Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Book in History


“Why do you think the Bible is a good determiner of moral standards?” challenged one of my Facebook friends recently. That’s a surprising question for those of us who’ve been alive long enough to remember a culture that took the book at its word. We didn’t always follow the directions, but we saw that as our own error, not the Bible’s.  One of my most loved family members once explained his disdain for the Bible by pointing out that it was just written by a “bunch of old men 2,000 years ago” and therefore couldn’t possibly bear any relevance for today. Really?

Under these two objections lies the assumption that the nature of man is markedly improved, that we’ve got everything under control and no longer need to follow the instructions. I do function like that under some circumstances – I’ve been sewing for over half a century and rarely read the pattern instructions. I take a glance at a recipe and then I’m off on my own. I get the attitude. But there’s a big difference – the evidence shows that I need neither; I’m an excellent seamstress and a good cook, if I do say so myself.

But let’s look at the larger assumption – where can we find evidence that mankind has improved morally? Intellectually? Socially? We’re still having wars, torturing our enemies – now we even kill the innocent unborn. People still break their marriage vows, abuse their children, and steal from each other.  We continue to gossip, lie, and practice terminal arrogance. Nothing indicates that we’ve become good at being good.  Perhaps it’s time to ask for directions.

But why assume that this ancient book produced by a foreign culture and written in foreign, paleolithic languages would be of any help? Simple logic. Now, granted, if you have really bought into the idea that the universe is just a product of three kinds of nothing getting together and exploding, then the rational approach may not work for you. But if we start with the concept of God, the only useful explanation for our awareness of good and evil, then we can find answers to both concerns. Follow my thinking:
If God is good, fair, unchanging, rational, and truthful (read this as a 1st class condition in the Greek – “and He is.”) and He made us and put us here, then He must
1)    have a reason, a purpose for doing so,
2)    have found a way to let us know what that is.