Understanding God’s Love and the Sin that Changed the World
ATTENTION: You are reading the epilogue in a blog to book series about Genesis (God in the Garden). I recommend starting with the introduction if you haven’t read it yet. If you are interested in learning when the book will be released or discussing anything said in these posts, please reach out through the contact page.
So, this is the end of the book. As I said from the beginning, I’m not a theologian or scholar. If you go by the job, I had the longest I am actually nothing more than a wedding videographer. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about me. So if you found any wisdom in this, it shows what God can do with someone who, by all accounts, is unqualified to talk about foundational and eternal truths. If you found nothing of value in this, then that makes me sad, but I hope you come away with something new.
I pray that God can also use it to bring about some realization of his incredible love. God loves you and cares about you. We can assume the struggles and trials that we go through in life mean that he doesn’t (we’ve all been there). We can also assume that all the suffering in the world means he doesn’t as well. We can assume a lot of different things, but that doesn’t make it the truth. That only makes it our assumption. God loves you beyond anything you can ever imagine. Whatever pain we might experience can become a blessing when it aids in us seeking God’s eternal mindset over our temporal mindset. A painful life in service to God (his peace and joy in our hearts) is a far greater blessing than a painless and self-indulgent life (without that peace and joy).
But still, you might wonder if God is so loving, then why not have multiple ways to seek him? It would mean more people would come to him after all. Wouldn’t it? Well, not exactly. God doesn’t offer one way because he wants to make things difficult. He provides one way because he wants to make things simple for us.
Most of all, faith is necessary for our salvation, and to give more than one way would destroy that. It would bring our selfish will into play. We would be the deciders of which way is best. Two ways would become four, would become eight, and so on and so on. It would once again be about us following our will, negating the whole purpose of salvation. There would be no heart change. Salvation can’t exist without faith (trust in God), and faith can only happen when we are willing to let go of our own will. It doesn’t come by us choosing one of many different flavors of salvation. That’s not how it works. Faith is so important because we can’t die to ourselves without it, and if that never happens, then the Holy Spirit can never live in us. A thousand ways to God is just as good as zero ways to God because there is no salvation in either.
This short book covered a lot, and I hope it was easy to follow. I admit I can easily go off on tangents. Whatever your view of my writing, though, do you honestly still see Genesis the same? Do you see any of it differently? Do you see God’s love where it might’ve seemed absent? If you do, I want you to know that the rest of the Bible is the same. It is not a contradiction. God’s love is evident throughout it if we are willing to look for it. Each time we delve into his word and spend time in prayer, there is an opportunity to discover something new (even if we’ve read it before).
God’s wisdom is endless. That doesn’t mean that it’s all contained in the Bible. For instance, there is no mention of photosynthesis or nuclear physics, but there’s everything we need in it to live faithfully and obediently to who God calls us to be. There’s also incredible depth to it. Each time we read it, we will come away with something new. There’s more wisdom in it than we can ever comprehend in our lifetime. We can’t allow ourselves to believe the lie that God was one way in the Old Testament and another way in the New Testament. He is an unchanging God, but in our ever-shifting understanding, it can seem that he changes (because we are constantly changing). So we must start from the awareness that his ways are higher than ours and that we are not the ultimate arbiters of truth. Then, as we delve into his word, our eyes will be opened to truth that is both exciting and applicable to our lives.
Absolute Proof Vs. Faith
I’m not sure where you stand, but I’ve met some people who said they would believe in God if he physically revealed himself. There is no doubt that would be nice, but it’s not necessary and ultimately is just an excuse to try to get to God on our terms. Why would he reveal himself if all we need for a relationship with God is there in the Bible?
We might demand more and say the Bible or others’ testimony isn’t enough. We might want proof from our own eyes and ears before we believe. It seems logical, but that’s largely not how he works. Seeing an apparition of Jesus is not commonplace. If it were, then it would require no faith on our end. It would become as trivial as all other aspects of our day, and maybe that’s why it isn’t God’s preferred method of outreach. God also already did that before in Eden.
