Thursday, July 16, 2009

Questions, questions, questions.

I put my faith and trust in Jesus when I was ten years old. After a ten year period of prodigal living, beginning around the age of fifteen, and ending around the age of twenty-five, I have been following Jesus now for almost 27 years.

During this time I have studied the Bible much (not as much as I should have), and shared my faith as often as possible. By studying and sharing over the years I have come up with more questions than answers.

Don't misunderstand me. I still believe. I trust the Word of God and I trust in Jesus as my Savior, and I trust that God will keep me.

But the Bible has a lot of stuff in it. A lot.

And the more I learn, the more I realize that I don't know.

The more answers I find, the more questions I have.

So, I thought I'd share some with you. Maybe one of my readers out there have had the same questions. Maybe somebody has an answer for one or more of the questions. Or maybe it will help someone else who has questions to not feel so alone and not be afraid to ask the questions. I have asked many fellow pastors some of these questions and have received every kind of response you can think of, from, "I never thought of that before?", to "You think too much.", but have not gotten an answer to any of these here goes.

In Genesis when the serpent talks to Eve she doesn't freak out. Could animals talk back then? Or could only serpents talk? Was this a "special" serpent that the devil took over? Why did God curse the serpent by saying it would crawl on it's belly if the serpent was posessed by the devil? The first part of the verse seems directed at the serpent as an animal, while verse 15 is a prophecy of Christ being born of the seed of a woman (virgin birth) and the devil crushing his heel (Calvary) and then Christ crushing the head of the serpent (the resurrection), so is the whole thing a spiritual event, or a physical event? Does this mean that snakes used to have feet and legs?

Here's another one: When the serpent questioned Eve about the forbidden fruit, she says in verse 2 that God told them " must not touch it, or you will die." But in the Genesis account we only find God telling them not to eat it, but nothing about touching it. I know that when my children added to the truth, we called that lying. If so, does that mean that Eve sinned before she ate the fruit?

Now, jump forward to verses 22-24 in the 3rd chapter of Genesis we find this:

"And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."

So what is this tree of life? Is it a literal tree with fruit that would give you eternal life, but in an ever decaying body? Sort of like a fountain of youth, only without the youth? And how does this connect to what we find in these verses in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelation 22:2
down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:14
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:19
And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Is this the same tree of life found in Genesis, only transplanted? Is this a real tree, or is it to be taken figuratively? I want you all to know that I DO BELIEVE that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and yet this sound as thought this tree of life has something to do with our eternal life.

Ok, that's enought questions for one post. Let me know what you think. And remember, if you're a follower of Christ, I'm on your side. I'm one of you. I believe...but I also KNOW that if you read your Bible, you're going to have questions. These are some of mine. What do you think?

Still following Jesus,
Pastor Dave

1 comment:

John and Kate said...

You do think too much...but that's awesome! Paul actually challenges us to think for ourselves and constantly ask questions. We shouldn't be scared of this!

I had one professor in seminary who agreed with me, and one who thoughts I was nuts on the topic of satan and the garden. I have been taught, I believe you have as well, to interpret the Bible literally in most places. Given that, I do believe that Satan as a serpent, could talk. Now the question becomes, was is a real snake, or just analagous to him being "crafty" as a serpent? If this is the case, why is it that God said "on your belly you will go? " Were snakes naturally crafty animals in the garden, and because Satan\Lucifer was crafty, they got punished for his craftiness? It is certainly possible. Of course, it is also possible that Satan, disguised as a serpent (or possessing it) talked. The bible tells us that with God all things are possible. I have no doubt that since God is omniscient, He knew this was coming (He is, after all, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world) and allowed it to happen, so that His plan and will could be carried out.

As to the tree? Yes, I think it was a literal tree (the Hebrew indicates as much here) . I think that when we get to heaven, we will have to opportunity to eat of this tree and be able to obtain the knoweldge of God. Obviously this is all speculation, but this is why Christianity is a faith! As a dctalk song once said "some things just can't be expained". I can't understand why Christ would die for a wretch like me, but He did!