Written by the Proprietor of a Business to the Members of His Staff
Suppose that a man should send his young lady a diamond ring costing him five thousand dollars, and place it in a little velvet case which the jeweler threw in for nothing. Would he not think it strange if, on meeting her a few days later, she would say, "Oh, that was a lovely little velvet box you sent me. I am going to take every care of it. I promise to keep it wrapped up in a safe place so that no harm shall come to it."
Such a thing is too ridiculous to be thought possible, yet is it not just as foolish for men and women to be spending all their time and thought on their bodies, which are but caskets containing the real self, the soul, that the Bible tells us will persist long after our bodies have crumbled to dust?
In Revelation 6:9 we read, "I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne."
Longfellow puts it thus:
Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream,
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real, life is earnest,
And the grave is not its goal,
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Indeed it was not, for in Mark 8:36 our Lord Himself asks, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"
So, in Christ's estimate, man's soul is some-thing incomparably more valuable than the whole world. My purpose is, therefore, to discuss with you some of the basic things that relate to your most valuable possession, your soul. For instance:
Is there a God?
Is the Bible true?
Is man accountable?
Is there divine forgiveness?
And a number of other problems that seem to perplex many when they turn from the transient things of life to face its eternal truths. So let us consider our first problem--
How may we know there is a God?
As far as I myself am concerned, my most convincing reason for believing there is a God is that I know Him personally. According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23 I, like you, am spirit, soul and body. My spirit makes it possible for me to be God-conscious as stated in Rom. 8:16: "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." That is, when we turn to God through accepting Christ as our Savior, we are born of the Holy Spirit into God's family, and naturally we come to know God intimately as Father.
My soul makes me self-conscious, as seen in Psalm 13:2 where we read, "How long must I take counsel in my soul," or, how long shall I talk things over with myself.
This strange capacity, sometimes called "the awareness of the ego," enables us to stand off from ourselves and talk to ourselves; and, by the way, we sometimes say some pretty straight things to ourselves that we would not take from anyone else.
And lastly, my body through its five senses makes me world-conscious. If all my senses were taken away I would cease to be conscious of the material world about me to any degree, exactly as when I am under an anesthetic. So when a man says to me, "How do you know there is a God?" I say to him, "How do you know there is a you?" "Why," he says, "I don't need myself demonstrated mathematically or philosophically; I am a self-conscious being, and therefore I know that I am." "That, my friend," I reply, "is exactly how I know there is a God. Being spirit as well as soul, I am God-conscious as well as self-conscious; I know God is as surely as I know I am."
But to me the problems of unbelief in God are greater than the problems of belief. To believe that dead matter unaided produced life, that living matter produced mind, that mind produced conscience, and that the chaos of chance produced the cosmos of order as we see it in nature, to me would call not for faith, but for credulity.
The President of the New York Scientific Society, as recorded in the Readers' Digest, gave eight reasons why he believed there was a God. The first reason is as follows. Take ten identical coins and mark them one to ten, place them in your pocket, and take one out. There is one chance in ten that you will get number one. Now replace it, and the chances that number two will follow number one are not one in ten, but one in one hundred, and so on, mounting ten each time, so that the chances of number ten following number nine are one chance in 10,000,000,000 (ten billion). It seemed so unbelievable to me that I immediately took pencil and paper and very quickly discovered he was right. Try it yourself.
That is why George Gallup, the American statistician, said: "I could prove God statistically. Take the human body alone--the chance that all the functions of the individual would just happen is a statistical monstrosity."
Surely no thoughtful person would wish to base his eternal future on a "statistical monstrosity." Perhaps that is why the Bible says in Psalm 14:1, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" But let us consider the problem from another viewpoint.
We stand together on the wharf as a big ocean liner draws alongside, and I say to you, "A lot of people think that ship is the result of someone's carefully designed plans, but I know better. There was really no intelligence at work on it at all; the iron, by some mysterious process, gradually came out of the ground and fashioned itself into plates; slowly holes were formed in the edges of these plates, and rivets appeared, flattened themselves out on either side, and after a great time, by this same evolutionary process, the engines were in place, and one day some men on the seashore found her floating quietly in a sheltered cove."
You would probably consider me a lunatic and move further into the crowd to escape my senseless chatter. You know that where there is a design there must be a designer. And, having se