He was present in the garden with them, and we all know how that turned out. It didn’t lead to life. The only thing that leads to life is when we seek him. God has placed us in a time when we have more access to his word than ever before, and if this is not enough for us, then his physical presence would make no difference either. If we aren’t seeking and worshiping him in faith, any seeking without it wouldn’t be foundational. It would be an empty, superficial pledge. God requires more than that because he wants to change our hearts. If our hearts are unchanged, then that does nothing for our eternal relationship with him.
Knowing all of this, is there any other choice? Can anyone really believe their will is best? If you haven’t already, I invite you to accept Christ into your heart. Can you tell me this failed, and flawed experiment (called self-will) is worth carrying on? Or are you ready to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into something completely new? If you make that choice, there will be no more glorious day in your life than this day. Don’t put it off as I did. Not simply because you could die, but because you could lose sight of the truth and never come back to it (life gets busy). Something more important will come up. I was lucky that didn’t happen to me, but I was close. There is no better time than now. God is transformative. His grace overcomes your sins, defeats them, and puts them in the grave.
Whether you have or haven’t invited Christ into your life, I also want to ask you to seek the truth. Read and pour over the Bible (a study Bible is even better) on a daily basis. Make it a habit to rise early each morning before your day starts. True wisdom and understanding of God can only come by immersing ourselves in the word, prayer, and community. It’s only then that real growth can happen.
Once again, I’m not one of the great writers or theologians, but I hope something in this book speaks to your heart. If it does, it is a testament to what God can do with an ordinary everyday person. I pray that this is a testament to his power and wisdom. I pray that it’s a bestseller. Not because I want that, but because it would be more proof of his power to a world in denial of it. Without God, I am nothing. God is the sole source and provider of all that I do.
Also, in addition to my going off on tangents, please forgive my repetitive nature. I hope it doesn’t hinder you from recognizing the truths that God has laid on my heart. Yes, this might have been written better by someone else. But don’t reject something in here that spoke to your heart because of that.
Lastly, there are a lot of self-help books out there. They are the dominant form of non-fiction in our culture (even in Christian books). So many tell you how to have a better marriage or be a better person. I’m not knocking them, but if Christ isn’t first in our life, then they are worthless (okay, maybe I’m knocking them a little). The only way to true and powerful transformation is through Christ. If there is only one thing you come away with, I hope it’s that there is power in Christ, a power that can turn our lives upside down.
His yoke is light, but that doesn’t mean walking with Jesus is a cakewalk either. God will do far more through us than we ever could on our own, and we need to be prepared for the consequences of that. A life of ease is tempting but empty compared to a life of meaning (one that glorifies and serves God). Strong, courageous, and loving people don’t live boring self-involved lives. God writes a far better story than we ever could. When we trust in him, the boundaries of our world are enlarged. They are no longer based on our limits but his, and he has no limits!
- Do you see God’s love in Genesis where you hadn’t before? Could the rest of the Bible be just like that? Could God’s love be evident throughout it if we are willing to seek it?
- If there were more than one way to God, would salvation still be possible? Could we die to ourselves if it wasn’t about our surrender but about our self-preference? Could the Holy Spirit inhabit us if we didn’t die to ourselves but picked an option from a menu?
- If you have already accepted Christ, did you stop at God’s grace? Is it also hard sometimes to feel God’s presence? Why do you think that is? If you neglect to water your plants, they will whither. Might the same be true of your relationship with God? Might it need water (daily time in God’s Word), sunlight (daily prayer), and dirt (fellowship with other believers) to be healthy? How can we expect a healthy relationship if we neglect a crucial part of what it needs?
- Could God want more than us just following the right rules? Might he want to live in our hearts? If so, does he live in yours? Have you repented, invited Jesus in, and accepted his grace? Has the Holy Spirit transformed you? Or are you afraid of what might happen next?
- Knowing there is limitless power in Christ, can we ever be prepared for or predict how he will change our lives? With this in mind, does that mean we should never take that risk? That we should stay where we are comfortable in the place that we are familiar with?