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Frequently Asked Questions - Beliefs

No. Christians believe that there is only One God. They worship Him alone. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are included in Christian worship not because they are separate Gods, but because they are part of the One and Only God.

There is no way to adequately describe God in human language. He is eternal. He is without beginning or end. He is all-powerful. He is all-knowing. There is no place where God is not. He is the Creator. God is love. He is compassionate and merciful. He is righteous. God is good. There is no evil in Him. He is consistent. He is just. He rewards right and punishes wrong. He is the Judge.

This is a question that Christian scholars have debated since the early church. Some say, “No, everything that happens is God’s will.” So if a prayer is answered then the answer must be within God’s will. Those who hold this position often cite Romans 9:18-21 which describes God as a potter and us as the clay. Since God shapes the clay, the final form of the vessel must be according to His will. Nothing can thwart God’s will.
While there is a great deal of truth in this view it is not complete or totally correct, for several reasons. First the potter and clay example in Romans 9 is a reference to an Old Testament scripture in Jeremiah 18 where the clay becomes spoiled in the potter’s hand, and so he reshapes it into something else. The final form was not what the potter originally intended. Secondly, it is a mistake to say that every time something bad happens, God ordained it. Though God certainly uses some things as punishments, lessons, or blessings, to say he is involved as the main force behind every action is not biblical. For example, is it God’s will for someone to murder a child? Is it not more correct to say that God allows people the free choice to do what is evil or wrong? Finally, there are many scriptures where God expresses sorrow over what people choose to do.
This brings us to the second view of whether God ever grants things outside of His will. According to this understanding, while things happen which are outside of God’s will (we can say that all sin is outside of His will), He is so powerful and wise that nothing can thwart God’s plan. In Isaiah, chapter 5 we read that God cultivated Israel like a vineyard, yet it yielded sour grapes. In Genesis, chapter 9, God expresses regret for having made man and placed him upon the earth (this is before Noah’s flood). In Matthew, chapters 5 and 19, Jesus teaches that it is not God’s intention to ever have divorce, but He allowed it because of the hardness of human hearts. In 1st Samuel, chapter 8, God granted Israel a king, despite the fact it was not what He desired. However, none of these examples of God’s frustration thwarted His overall plan. Nothing could deter God from redeeming mankind from sin and bondage through Jesus Christ.
So, does God grant something that is outside of His will? Yes, sometimes He does. However, we need to remember that when we insist on having our own way, the results may not be to our liking. In speaking of the Israelites, the Palmist writes, “In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.” (Psalm 106:14-15 NIV)
There is another aspect to this discussion. Why do we ask this question at all? A true believer should not be asking for anything which is outside of God’s will. We should always preface our prayers and requests with, “If it is according to your will.” We should seek to align our wills with God’s will. This means, among other things, we will pray for the salvation of others (even for our enemies), the healing of the sick and for the eradication of sin in our own lives and in the lives of others.
No matter how we answer the question of whether God grants things outside of His will, we can agree that God always loves, and He is always holy. If we strive to be those two things, loving and holy, then we will be in God’s will and our prayers will be effective. 1st Peter 3:12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (NIV)
1st John 4:9-12 states, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (NIV)
This question is deep and thought provoking about the very nature of God, but maybe we should be asking, “Am I praying and living a life of love according to God’s will?” If so, it makes this question unnecessary.

Just as God has created all of us, He gives spiritual life to those who choose to follow Christ. In that sense, Christians are 'born' to Him. God also wants to have a close, family relationship to those who follow Christ. He calls them His children and makes them part of His household. He instructs the followers of Christ to call each other brothers and sisters.

Before answering this question we need to define what we mean by the titles ‘Father’ and ‘Son.’ ‘Father’ is a name or title for God. It is how Jesus most often addressed God. For example, He said, “...It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God.” (John 8:54) God is also frequently called ‘Father’ throughout the New Testament. (For example, 1 Corinthians 15:24, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 5:20 and Philippians 4:20 are just a few of the places where this occurs.)

‘Son of God’ is one of the titles given to Jesus Christ. For example, God called Jesus by this title at His baptism: “Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”” (Matthew 3:17) By declaring Jesus, His ‘Son,’ God exalted Him above kings (Hebrews 1:5, Psalm 2:6-10), above angels (Hebrews 1:4-6) and above the prophet Moses. (Hebrews 3:5-6)

Not only did God call Jesus His Son, it is a title which Jesus used for Himself. For example, He said this to His accusers: “ you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’” (John 10:36)

It is important to understand that Jesus (the ‘Son’) is not a created being. Jesus claimed unity with the ‘Father.’ “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) He was with God from eternity. “Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17:5) Scripture teaches that before being born as a man and becoming the ‘Son,’ Jesus was “The Word” and was, in fact, God. (See John 1:1-17, Philippians 2:5-11)

So, if both the ‘Father’ and the ‘Son’ are part of the One God (Mark 12:29, Galatians 3:20), then what is the difference between them?

