The Bible tells us that we are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). We have the innate, in-built capacity to hear God’s voice and follow His Spirit…but only when we are born-again by God…when we are given a new heart according to John chapter 3.
When mankind fell in the Garden of Eden…we became spiritually dead. This is why skeptics and atheists miss the uniqueness of biblical faith.
When we are spiritually born-again, we have the renewed capacity to take up our cross and follow Jesus. This is the same renewed capacity we see in the Old and New Testaments in the narrative stories of faith…in God-composed adventure of faith life-scripts.
This does not mean that there is not any good within worldly conventional normalcy. This does not mean that atheists, agnostics, and skeptical unbelievers cannot be morally “good” people doing good things and living good lives.
It simply means that on the vertical graph-line, graduated scale differentiated good and evil and light versus dark…with absolute good and pure light at the top of the scale…that the narrative stories of faith are above and outside the zone of worldly conventional normalcy.
Salvation through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred outside of worldly conventional normalcy. It was worldly conventional normalcy that rejected Jesus Christ and nailed Him to the cross on Calvary Hill as an expedient remedy to rid worldly conventional normalcy from the highly unconventional message and supernatural works performed by Jesus of Nazareth…that threatened to topple the status quo, worldly conventionality in Jerusalem and the nation of Israel (Jn. 11:48).
Biblical faith…of God displacing our ways with His higher ways…of our willingly making Jesus Christ Lord and Master of our lives…is above and outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking on this vertical graph-line scale of goodness and light.
Having less light…living within the zone of worldly conventional normalcy part-way down the vertical graph-line…does not affect our innate capacity to function as created beings made in the image of God. People are posed to be transformed and reunited spiritually with God in a moment of time…through faith and acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
This explains why the human race can function within the realm of worldly conventional normalcy…within the lesser light part-way down the vertical continuum scale of light…trying to succeed as junior goods sitting upon the thrones of self-sovereignty…but never able to achieve complete and permanent victory.
Romans 3:9-12 is instructive here:
- What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
- As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
- There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
- They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Romans 3:23 goes on to say: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
If the sample size for identifying purpose in the universe, explaining the existence of suffering and evil, debating the pros and cons for the existence of God, and answering the many criticisms about religion made by skeptics and atheists…if this sample size is limited to the zone of worldly conventional normalcy located down the vertical graph-line of goodness and light…then this research project will produce poor, inadequate, and inaccurate results and conclusions.
Evil (the lack of good) occurs up and down the graduated continuum in varied degrees because spiritual darkness (lack of light) increases as we go down this vertical graph-line…absolute goodness and brilliant pure light being at the top.
When challenge, suffering, and tribulation are components of a God-composed journey of faith life-script…Abraham waiting for the birth of Isaac, Daniel in the lion’s den, or Paul being stoned in Lystra…these biblical narrative stories of faith events fall somewhere between worldly conventional normalcy below and absolute goodness above…on the vertical graph-line…because they are composed by God yet contain some darkness (lack of light) in them.
My main point here is that we have value and worth to God…and any challenge, suffering, or tribulation that occurs in the zone between the perfection of God’s ways at the very top of the vertical graph-line…and the zone of worldly conventional normalcy below…occurs with intentional purpose for our benefit.
Examining human experience within the sample size of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking, and blindly missing the extraordinary activities that are occurring higher up on the graduated scale of goodness and light…as described in the biblical narrative stories of faith and in the lives of Christians throughout the church age…of God displacing our ways with His higher ways and thinking…that is contrary to all humanistic norms within conventional limits of experience…sadly limits our innate, created potential for a walk of faith following God…to instead a hopeless pursuit as independent, autonomous agents seeking something that exists in reality higher up the continuum scale of goodness and light…accessible only through biblical faith in God.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2).