“I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” – from “The Autobiography of Charles Darwin” by Charles Darwin.
There once was a man who had a large family. He was very poor and worked hard to support his family. He had many relatives that he was in close contact with but there was one, an Uncle, that he had never personally met.
One day, this man was visited by a Lawyer who told the man some shocking news. Sadly, the Uncle had died but gladly, this man was his sole heir. Apparently, this Uncle was very wealthy and left all his money to this nephew. There was only one condition in the rich Uncle’s will that the Nephew had to abide by.
The man was so happy that he went to his relatives to share the news of his good fortune but was met with stoney faces. Their immediate question was what was the condition that the Uncle gave for him to receive the money? The Nephew, in his glee, had failed to ask the Lawyer and went back to the Lawyer to find out.
The one condition was that the Nephew was to believe that the Uncle was who he claimed he was. The Uncle claimed that he was descended from royalty from a kingdom that the Nephew had never heard of. The Uncle stated in his will that if the Nephew were to accept and proclaim to everyone in his belief that the Uncle was who he stated he was, namely of royal descent, then not only would the Nephew receive the money but also the royal title of the Uncle’s as well.
The Nephew was ecstatic! This was an easy condition. In fact, the Nephew saw it was to his benefit that he receive a royal title as well as the money. Now, not only would he have wealth to meet the needs of his family but also he would have the authority and power that comes with having a royal title.
The Nephew went back to his relatives and told them about the condition with delight. But, the relatives were still not happy for him. One by one they each recounted story after story about this Uncle and his claims to have been descended from royalty. They all stated that they knew for certain that no one in the family had ever come from royal blood and that this Uncle was a crazy old bat. They all pointed out to the Nephew that if they were of royal blood they certainly would know it.
The Nephew was dejected. He now had a choice to make. Would he give up the money and the royal title to keep his family or would he give up his family and take the money and the royal title? He knew his family would disown him as they had done to the Uncle (and now he was sure that was why he had never met the Uncle). His family had placed doubt within his mind about the truth of the Uncle’s claim to be descended from royalty. He also had to decide if he could truly believe, for the rest of his life, that the Uncle did have the royal title to begin with. Could he believe the Uncle was who he claimed to be and could he go out into the world and tell everyone so?
As the Nephew pondered these weighty thoughts, his own nephew approached him. This nephew was only a child but knew something of this situation that his Uncle was facing. The child spoke to his Uncle and said, “Uncle, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. I see this as an amazing gift that has been given to you for free. It was one you didn’t earn and didn’t deserve. It must have taken great love for you for your Uncle to give you such a large inheritance and a royal title. Who do you think loves you more, this Uncle or all our relatives who have given you nothing but doubts?”
Charles Darwin must have reached a point of valuing some area of his personal freedom over the free gift that Jesus presents to us by His death on the cross. I think he minimized the magnitude of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus gave when He gave up His very life so that Charles Darwin could be free from an eternity in hell. But, Charles Darwin didn’t see any value in it. All Darwin saw was what he would have to give up and that, apparently, was too great a sacrifice to make. In the end, Darwin chose the dinosaur over his own life. He chose to disbelieve God’s existence and created his own sort of “Gospel” of evolution. He created the theory of evolution and then proclaimed it to the world. Not only that but, he made disciples to his theory, or should I say, “kingdom”, that they might proclaim his gospel message too.
Jesus didn’t come to manipulate or control another person’s internal beliefs based on fear of the alternative. It was about giving a free gift of life to a dying man. Darwin did not want to or could not see that. Jesus offered an alternative that He, Himself, prized above everything else He could have given. Darwin dismissed the incredible gift of another man’s life to take on the punishment that Darwin, himself, deserved.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
If what Charles Darwin saw was manipulation by God to make man a puppet to dance to God’s tune then he never did fully grasp the concept of how deep God’s love for him really goes.
Sometimes, just like the Nephew in the above story, we must come to that same crossroads. Do we see the glass half empty or do we see the glass as half full? Do we see what was done as a precious gift and as a treasure or a manipulative act by a spiteful God? Would a God of love do anything less than lay down His own life for His friends?
How do you see it? Two vantage points that lead to 2 different outcomes. You choose.
Just another perspective by Janet Williams coming to you from THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN