went to Paradise when He died – He said so. Jesus told the thief on the cross that they were both going to Paradise after they died (Lk 23:43). Some say that Jesus went to hell when He died. That argument refers to the verse where it states Jesus would spend three days and three nights in “the heart of the earth” (Matt 12:40). However, that verse is simply stating that Jesus’ body would be buried for three days. Jesus’ spirit was separated from His body at death (Jas 2:26). Jesus’ body went into the ground, and His spirit went into Paradise.
Why are there different religions?
Having Trouble Counting
Dear Having Trouble Counting,
There are several reasons why there are so many different religions out there:
- Paul condemned the Jews because they worshipped God without knowledge (Rom 10:2). Many people follow whatever seems best to them and when our feelings design our religious beliefs, confusion ensues.
- Rom 1:18-23 says that when people suppress the truth about God, they exchange the truth for a myriad of other false beliefs.
- God warned that there would come a day when false teachers infiltrated Christ’s church and started teaching things contrary to Scriptures (2 Tim 4:2-4). Paul told the first-century christians to watch out for the “falling away” (2 Thess 2:3). Division and false teaching in the name of Christ is a very common thing. Wherever there is an opportunity for selfish gain, false teachers crop up and attempt to lead people astray.
There are tens of thousands of different religions in America that refer to themselves as “Christian”, and even more than that when you add things like Islam, Buddhism, etc.… yet God says there is only one true faith (Eph 4:4-6). So how can you know whether a church is Christ’s church?
Jesus says that we can know them by their fruits (Matt 7:15-20). A church is faithful if the way they worship, preach, and live is in accordance with Christ’s teachings. A faithful church keeps Christ’s commandments (Jhn 15:14). Most churches today have added all sorts of things to their worship (from rock bands to belly dancing) and leadership structure (popes, community boards, franchised churches, etc.) that were never intended by Christ. We should never add to God’s Word, and we should never take away from it (Rev 22:18-19). A faithful church should be able to give you book, chapter, and verse for everything they do. We recommend the posts “Down With Denominationalism”, “Finding A Church”, and “Preacher Interrogation” for further information on what questions to ask. If you would like us to help point you in the right direction of a congregation in your area, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to put you in contact with a Bible-founded congregation.