The Training Table: The… Our… Your… Creator and Sustainer God. “Got Sustenance?”

Hands (1)Welcome to the Training Table where you can depend on a spiritually-nourishing feast of the heart, carefully prepared, to help you run the Godly and good race! For what good is a good race, unless it’s a Godly race (2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 9:24)?

The Creator as Sustainer

Just this week it occurred to me… again [like it has a bazillion times before]: Since we have lived under the pale of an anti-theistic, naturalistic, Darwinian philosophy of origins for so long, the “fact” [E.g., in reality a fiction of devilish, unscientific, and foolish imaginings] that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were not involved in the CREATION of the universe has left many people… dare I say an alarming many… in the untenable place that… ERGO… God could not be involved in SUSTAINING the universe.

Let alone—on the most intimate level imaginable—you and me.

It stands to reason, right? “For too many years, the prevailing orthodoxy in the scientific academy has faced no meaningful challenges at the epistemological level. This prevailing orthodoxy, which I will call a naturalist evolutionary theory of origins, believes in a chance-driven, naturalistic universe and believes time + chance + matter = life as we know it in all its mind-boggling complexity in this universe.” (Richard Land, The Intelligent Design Movement: Rocking Scientific Naturalism)

And, I’m afraid, not that digging deep and reasoning things out is associated with much these daze, whether we actually drill down and connect the dots or not [E.g., since God is not Creator He could not be Sustainer], there exists within each and every heart:

a) A TRUE TRUTH that we are infinitely and intimately created and sustained by the Triune God of All Who really and truly exists (Genesis 1:1, 26, 27; Revelation 4:11, Colossians 1:16… 100+ more) and,

b) A LIE that we exist purely as a result of time + chance + matter dominates our spirit, emotions, and our actions… each and every day: Recognized or unrecognized, seen or unseen… this ambivalence about the reality of God as Creator and Sustainer has a sure, interconnected, and much more influential impact on us than we can imagine!

These two antithetical, existential, and practical ideas are at irreconcilable loggerheads with one another—and yet so many people live as if it doesn’t actually matter. Maybe it’s actually as easy as flipping coin: 1) Either nothing matters and you and I will end up as nothing more than food for worms, OR, 2) in Christ, you and I can matter to The Only One that matters… for time and eternity. “Flip it!” Or, better yet, “Choose this day…” (Joshua 24:14-15).

As Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, has said, If you came from nothing, and you end in nothing, at least have the integrity to admit that your life ‘in between two nothings’ cannot possibly amount to anything.”

When there is a warfare of worldviews going between ANY human being’s heart, spirit, and actions… is a very big problem… whether we recognize it or not, Beloved.

And yet, unwilling to embrace this reality one way or the other, far too many of us “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18) and are unwilling “GoDeep!” (Hebrews 4;12) and come to any irrefutable conclusion.

As a result, we live lives racked by unresolved and existentially conflicting spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical ambivalences. [Def, uncertainty or fluctuation, especially when caused by inability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.]

No human being can actually live life to the fullest… in this “state of heart, mind, soul, and strength” (Matthew 22:37).

“An anxious heart weighs a man down…” (Proverbs 12:15 NIV)

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12 NLT).

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy” (Proverbs 14:10 ESV).

“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains” (Proverbs 14:13 NLT).

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30 NIV).

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4 NIV).

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly” (Proverbs 15:13-14 NIV).

“All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD” (Proverbs 16:2 NIV).

“The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions” (Proverbs 28:1 The Message).

“My Very Own Creator and Sustainer?” It’s True! Or is It…?

My wonderful 100+ year-old grandmother, Mimi, used to pine away in her nursing home bed, “Oh Johnny, I just can’t understand why God is leaving me here so long. I just want to go and be with him. Oh… I know, I know, he’s got a lot going on. I know he’s too busy with the really important things to take care of little ‘ol me.”

It broke my heart to hear her say that… And I spent much time loving Mimi and trying to convince her that, on the contrary, God has an infinite amount of time to spend for and with each and every person who sought to know and love Him.

Many people living in our postmodern culture have embraced this false and heart-hardening theology. They believe that God might have gotten things started just fine, but has since abandoned the helm of the ship, leaving us to flounder in a sea of chaos and random circumstances. Even committed Christians either, a) sometimes fall prey to a worldly view of God as benevolently indifferent, distractible, or even so impersonal as to be sadistic… or, b) if they do believe God is The Creator of All they do not give Bible-based, regular, meditative, voluminous, communal, sacramental… thanks!

