Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Do All Have an Equal Opportunity to Come to Know God?
▪ When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus said: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” (Matthew 22:37) However, before people can love God, they need to acquire accurate knowledge of him. (John 17:3) Will all have an equal opportunity to gain this knowledge?
The primary source of knowledge of God is the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16) Many live in communities where the Bible is readily available. Those same individuals might also receive repeated invitations to gain accurate knowledge of God by means of a personal Bible study. (Matthew 28:19) Some are raised by their loving Christian parents, who daily give them the opportunity to learn about God.—Deuteronomy 6:6, 7; Ephesians 6:4.
Others, however, live under less favorable circumstances. Some individuals come from abusive families in which parents have shown no natural affection for their offspring. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Those raised in such an environment might find it difficult to view God as a loving heavenly Father. Many have not had access to adequate schooling, which hampers their ability to read the Bible. Still others have had their minds blinded by false religious teachings, or they live in families, communities, or countries where the teaching of Bible truth is not tolerated. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Do the circumstances of such individuals deny them the opportunity to learn about God and come to love him?
Jesus acknowledged that the challenges some people face will make it difficult for them to love and obey God. (Matthew 19:23, 24) However, Jesus reminded his disciples that even though some obstacles seem insurmountable to men, “with God all things are possible.”—Matthew 19:25, 26.
Consider the following facts: Jehovah God has ensured that his Word, the Bible, is the most widely distributed book of all time. The Bible foretold that the good news about God and his purpose for the earth would be preached in “all the inhabited earth.” (Matthew 24:14) Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses preach that good news in over 230 lands and produce Bible-based literature in some 500 languages. Even those who have no access to the Bible can still learn much about the true God by observing the things he has made.—Romans 1:20.
Additionally, God’s Word states: “All hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning. If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you.” (1 Chronicles 28:9) So although Jehovah does not promise that every individual will receive exactly the same opportunity, he does make sure that an opportunity is held out to all honesthearted ones. He will even make sure that those who have never had the occasion to learn about him will be given an opportunity by means of a resurrection to life in a righteous new world.—Acts 24:15.