Do you know God? I don't mean, do you know about God? Do you know Him? In John 17:3 we read, "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." There is a great difference between knowing a person, and just knowing about him. You may know certain facts about God, but that is not enough. God wants you to know Him.
Who is God? The first step in coming to know God is to know who He is. Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning God..." We do not attempt to prove the existence of God. A discerning look at His creation proves that He exists. He was, is, and always will be. He created all that we see, and actually holds it together. He is the beginning and the end--the ultimate source of all life. In John 1:3 we read, "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being."
From other scripture we come to know that God is sovereign, righteous and holy, just, and personal. He is always the same--He has never changed His purpose and goals. He exists for eternity, and everything He is doing is with eternity in mind.
Because of His nature, God cannot tolerate sin in His presence. Yet God is love, and there is no true love apart from Him. God is truth, and no truth can be known apart from knowing Him. It is impossible for us to comprehend how absolute truth, love, holiness, justice, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, power and wisdom can dwell in one Person, but in God all of these and more exist simultaneously. He is the one and only God, and we must all face Him sooner or later. God desires that we know Him. He is infinite, yet He is concerned with each individual person.
Before we consider more about this, let us see where man came from. The nature of God is such that He desires to share life with others. In order to do this, there had to be somebody of the same order of life with whom He could have fellowship. In Genesis 1:27 we read that God created man in His own image. This statement alone has tremendous implications. Man did not just happen by some chance chemical occurrence, but was created in the likeness of the God of this universe. No other created being that we know of enjoys this privilege.
In the beginning of creation, God walked and talked with man. God established man as the ruler over His whole creation. There was no sickness, no aging, no death, no sorrow, and nothing to come between God and man. They shared the beauty and glory of God's creation together, and experienced that intimate fellowship with each other which only those of like life and like mind can enjoy.
One look around us today tells us that something went wrong. Man was created to find fulfillment in fellowship with God, with God being the center of authority. Man was given a free choice by God when he was created, and he chose to be independent from God. That free choice has never been taken away from man, but only a moment's thought will tell us that there cannot be more than one center if there is going to be harmony. The result of two people moving independently of one another is disorder. Even in the natural world, we know there must be central authority for a cooperative effort of any kind to succeed. If every man is an authority, nothing gets done.
In spite of this, man chose to be an authority in himself. This is the basis of all sin: functioning independently from God: Sin is rebellion against the rule and authority of God. God does not take away the free choice of man, but to accomplish God's purpose, man must voluntarily submit his will to God's will. God desires that man choose to submit to Him, but He does not force him to do so; otherwise fellowship would be meaningless. Fellowship with God was broken in the beginning by man's rebellion.
Because of the nature of God, He was required to judge this rebellion. Death, disease, sorrow, animals devouring one another, and all kinds of other unlovely things are the result of man's rebellion against God. Since God is holy, He cannot tolerate rebellion in His presence and was forced to drive man from His presence. Also, on the day man sinned, he died in two ways. First, the spirit of man (that part of man which is able to commune with God) died immediately. Secondly, death in the physical body began, a process that man has tried for centuries to stop but has never been able to reverse.
From that day until this, man continues trying to live apart from God, seeking to be his own authority and rule apart from God. The world we see today is the result. In the laws of the universe, like begets like. Thus a dead man (in God's eyes) reproduces a dead man. Since God is forced to judge rebellion, each person born today is born in condemnation. We are condemned men, assigned to the lake of fire for eternity because of our rebellion against God. As much as God might like to overlook sin, He cannot do it and remain true to His nature. Sin brings death, and there is no escape. Is there no hope then? Praise God, the story does not end here, for if it did, there would indeed be no hope.