AUTHORity of God

People love adventure stories: stories of good versus evil, of heroes and villains, and of conflict and resolution. In some ways, many of us dream of having the sorts of adventures we read or hear about as children. Though each story is different, serving its own purpose, each is created by a person, one who might be recognized and long remembered for his/her accomplishment. Within each narrative, characters perform certain actions as events unfold, but the author controls the story. So what if I said we are part of a story? If you think about it, life could be considered one giant story written by God, and when the story is over, He will be remembered, glorified in fact. Keep reading, and I’ll explain what I mean.

Off the top of your head, how many authors can you name who used the landscape of adventure for their portraits and are considered by many to possess good quality or excellence in their field? Perhaps J. K. Rowling, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, or George Lucas, just to name a few. Granted, they have their critics, detractors, or people who just don’t care for their work, just as we all have in whatever we do, but no one can deny they have the ability to grip readers and pull them into a world that is imaginary but at the same time can seem very real. To the reader, this world within the story exists within its own reality, constrained by its own rules and restrictions, troubled with conflict. Characters are created with their own personalities and quirks, stories are told, evil is eventually defeated, and who is remembered for all of this? The author. To those who finish a well-told story, they are rewarded with such satisfaction of having known what happens and how it ended, but something greater happens beyond that. More than just enjoying a story being told, readers often remember who wrote the story, the author’s name becomes a part of human history, and s/he is then recognized for outstanding work. Why shouldn’t they want or accept what they earned, even if recognition might not have been the purpose in creating the stories.

It should be noted that an essence of good storytelling requires some sort of conflict that is ultimately resolved, but a good author will not interrupt a story’s flow just to accomplish this. While characters’ actions move a story along, they must behave within certain parameters or be considered “out of character,” which can ruin the story. Yet if you think more closely about the concept of a story itself, you have to ask some philosophical questions. Do authors ultimately control stories in which characters take on lives of their own? In a story of good versus evil, if clearly-defined heroes and villains are known by the readers, is the author berated for creating such characters? When there is long-lasting conflict within a story that is ultimately resolved with the death of the villain and the end of terror that plagued the other characters, is the author blamed for including or allowing evil within the story? Though negative elements are part of a story, is the author’s ability to tell a story condemned for poor quality work by including them? Or is the writer more likely to be praised for creating something compelling, designing a work of art in which readers invested a lot of time and energy following to its conclusion? While the answers may be obvious, consider that there might be something deeper.

What am I getting at with all this? The Bible, our lives, and God’s glory. From Genesis to Revelation, we read a story. A story of God’s love and faithfulness. A story of how He created a perfect world, yet evil entered the picture, ruined everything, and continues to exist for millennia, but in the end, everything will be resolved, and the Author will have recognition. Now the characters within a normal story live their lives and make their choices, for good or for bad, in order to move the story along, all completely unaware of the author’s involvement, that s/he is really the one in control of everything. The characters are unable to interact with the author; that author doesn’t even cross their minds, as any interruption by the author to the story’s continuity would lessen its quality. But we exist in a different kind of story; it’s a story in which the Author is not visibly seen, yet the characters are allowed to know of His existence and even interact with Him, often pleading for such interruptions that would make other narratives become lesser quality. Sometimes we often wonder how things in our own lives will turn out okay; we may not like that problems occur, people die, or even that suffering exists, but we are part of God’s story, and that’s a story with a different purpose.

The purpose of human history is to bring glory to God, yet with all the evil that exists, we sometimes wonder how that can be accomplished. How will the fact that evil exists in the first place ultimately glorify God? With all the bad stuff that happens to us personally, how is everything going to work out for good in the end? Even more theologically, how do we rectify God’s sovereignty with human freedom of choice, while maintaining our sanity? If God is ultimately in control, do we really make choices? If we’re able to make choices freely, is God really in control? And if He is in control and evil exists, is God responsible for evil?

If you think about God as an author, you can begin to understand a dichotomy that often puzzles many people. As an author, God is writing a story, a story in which He created characters who essentially took on lives of their own. The characters (that’s us) live our lives and make our choices, for good or for bad. In some ways, those choices advance the plot of this narrative we call “life,” but it is really God, the one who is ultimately in control of the story, who is moving everything along. We don’t know the outcome of everything, but He does. The Bible tells us how the story ends, and while we know that all evil and suffering will eventually cease to exist, what then will be the result? When all this life is said and done, God will not be condemned for all the evil that ever existed, as many are want to blame Him for; on the contrary, just as other authors are noted for their skillful writing, He will one day be praised for His excellence, His ability to tell a compelling story.

Maybe you’ve never thought of it this way before. Authors create compelling stories filled with good and evil, and those authors are often remembered, maybe even revered, for doing so. They aren’t chastised for the bad that was included in the story but are recognized for the quality of their work, and although the characters still possess a freedom of sort, the author really controls the story. In much the same way, God too is an author, and He’s writing this story in which we exist and freely move. We may not understand how everything fits together, but in the end God will receive the glory. That’s what it’s all about anyway.

