“Lord,” said Thomas, “we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now you do know Him and have seen Him.” – John 14:6-7
The above scriptural quote is not new to an average Christian. But what exactly is meant by THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE? I did not want to write this message. Why? Because I know it would generate hostile comments from certain persons who feel they know it all. But I cannot hold back the truth from those who require it most. Like Jesus says in Matthew 9:13; “but go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
About thirteen years ago when I was ordained a Minister, that was precisely in 2003, I thought I knew it all, and I could in fact, just like David did, cast a stone to bring down a Goliath. At the ordination ceremony, all the Ministers were full of enthusiasm and excitement. We all talked and joked among ourselves how we were going to set up our various ministries, win souls for Christ and become renounced spiritual therapists and motivators. Little did we realize that the task of soul winning for Christ was not going to be easy. Like the English adage goes;If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
The above proverb, which eventually became a nursery rhyme, simply means or suggests that, if wishing to have a thing could make things happen, then even the most destitute people would have everything they wanted as long as they could dream and hold a wish of what they desire. But that is not the natural occurrence of things. To achieve anything significant, there has to be some sort of work or sacrifice. But I said to myself, having studied theology and philosophy extensively and had also done a lot of bible studies, there should really be nothing to fear. But I was mistaken!
Then came time for evangelism. Two class mates of mine, Dan and Samuel from the theological school had invited me to join them on a door to door evangelism. This was barely two weeks after our ordination ceremony. Evangelism was not something I had prepared for, and neither was I interested in any form of preaching. My major interests were healing, charity and writing of scriptural tracts. But I had no choice but to join in the train. After all, I said to myself, if I could write tracts, then the tracts must be presented to the public someday.
But why was I so afraid to preach the good news, if indeed the news is good? The fear was not really about hostility or attack on my person, rather, it was all about HOW TO PRESENT CHRIST TO NON CHRISTIANS, especially to an Atheist. First, I needed to convince myself as to why a Muslim or an Atheist should accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior of the world, when in fact they do have their sets of beliefs which had worked for them over the years. I was unable to convince myself that presenting Jesus Christ to anyone as Lord and savior of the world is the start point to getting the one truly delivered from the bondage of disease, ignorance and poverty. But my fellow Ministers did not agree with me. To them, every Minister must endeavor to spread the gospel across the world. This is Christ command which must be obeyed.
For me, presenting Jesus as Lord and Savior first, to either an Atheist or a non-Christian would achieve no result. In the first place, an Atheist do not even believe in the existence of God. How then do you hold out Jesus as the only begotten son of God? Secondly, a non-Christian is not interested in Christian scriptures. To him, the bible is simply written to project the superiority of the Christian faith. Besides, he believes he is already doing well in his religion I believe strongly that the very first step in evangelism is to prove the existence of God and to show that His spiritual essences and principles form the foundation of the world. From here, we can proceed to fix the jigsaw of how God begot a son in Jesus Christ, who became the savior of the whole world.
My fears played out in the course of our evangelism when an Atheist asked several, but very simple questions which we had not anticipated. Three basic questions featured on this occasion. They were as follows:
1. Does God really exist?
2. How can God give birth to a son and what is so special about this Jesus you are so agog to talk about?
3. Several centuries before the advent of Christianity, Egyptian god, Horus was reported to have also said; "I am the way, the truth and life". Therefore, the Jesus’s story is a reenactment of the Egyptian mythology of the sun god.
These three questions and many others like them are the usual questions Ministers are asked when they speak concerning Jesus to non – Christians and highly educated or very rich personalities in the society. There is no doubt that often times, we glossed over these questions or even escaped from giving convincing answers to them. The challenge posed by these questions to an average bible student or an ordinary Christian is one of setback, as Ministers rarely give satisfactory answers to them. I think this is the time to address certain salient issues regarding Christianity and issues of faith in general.Does God Truly Exist?
One of the most difficult and widely debated topic in the annals of history is whether God truly exists. Those who genuinely question the existence of God are usually brutally condemned by the rest of us. Sometimes, they are labelled Atheists. At some other times, they are called unbelievers or cultists. There are some who also do not believe in the existence of God, but being afraid of condemnation, they pretend regarding their belief and avoid the slightest debate on the issue. Still, there is a significant number of persons who do genuinely believe that God exists, but they are unable to prove that He actually exists. In proving the existence of God, this set of people would normally not go beyond the general statement that, because the world exists and man exists, a great God must be responsible for their creation. At some other times, they would also quote extensively from the Bible in other to prove their point. To some extent, this is okay, but still, that has not proven that God truly exists. This is because the Atheist is also a part of the world, and he is also human after all. In spite of this, he does not believe that God exists or that He even created the world. After all, science says the world came about as a result of a big bang! What this means therefore is that, we have to show by every reasonable means that God is good, full of mercy and truly lives in us and in all things about us.
I have a very good friend who is an Atheist. He does not believe in the general concept of God. When he makes reference to God, he simply calls Him the God of the bible or the Christian God of the old testament. He would stop at nothing in order to show how wicked this God had been. Usually, he draws strength from bible passages which talks about how Israel destroyed the Canaanites such as the ones reproduced below.Deuteronomy 7:1-5;
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and He drives out many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful than you— 2 and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you and you defeat them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you. 5 Instead, this is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn up their carved images.Deuteronomy 12:2-3
Destroy completely all the places where the nations that you are driving out worship their gods—on the high mountains, on the hills, and under every green tree. 3 Tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, burn up their Asherah poles, cut down the carved images of their gods, and wipe out their names from every place.
Before I proceed any further, please note the following points:
First, we have to be careful when we interpret the scriptures. This is because the ancient scrolls which were used in compiling the various books of the scriptures were not written by modern Christians. These ancients were majorly kabalists of Jewish religion and other people of no religion in particular.
Second, the stories in the bible should not be taken literally. About seventy percent of the bible scriptures are extremely coded, and therefore allegorical.
Third, the messages in these ancient scrolls were inspired by God. For this reason, the lessons in them would continue to apply to modern living ONLY IF THE CODES IN THE MESSAGE ARE REVEALED BY HIS GRACE.
Fourth, please note that in the course of interpretation of these ancient scrolls into modern languages, it is not unlikely that some points have been understated, while other points may have been exaggerated. Despite this error of judgment, the truth in the original ancient scrolls remain. The problem has always been that, most evangelists and preachers try to be protective of God and to defend Him in certain wicked actions attributed to Him in the Bible. The reason why they do so is because the message in the Bible passages are not too clear to the preachers themselves.
In my book; “Understanding the Spiritual – By Mary Lawrence – Dokpesi, I explained in detail the concept of God, alleged wickedness by God, why we suffer etc. One very important aspect of the book is an aspect which most preachers have left untouched over the years – the aspect relating to the Tree of Knowledge of good and Evil, and the Tree of Life. Both trees were present at the garden of Eden. While the Tree of Knowledge of good and Evil was revealed to Adam and Eve, the Tree of Life was not revealed to them. This was for a purpose which I shall explain further in this message. If you read my explanation regarding the tree of life, you will recollect how the spiritual worlds affect us in the physical. In the end, Deuteronomy 7:1-5 and 12:2-3 will fade into perfect understanding, and there will be no argument about whether God is good or wicked. Now, get the understanding! (Read the continuation of this message in part 2)