What do you do when you’ve studied the Bible for a few decades, had a lifetime of Sunday morning messages, and you’ve still got a few questions? Well, I decided to go straight to the Source. Fortunately God had a few minutes He could spare. So He agreed to sit down and listen to my questions (He didn’t say He’d answer them all), to try to help me out. Here is the result.
Me: First, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today.
God: Oh, sure, think nothing of it. Time isn’t really an issue for me. And I’m happy to help.
Me: I’d like to start, if I could, with Creation.
God: Great! One of my favorite topics!
Me: I noticed that in the description of it you left – in Genesis – it says you created it in six days. As I’m sure you know, scientists and others today have picked a few holes in that story – like there being days passing before you created a day, and so forth. How do you explain that?
God: Well, I didn’t want to get into the physics of it. You know, that’s so dry. What I wanted to do was paint a picture of the various aspects of physical reality coming into being that was comprehensive, but not technical: that provided, in the form of Jewish poetry, the essentials that would cause folks hearing the story to then recognize that what they saw all around them was My work.
Me: So the whole thing about separating the waters above the expanse from those below it was just a kind of poetic thing?
God: Yeah, I liked that imagery. You’ve got waters that rain on you, and you’ve got waters in the lakes and seas. It’s all really all one thing, you know – just different locations.
Me: You probably also know that a lot of smart people these days are saying that Creation just “happened”. They don’t know how. But they say that everything we see around us is just the result of natural processes – DNA, RNA, the amount of hydrogen in the universe, the strength of gravity and the strong nuclear force, our distance from the sun and rotation rate, etc., etc.
God: Heh, heh. Yes. A lot of things had to be right for you to be sitting here talking to me, did they not? What they will continue to struggle trying to answer is where the information came from that is embedded in my design for this thing. (Did you know that information doesn’t self-create?) I thought the whole CGAT thing with DNA was kind of neat; then devising a way for it to replicate itself without error was also pretty cool. You know, if they want to think that the strong and weak nuclear force constants just happened by chance, there’s nothing much I can do for them besides give them the rational thought and logic that I already have.
Me: Was there a guy named Adam?
God: Yes, although as I’m sure you realize, we’re still talking about Jewish poetry here. But there was one into whom I imparted my spirit – the neshama. That made him human, as you know the term. He then passed that spirit along to the multitudes of future generations. The function of it was to allow men to be aware of Me – and to commune with me.
Me: What was the serpent story all about?
God: Well that was the poetry to describe the frailty of people. I know people have mythologized it as “The Fall”, and that’s fine. But the point you need to understand is, that’s how you have been made – fragile, susceptible to the temptations of the world, and more than a little rebellious. And all of that, of course, is for a reason.
Me: Let’s come back to that. Is the Flood story true?
God: Well, there was a Noah in prehistory. And he had a family. And yes there was a cataclysm involving water that destroyed many except him and his family…and his cargo. Yes, I told him to prepare, and, through his faith, he did and was preserved.
Me: So you flooded the whole world?
God: No. The cataclysm flooded what was then known as the “world”.
Me: What did you see in Abram?
God: Same thing I see in everybody who follows me: trust at the cost of everything else.
Me: Let’s talk about Israel. Why did you pick them as your “chosen people”?
God: Well, they were in trouble. I needed them to experience freedom and blessing by My hand. And then I needed them, in return, to simply follow my instructions. But they didn’t.
Me: Were you disappointed in them?
God: Not any more than I’m disappointed with anyone who ignores me.
Me: But why were they “chosen” if you knew they would disappoint you?
God: I loved the Hebrews. What better lesson could the world possibly have than a people with all the blessings of their Creator completely rejecting Him? I went out of my way to let them know exactly what I wanted for them precisely so that, when they rejected it, they and the world would see their error, and see the reason I would have to provide a permanent solution — the New Covenant I had Jeremiah talk about. They became the stereotype for rejection of Me, and so set the stage for the final solution – My Son who, as you know, they had a chance to embrace.
Me: I get it. Thanks. Now why is it there is so much suffering in this life?
God: That’s a good one. Look at it this way: if there was no suffering, no disappointment, no worry or anxiety, how many people do you think would ever look for their God? If your life were perfect, would you need me, or even look for me? See, the reason I created you was to have you enjoy life with me – forever. You – all of you – belong to me. All I want is to have you share in my life, and I in yours.