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First John: Poetry Bible Edition

Word of Life, from the beginning
                 We have heard Him
                 We have seen Him
                 We looked and we touched
 Life manifested to us from the Father
                 What we witnessed, we proclaim
 We fellowship with the Father
                 And His Son Jesus Christ
 This is our joy. This is our message.
                 God is light, possessing no darkness.
 If we say we have fellowship yet walk in darkness,
                 We live a lie, not truth
 But if we walk in the Light, we have fellowship
                 And Christ’s blood cleanses our sins.
 If we say we don’t sin
                 We live, though deceived
 But sin when confessed
                 His forgiveness receives
 If we say we don’t sin
                 We call God a liar
                 His word is not in us.
 Little children, don’t sin
                 That’s why I write
 But if you do sin
                 Your Advocate is Christ
 For us and the world
                 Sin is why He died
If we obey Him
                 We know Him.
 If we say we know Him
                 But do not follow Him,
                 Do we really know Him?
When we keep His word,
                 God’s love is perfected
 But when we don’t listen,
                 His word’s misdirected.
To walk as He walked
                 This commandment’s not new
 Though you heard it before
                 Yet I rewrite it to you
A new command I also write
                 To hate your brother
                 Is darkness, not light
                 To walk with hate
                 Is to walk without sight
 I write to you, children
                 Your sins are forgiven
                 And you know the Father
 I write to you, fathers
                 You know Him
                 Who is from the beginning
 I write to you, young men
                 You overcame the evil one
                 You are strong
                 God’s word is in you.
To love the world,
                 Its lusts, which are passing,
 Is to hate the Father
                 The One who is lasting
You know the truth
                 It’s to you I write
 You believe Jesus
                 Is He who is Christ
 Those who deny this
                 Deny Father and Son
 And are not anointed
                 By the Holy One
Now this is a promise
                 We have in Christ
 We’ll not end in death
                 But from the grave rise
 For God grants His child
                 Eternal life
This is a promise
                 That you can receive
 For you are His child
                 If Him you believe
How great is God’s love
                 To be called His child
 Yet the world does not know us
                 For it did not know Him
Abide in Christ
                 Then when He appears
 Your confidence assured
                 You’ll have nothing to fear
Though we know not what we’ll be
                 When Jesus we see
 We know we’ll be like Him
                 He is our surety.
 In this we hope
                 And live with purity
Sin and lawlessness
                 Are one and the same
 Yet conquering sin
                 Is why Jesus came
 Sin is of the devil
                 So don’t live as he
 Righteousness is of God
                 So live righteously
 This is how a child is known
                 Which father he has
                 Whose seed has been sown
 The seed of God results in what’s right
                 Love for one’s brother
                 Love for each other
Look at Cain
                 His brother he killed
                 The reason because Cain was e-vil
Don’t be surprised
                 By the world and its hate
 Give me a moment
                 I’ll elaborate
 Death and life are mutually exclusive
                 Hate is of death
                 Life is of love
                 Hate is from below
                 Life is from above
What does it mean?
                 Perhaps you might ask
 Let me illustrate
                 With one simple task:
 You can help someone out,
                 A brother in need,
 Yet choose to ignore him
                 That’s living selfishly
 Love not in word only
                 But also in deed
 Love is best expressed
                 When sacrificial, you see.
In this assurance
                 Our hearts can confide
 By this we can know
                 It’s in Christ we abide
 This is confirmed
                 By His Spirit inside.
Now not every spirit
                 Represents Jesus Christ
 Don’t follow the false ones
                 His humanity they deny
 They are of the world
                 They follow a lie
Love is of God
                 Let’s love each other so
 That we demonstrate love
                 Of the God that we know
 His Son’s death on the cross
                 How His love He did show.
No one’s seen God
                 That much is true
 But of this we testify
                 And pass on to you
 Jesus is God’s Son
                 Who came in the flesh
 This is a truth
                 His children confess
By this you can know
                 Your love is sincere
 When you live in the world
                 Yet without fear
 Of the day of judgment
                 As it draws near
Love casts out fear
                 And God first loved you
 Because of God’s love
                 You can love too
Now if you say you love God
                 Whom you’ve not seen
 But then hate your brother
                 How can this be
 When love’s a commandment
                 God gave unto thee?
Christ is of God
                 His life He did give
 In order to show us
                 How we ought to live
The world full of fear
                 Cannot know love
 When it denies
                 The One from above
 This is the world
                 That Christ overcame
 If you believe Him
                 You’re promised the same.
Both water and Spirit
                 And also the blood
 Testify that Jesus
                 Is man, yet He’s God
 The Spirit is truth
                 And so cannot lie
 This is the message
                 That He testifies
These three witnesses
                 They all agree
 Christ put on flesh
                 Yet is still deity
 God’s Son is the one
                 Who grants victory
These things I have written
                 To you who believe
 And know eternal life
                 Is what you receive
Since we’re God’s children
                 He hears our prayers
 He gives what we need
                 And that shows He cares
 So if you have a request
                 He wants you to share
If you see a brother
                 Who’s caught in sin
 Pray that God will grant
                 Victory to him
There is a sin
                 Which leads not to death
 But sin at its core
                 Is unrighteousness
Those born of God
                 Cannot keep sinning
 For God who is holy
                 Is the one who is winning
 And He is the one
                 In whom we’re depending
 He’s also the one
                 Who gives understanding
Here’s one last thing
                 That I wish to convey
 It’s by Christ’s death
                 Sin’s washed away
So follow the truth
                 Not that which is false
 It wasn’t the idols
                 That died on the cross.