What Are the Big Questions of the Faith?

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

How does the Christian answer the four big questions of faith? [1] The Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments offer real insights.

Who is God? In the Apostle’s Creed, God is one God in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who we can know through the story of Jesus as revealed in scripture. In the Lord’s Prayer, God, through His sovereign rule over all creation, shapes us in his image day by day as we walk in obedience to Him. In the Ten Commandments, God is the supreme covenant maker who expresses his love for us through concrete guidance. The Triune God is alive and works in the world to form the church, forgive sin, and grant us re-created life.

Who are we? In the Apostle’s Creed, we are invited into relationship with the Triune God and to participate in the story of Jesus. In the Lord’s Prayer, we are seen as created in God’s image which then offers us dignity and intrinsic value. However, our reflection of God’s image is imperfect because of the influence of sin. In the Ten Commandments, God initiates a covenant relationship with us, which provides us clear guidance for living in a way that pleases Him.

What is good to do? In the Apostle’s Creed, a detailed picture of God is presented, especially in the life and work of Jesus Christ, in whom we are exhorted to believe and emulate in life, death, and resurrection (Phil 3:9–11). In the Lord’s Prayer, we are enabled to commune directly with God in prayer and in bearing God’s image in the world. In the Ten Commandments, law guides us in daily living through concrete action.

How do we know? The Apostle’s Creed reminds us that we stand together with the church throughout the ages before a holy and loving God. Scripture records the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer. The Holy Spirit inspired the authors and illuminates our reading. Christ’s divinity anchors scripture because Jesus expressed confidence in it (Matt 5:18Matt 5:18). As Jesus prophesied—”if these were silent, the very stones would cry out”—archaeological research has confirmed the validity of many events and places in scripture (Luke 19:40) [2].

Our faith in God is paradoxical [3]. Like the child who is able to play with abandon because of the watchful eye of a parent, we are free in Christ to live within God’s will for our lives. In Christ, the gap of time, space, and holiness between us and God is bridged. Freedom in Christ accordingly brings rest for our souls [4].

[1] As mentioned earlier, the four big questions in philosophy are: metaphysics (Who is God?), epistemology (How do we know?), and anthropology (Who are we?), and ethics (What is good to do?) (Kreeft 2007, 6).

[2]  If you are unconvinced, read a few of the stories in the NIV Archaeological Study Bible (Zondervan, 2005).

[3] The Apostle Paul wrote: “For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.” (Cor 13:4).

[4] Jesus said: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:29)

REFERENCES

Kreeft, Peter. 2007. The Philosophy of Jesus. South Bend, IN: Saint Augustine’s Press.

Zondervan. 2005. NIV Archaeological Study Bible: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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