Are You Saved Enough?

In the beginning

Salvation is a funny word that Xians like to throw around. Sometimes it feels like we use it so much that we’ve lost the sense of what it really means. Put simply, salvation is the idea that this world is not the end but that there is an eternal afterlife. Those who are “saved” spend eternity in the presence of God. Those who are “unsaved” spend eternity outside the presence of God.

In honor of this week’s debate on the question of the origin of the world (creation vs. evolution) here’s a little reminder:

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The Apostle Paul also writes in Romans 10:13

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Did you catch what the Bible lists as the requirements for salvation? It’s faith. Those who call on Jesus as savior are those who are saved.

Did you catch what the Bible DOESN’T list as a requirement for salvation? Your view of how the universe began. Or your view of how the universe will end. Or your view on what church should look like, sound like, feel like, etc.

That means that even evolutionists can go to heaven. GASP! I know this is really gonna tweak some people, but the Bible is clear that salvation is offered to those who believe. There is no benchmark of belief that says, “You start at saved level ALPHA but don’t have access to heaven until you reach saved level FOXTROT.”

If we understand what the Bible is saying then we see that there will be people in heaven who disagree with some of our most dearly held ideologies.

In the big picture, we need to be okay with that. It’s all about Jesus. I happen to believe that the cosmos has a divine foundation – that YAHWEH was the creative force driving the car. If someone else who calls on the name of Jesus says he believes that God started the evolutionary ball rolling, my disagreement with that issue should not prevent me from worshipping alongside him as a fellow disciple of Jesus.

Difficult as it may be, we are called to do better. It’s time to lay down our pet issues for the sake of the kingdom. The only real issue is Jesus Christ. If you’re with him, then you’re with me.

And one day we’ll be worshipping him together for eternity.

Come, Lord Jesus!

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Jesus Loves Dinosaurs!

Dino Jesus

In honor of the creation debate last night I thought I’d share a piece I wrote not too long ago about the Bible…and dinosaurs…but mainly the Bible.

I’ve never written on dinos before, and I thought it would make for an interesting experience. Oddly enough, one of the most frequently asked questions about the Bible is about how dinosaurs fit into the picture. This brings up a whole bevy (I’ve never actually used that word before today!) of arguments from Christians, scholars, scientists, and everyone in-between. Here’s my take on it.

I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I believe that it is how God has revealed himself and his will to humanity. I believe the Bible is supposed to draw us into a richer spiritual experience and understanding of God.

Buckle your seatbelts…here’s where many Evangelicals and I part company: I do not think that the Bible was written as a scientific textbook.

God never intended for the Bible to be the end-all resource for understanding geology, astronomy, archaeology, botany…the list goes on and on. The Bible isn’t about science – it’s about faith. The Creation narratives in Genesis are not about telling us the scientific method and model of God’s activity – it’s telling us THAT GOD HAD ACTIVITY!

He created. Life in the universe has a point, a purpose, a reason for being. God did it. He created us to be people in relationship with him. He created us to be people of worship. That is the overwhelming story of creation. When we look at the Bible as a textbook we lose sight of the big picture of God’s activity and design for humanity. We get bogged down in the nitty-gritty details of the text and try to “figure out” how the text jives with empirical data.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how the empirical data lines up. Even if archaeology did not support the biblical narrative (yes, archaeology DOES support much of the biblical narrative) the science is not the point. You cannot move someone to faith through science. Science touches the head. Faith moves the heart.

The Bible is a book of faith, designed to move our hearts closer to God’s heart.

If we actually stopped to think about it, science and faith are not enemies. They are different ends of the spectrum. Science measures what is there. Faith is about what science cannot touch. It does not damage my faith to hear people talk about the earth being millions of years old. I don’t have to take the six days of creation as scientific fact in order for me to know in my heart that there is a Creator behind the Cosmos. As Genesis 1:1 says ~

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Don’t get so consumed with scientifically proving God that you miss the bigger picture. In the end it’s not our factual recognition of God he wants. The New Testament writer James says even the demons recognize that there is one God. No, he doesn’t want your assent – he wants your heart.

So, coming full circle, did God create dinosaurs? Probably. I don’t think the bones and fossils manifested spontaneously. 😉 Does it damage faith to believe in dinosaurs? Not one bit. In fact, when we learn to let go of looking at the Bible as a science textbook we are freed to expand our faith and see the mystery of God at work everywhere.

Besides, how can you look at Jesus holding velociraptor and NOT be moved? 🙂