I suggest that we play a little game today; one we might all enjoy, but some killjoys could never enjoy anything that doesn’t quite go their way, so we’ll just have to ignore them and carry on.
It’s called ‘Let’s Pretend’ and it can be lots of fun.
Let’s pretend, for the purpose of this exercise, that the Bible is true and God is who the Bible portrays Him to be. Now this will be more difficult for some than others, but it can be done. After all, we’ve all pretended many things to be true for the sake of our children and so on, so it should require minimal effort.
So, if you’re ready to start, here we go!
Regardless of the age of the universe, the earth, or methods used, God created it all. He is uncreated, pre-existent, omnipotent, omnipresent and omnibenevolent. This is the basis for our game; the rules, if you will. And as with any good game, the games master abides by his own rules. William Webb Ellis may have been a cheat, but once Rugby was accepted as a sport, the rules were followed by everyone.
So, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and, eventually, man. Man was created for fellowship with God and God called him the ‘crowning glory of His creation’. Then he created a help-mate for him: they were named Adam and Eve and had total freedom of the garden, with the exception of the one tree, the fruit of which they were not to eat, or they would die. We know that the serpent tricked Eve into eating the fruit, and she inveigled Adam into eating the fruit, and as a result, they were ejected from the garden.
But first God killed an animal to cover their nakedness. So blood was shed to cover the first sin.
So hopefully we’re all clear up to this point. It’s still called ‘let’s pretend’, so I’m not asking you to believe it, I’m asking you to play along.
So we have a God who is not only omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient and every other om you can think of, but He’s a personal God. He’s not far off; He’s here, with us and, if we choose, in us. He is unique in this aspect, as none of the other gods in the history of the world have shown any form of care of, or love for, their creation.
But, as I said, with this God sticking to the rules, as is His wont, He finds Himself hamstrung by man’s absolute refusal to recognise God for Who and What He is. So we have the deadliest virus ever formed, and it’s called sin. And God can do nothing about sin, because He has to stick to His own rules, remember?
Occasionally, mankind goes so far in sinning that God is forced to do something drastic, which He does, much to the chagrin of the sinners.
But as is the case with every hereditary disease, sin weakens and changes man to the point where he is no longer the being God created, so He makes a plan to get man back to where he wants him. God loves man, with all his faults and, being a perfect God, loves perfectly. And loving perfectly means that He loves you enough to go against what you think is best for you, and sometimes that involves pain, because we are nothing if not self-willed.
So he makes the ultimate sacrifice, that of His Son, and by that one act abolishes the power of sin. All we have to do is receive this gift of salvation. It’s free, but there is a condition. He wants your life in exchange for His death. That means your life is no longer your own, even if you still have total free will. And unfortunately, people being what they are, they mostly go back to what they were in the first place.
God does not prevent this, as He values your freely-given love and companionship far more than He values your obedience to a set of laws. It sounds strange to us that a Being so powerful that He could speak the universe into existence would so desperately want our companionship, but according to His word, that’s exactly what He does.
There was, however, a rebel long before man was created, and his name was Lucifer, the most powerful of all God’s creations. Somehow he convinced himself and about a third of the angels that he was more powerful than God and rebelled, resulting in his being cast out of heaven. And when God created man, he was determined to destroy man.
So now, in this game, if this God exists and this powerful enemy exists, why is it not possible for this God to have created everything? Why is it not possible for this incredibly powerful virus ‘sin’ to so deform man’s essential nature that he is determined to ignore God and go his own way, regardless of the consequences? After all, criminals go up against the justice system all the time, knowing there’s a good chance they’ll be caught!
If this powerful being, now named Satan, exists, and hates God and man to the degree he does, why would he not institute war and suffering on a scale unimaginable to us? And if God, by his own will, is reliant on our prayers to act in the world, is it any wonder the world is in the state it’s in?
Because Christians are a disgrace, if I take myself as an example. A survey done in the USA recently revealed that the average Christian spends seven minutes a day in prayer. How do you build a relationship in seven minutes a day? The answer is, you don’t.
So a small percentage of Christians are praying fervently, some of them are going out to the poorest of the poor in the most unreached locations, taking them food, shelter, clothing, comfort and education.
If the average worker (South Africa excepted) worked for seven minutes a day, he’d be fired.
So, if this God does indeed exist, and this is the end result of His people’s puny efforts, then it’s hardly a surprise so few people believe and so many deny His existence, because a lot of evil has been committed in His name and will continue to be, until the time He blows the whistle and the game is brought to an end.
There will be extra time, but it will be tough, and I don’t think I would want to play that part of the game, because there won’t be penalty shootouts.
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