The idea that the Creator has adopted a policy of benign neglect toward his universe could not be further from the truth. Nor could it be more frightening! In times of weeping, we have no other foundation than to cry out to a God who is near. Consider these True Truths, all revealing our dependency on the Triune God as creator and sustainer, inspired by God and drawn from the Bible:

  • Our own personal control over our destiny is limited and yet empowered by free will: “Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress, or all the force of your strength?” (Job 36:19; see also Proverbs 11:4)
  • God’s omniscience, apart from a personal relationship with the Savior, is convicting and frightening: “No creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)
  • The human lifespan is brief; our strength, insignificant: “The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass.” (Isaiah 40:7)
  • Wealth, no matter how much we amass, will not keep death at bay: “The sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of His pursuits.” (James 1:11)
  • We cannot save ourselves (or anyone else) in the Judgment: “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalm 49:7)
  • The War of All Wars is over, but skirmishes for souls will continue until Christ returns: “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down.” (Revelation 12:10; see also verses 7-17)

Have you been born again? Is THE Creator and Sustainer YOUR Creator and Sustainer?

In short, the human condition is utterly bleak apart from Christ. Yet, we need not weep alone. Our fears need not overwhelm us. Not only did God create a magnificent universe for us, beautiful beyond our wildest dreams, he also sustains that universe in an even more magnificent fashion.

He does this under the influence of the reality of his Plan of Redemption, the resurrection, and the finished-but-not-yet-complete (until Jesus returns) work of Christ. He rules it, directing events in it for the good of his people (Romans 8:28). Because he does, we can trust him, even when we weep in frustration, loss, pain, and suffering (1 Peter 5;10). These foundational promises can slow and then halt the unavoidable freefalls of living in a broken world of any kind.

Remember… Yes, the Triune God did indeed create the universe in a perfect fashion (Genesis 1,2); he gave his first Image Bearers Adam and Eve the choice to love him back and they failed the test (Genesis 3); all the universe [including Original Sin inherited by all humanity] was thrown into chaos and decay in every imaginable way but God was acutely aware of this as well (Genesis 6;5); and he had a Plan of Redemption in place under which he is most magnificently and mercifully making all things new again for those who love him by means of his Son and in the power of the Spirit (John 3:16; Ephesians 1); and hellish for those who will not (Revelations 21:8; Romans 6:23).

  • God sustains us in every trouble: “Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him; the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health” (Psalm 41:1-3).
  • God keeps a close eye on us and supports us: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
  • God’s Son is always with us to counsel and comfort: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 13:5-6).
  • Jesus has sent the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to direct and sustain us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world [those who haven’t put their faith in Jesus] cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:15-18; 17 – parenthesis added).
  • The God of the Bible is unique, altogether transcendent, imminent, infinite, and intimate with those who love him: “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” (Psalm 116:1-4).
  • God’s Word sustains forever, giving us wisdom: “Your testimonies [the Word of God both in Christ and in the Bible] are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:24 – parenthesis added).
  • God pours out his love for us in Christ. No circumstance or power, not even the most dire, can pluck us out of his hand: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
  • God’s person, presence, and power sustain us: “The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5).
  • We are not alone, even when we feel alone: “Be strong and courageous… for it is the LORD your God who goes with you… He will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Is it time to stop the freefall…(ing) and shore up the foundations of your faith? Here are some questions you may find helpful as you think through the first foundational truth:

Do you believe with all your heart that the words with which the universe began are true? Explain.

“The Bible’s beginning sets the stage for the Bible’s ending—and for everything in between.” To what extent do you believe this to be true? Why does it matter?

What is your response to Keller’s loving, truthful, yet polarizing quote above, If you came from nothing, and you end in nothing, at least have the integrity to admit that your life ‘in between two nothings’ cannot possibly amount to anything.”

If you were to believe in the deepest recesses of your heart that the God of the Bible was the self-existent, perfect, all-loving, all-truthful, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present Creator and is presently the Sustainer of the Universe, what difference would it make in how you, personally, dealt with life’s trials and/or its joys?

Would it help or hurt you in your sufferings and joys of any kind to know that the God of the universe created you and loves you?

Consider Job, quite possibly the most afflicted person other than our Lord, described in Scriptures. In chapter after chapter, his friends and family chided him. When he finally presented his case before God, what answer did he receive? (Job 38-41)

Why did God give this specific reminder of his love and truth to Job, do you think? How do God’s words to Job further illuminate the concepts you have about life’s unavoidable and inevitable freefalls and God’s everlasting foundations?

The reality of God as The… Our… Your… Creator and Sustainer is a fact and the foundation of life we cannot truly live without—and that we can truly live within!


Death in Adam, Life in Christ, R.C. Sproul

The Four Spiritual Laws

What is Meant by “Original Sin”?

Getting the Gospel Right, John MacArthur

The History of Redemption, John Piper

Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen Myer

Do We Live in the Matrix? Ideas on Creation.

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