12 January 2011

What's the Message of the Bible in One Sentence?

That's what I recently asked a handful of thoughtful scholars and pastors. Answers below.

Understand that I specifically asked these brothers to keep it to a single sentence (ahem . . . that's pushing it, Dr. Beale). There is inevitably much that is selectively omitted, so think twice before responding (or commenting) 'How could he not mention anything about ____?!' Little exercises like this are not a replacement of reading the Bible itself in all its contours or big books that trace out the Bible in detail, but a pointer to the Bible and to such books.

In fact, it really is impossible to answer my question. How could you ask, for instance, what the Lord of the Rings is about in a single sentence? It can't be done. You must simply enter in and get swept up in the story. We can all resonate, therefore, with Hugenberger's valid response. Yet while we can agree to eschew simplistic reductionisms, this need not include an eschewing of synthetic summaries. We find such summaries in the Bible itself--psalms summarizing Israel's history, Jesus in Matt 22:40 or Luke 24:25-26, several speeches in Acts, and Paul in Gal 5:14 or 1 Cor 15:3-4 all come to mind.

The point here is to refocus and recenter on the heart of the book that is the greatest earthly treasure to fallen human beings outside of God himself.


Greg Beale:
The OT storyline appears best to be summarized as: the historical story of God who progressively reestablishes his new creational kingdom out of chaos over a sinful people by his word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and redemption, resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend that new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful (defeat and exile), all of which issues into his glory; the NT storyline can be summarized as: Jesus’ life of covenantal obedience, trials, judgmental death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit has launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-and-not-yet promised new creation reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend this new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful, unto God’s glory.
Dan Block:
God was so covenantally committed to the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him may have eternal life!
Craig Blomberg:
God is in the process of recreating the universe which has been corrupted by sin and has made it possible for all those and only those who follow Jesus to be a part of the magnificent, eternal community that will result.
Darrell Bock:
The Bible tells how the loving Creator God restored a lost humanity and cosmos through reestablishing his rule through Jesus Christ and the provision of life to His honor.
Mark Dever:
God has made promises to bring His people to Himself and He is fulfilling them all through Christ.
Kevin DeYoung:
A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever.
Zack Eswine:
Apprenticing with Jesus to become human again.
John Frame:
God glorifies himself in the redemption of sinners.
Scott Hafemann:
The Triune God is the beginning, middle, and end of everything, 'for from him (as Creator) and through him (as Sustainer and Redeemer) and to him (as Judge) are all things' (Rom 11:36).
David Helm:
Jesus is the promised Savior-King.
Paul House:
The movement in history from creation to new creation through the redemptive work of Father, Son, and Spirit who saves and changes corrupted people and places for his glory and their good.
Gordon Hugenberger:
The message of the Bible in one sentence is that genuine truth, unlike every human philosophy, is far too luxuriant, too enthralling, too personal, too all-encompassing, too sovereign, and too life-changing to be reducible to one sentence (or, as Einstein once put it, the challenge is to 'make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler').
Kent Hughes:
God is redeeming his creation by bringing it under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Andreas Kostenberger:
'God so loved the world that the gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16).
Phil Long:
God, who made us and everything else, loves us and gave himself for us that we might live forever with him as new creatures in a new creation—the news is good!
Sean Lucas:
The message of the Bible is the transforming grace of God displayed preeminently in Jesus Christ.
Ray Ortlund:
The Lover of our souls won't let the romance die, but is rekindling it forever.
Grant Osborne:
God created mankind in order to love them, but we all rejected his love, so God sent His Son to bear our sins on the cross in order that by believing in His sacrificial atonement, we might have life.
George Robertson:
The Bible is the record of God's promise of and deliverance through Jesus Christ.
Leland Ryken:
The message of the Bible is twofold: to show how people can be saved from their sins through faith in Christ's atonement AND how to live all of life as a follower of God.
Tom Schreiner:
God reigns over all things for his glory, but we will only enjoy his saving reign in the new heavens and the new earth if we repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the crucified and risen Lord and who gave himself on the cross for our salvation.
Mark Seifrid:
Verbum caro factum est.
Jay Sklar:
The first sentence that comes to mind is that of my colleague Michael D. Williams, who describes the Bible's story about the world as follows: God made it, we broke it, Jesus fixes it!
Erik Thoennes:
The main message of the Bible is that the one true God is displaying his glory primarily in redeeming and restoring his fallen creation by fulfilling his covenant promises and commands through the glorious person and atoning work of Christ.
Doug Wilson:
Scripture tells us the story of how a Garden is transformed into a Garden City, but only after a dragon had turned that Garden into a howling wilderness, a haunt of owls and jackals, which lasted until an appointed warrior came to slay the dragon, giving up his life in the process, but with his blood effecting the transformation of the wilderness into the Garden City.
Bob Yarbrough:
He—God in Christ—shall reign forever and ever; so today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart but believing the good news take up your cross and follow Jesus.

