Over the past few years, in writing Christian books and a Christian blog, I have been trying to figure out what is so special about faith…about belief as opposed to unbelief.
Belief or unbelief in Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb of God Savior…as adequately and fairly presented to people through the gospel message…determines our eternal destiny…having vastly different outcomes in this life and in the life to come…of enormous importance (Ex. 12:27; Num. 21:8-9; Lk. 13:2-5; Jn. 8:24).
The magnitude of the importance of viable, satisfying, and sustainable personal relationships…is staring us in the face…it is hidden on the surface in plain sight for everyone to see…all the time.
This is the element that is profound and insightful about the recognition of personal relationships between God and people in the biblical narrative stories of faith.
This concept is unique and distinctive to the Bible. All other religions, philosophies, worldviews, and literature are also about relationships…but not a single one has the theme of a connection to a living God we can know personally…and who has an elevated game-plan for our lives above and outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Mt. 7:13-14; Prov. 3:5-6; Isa. 53:6; Isa. 55:8-9; Jer. 31:34).
Only the Bible has the totally unconventional concept of a God-composed journey of faith life-script that will lead us into the truth about positive personal relationships…starting with the highly sophisticated concept of Abraham’s risky stepping-out-in-faith journey to the Promised Land of Canaan…inaugurating faith-based relationships between the living God and people…totally unheard of…outside of the Bible.
As humans, we do not want children who are robots. The amazing developmental progression…that we totally take for granted because it is so universally commonplace…of pregnancy, childbirth, infancy, childhood, the teenage years, young adulthood, and then maturing into adult people…all of which stages are interesting, challenging, and memorable for parents…leads to an incredible outcome that again we take for granted.
Growing up leads to the day when we can sit as young adults in a college classroom and listen to, take notes on, and discuss the subtleties of world history, political science, philosophy, literature, and the integration and differentiation of mathematical calculus problems…with comprehension and facility…something no machine robot…flesh or metal…could ever do.
Growing up leads to the opportunity and capacity to form mature relationships…relationships very sophisticated in the moral realities of love, thoughtfulness, self-sacrifice, empathy, compassion, being open-minded, friendship, loyalty, patience, hope, perseverance, truth, faith, confidence, vitality, and nobility of character…to name only a few…that is impossible to achieve in an automated mechanical robot lacking cognitive free-will choice.
So we have two analogous, individual realities in our lives that help us to understand this divine emphasis on the importance of faith…of belief and unbelief…in the scheme of personal relationships that have an eternal impact upon our destinies in this current life…and in the life to come.
We have first the universally commonplace reality of the intrinsic nature of personal relationships in the human psyche…and second we have the unbridgeable gulf between automated robots that theoretically can be programmed to perform a nearly infinite number of functions…that can closely mimic the independently autonomous thought-process of free-will cognitive reasoning…but can never cross that gulf entirely without the transcendent gift of intelligence and communication that are to be found in human beings (Gen. 1:27).
Personal relationships between cognitive, free-will, independent, autonomous, moral reasoning beings is so basically fundamental…that it can be said that everything in the Bible is about relationships…even the laws, rules, and precepts (Mt. 5:17).
Faith is the pivotal point…the demarcation line…in the Bible because faith is relational. Faith in others is one of the key ingredients in any personal relationship. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God…because without faith it is impossible to have a meaningful relationship that allows God to assume His rightful place in our lives as King and Ruler of the realm.
Without faith we will not step down off our throne of self-sovereignty. Without faith we will not move-out into our adventure of faith. Without faith we cannot even get to the starting line.
This beginning discussion of the importance of the universal nature of relationships…between people…and between God and people…covered in the narrative stories of faith in the Bible…opens up
for us a revelation regarding the question of the divine origin of the Bible…and tells us something important about the character of God.