Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Difference

Since before recorded history, human beings have sought a higher power or powers. This may have been for moral purity or for life after death. Or it may just have been for better crops or larger herds. And they have looked in many different ways in many different places. They followed moral rules and tried to be better people. But there was always the question of how much was enough to be good enough to please God or the gods. They sought some higher experience that would allow them to commune with the Ultimate. And they followed various procedures to further that experience. But this led them many different ways, and it was not clear whether they were really making contact with something beyond themselves or what it was. Others created ceremonies and rituals calculated to placate the gods or spirits or even manipulate them to do the worshiper's will. But these did not produce consistent results. Then the philosophers tried to reason it out. And they came out with many different theories and could not agree beyond the rudiments. And in all these approaches they sought long and hard, but reached no definite conclusion, and certainly none they could agree on.

But the claim of Christianity is totally different. It is that God revealed Himself to us. Further, we claim that God not only revealed Himself, but became a human being and walked among us. He did this to pay the price for all the wrong things we have done and make a way we could be reconciled to Him. Also, this is accomplished, not by trusting in the things we can do to seek God, but in what He did to seek us. This is fundamentally a different approach to the issue. This does not itself prove it is true, but it requires us to take notice. And we need to ask, how do we respond to this radical set of claims? And for those of us who embrace this truth, we need to avoid slipping back into other ways of looking at things. It is easy to change the emphasis from what God has done to what we do. We do not need a new moral system; we have plenty of those. We do not need a new philosophical system; we have plenty of those too. We need God to intervene and save us. Because without that, we are just spinning our wheels.

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