If you are reading this, please know that I have already prayed for you. My prayer is that God Himself will open up your mind and your heart and help you understand the Bible and to believe in Him. I cannot, should not and do not want to convince you or win you over with arguments and debates. Nor is my desire to insult you or be rude. Like me, you too are in God’s hands. God bless you.
The real question is: Is God relevant today?
You see, for real Christians (not someone who is born into a Christian family or identifies themselves as Christians without an active faith, but one who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and embraces the Bible as the inerrant Word of God) everywhere, the Bible is the Word of God. God and the Bible go hand in hand. You cannot separate God and the Bible!
The Bible does not and cannot contain everything about God! In the New Testament, John says concerning Jesus in John 21:25:
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
If John had this to say about the Lord Jesus, whose public ministry lasted a little over 3 years, how can the entirety of God be contained in written words?
So, the Bible as we know it is what God chose to reveal to man. The Bible has everything mankind – past, present and future – needs to live right on Earth and to prepare for what lies beyond.
The Torah (Pentateuch) was not just for the Israelites who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses, nor is it just a religious book of the Jews. It contains everything we need to know about the beginning of all creation, the origin of mankind, the original sin that led to the fall of humanity and the need for humanity’s redemption found in Jesus Christ alone! It tells us that God had created everything perfectly! It tells us that God gave mankind freewill, choice, to obey God’s instructions for our good! It tells us how Adam & Eve chose to do their own thing (to this day, this is exactly what we do!) and paid the price of disobedience, of distrusting God, and rejecting His love. It tells us how much God’s loves us, that despite all our evils against Him, He has made a way for us to get right with Him, through Jesus Christ! I have barely listed all the important things it tells us.
Outdated. Irrelevant. Meant for people of ancient times. Not applicable to modern democratic societies. Humans have learned so much through science and discovery and moved past these ancient texts.
This is just a brief expression of the attitude many people have today about the Bible.
In an earlier post, I stressed on how God gave the ancient Israelites so many laws and rules relating to everyday life. You will find a lot of this in the Torah. Why? They had just been led out of slavery by Moses. They were enslaved for over 400 years! They did not have an identity anymore. Everything they were, everything they may have ever known as a people group (prior to being enslaved), their will, their identity, everything, was beaten out of them in every sense of the word, by the Egyptians. So, when God led them out, He just did not abandon them (and expect them to figure everything out!) after delivering them out of slavery! He gave them everything they needed to become a functioning and responsible society again! More than that, He gave them all the information they needed to be His people! God had promised Abraham (or Abram) (Genesis 12:1-3) that He would make him into a great nation and that through him, all people on earth would be blessed! God equipped Israel in every way and He did this by giving them all those laws, rules and regulations, including how to treat each other, how to settle disputes, how to stay healthy and above all, how to worship God!
I have experienced it many times where people will take a random law from the Torah (Old Testament) and challenge Christians as to how relevant it is today. Most Christians are unable to give satisfying answers to these challengers and end up being ridiculed and mocked. They (the challengers) then come to the conclusion that ALL laws in the Torah therefore are irrelevant and thus, cannot be used in modern society!
God gave the liberated Israel, laws pertaining to EVERY aspect of their life then. This included the minor aspects as well as the major aspects. Sure, to us today, some of those laws may seem strange or weird! We have to remember that those laws were handed out at a time where, in many cases, the specifics of many (not all) of those laws addressed the culture and practices relevant at the time.
