The Epic Journey
It is a life

It is a Life!

 

by Tim Case

Lately there has been a great amount of discussion in the Christian community about the degradation occurring in the world’s societies and in western civilization in particular.  Many writers have rightly defined the problems. However, few seem to have answers concerning what the Christian community should do to combat these pagan philosophies and the social disasters that accompany them.

 

If we, as Christians, ever hope to establish a society that functions properly, then we must come to grips with what we believe, who we represent, and why. Many in the Christian communities claim they represent biblical truth. Yet the question remains unanswered: What is biblical truth?

 

Biblical truth is first and foremost grounded in the existence and character of God. Since man is finite, he cannot know the reality of God or His truth. God’s only means of bringing us to an understanding of Himself and what He requires is to reveal to us, through His Son, both creation and history.  It is this concept of biblical truth that Paul was discussing with the Romans when he said, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…” (Romans 1:20).

 

“The biblical view of truth is not a lesser view of truth than the Greek view, but a far higher one. The Christian worldview is not merely a philosophic system to be reasoned about abstractly as a nicely balanced system as the Greeks did.  It is certainly a worldview, one that makes sense of our experience. But it is more; it is a world view related to history and therefore at crucial points open to confirmation through what can be touched and seen.”[i]

 

Biblical truth is not purely academic; it is knowledge that will sustain the individual when others oppose and deny it. Biblical truth is the excitement of discovery so that we might receive pleasure or satisfaction in knowing the thoughts of God and receiving the benefits of knowing and following Him.

 

Biblical truth is not a collective decision. Yes, a group may decide that such and such is true. However, if the collective is wrong the responsibility of knowing and acting on the truth remains with the individual. It is to the individual that God turns at judgment, not the collective. This was understood by many in the early Church who questioned even the apostles, “in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Therefore, biblical truth “demands choice and commitment. Why? Because it is objectively true. It is truth both to God and to us.”[ii] Thus, instead of being similar to collective relativism, in which the concepts of truth and moral values are not absolute but are only relative to the persons or groups holding them, biblical truth stands as a complete contradiction to dialectic or existential truth of the collective.

 

If we accept these concepts of Biblical truth then we are drawn irrevocably to the following realizations.

 

Christianity is not a religion. It becomes difficult or impossible to explain and compare Christianity with other religions such as Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. This stands as truth because Christianity is the only means by which God and His Son are revealed to mankind through creation and history, which is exclusive to Christianity.

 

Christianity is not a philosophy since a philosophy cannot account for judgment.  Philosophy cannot deal with sin nor can it offer a means of remission from sin. A philosophy may only allow that sin is nothing more than a benign act which may or may not be socially acceptable.

 

The Christian is a new creature, that is a new formation or fabrication in Jesus Christ in which the old things have passed away and all things have become new (1 Corinthians 5:17).  It is this new life exhibited by Christianity that is inexplicable to all other philosophies and religions.

 

As a new life and a new creature it is, then, incumbent upon the Christian to exhibit traits and qualities that are uncommon if not foreign to those who hold to the philosophies and religions of man. These traits and qualities were first exhibited by Jesus Christ Himself and are elaborated on in the four Gospels. They were further explained and displayed by the apostles in the epistles and the Book of Acts. As such these qualities and traits are part of the Christian’s inheritance.

 

These Christian traits along with their accompanying qualities offer empirical evidence to all others that Christianity is the only way for society to avoid chaos. This, however, does not mean that social orders that are contrary to Christ will accept the empirical evidence. Man is not inclined to accept God’s verifiable evidence any more than we are capable of proving the matter or lack of matter that produces light. However, if we stand in a room with no windows and turn on a light, we can demonstrate empirically that light does exist.

 

There is an ancient Jewish tale concerning Abraham while he and his father, Terah, lived in Ur. It seems that Terah made his living manufacturing idols for the local trade. One day Terah had some business to attend to away from his shop, so he asked Abraham to watch the business until he returned.

 

While Terah was away Abraham destroyed every idol of the pagan gods in Terah’s shop except for the largest idol of the oldest pagan god. Upon his return Terah was shocked and angered by the destruction of all the idols and his hard work. When he confronted Abraham about the destroyed idols, Abraham replied that while Terah was gone the largest idol in the shop grew mad with jealousy because some of the smaller idols were more beautiful. So the largest idol in the shop set about destroying all those it felt were more beautiful. When it had finished it decided to smash all those who might be made more beautiful when Terah returned to his shop.

 

Terah was incensed by Abraham’s explanation of the destruction and in his fury screamed, “How could an idol do all this damage? An idol is made of wood, stone, and metal!  An idol cannot hear, see, or move! That piece of metal could not possibly have destroyed all my other idols!” Abraham looked straight at his father and said, “Exactly!”

 

The point is self-evident: only that which lives can affect society and man’s conscience. Until Christians start living the life, exhibiting empirical evidence to unregenerate mankind that there is a means of solving society’s decadence, then nothing will change until judgment ensues. This doesn’t include running to government to pass laws of morality; rather it requires Christians to live as Jesus Christ taught us to live. It is only life that is capable of offering empirical proof for avoiding social chaos.

 

The alternative is for Christians to remain a religious or philosophical group that cannot hear, see, or move, people as dead as Terah’s idols. It’s time for Christianity to once again become the salt of the earth and light for mankind. It’s time for Christians to live the life!


19 June 2003



[i] Schaeffer, Francis A. and C. Everett Koop, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1979), p.164, 165.

 

[ii] Schaeffer, Francis A., Ibid.

 

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