“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-25, ESV)
Were I to create a religion, I would never have come up with anything that looks like Christianity. For starters, Christianity lay just below the surface of creation, and Judaism, for thousands of years. It was in the mind of God, and is alluded to, throughout the Older Testament. I’d have been a bit more succinct. Second, I would have made God a lot more flexible and universal. I wouldn’t have pinned salvation to the death and resurrection of one man (even though He is God!). But the fact is: I’m neither clever enough nor powerful enough to effect salvation for anyone. Finally, I would have made my religion more easily embraced, and certainly less offensive.
From a strictly human view, Christianity just doesn’t make sense.
Genesis 3:5 contains the first allusion to the coming of Messiah. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (ESV). The oldest book of the Bible, Job, contains prophecies of Messiah (e.g., Job 16:19-21, 19:25-27). This is either the hand of God, or the greatest con of all time. But who has the patience for an 8000-year-old con? My religion would have come on the scene explosively. Go big or go home, right?
The Bible illustrates God’s character and provides instruction for how we are to live. It reveals that He can be angry, jealous, and vengeful, but gracious, loving, and kind. He is sovereign over His creation. That is seen by some as a problem. How could a loving God allow such devastation as we have seen from drought and famine to natural disasters that kill tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people? Why do “good” people suffer, while greedy, self-serving and downright evil people seem to get a free pass? These are good questions, but the answers aren’t always clear. There are no Christian Theology Cookies with answers neatly baked inside. God certainly doesn’t give us—or owe us—an explanation for His actions, or for when He chooses not to act. Not content with uncertainty, many have done exactly as mentioned above: they have created their own versions of God that fit nicely within the boxes of their desires.
They want a god that doesn’t talk about sin, but rather overlooks it. They want an all-inclusive god, who, regardless of one’s faith identification, pet sins, or state of repentance.
But God has revealed Himself, and His plan, from the very beginning. Perhaps you have heard of the Scarlet Thread of Redemption—God’s stratagem, revealed throughout scripture, to bring salvation through the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus, who was and is God.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:3, ESV)
It doesn’t make sense that God became a man. It is inconceivable that all of human history pointed toward that moment in time. And it is preposterous that the God/Man, Jesus, would suffer the most intense suffering and death on our behalf so that we would not have to pay the penalty for our own sin, nor be bound any longer to the power of sin.
From a strictly human view, Christianity just doesn’t make sense. But maybe that’s the whole point.
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 20b,21, ESV).
It’s true what they say…. Truth is stranger than fiction. And we must learn to separate one from the other.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!