Those of us who grew up in church didn’t have a problem accepting that an ancient boat filled with every species of animal floated for 40 days while the entire earth was swallowed up in a flood–or that the first two people on earth named all of the animals and conversed with a talking snake who deceived them, getting them to eat from a forbidden tree that had supernatural powers.
But we get older and these stories start to feel a little far-fetched. And on top of this, we learn about other cultures and other religions who have their own origin stories and we call them mythology. So a thinking person is led to wonder, is ours just mythology as well? Was I just indoctrinated as a kid who didn’t know anything different?
Then we have Jesus.
A historical, factual human being from Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, who walked the same dirt and drank the same water as King Herod and the Caesars of Rome.
He shows up and says he is God in the flesh. The Messiah. The Savior that the Old Testament points toward. The one to save us from all our sins.
We know Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth.
(And we know he said that the Old Testament is true (Matthew 5:17-18).)
Due to the nature of the claims he made about himself (claiming to be God!), he can’t just be a good teacher or a prophet. We each have to make the decision on if he was Lord, a Liar, or a Lunatic. There is nothing good or prophetic about being a manipulative deceptive liar or a raving mad lunatic.
We also know there is good and there is evil. And we know we have done our share of the latter.
And we look around at nature, and at ourselves and we know deep down this could not have all happened by accident.
We look at lives and know we were made for something meaningful and that the temporary options our world offers us just aren’t cutting it in the long run.
We are all compelled by the idea of a Savior.
If it’s true that there’s good and evil, that some sort of deity put me here, and I have done evil, then the idea of a Rescuer God (Savior) becomes very compelling.
But the historical person who claimed to be this, Jesus of Nazareth, is found in the same book as a talking snake and a boat full of giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, deer, squirrels, every species of insect, and even all the dinosaurs, all who trekked there on their own and are taken care of for 40 days by one small family of ancient humans.
So what’s a person to do?
Not only is one’s destination to either eternal life with God in heaven, or eternal separation from God in hell at stake, so is the authority of the Bible, the self-proclaimed “Word of God” and the very foundation and knowledge-base of our faith.
There are a few options: