Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Faith and 3-D printers


Have you heard about 3-D printers? They are capable of creating many things from plastic objects to human ears. But tell someone who had never seen or heard of even a regular printer. Would they believe it? Without seeing it work, do I believe it? 

Does the average person believe in immortality? Or do most limit themselves to this tiny blip of time on the scale of history? Are eighty plus or minus years all there is? If so, then “eat, drink, for tomorrow we die” makes sense. Get the best out of it, or take a more a noble aim, give the best you have. In either case, there is no need for Jesus Christ or a changed heart for when you die, you die.

I read part of a theological paper yesterday and underlined many statements. One of them is that people don’t know God and don’t know that they don’t know. How can that be? Romans 1 says that what can be known about God is plain because God has revealed it. But then it goes on to say that what was known about Him was not honored. Instead of acknowledging God and being thankful, people deny Him and prefer lesser gods. In doing that, their “hearts are darkened” and they become fools. 

That paper is about the need of our hearts for God to reveal Himself to us. We have dark hearts. Sin blinds us to reality. Even as a Christian, I can sin and be oblivious to what I am doing. My understanding of God depends totally on God’s revelation of Himself. Unless He sheds light into my darkness, I cannot see and will live as my own blindness dictates.

None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:8)

Most people today do not give a thought to immortality. All passion and enthusiasm goes into temporary and material things with a measure of certainty that this is all there is and they are doing quite fine without God. Given normal opportunities, they will manage. This talk of sin and a changed heart is a waste of time, even a grand and yet foolish daydream. 

I sometimes feel like that. I know Christ, but also know how my heart is prone to wander from Him. I know I cannot take care of myself. That darkness swirls around me and I find myself in a continual battle. My soul has an enemy that wants to pull me from trusting Jesus and throw me into the same darkness that engulfs the world in sin and godlessness. This enemy dangles before me the same delights that keep others from God. Thankfully, God also holds before me truth that even my frail logic cannot deny.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other . . . . (Matthew 6:19–24)

This passage goes on to talk about money, but that is not the only treasure that this life offers. If I wanted to live for today and not for eternity, I could spend my time and energies in many ways, which in the long run have no significance except to have kept me from eternal pursuits. 

What really matters in this life? The writer of Ecclesiastes went through every possibility and came to this conclusion . . .  

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14)

This means that all the stuff that I do will be evaluated, including those things done in dark ignorance that I did not even realize I was doing or see how it was wrong. The secret things will be exposed, both good and evil. It makes sense to me to let God expose them now so that I might be a blessing to others with the good, and that I might confess and forsake the evil. God says that if I do that, He will forgive and cleanse me (1 John 1:9).

In my sense of being needy, of being spiritual helpless without God, I have a hard time understanding that others cannot see that about their own lives. But blindness hits us all, and I must remember about those 3-D printers. Most people in the world do not know they exist, and if they did hear of them, they would not believe it. Even if they could see one working, they would not commit themselves to relying on such a machine. 

Because of 3-D printers, I can get a handle on unbelief. Because of the sin in my own life, I can grasp the idea that no one can save their own self. We all fall short. Our only hope is in God who reveals truth and God who sent a Savior. Most of us don’t need a 3-D printer, but we all need Jesus. 


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