Me: Here’s a little curveball: What’s the deal with the shroud of Turin?
God: It’s cool isn’t it? I hope you guys figure it out someday.
Me: Why are there 41,000 Christian denominations?
God: You tell me. I think My message is pretty clear, don’t you? Some people, as we have seen through history, seem to like to major in minor things, and emphasize differences, even if they are based on nothing more than their misunderstanding.
Me: What’s the deal with Hell?
God: You mean Gehenna, the dump that used to be south of the Old City in Jerusalem?
Me: No. I mean the place where lots of people think you send them to suffer for eternity for their sins if they don’t trust your Son, Jesus, for their lives.
God: Well it’s true that those that don’t want me are not required to be with me. Like you, they live, and then they die. On the last day they’ll be destroyed. And that punishment is effective for ever – there is no resurrection from destruction. They had a lifelong chance to accept the gift of redemption purchased by my Son, and chose not to, and so have a debt to pay for the sins they’ve chosen to own. I can’t say that being destroyed is pleasant. But they are not tormented for eternity, if that’s what you’re asking.
Me: Thanks for that. What’s going on with people today? Why are their politics and relationships so toxic?
God: As opposed to what? This is pretty much the way people without Me have always been, don’t you think? You’re living it so to you it may seem more toxic than what you understand other periods of history to have been. But it’s not, really. If anything, it’s fairly tame, as these things go. Remember that after Jesus visited you, all of the days are “last” days. And of them it is written “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
Me: Why don’t people get Jesus?
God: Pride, mostly. Not many people want a Lord who they belong to. They just have a hard time with submission — giving up their self-interest and control — even if it is for a love and a life that is beyond their comprehension. I think – no, I know – they are reluctant to trust Us. If they truly believed that We would take care of them, then they’d relax and live in peace with Us. But that kind of trust doesn’t come naturally, and so they hold onto their schedules and goals and desires and worries and selves. And when they do that, they force Me out, and miss the blessings I have for them.
There are people, of course, who do trust, who have submitted, and do live as We have taught them — you call it “the Way”. I mentioned earlier that there was a reason for people’s spiritual weaknesses and that is, when they do finally turn to Me in trust, despite everything naturally pulling them away and into themselves, I am glorified. That’s the purpose. Their responsibility, then, is to show that Way to those that don’t yet get it, or don’t yet want it.
Me: There seems to be a lot of confusion today about how things here end. Can you clear that up a little?
God: Ah, right, the eschatology thing. Well, yes, I can help clear that up for you. The first thing to understand is that when I gave Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and some others some prophetic insights, they interpreted those images in the language and symbols they knew. Readers of their accounts 2500 years later have a hard time interpreting that kind of language and its symbols. Then there’s the natural human inclination to read into those texts the ideas that you grew up with, what others have taught you. That’s how you get people today expecting an Anti-Christ, a seven year tribulation and other stuff they’ve read into John’s and Daniel’s revelations.
The fundamental confusion seems to be centered on Israel – you know, the idea of their restoration, restoring the temple and sacrifice, having Me return to it to rule the world from there for a 1000 years, or whatever. It genuinely grieves Me to hear people’s confusion on these things.
The solution I provided long ago was to give everyone access to My life free of any religious requirements – sacrifices or penances or whatever. That was given by my Son, and His sacrifice, and subsequently by my Spirit. The only requirement on anyone is to give up your life and trust Me. This is what I had Jeremiah write about – saying “they will all know me”. Over and over again I had my guys prophesy about my Messiah; then He appears, shows that He’s of Me, prophesies His provision of My Spirit after His death;… and still people either don’t get it, or don’t want to get it.
So it’s very disappointing to me that many who claim to be mine argue for rebuilding the temple, reinstating sacrifice and the rest. They have so little understanding of what the Messiah did for them. My people are my temple. The final sacrifice is done. Out of ignorance, they blaspheme this sacrifice claiming that I have more to do.
There…Is…No…More…to be done. It’s done. It has been done for 2000 years. Just because people misunderstand my long-ago judgement on Israel and Jerusalem for rejecting Me, starting 3400 years ago, doesn’t give them latitude to blaspheme what I did for them in Christ. The only unfinished business I have is sending Christ back to gather my people from the East and the West, from the North and South.
Me: Thank you.