1) The ‘Son’ is a visible representation of the ‘Father’ who is “in secret” (Mathew 6:6), and is invisible (Colossians 1:15). “His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance...” (Hebrews 1:3) “No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.” (John 1:18) Jesus said, “...He who has seen me has seen the Father...” (John 14:9)

2) The ‘Father’ is greater than the ‘Son.’ (John 14:28) Jesus voluntarily humbled Himself to this position. (Philippians 2:5-8)

3) The ‘Father’ is immortal. (1 Timothy 1:17) In order to provide the sacrifice for our sins, the ‘Son’ had to become a mortal man. (John 10:11-18, Romans 3:23-26)

4) The ‘Father’ is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) Though the ‘Son’ never sinned, He still had to be “made perfect” by learning obedience through suffering in order to become our Savior. (Hebrews 5:8-9)

5) Because of His mortality, the ‘Son’ experienced thirst (John 19:28), hunger (Matthew 21:18), tiredness (John 4:6) and temptation (Luke 4:1-2, Hebrew 4:15). The ‘Father’ does not experience any of these things.

6) Though the ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ are One (John 10:30), the ‘Father’ has kept some knowledge to Himself. (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32)

7) The ‘Father’ has delegated all authority to the ‘Son.’ (Matthew 9:6, 12:8, Mark 9:7, Luke 10:22, John 5:22, 27, 1 Corinthians 15:27-28)

8) The ‘Father’ is autonomous. The ‘Son’ never does anything contrary to or different from the ‘Father’s’ instructions and will. (John 5:19, 8:28)

9) The ‘Father’ is self-subsistent. The ‘Son’ lives because of the ‘Father.’ (John 6:57)

In summary, the ‘Son’ is a manifestation in human flesh of God, the ‘Father,’ who is spirit.

The term 'Trinity' is not found in the Bible. It is a man-made expression which attempts to describe God's nature. It expresses the unity of the One God, Who is nevertheless composed of the Father, the Holy Spirit and God's Word. God's Word was embodied, or became flesh, in Jesus Christ.

Just as there is a part of man which is different and separate from the body, there is a part of God which is called the Holy Spirit. He is also referred to as the 'Spirit of Christ.' The Holy Spirit is the agent through whom God works in people's lives. He also acts as an interpreter translating into prayer things which we are unable to express.

Each language has it’s own word for the eternal Being who created the heavens and the earth and gives us life. Just as the speakers of the English language use the word ‘God’ for this Being, ‘Allah’ is the word which speakers of the Arabic language use. If you look at an Arabic translation of the Bible you will find the word ‘Allah’ in the places where an English translation uses the word ‘God’ or an Urdu translation uses the word ‘Khuda.’ No matter which word we use for Him, we can fully understand who our Creator is only through Jesus Christ. “For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily,” (Colossians 2:9)

No. By its very nature, truth excludes whatever contradicts it. Since different religiions contradict one another, they cannot all be true. For example, some religions are atheistic. Since they deny the very existence of God, they cannot point anyone to Him.

As another example, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me." (John 14:6) If what He said is correct, then religions which contradict His statement cannot be paths to God.

Sin is anything which is contrary to God's will. This includes thoughts, desires and intent as well as actions. Sin can include doing what is against God's will or, conversely, not doing what is His will. Where God has not expressed His will, He does not count violations of it as sin.

The penalty of sin is separation from God. In the Bible this is referred to as spiritual death. This is distinct from physical death which is a direct result of the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve. God will reverse the effects of Adam's sin by resurrecting all those who have died physically. But unless our sin is 'made up' or atoned for, we will be separated from God for eternity.

Two of the consequences of sin are:

1) Debt. We owe God the service which we failed to provide Him. Just as someone with money can pay the debts or bills of someone who is unable to pay, a sinless person can pay the spiritual debts of sinners. Jesus Christ paid the debt of all mankind by His death on the cross.

2) Guilt. By breaking God's laws we become criminals. No one can pay for the crime of another. Each person is personally responsible to pay the penalty for his own crime. In His mercy, God has given us a way to pay for our crime by dying to self in repentance and dying with Christ in Christian baptism.

For a more complete explanation please see the article, The Process of Salvation.

