Editor’s note: This column first appeared in AFA Journal in September 2007.
November 2020 – The older I get, the more the Holy Bible makes sense to me. Make no mistake, there is still much I don’t understand and never will, but the basic message I get. There is a consistent theme to the Scriptures, and that is God’s relationship with man and man’s relationship with God. Now, you may not believe the message of the Bible, but, if you study it some, you can at least understand what the basic point is even though it was written by many people over thousands of years.
What I am about to do is give you Tim’s understanding of the Bible’s message. Here is how I would condense it.
There is and has always been God. The idea of eternity or infinity cannot be fully comprehended by the human mind. God is the one and only supreme being who created everything that exists in the heavens and on earth. And by “heavens,” I mean the universe and other galaxies. Although God is neither male or female, He is referred to in the Bible as the heavenly Father. He is everywhere all the time. He knows all, sees all, and, ultimately, is in control of all.
God is spirit. I don’t know what a spirit is or what a spirit looks like except what the Bible says it is, and even that is not real definitive. But a spirit is a supernatural being that humans can’t see.
God created man and woman in the form that we are today. We did not evolve from pond slime to apes and then from apes to man. The complexities of the human body alone are just too many to believe that we are the result of random chance. A fundamental law of science is that life cannot develop from non-life. With apologies to Gomer Pyle, “shazaam” does not come from “non-shazaam.”
God made man and woman with a free will. He placed them in the Garden of Eden and told them to enjoy life. He gave them one thing He did not want them to do, and that was eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. What is evil? Evil is for the most part self-evident; that is to say we know it when we see it or experience it. But according to The American Heritage Dictionary, evil is defined as: “Something that is morally wrong; wicked.”
When man and woman willfully disobeyed God, it was called “sin.” This is what is known as “original sin,” and the Christian teaching is that this contaminated the nature of man, and this contamination was passed on down through the ages and no human is exempt from it. This “contamination” – again, called sin – separates man and woman from God because He wants nothing to do with sin.
The spiritual agent for evil in the world is a being called Satan. This is a biblical term. Like God, Satan is a spirit. The Bible implies that before Satan was Satan, he was an angel but rebelled against his maker, and so God expelled him from heaven. He has a limited amount of power, while God’s power is unlimited. The two war for the souls of humans.
God chose the Hebrews as the people he would write history through. Thus they became known as God’s “chosen people.” That story is in the Old Testament beginning with Abraham, who was the father of Isaac who was the father of Jacob and so on. These people today are known as Jews.
Then, we move to the New Testament, which is where the expansion of God’s relationship to man moves from exclusivity with the Jews to include all people. God’s message for mankind was brought by His Son, Jesus Christ. Don’t ask me how God can have a son, I don’t know. But He did. And so God sent Jesus to earth to accomplish two things. One was to demonstrate and teach us how to live according to God’s will. Love for God and for our fellow man was His emphasis.
The second reason God sent Jesus to earth was to pay the penalty for original sin. God requires a price be paid for sin before He will forgive that sin and restore us into a right relationship with Him. That is what Jesus did on the cross. He took the sins of the world on Himself and taught that all who believe and trust in this sacrifice would be forgiven and made right with God.
And finally there is the promise of life after death in a place called heaven for those who repent and believe. That is the Christian belief system in 800 words. If you don’t already believe it yourself, I hope you will study it seriously. Jesus Christ will change your life. Forever.