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It Goes Without Saying

by Tim O'Hearn

The United States is one of only a few countries in the world that allow television advertising of prescription products. One wonders how much lower prescription prices might be if the pharmaceutical companies did not spend so much on advertising to the general public, who don’t even make their drug decisions. The commercials have phrases like, “Ask your doctor if this product is right for you.” Translation: you can’t trust your doctor to make treatment decisions, but you can trust a television ad. Then there come the mandatory list of possible side effects, including death. Translation: if you take our medication to control bleeding, one of the side effects may be excessive blood loss. Then finally the kicker. “Do not take if you are allergic to this medication or its constituent products.” If it is a one-time medication, how are you supposed to know if you are allergic? If it is a maintenance medication, it should be obvious not to take it if you are allergic. That is akin to warning not to let children play with sharp knives. Some things should be obvious. There are some things in the Bible thatLook around. What do you see? You see God. should be equally obvious, but we have to tell other people anyway.

God is

When Moses wrote the words, “In the beginning, God…,” he knew that the existence of God was one of those obvious things that didn’t need addition explanation. He takes it as a given, like not taking medications to which you are allergic. He had seen God, and needed no further proof. Even when he argued with God, he said the people of Israel would take his existence for granted.

And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. (Ex 4:1)

It wasn’t a question of who God was. It was a question of whether Moses had actually been commissioned by Him.

The question of the existence of God is not without proofs, however. David said the proof was ever before us, so that the existence of God should be obvious.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. (Ps 19:1-3)

Look around. What do you see? You see God. Unless you choose not to see him. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to survive a launch into space, was falsely credited with saying that he “didn’t see God up there.” (The words were actually Nikita Khrushchev’s, but the party line felt it would sound better to have come from the man who was actually up there.) In spite of the official Communist Party line, Gagarin, a baptized Orthodox Christian, was quoted as saying, “An astronaut cannot be suspended in space and not have God in his mind and his heart.” He felt it impossible not to believe what the Psalmist had said.

Paul spends the first chapter of his letter to the Romans showing how hard it is not to believe in God, and the results of unbelief. Just like saying not to take a medication to which you are allergic, he says “God is” is obvious. When they deny the obvious they might as well take a medication to which they are allergic, and suffer the reaction thereto.

The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

The writer of Hebrews reaffirms this. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb 11:6)

Jesus is the Son of God

It is a popular thing to assert today that Jesus never explicitly said he was the Son of God. This, despite the priests at the cross mocking him by saying, “he said, I am the Son of God.” (Matt 27:43) While they didn’t believe it, they admitted he said it.

When did he explicitly say that he was the Son of God? When he was asked directly if he was.

Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Mk 14:61-62)

There are so many proofs that even if he did not say it, it goes without saying. From the announcement to Mary before his birth to the ascension into heaven after the crucifixion, Jesus’s whole life was proof of who he was.

The miracles proved it. When Jesus stilled the storm after Peter walked on water, those in the boat confessed, “Thou art the Son of God.” (Matt 14:33) When he told Nathanael that he saw him under a fig tree, Nathanael said the same thing. After he healed a man born blind, the man believed, and worshipped. (Jn 9)

John recorded miracles in his book that are not recorded in the other gospels (and some that are). His thesis statement, which comes near the end of the book is that Jesus is the Son of God.

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (Jn 20:30-31)

Interestingly, there is a whole class of beings that didn’t need to be told, or need the miracles, to know that Jesus was God’s son. All that the demons needed was to see him and they confessed belief in who he was.

Jesus met two demon-possessed men who immediately asked, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?” (Matt 8:28-29) “And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.” (Mk 3:11)

And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. (Lk 4:41)

The idea that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah is not new. Even in the first century the Gnostics denied that Jesus was the Son of God come in the flesh. The entire first letter of John was written to counter that belief. He even coined a word to describe those people.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 Jn 4:3)

There is much misunderstanding today about who John called “antichrist.” It is really very simple. Those who don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh fit the definition of that term. It is not some future person who will lead the world into opposition to Christ. It is anyone who needs to be told not to take the medicine if they are allergic; those who don’t believe that which goes without saying.

Sin is sin

Those who prefer to sin use all sorts of excuses to say sin is not sin. It is a disease. It is natural. It doesn’t hurt anybody else. “It can’t be wrong if it feels so right,” to quote the most popular song of the 1970s. The excuses are almost as varied as the people who use them. They all ignore the most obvious, that sin is, by definition, sin.

Some sins are so obvious one wonders why God would have to repeat that they are sin. The average person does not need to be told that it is wrong to murder another person. Parents have been teaching children for about as long as there have been siblings that it is wrong to take things from someone else. While everyone lies, almost everyone knows that it is wrong to do so. On crime dramas even children know not to lie when giving testimony. And yet, these are among the things God had to remind the Israelite nation when he gave them the Ten Commandments.

Throughout the Bible there are lists of things that God considers sin. Half the book of Exodus and much of Leviticus is concerned with defining sin. Likewise Deuteronomy.

Paul saw fit to list sins, even thoughAll that the demons needed was to see him and they confessed belief in who he was. he thought that they were obvious. Nevertheless, he felt he had to remind his readers that sin is sin.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)

Paul used a different, but overlapping list when writing the Corinthians. “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor those who commit homosexual acts, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor 6:9-10) And again he gives a list to Timothy.

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that commit homosexual acts, for slavers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (1 Tim 1:9-10)

Many of these things the average person would say were too obvious to have to repeat. Paul wanted to make sure people knew that sin was sin because, “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23) Death is a side effect of sin. Don’t take sin if you are allergic to it, and you are.