Chapter 7


Going back to Genesis chapters two and three, we have two different stories being told.  One story is told by God, and the other is told by the Satan.  Those being told the stories are the first two people of the human race.  In the story that God has told, you have man being perfectly cared for by His creator.  God creates the heavens and the earth; God creates man out of dust and gives him life; He places him in a garden paradise called Eden, causes all kinds of trees to come forth to produce food for him, and then produces a helpmate for him.  God then gives him one commandment:

       And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the 

       tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
       (Gen. 2:17)

That was God’s story. 

Believe what He has said.
Obey what He has said,
And live.

Don’t believe what He has said.
Disobey what God has said.
And die. 

But Satan came and told Adam and Eve another story.  It was a story that contradicted God’s story.  It was a story that called into question what God had said.  It was a story that introduced a lie, the exact opposite of what God had said.  It was a story that promised them something “better.”  Here’s the story:

       Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the

       woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”  And the woman said to the     
       serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the  
       tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”  

       But the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes 

       will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  (Gen. 3:5)

What was the result of Adam and Eve believing this story?  Spiritual death came to not only Adam and Eve but also the whole human race, and they were driven out of the paradise of God.  The story that sounded so good was actually the means by which the whole world was cursed.  The story that promised life instead brought about death. 

What do we learn?

We learn that some stories, no matter how good they sound, are in fact dangerous.

While promising life, they bring about death. 

The only thing that matters is whether we are hearing and following God’s story because today, all kinds of people are telling different stories.

From Genesis through the book of Revelation, we find that God has expanded on His story.  God has told a story that, at the center, includes the redemption of man.  It’s a story of God sending His only begotten Son to be crucified for the sins of the world.  It’s a story of Jesus being resurrected for the justification of all who believe.  It’s a story that gives life to the dead.  It’s a story that says:

       For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but 

       have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

       Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he 

       has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  (John 3:18)

       Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath 

       of God remains on him.  (John 3:36)

Those who believe in the Son have life, eternal life.
Those who do not believe in the son perish.
They are condemned.
God’s wrath abides on them.

Jesus says it another way here:

       And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.  (Mat. 25:46)

Those who are saved go into a life that never ends.  Those who are not saved go into a punishment that never ends. 

When asked by someone how many would be saved, Jesus replied:

       Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  

       (Luke 13:24)

       Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who 

       enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
       (Mat. 7:13-14)

But in this critique, we have just looked at another story being told.  It, like the original story told by Satan in Genesis, is a story that, to some, sounds better.  It’s a story that questions what God has really said.  It’s a story that introduces a lie.  But in this story, instead of becoming like God, God actually becomes like us.  Like Satan’s story in Genesis, it does contain some truth.  Satan told Eve that if she would eat the fruit, “her eyes would be opened.”  There was truth in Satan’s story.  This truth, however, was sandwiched in between lies, thus making story as a whole a lie.  In Rob Bell’s story, like Satan, he asks the question, “Did God actually say…?”  He questions the character of God.  He calls God a liar.  He introduces a lie that says you will not die.  He tells a story that, if believed, will bring spiritual death and ruin to many people. 

In Bell’s story, you can just read part of a verse or give a verse or a word a new meaning.  In his story, the above verses say:

“For God so loves the world.”  (John 3:16)
“All are not condemned”  (John 3:18)
“All will have eternal life,
and God’s wrath abides on no one”  (John 3:36)

Those who believe will have life.
Those who don’t believe will have life.
Those who believe but don’t know the are believing will have life.
No one is condemned.
God’s wrath abides on no one.

In Bell’s story, Jesus says:

“And these will go away into ‘a pruning for a period of time,’ but the righteous into ‘life for a period of time.’”  

(Mat. 25:46)

In Bell’s story, when Jesus is asked how many will be saved, Jesus replies:

“I am the door that everyone enters whether they know it or not.  My love will cause all to want to enter, and they will all be able to.  All will be saved.”

His is a story that ultimately says the same things that Satan told Eve…. “Surely you will not die.” 

What we see is that Satan’s methods of deception have stayed the same.  The same way he deceived Adam and Eve is the same way he’s deceiving people today.  He’s still questioning God’s word, questioning God’s character, calling God’s word a lie, and promising that there will be no death.  He is trying to make God and His story seem wrong by telling a story that introduces a new god that is not found in the scriptures.  It is a god that is made in our own image.  It is a god that bows down to human reasoning, that determines right and wrong based on the emotions of fallen man.  It is a god that, while promising life, if he is followed, will bring about death.

Here’s the conclusion.

All we have seen is Satan retelling his story through a different vessel.  This time, he did not use a serpent; he used a man, who wrote a book, called Love Wins. 

The question for you is the same question that was presented to Adam and Eve. 

Whose story are you going to believe?

It does matter.

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