Very helpful, brothers! Thanks very much for this. And may I say how particularly tickled I am with the brevity of Seifrid, Frame, and Helm, the strategic literary deployment of chiasm and alliteration by DeYoung, and the answer that is more substantive than some whole dissertations I have read, despite having less than .0001% the words, by Beale.

My response would be something like: Despite ongoing rebellion on our part, the holy God of the universe refuses to leave us to wallow in our sin, eventually and climactically becoming one of us, in the moral mud, to restore us to glory, if we will receive his love in trusting contrition.

I asked a slightly different group of wise brothers last fall a different question.

137 comments:

elohimito said...

Love Doug Wilson's answer! Very poetic!

Kitch said...

Great post! Here's how I answered the question in my book Long Story Short: God, Eternity, History & You (2010, CLC Publications):

"God chose one man (Abraham) in order to make of him one great nation (Israel) so that through it He might bring forth the one great Savior (Jesus) and through Him demonstrate God's glory and extend God's grace to all creation."

seth said...

Great post. Here's my 2 cents:
"The good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that provides full and free deliverance from the penalty and power of sin, by the grace of God alone, through faith in Christ alone, plus nothing - all to the praise of His glorious name."

Thorsten said...

My favorite summery is from Steve Timmis:

"Jesus, God's promised Rescuer and Ruler, lived our life, died our death and rose again in triumphant vindication as the first fruits of the new creation to bring forgiven sinners together under his gracious reign."

ryangeer said...

I think Kent Hughes nailed it most succinctly.

Jared Nelson said...

Doug Wilson's answer seems to turn the bible into a bad medieval fairy-tale while attempting to display his smarter-and-more-poetic-than-you biblical theology.

Dane Ortlund said...

Hi Jared. I encourage you to read (I don't need to add 'with an open mind,' do I?) C. S. Lewis' review of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in the collection of Lewis essays called On Stories. I would have resonated with your comment a few years ago. Not any more; and it is essays such as Lewis' that have changed me.

Doug's answer, I think, is excellent--not to the exclusion of other more prosaic answers, but excellent in its own right nonetheless.

Bless you, brother.

Mitchel Lee said...

Leave it to Dr. Beale to answer in a run-on sentence! =p

Phil said...

Excellent post, and quite creative! I really liked Dr. Bock's inclusion of the entirety of creation in God's plan for redemption, and I also appreciated Dr. Seifrid's simple use of John 1:14. And, Dr. Hugenberger does bring up an important point.

David Edmisten said...

I love Jay Sklar's answer. Sticking to K.I.S.S. A great answer for non-believers and a reminder that sometimes the gospel is expressed best when it's expressed simply.

John Larson said...

I think this is from Bavinck somewhere:

"The essence of the Christian religion consists in this, that the creation of the Father, devastated by sin, is restored in the death of the Son of God, and recreated by the Holy Spirit into the kingdom of God.”

pjtibayan said...

I was going to try to say the story of the Bible in one sentence. But then when I read the question again, I understood why some did not try to summarize the story but state a message. So here's my attempt:

Along with God's people, increasingly know, believe, and enjoy the glory of God in Jesus Christ now and forever.

(Now to try to summarize the story of the Bible in one sentence...)

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine that teaches at Ozark Christian College has quoted Gardner Taylor on many occasions by saying that the story of the Bible is about a God who's out to get back what rightfully belongs to Him. That line doesn't get into or clarify all the nuts and bolts about how that happens but I have to admit that really like it.

Russ said...

2 Cor.5:21

Vanessa said...

Jay Sklar is on it. God did make it, we did break it, and Jesus promised to fix it....and He did that day on the cross!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"What's the Message of the Bible in One Sentence?"

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for the rest of your life.

;-)

Drewe said...

Great summaries. I have to admit I like the quote Jay Skylar put, it's so simple, lacking in deep theological terms that have any other meaning! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the short is worth printing as a poster :D

Lou and Beth LaBrunda said...

Come home.

halo said...

Even tho' Dr Beale's is the longest, it is the only one that mentions the very present theme in the Bible of God's judgement on the unrighteous.

Interesting to note that almost all of the comments only mention God's glory/purpose in salvation but not in judgement.

Sam S said...

Dane,

Thanks so much for this. I had Greg Beale at Gordon and his 'sentence' doesn't surprise me!!

I hope you are well!

Sam

Daniel said...

I'm surprised that the word "temple" didn't make into Dr. Beale's sentence.

