We all live our lives according to the guidelines created by one of two broad and general ideas. There is the idea that humanity is the captain of its fate and arbiter of its purpose and therefore free through individual personal philosophies to decide what is good and what is evil. And there is the alternative idea that humanity was originally created in the image and likeness of God to fulfill its purpose as God's representatives in the earth. All of us, Christian and skeptic alike, constantly feel the internal struggle between these two powerful and mutually exclusive ideas. The tension between these ideas creates a struggle in our hearts to understand our purpose.
A practical understanding of our original nature and ability to express God's image and likeness into creation compared with our current fallen state is the only way to effectively answer the questions of who we are and who we were meant to be. What does my life mean? Why have I lost my loved one? Why must I suspect the stranger and doubt the friend? These are just a few of the questions that we ask in this struggle to make sense of our lives. This important view of our original nature and abilities and our current fallen state are illustrated clearly in the first three chapters of Genesis.
But, so many of us have understood so little of the Bible as to make it impossible to defend but have understood just enough to make it possible to ignore or reject. In this way the world has been inoculated against the truth of the human condition. Just as a physician injects a patient with a small amount of a dead virus to build up in that patient resistance to the living virus so the world has been continuously exposed to small portions of dead Christian platitudes striped from their original scriptural context and cultural relevance. This inoculated resistance to Christian truth is what is fueling the popular cultures callow form of Christianity as well as its misinformed atheistic tendencies.
We see this tacit rejection of God and the Bible expressed as accusatory questions like: “If the Bible says God is real why have I been disappointed by the Christian lives of strangers, pastors and parents? If the Bible says there is a God why is the world so full of indiscriminate pain, hardship and suffering? If the Bible says that God is love, why do we seem to live without purpose and die without significance?
Scripture stands ready to satisfy these questions that dwell in the painful tension of our hearts. In fact, scripture contains a balm for anyone who has ever had the internal secret struggle of their heart of heart implore, “Why are things so?”
This Blog is being written for these asking hearts.
Vernon L. Harper