“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord…”
Historically, those with philosophical minds have long yearned to see multiple religious tributaries all flowing to the same destination. This shared celestial concept found in Hinduism represents their personal idea of heaven. Since their spiritual tributaries are mythically envisioned to reach the same location, their only differences relate to the length and difficulty of their circuitous upward journeys.
Such thinking reflects man’s limited but natural reasoning. The Bible therefore explains, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
Developed with greater detail, next imagine that each religious tributary has different – bank heights, varying depths, and degrees of swiftness. Religiously, these each represent how hard someone will have to work in order to reach their imagined cosmic destination. Man’s work becomes the classic intellectual effort to avoid any needed dependence on God or His eternal plan for mankind.
To believe that all spiritual rivers flow to the same destination is to miss the point of God’s revelation. That wish is why countless theories about the afterlife have been developed by most of the world’s ancient civilizations. Man has always visualized heaven and sought to find ways to deal with the natural feelings of guilt which are produced because of sin! The opposing forces of good and evil have consistently been obvious since the early days of Cain and Abel (see Genesis 4:1-16).
Sin became a timeless factor in the – history of mankind. It was therefore unreasonable to expect totally opposite and opposing spiritual forces to ultimately converge. Clearly, reason and justice would be greatly impacted if mankind was not going to pay for the deserved consequence of sin. However, such thinking is at odds with the ‘same destination’ theory which claims no need for a Savior.
Expressed another way, for sin to be acceptable – spiritual truth had to be controlled by thinking which reflected worldly human reasoning. Sadly, in secular life such uninspired wishful thinking often takes precedence over reality! We are therefore instructed to live in the world, but not think or act like it (see 1 John 2:15).
In reality, only one spiritual river actually flows in heaven’s direction. Sadly, all others wind toward the emptiness and stark loneliness of – spiritual death! Total separation from God is the meaning behind what the Bible describes as eternal death. Once experienced, that tragic condition continues forever. Referring to Jesus’ teaching on this subject, the Bible warns “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41) God’s word explains that the world’s many religions will finally converge, but in a highly distasteful place. Because that location is both dangerous and painful to those with understanding — fear it beyond words!
The wonderful exception to spiritual death is God’s shining river of eternal life which flows in an upward opposite direction. It has never been dependent on man’s works or ability. It flows quietly across history as the tangible expression of God’s grace!
God’s solitary spiritual plan was first called Christianity in Antioch. This took place about 20 centuries ago. Its message was strategically focused on the Savior who was sent by God to redeem mankind. His mission was to rescue us – from “…sin that so easily entangles us….” (Hebrews 12:1) Christianity was not based on man-centered thinking, but on God-centered grace! This had to be because we were so badly stained within!
Our world was flawed including our – ethics, morality, and commitment to justice. Even our reasoning ability was marred by sin, therefore, “…the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) Only One arriving from the outside could redeem mankind from the fully deserved consequences of sin. We literally owe Him everything, because “there is salvation in no one else…” (Acts 4:12) Jesus Christ stands alone far above and beyond our searching questions, fears, and doubts. He calls us to make Him Lord over our minds, as well as our hearts!
Finally, one very rational question remains, who will wisely “doubt their doubts” and simply believe God? Reason cries out in favor of trusting Him! The Bible says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10) Human philosophy prides itself with questions, but in stark contrast, God’s Word provides us with countless long proven timeless answers!
By Billie Hanks Jr.