In some cases, the punishment for breaking certain laws were death (in almost all cases, by stoning). This may seem barbaric and cause many people to accuse God of being unloving and cruel, amongst other things. Such people don’t realize that they are purely “judging” God from their limited human perspective and understanding of goodness and fairness and “crime doesn’t fit the punishment” mentality. Let’s look at it from God’s perspective. God is holy. God is perfect. God is without sin. God is good. This God had chosen Israel to be a holy nation, an example to the rest of the world, the people group through whom He would bless the rest of the nations. So, after He had delivered them from slavery, blessed them with a prosperous land and given them all the laws and regulations to help them live godly lives, , if His chosen people were to disobey Him and make a mockery of His love, care and goodness towards them, how could anyone accuse God for the punishment He handed out? The deadly nature of the punishment showed Israel the holiness of God and how much He detests sin and how death is the only punishment for sin. In Jesus Christ, the wages for all sin for all mankind was paid, when Jesus gave Himself up to be sacrificed, though He Himself was not guilty of any sin, including original sin which Adam and Eve committed!
If one were to go through Leviticus 19, it is clear that these laws can be applied (directly or indirectly) and very relevant and makes sense today, as much as it did back when they were first given to Israel.
God was not merely focusing on a particular time period or targeting a particular people group when He gave the laws. These laws were meant to be for all people throughout all generations. While some laws cannot be directly applied today, the reasoning behind them remains relevant!
For example, in Deuteronomy 22:1-3, the Bible says:
“If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner. If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back. Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have many neighbors today who happen to have an ox or a donkey or any other farm animals loitering around in their yard (unless you live next to a farm!). But clearly, at the time the law was given, the Israelites were farmers and traders and so, this was a very relevant law for them. How is it relevant for us today? If you are my neighbor and I come across something that I know is yours (your lost dog or some garden equipment or something else more valuable), I will hand it over to you as soon as I see you or wait till I see you the next time. Can you honestly say that this law is not relevant to us today? It encourages to not steal or follow the “finders keepers” rule, but to be a good neighbor and return lost property!
Deuteronomy 15 talks about debts and how every 7 years, all debts should be cancelled. I’m not sure if this sounds familiar to you, but did you know that, at least in the United States, after 7 years, negative items on your credit report are removed? (See Fair Credit Reporting Act (PDF page 22), web article here and here). Again, God’s law has relevance and impact today, as it did when it was first handed down.
God’s laws are not old, archaic or irrelevant. Neither is God! God, His Word (the Bible), is and can be as relevant in modern democracies as it was in ancient Israel because people are still the same and need lots of guidance! Science has managed to label some (not all) of God’s creation and processes to try to explain things, but that does not mean that science has all the answers and that knowledge is complete and accurate and therefore God is irrelevant and outdated and has no place today! No matter how much is being discovered and understood, human beings will never fully discover or understand everything!
Take the human body for example. Sure, we know a great deal about the inner workings of the human body and nearly all the organs inside, yet, can we say that we have managed to dissect and understand the human conscience or inner voice or whatever it is you want to call it? It’s that part of us that has no shape or form or physical makeup, yet we all know it’s there. It’s even got an entry on Wikipedia! It’s got to be real, right?
I can give many more real world examples and quote many more verses from the Bible. But the reality is that if you don’t approach the topic of God and the Bible with:
- an attitude of humility (willingness to admit that you don’t know everything, possibility that you could be wrong, and that to honestly and openly consider the possibility without shooting down everything outright with an intellectual mind, knowledge and science as a weapon)
- a little faith (to believe in something that cannot be seen or felt or dissected in a lab or proven by science)
then honestly, it is not possible for you to sincerely consider what I (or anyone else) have said here or anywhere else.
The Bible is not just another book! It’s the living, life transforming, powerful and challenging Word of the living God! Though the rules and laws that God has given to us in the Bible has not been taken word for word and made into the laws of any democracy, a simple reading of the Ten Commandments and many of the other laws from Leviticus and Deuteronomy should be enough to convince anyone that the Bible has had a profound effect, impact and influence on not only the laws that we live by today, but also our moral and ethical codes and standards and even basic principles of right and wrong!
I pray that God Himself, through His Holy Spirit, is opening your eyes and your heart at this very moment, so that you are able to see Him and come to know Him, as I do now.
May the Lord bless you.