Another Way?

Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me an email which said:

“Chapter 2 in the book (Tullian Tchividjian’s God + Nothing = Everything) talks about the everything that we had in the beginning and everything that we will have in the end, and makes the statement,  ‘Between Genesis 1 and the last pages of Revelation, there unfolds an epic story marked by incalculable tragedies…’

“I agree with the above, but want to relate a question posed to me by a missionary turned atheist: Given the great epic of tragedies, suffering, etc., couldn’t God in all his wisdom have done it another way? How would you answer him?”

Here’s how I responded:

“My wife and I talked about this somewhat. She made the best point possible:

“‘Yes, God could’ve found another way, but in the process, would’ve taken away our choice.’ We chose poorly and the ‘epic tragedies’ began. God gave us the freedom and, in the beginning (before sin), the Kingdom. We chose wrong and have been choosing wrong ever since. That is why we needed a Savior.

“I would say your missionary-turned-atheist friend has had an epic tragedy in his own life, and because of his choices or someone else’s choices (possibly his church or denomination), he suffered greatly… to the extent that he couldn’t persevere in his faith.

“As my wife said, ‘We make it difficult. It’s really quite simple. We try to blame God for everything (or question everything), when we’re the ones we should be blaming.’ She’s a wise lady.”

Some may think that’s an over-simplification, but I’m not so sure. Yes, there are seemingly random tragedies in this world – car accidents, for instance. But in the very beginning, our ancestors chose wrongly, and the tragedies began. Sin, disease, death, and decay all began with the Original Sin.

Jesus came to redeem it all, and although the time for complete redemption has not quite come, it is coming soon. He is coming soon.

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. (Romans 5:17-18, NLT)

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. (Romans 8:20-21)

A Clever Deception

I don’t want to review movies, but Sharon and watched the movie “Noah” Friday night and it’s taken a couple of days to compose my thoughts on the movie. It bothered me.

My emotion leaving the movie was filled with dismay and anger. I’m not bothered by the movie not being biblically sound. That seemed to bother many, but it didn’t really bother me, in a way.

What bothered me most was a clever, subtle reversal. It’s a reversal the enemy, Satan, delights in. It’s one he is very good at. It is something similar to his original deception.

What became astoundingly clear by the end of the movie was the depiction of good as evil and evil as good. It seemed (to me) that the following was portrayed:

1) The fallen angels were depicted as once betrayed by humans (ha!) and in the end, helpers of Noah. They were the good guys, even shown as heroic.

[As opposed to Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 12:7-9; John 8:44]

2) Noah was depicted as evil, hell-bent on destroying – literally – his family in order to be obedient to God.

[As opposed to: “This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” (Genesis 6:9 NIV)]

3) God was depicted as a vengeful, hateful Creator, bent on destroying the ENTIRE human race, including Noah and his family. He was depicted as a God who would kill babies, and only Noah’s supposed disobedience saved his family, and, of course, the human race.

[As opposed to Genesis 6:17-20; Romans 5:8; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-10]

4) Humans were portrayed as solely to blame for the Fall, the original sin of Adam and Eve, and there was no blame cast on Satan, and later, his minions. Some watching the movie may have thought that even the Creator was to blame.

[As opposed to Genesis 3:14; James 1:13-15]

5) Humanity was only saved by the will and disobedience of a man.

[As opposed to the fact that humanity is saved only by God’s redeeming Son. See Romans 5:16-19; Hebrews 5:8-9; Romans 5:6-9]

Good was evil. Evil was good. The classic deception of the father of lies.

However, truth brings freedom, and the truth will always be that as Christ-followers, we are children of God, by the love the Father has lavished on us (1 John 3:1). We have the Spirit of Jesus living inside us (John 7:39-39), and we live in the unshakeable Kingdom of God. (Hebrews 12:28; Matthew 16:18; Revelation 20:7-10)

Always victorious!