by Harvey Porter
I think most Americans believe that Abraham Lincoln was our greatest president. He was a believer in the Bible as the Word of God. Many of his addresses were flavored with quotations from the Good Book. This great president wrestled with emancipation of the slaves. There was no doubt in his mind that the slaves should be freed, but the problem was how to do it and not divide the nation. Lincoln wrote after he had signed the Emancipation Proclamation that he had sought the will of God, and that he had received advice from religious men as to how he should solve this great problem. Each claimed that the advice he gave was "the will of God."
Lincoln wrote, "I hope it will not be irreverent for me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal His will to others on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed He would reveal it directly to me; for, unless I am more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what it is, I will do it."
He then concluded, "There are not, however, the days of miracles, and I suppose it will be granted that I am not to expect a direct revelation. I must study the plain physical facts of the case, as certain what is possible, and learn what appears to be wise and right. The subject is difficult, and good men do not agree."
Times have not changed; there are many who believe that they have experienced a miracle. Often this is a well-meaning misunderstanding of Scripture. Some say we must not limit God, while others say that it is a lack of faith on the part of those who have not seen a miracle. It is also interesting that there are still those who claim that God has spoken to them or that the Holy Spirit spoke or led them to this act or decision.
The Word of God speaks to all mankind. The Holy Spirit who inspired this message from God Himself never says one thing to one person and another thing to someone else. The message is the same that God loves all mankind and shows no favoritism. God's eternal plan for saving the whole family of man centers in the cross of Jesus. His death satisfied the justice of God and showed the love of God. It is still true that there is "one Lord (Jesus), one faith (the whole of Christian teaching), one baptism (immersion in water for the remission of sins upon our confession of faith in Jesus as Savior), and one God (Jehovah of the Bible) (Ephesians 4:3-5). To the Galatian Christians Paul wrote that even if an angel came to earth and told you something different from this revelation from God, you should not believe it (Galatians 1:6-9).
Lincoln was a good, God-fearing man. He was honest in asking why God did not speak to him at this great moment in history and tell him exactly what to do and how best to do it. We all have had moments in our lives when we would have welcomed a voice from heaven that said precisely what we needed to know. It still does not happen. We all make our own decisions. We may be influenced by society, popular opinion, peer pressure, our own lusts, the love of money, or the Will of God. He treats us as His children. He loves and blesses and even protects us from many threats and harm, but all the while we can do as we please. We can sin and turn our backs on God. We have the power to choose whom we obey.
Does not the Word tell all mankind, to love one another, to love even
our enemies, and to love God with all our being? Does not the Word condemn
and warn against, lying, stealing, adultery, drunkenness, selfishness,
impurity, hatred and all manner of sins? The Holy Spirit does not have
to whisper this into your ear, it has been here 2000 years for all to see
and hear and think about over and over. We all can know the Will of God
for us. It is the same for the whole world!
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun00.