For a more complete answer please read the article The Process of Salvation. In short, in order to be reconciled to God a person must:

Hear the gospel and believe in Christ. (See John 14:6, Romans 10:13-14)

Die to self by repenting of sin. (See Luke 9:23, Luke 13:1-5)

Acknowledge who Christ is in confession. (To confess Christ means to say the same thing about Him as God does.) (See Romans 10:9-10)

Die with Christ in baptism in order to be raised up into a new life. (See 2 Timothy 2:11, Acts 2:38 and Romans 6:5-8).

Live the rest of his life under Christ's authority. (See 2 Peter 1:3-11)

There are probably several reasons. One is that certain lessons can only be learned through suffering. Another reason is that God allows mankind free will. In other words, we are free to choose to do what is wrong. As long as people choose to do wrong, injustice and suffering is inevitable. Though God tolerates it, the day will come when He will judge the world. Then, all wrong and injustice will be remedied and put right.

Based on Luke 10:18, Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 it is thought that Satan was the chief or greatest of the angels. He rebelled against God and tried to overthrow God's throne. Clearly, some angels did rebel according to 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude, verse 6. According to Jesus, Satan is the father of lies and is a murderer. (See John 8:44) He deceives the world and accuses Christians before God. (Revelation 12:9-10) At the judgment, Satan will be thrown into hell. (Revelation 20:10) Sometimes Satan assumes the form of an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Satan's activities certainly have an effect on Christians. But Satan does not have any power over Christians in the sense that he can change their relationship to God or cause them to lose their salvatioin. The Bible says, "...greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) Jesus said this about His followers: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand." (John 10:27-29) In light of these Scriptures, Satan can overpower a Christian only if the Christian allows it.

Demons are spirits who have chosen to serve or follow Satan. They are the reality behind idols. (Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalms 106:36-37 and 1 Corinithians 10:20) They are thought to be fallen angels. (See Revelation 12:9) They are under a sentence of condemnation which has not yet been carried out. (See Matthew 8:29)

Angels are created beings. The Bible describes them as spirits whom God has appointed to minister to Christians. (Hebrews 1:14) They act as messengers and protectors.

No. The concept that souls are bound in an endless cycle of death and rebirth is incorrect. The Bible clearly says, " is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment..." (Hebrews 9:27)

Prior to the death of Christ, no one could go to heaven because the price of redemption had not yet been paid. Therefore, God's people who died went to a place called "Abraham's bosom." (See Luke 16:19-31) It was a place of comfort.

When Christ paid the price of redemption with his own blood, He redeemed all of God's people in the past, as well as those who live today. Hebrews 9:15 says, "For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."

Another scripture which teaches this is Romans 3:24-26: " ...Christ Jesus; whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God’s forbearance; to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus."

God's servants who die now go directly to be with Christ. For example, the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 1:21-23, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don’t know what I will choose. But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better."

In contrast to this, those who do not obey Christ will, at their death, join the unforgiven sinners from all ages in a place called Hades (the unseen place of the dead), a place of torment. (See Luke 16:22-23). Hades is the place to which the Apostle Peter referred when he wrote, "...the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment..." (2 Peter 2:9)

The souls of all who have died are held for judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) When Christ returns to this earth, all of the dead will be raised to life and given new bodies. Then the judgment will take place. The righteous will live forever with God and Christ in heaven. The unrighteous will be separated from God forever in hell. (See John 5:28, 1 Corinthians 15:50-55, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Revelation 20:11-15)

The Bible says that God does not take pleasure in anyone's destruction. (Ezekiel 18:32) He loves everyone. Not only does God want everyone to repent of his sin, He has provided a way of salvation. If anyone goes to hell it is because he has not accepted the salvation which God offered him. God will not force anyone to accept salvation or to live a righteous life. If someone chooses to be separated from God in this life and refuses to be reconciled to Him, God will honor his choice (even though it is against God's desire) by allowing that separation to last forever.

Yes. Jesus spoke about heaven and hell in the same passage (Matthew 25:31-41) and used the same language to describe both. Therefore hell will last as long as heaven. Jesus said that both are 'everlasting' or eternal.

Changes within a species certainly do occur whether through natural processes of mutation (defects in genetic information) or through selective breeding. However, these changes take place through the destruction or removal of genectic information. In all of the research and experimentation which has been done, no natural process has ever been found which can increase genetic information beyond what is already present. Therefore, the idea that more complex forms of life develop from less complex life forms is false. Evolution of the complex from the less complex certainly cannot take place by random chance. If life did not evolve, then how did life, in all its complexity, come about? The Bible clearly says that God created all forms of life "after their kind." In other words God made, each type of plant or animal complete and whole from the very beginning.

God created it out of nothing. "For he spoke, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood firm." (Psalm 39:9) Before being born as a man Jesus was called God's Word. It was by means of, or through, that creative Word (Jesus) that God created the universe. As Scripture says, "For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him." (Colossians 1:16)