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Tuesday
Apr102012

Is the whole point of the Bible to get people a ticket into heaven?

I had this remarkable conversation yesterday with a good friend of mine. For a little background, I’ll just mention that my friend was raised in a Christian home, went to a Christian school, got baptized as a young person and could count on one hand the number of times he missed church over the years. He’s also a fine person with a kind soul and a good heart.

We discussed the point of the Bible, which he described as, “God’s life manual.”

I said, “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth?”

He agreed. I asked him to sum up the whole Bible with one verse. He chose John 3:16.

Which prompted me to ask if he thought the whole point of the Bible is to get people a ticket into heaven.

He felt that a ”ticket into heaven” lacked sacredness, but essentially affirmed that it was indeed the whole point.

So I asked, “If the whole point is for people to believe in Jesus so they can get their ticket to heaven, why don’t we all go directly to heaven the moment we get saved?”

He responded, “If there were no Christians around, how would anyone else get saved?”

“Ah. So would you say that the whole point of the Bible is both getting a ticket into heaven, and passing out tickets to others?”

We agreed that the Great Commission (Mat 28:19) was an additional good verse to sum up the Bible.

Then I asked, “Have you ever wondered if God is concerned with something more than just the salvation of human beings?”

He hadn’t ever wondered that.

So I expanded, “What I mean is, why did God create such an enormous and intricate universe? We’ve got stars as far away as the eye can see, and then we’ve got bacteria, which the eye can’t possibly see. Why did God create it so big, and so small at the same time? Doesn’t it seem sort of unnecessary if the whole point is about humans and getting them to heaven? What’s with all the complexity? Is it all just for our curiosity, or for his amusement?”

He didn’t have an answer.

Our discussion veered off in an odd direction. We talked about when the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke his disciples for glorifying him, to which Jesus replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luk 19:40) We talked about Abel’s blood crying out to God from the ground. (Gen 4:10) We discussed how the whole creation has been groaning and waiting in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. (Rom 8:22;19) We pondered whether God designed the universe with so much complexity because his eventual plan will include plants and animals, atoms, constellations, whales and dust mites glorifying him. And more than just through the intricate beauty of their design, actually crying out to glorify God.

I wanted to tie that all together with the concept that the universe is engulfed in a great cosmic war between God and Satan, but it got a little fantastical, like a Tolkien novel, with trees and rocks fighting Satan.

So we stopped the conversation at that point. I can’t remember what we talked about next. It wasn’t nearly as interesting.

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