From the Editor’s Notebook (Mar-Apr 1976)

MIF 8:2 (Mar-Apr 1976)

From the Editor’s Notebook

W. Ross Rainey

Life is largely made up of the day by day routine of things. In other words, it is not the extraordinary but the ordinary which is our common experience, even as God’s redeemed people. Yet, even the ordinary or humdrum can be transformed into the extraordinary by the touch of our Lord’s presence and power in a life yielded to His control. Today, however, many professing Christians who are seeking some new “thrill” or “extraordinary experience,” such as speaking in tongues, have never really given much attention to basic Christian responsibilities. After all, it is the day by day, step by step, walk with God which, over the years, counts for the matters the most, notwithstanding those “mountain top” experiences which should be ours from time to time.

The Bible reveals a number of things which are the Christian’s daily responsibility, and among them are the following:

    1. The Responsibility of Praise (Psalm 68:19 with Lamentations 3:22-23).

    2. The Responsibility of Prayer (Psalm 86:3 and 88:9; see 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18 with Philippians 4:6-7 and Colossians 4:2, remembering the promise of James 5:16).

    3. The Responsibility of Bible Reading (Acts 17:11; see Joshua 1:8).

    4. The Responsibility of Witnessing (Jeremiah 7:25; Acts 2:46-47; 5:42; 16:5).

    5. The Responsibility of Discipleship (Luke 9:23; see 1 Corinthians 15:31).

    6. The Responsibility of Exhortation (Hebrews 3:13).

    7. The Responsibility of Watching (Proverbs 8:34; see Matthew 25:13; Luke 12:37).

An old English proverb reads: “Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves.” Applying this, we may say: “Take care of the days (i.e., in relation to our daily spiritual responsibilities), and the years will take care of themselves,” our Lord having promised, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).

Do we long to be more like the Lord Jesus Christ? We should. But the business of spiritual growth is a process; Christ-likeness does not come about overnight. Rather, it is formed and developed by daily practice — the day by day carrying out of our spiritual responsibilities, such responsibilities being our joyous privileges as well.

Is There Life on Other Planets?

According to an October issue of The Jerusalem Post, Edgar Mitchell, who is one of the U.S. astronauts who walked on the moon in 1931 and was on an official visit to Israel, said he was absolutely convinced there was life on other planets. We assume that he meant creature life, life like man as we know him. But is there such life on other planets? Occasionally this question makes its way into the news, as it did on a December telecast in Detroit, inviting considerable discussion among scientists and laymen alike.

What are we to believe about creature life on other planets? Having himself raised the question, Dr. E. Schuyler English has answered it as follows:

Lacking definitive revelation from God on the subject, unless or until such intelligent creatures have been discovered on another planet, it can be no more than speculation to come to the conclusion that such beings exist.

Is there any intimation in Scripture concerning the existence of man-like beings on planets other than the earth?

1. What must be the nature of other-planet-beings, supposing that they do exist? They must be either (a) sinless beings, or (b) sinful beings.

(a) God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways His ways (Isaiah 55:8). God cannot be limited in what He does or how He does it. He is sovereign and omnipotent. It seems unlikely, however, that He would create creatures of intellect without giving them moral responsibility to do His will, or to reject it. Even among the angels, some rebelled and departed from their proper sphere (Jude 6). Thus, even if the initial other-planet-beings, comparable to Adam and Eve, did not transgress, in due course some would probably do so.

(b) If, supposing there are intelligent beings on other planets, they are capable of sinning and have committed sin, it is incredible that God, His nature being what it is, should be indifferent toward them and should not offer them a way of redemption. He is too holy to look with favor upon sin; the unredeemed sinner could not abide in His presence and must be condemned. How could atonement be made for sin apart from the sacrifice of God Himself, through His Son? Without shedding of blood there is no remission (Hebrews 9:22). Were there any other method of redemption than that of the cross of Christ, it is inconceivable that God would have given His only begotten Son in such a sacrifice.

2. Christ was offered once, and only once. It is clear from Scripture that our Lord never offered Himself in sacrifice prior to Calvary, nor has He done so since Calvary. “Nor yet that he (Christ) should offer Himself often … for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the ages hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself… So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:25-28). “But this Man (Christ), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Hebrews 10:12-13). Thus redemption could be effected for other-planet-beings only if God, in His wisdom and power, should in some manner carry the Gospel message from earth to them.

Nothing is impossible with God. Yet it is our personal deduction, expressed without dogmatism, that intelligent life will not be found on other planets. One thing we know with certainty; the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy to receive glory, and honour, and power, created all things for His own pleasure, and they have been given to us, His redeemed people, richly to enjoy (Revelation 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:17).

(Editor’s note: Dr. English’s comments have been quoted by permission from The Pilgrim, a four-page paper with occasional larger editions, which he has edited for over thirty years.)

Christ’s Resurrection

F. E. Marsh said it: “The resurrection of Christ is the heart of Christianity: take this away and it is a lifeless thing. The resurrection of Christ is the keystone of the arch of truth: it is connected with every truth of the Bible, and secures the whole. The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of the Church, and no power of hell can overthrow it, because it is preserved, and protected by Him, who is risen from the dead, and is alive for evermore. The resurrection of Christ is the mainspring of Christian activity; for, when He had accomplished His atoning work, the Father gave to Him all authority in heaven and on earth, so that He could send forth His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature, promising to be with them to the end of the age, and this promise is experienced as we obey His commands. The resurrection of Christ is the lever to move the world: this the men of the world owned to their rulers, in their account of the stir amongst them, saying, ‘These men that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.’ The resurrection of Christ is God’s answer to everyone that would condemn the believer, or bring any charge against him. The resurrection of Christ is the link which binds believers together. Since we are risen with Him, our association with Him unites us to each other. The resurrection of Christ is the life that secures us, for since He is risen He is the One who is the Endless Life; and because He lives we shall live also.”