Does God Really Speak Today?
A COLLEGE lecturer walked to the front of the class, prepared to start his lesson. Then he noticed that a student had written something on the blackboard: “QUESTION AUTHORITY!” Without saying a word, the lecturer wrote underneath: “If authority answers, will you listen?”
That is a good question. And it applies with regard to the highest authority of all, Jehovah God. Most would agree that, today, mankind needs help. So many things have gone wrong and are out of control—pollution, overpopulation, widespread starvation, inflation and the ominous threat of nuclear, gas or germ warfare. You may feel: ‘Surely, if God has something to say to mankind, now is a good time for him to say it!’
This is true. But the question has to be asked: If God did speak, who would listen? While man obviously needs guidance, would he accept it if it was offered?
GOD DOES SPEAK
First, though, consider the question, Does God speak to us today? If he does not, our future is bleak. Fortunately, the evidence is that he does. How?
Well, if God really has an important message for mankind, what would be the best way to convey it? ‘By a voice from heaven,’ you might say. That would be an obvious method, true. But would it be the most practical?
A man with long experience in managerial work commented: “When I have important information to pass on, I never do it by word of mouth. I always write it down. In that way there is no confusion afterward.”
This makes sense. If God spoke from the heavens, this would doubtless be very dramatic. But if 1,000,000 people heard him, there would soon be 1,000,000 versions of what he had said. On the other hand, if he were to have his instructions written down, there would be no doubt, later, about what his message was.
However, a written message from God would need to be a very special document. It would have to contain evident godly wisdom, and it would need to be widely available, so that everyone who wanted to could read it. Moreover, it would somehow have to surmount the world’s many language barriers.
Does a document exist that claims to be from God and fulfills these conditions? Yes, there is one, and only one. It is the most widely distributed book in all history, with a circulation of billions of copies. And it is now available, wholly or in part, in 1,710 languages, so that almost any literate person who wants to can read at least a part of it in his own language. What is this document? It is the Bible.
IS THIS REALLY GOD SPEAKING?
How do you react to that information? Do you feel: ‘Oh, no, not the Bible! How could God be speaking today through a book that is so old-fashioned?’
Well, the Bible is, of course, old, because the human race is old, and God has been speaking to mankind for a long time. But is it really old-fashioned? Hardly!
Would you say a book is old-fashioned that foretold thousands of years ago the condition of mankind today, humanity’s fear of the future, the danger of its ruining the whole earth, and even the threats by weapons deep in the sea and in outer space? Yet the Bible does this.—Luke 21:25-28; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rev. 6:3-8; 11:18.
In days when divorce and marriage breakdown are epidemic, would you say a book is old-fashioned if it contains what has proved to be the most successful marriage counsel ever given? It may not be popular counsel with today’s selfish “me” generation, but it works. And it is written in the Bible.—Eph. 5:21-33.
True, today it is intellectually respectable in some quarters to think of the Bible as merely a collection of myths and folk wisdom. But does this really account for the phenomenon that is the Bible? Thousands of years ago, when it was being compiled, there were books of myths and folk wisdom in existence. Yet they were mostly forgotten as time went by. Some have been reclaimed only recently by archaeologists. Why did the Bible survive although they did not?
During its long history the Bible has overcome extraordinary opposition. Countless copies have been burned. Individuals who tried to make it available to the common man were tortured to death. And for about 200 years, it has been subjected to sustained intellectual attacks by higher critics, evolutionists and modernists. No other book has ever had such antagonistic treatment. Yet the Bible has triumphantly survived and continues to influence the lives of millions of people. Why? Because it is not a mere book of myths and folk wisdom. It truly is God’s message for us.
One young atheist said: “I felt that it didn’t matter whether there was a God or not since I couldn’t see that he was doing anything for mankind.” Then she was challenged to read the Bible and some literature to help her to understand its message. The result? “I was impressed, to say the least, that everything . . . made sense.” Yes, she listened as God spoke, and what he says does make sense.
Toward the end of the 19th century, a noted Bible scholar wrote: “When Columbus discovered the Orinoco river, some one said he had found an island. He replied: ‘No such river as that flows from an island. That mighty torrent must drain the waters of a continent.’ So the depth and power and wisdom and scope of the Bible’s testimony convince us that not man, but the Almighty God, is the author of its plans and revelations.”
We invite you to study the Bible yourself. See if you do not agree that here, indeed, are the thoughts of God himself.
“I will hear what the true God Jehovah will speak, for he will speak peace to his people and to his loyal ones.”—Ps. 85:8.