HOW CAN THESE THINGS BE? – John 3


Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

John 3:9 ASV

The natural man finds it very difficult to receive spiritual things, due to his inherent preoccupation with the mechanics of them, the “HOW” of everything.

Nicodemus’ question is therefore one of remarkable interest to all.

How persistently man probes every mystery!

Wherever there are dark and knotty problems, or things hard to be understood, there man stands, the great inquisitor, demanding to know, “HOW CAN THESE THINGS BE?”

In a sense, this attitude is the glow of the human race, resulting in countless discoveries and inventions.

Yet, there are certain areas that God seems to have reserved for himself, for even in Paradise there was a tree forbidden to man.

In a little different sense, there remain certain questions of the deep things of God, which, by their very nature, are unanswerable.

This is such a question, nor does it stand alone.

However, the question of “how” God does this or that is not necessary to the enjoyment of God’s gifts.

And (Jesus) said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth; and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how.

The earth beareth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

But when the fruit is ripe, straightway he putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Mark 4:26‭-‬29 ASV

From this word of Jesus, it is plain that people should be MORE concerned with obeying God’s laws than in searching out the “WHY” and the “HOW.”

Nicodemus apparently permitted his puzzlement over the “how” of the new birth to prevent his ready acceptance of Christ’s word.

Of course, such questions have their place, but obedience should not wait upon the resolution of all problems.

Some of the questions which are similar to the one that Nicodemus raised here are:

How did God create the Heavens and the Earth?

People strive in vain to answer this; but they cannot agree. It is enough for the child of faith to believe that “God spake, and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast” (Psalms 33:9).

For he spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

Psalms 33:9 ASV


This Is HOW God Created the Heavens & The Earth

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.”

And it was so.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years,

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.”

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.”

And it was so.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

Genesis 1:1‭, ‬3‭, ‬6‭, ‬9‭, ‬14‭, ‬20‭, ‬24‭, ‬26‭, ‬31 RSV

The language here indicates that the stupendous acts of Creation were performed by FIAT.

It certainly did not require any twenty-four hours for God to say, “Let there be light”, and our understanding that God’s creation was by FIAT, that He spoke the worlds into existence, and that all things appeared instantly upon the DIVINE WORD, forbid any notion that Almighty God required a time budget in any of His creative acts.

Certainly, we reject any view that puts God to work for uncounted billions of years in the production of that creation which is now visible to man.

We find no fault whatever with the view that the “days” here were indeed very brief periods such as our days.

For ages, devout souls have taken exactly that view of them; and no one can prove that they were wrong.

God spoke the word, and it was done.

Could any process of creating light gradually even be imagined?

Any chain of events leading to the development of light is inconceivable, the very thought of such a thing being rejected by the intelligence.

Primeval darkness demands just the fiat revealed in this verse as the only possible solution for it.

How does God answer prayer?

Does He answer by performing a miracle?

How can prayer do any good when God already knows everything?

We must confess a little sadly that we do not know; but we believe that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

James 5:16 RSV

How are the dead raised up?

(1 Corinthians 15:35).

This is another “HOW” that torments the intellect endlessly; but the believer holds that it is no more difficult for God to give one another life than it was for Him to have given him the first life.

The soul’s deepest instinct demands belief in a resurrection; but “how” it will come to pass is a problem beyond the perimeter of man’s ability to solve problems.

And yet there is an instinct supporting the divine revelation that a resurrection will indeed occur.

But some one will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.

1 Corinthians 15:35‭-‬38 RSV

Illustration: The great chemist Faraday received an engraved cup of pure silver with his name and inscription on it; but one day a workman knocked it into a jar of nitric acid where it was quickly consumed.

The workman was frantic with concern, but the great Farraday only smiled.

He added other chemicals to the jar, precipitated the silver from the solution, returned it to the original craftsman; and within six weeks, the same cup was sitting in its accustomed place, perfect as before, inscription and all!

If man with his little learning can do a thing like that, how easily may God recall our human spirits and reclothe them with the robes of flesh; nor should we dare to disbelieve it, merely because God has not permitted us to photograph him in the process.

Michael Faraday

How can a man be born again when he is old?

Part of the answer to that question, namely the reception of the Holy Spirit, was not even available to the apostles at the time Nicodemus made this inquiry; and his mistake of waiting until he had all the answers was tragic.

His greater concern should have been the acceptance of what he knew, namely, that he should have accepted the baptism of John.

If he had submitted to that, as did Christ and the apostles, he would have experienced more, in time, and would have been truly “born again.”

Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.

John 3:10‭-‬13 RSV
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 RSV

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