Ike said...

Even within the Scripture itself, the Gospel message has no equal, and we will be chasing down the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ through out an eternity of eternities and still will not get our arms around it.

Matt said...

God made it. We broke it. Jesus fixes it...BOOM.

lyn said...

I think I read J. I. Packer summed it up in "adoption through propitiation"

MarieP said...

I asked my pastor, Jim Savastio, and he said: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich”- 2 Cor. 8:9

Brendan said...

Phil. 2:5-11
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Pastor Michael Zarling said...

Why try and better John the Baptist? He succintly summarizes the Bible: "Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"(John 1:29). It's all there - epiphany, sin, sacrifice, salvation, redemption, justification, forgiveness, release, freedom and victory.

James said...

The "recapture of creation" theme in many of the answers is overblown--as if God is trying to catch up to where He started? Please. The very fact that He ordained a Fall screams that His intent all along was to give Himself far more glory than in the original creation by doing us far more good than in the original creation.

You should have asked Derek Thomas. I am almost certain it was he who gave a lecture on the theology of the entire Bible and convincingly reduced it not just to one sentence, but three words:

GOD SAVES SINNERS.

gillian said...

Why didn't you ask any women to contribute?

Robb said...

"Jesus loves me, this I know."

Chaz said...

The Bible primarily teaches what we must believe about who God is, what God has done, and what God requires of us.

halo said...

gillian,

but why not? Is there some politically correct rule that the Church must subscribe to?

just sayin'...

heavenslight said...

Thanks Dane....this is really helpful....great post!

Rick said...

The Story of the Bible...

The Triune God of Eternity restoring the demonstration of His glory in that which He has created by the redemption of creation through God-man, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jonathan said...

God wants an unadulterated relationship with me (you) through Christ.

Andrew said...

Thanks for this post! This is really great.

Perhaps from my Lutheran-Calvinist upbringing I would have to add: "Damnation/curse comes from man, salvation/blessing comes from the Lord." Probably not a great summary of the Bible, but a helpful hermeneutic perhaps.

I really enjoyed reading these!

Anonymous said...

"The bible is the Infinite Existence’s self-disclosure about how Famous He is really is as He shines this beauty of His centrally through His Son Jesus Christ on the cross for the salvation of sinners." -oshea davis www.osheadavis.com

Jim Pemberton said...

When I read the question, I quickly formulated my own answer. When I read John Frame's answer I read my answer verbatim.

gillian said...

@halo, umm a little defensive in your response I think. No mandate, I was curious. It is a great question, and great answers and one we mull with often as we explain our faith. It is an encouragement to women to hear other women, as it is men, articulate these answers both publicly and privately as we share together in the great mission.

Derek said...

I like Doug Wilson's the best...only thing that would make it better is if the warrior was shown to be the garden's creator also

draa said...

God is consistent to His character without regard for the consequences

Anonymous said...

seths in the comment section.

andy said...

What a great post! I've tried to summarize the message of the Bible several times, most recently as this: God in search of friends. But these folks have given some really insightful stuff!

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the attempts to enunciate the central claim of the Bible in one sentence, any such an attempt will inevitably miss out crucial and indispensable elements of God's revelation to humanity. No single sentence, no matter how long it may be, can ever capture God's self-revelation in narrative and historical form.

beni said...

God & Son saves ... that we can spend.

Dennis Wilhoit said...

I would also like to see answers to "What is the bible?"

hstern2 said...

in the words of Hillel the Elder (the first supposedly liberal sage) when asked by a gentile to explain the entire Jewish bible for him "while standing on one foot" (or in one simple sentence):
"Love and treat thy friend (/peer/neighbor) and as you love and treat yourself, and the rest is just interpretation"

omerbj said...

in the words of Hillel the Elder (the first supposedly liberal sage) when asked by a gentile to explain the entire Jewish bible for him "while standing on one foot" (or in one simple sentence):
"Love and treat thy friend (/peer/neighbor) and as you love and treat yourself, and the rest is just interpretation"

Rick Powell said...

Awesome post. I'll use a couple of the answers in my daily conversations.

I did think twice and have two sincere questions;

Why did all selectively omit mention of the Holy Spirit (Hafemann did use "The Triune God")?

I see through glass dimly so what am I missing?

Please advise...

Mrs. H said...

I enjoyed these... My answer would have been entirely different though. I would have said:

"The bible is Our Father's guide for our lives, a love letter to the bride of Christ (us), and an instruction manual on how to have a close relationship with Him."

Anonymous said...

This is an old challenge - The Talmud records an impudent Gentile asking Hillel (who lived in the generation or two before Jesus) to tell him the entire Torah while he was standing on one foot - His response was "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor; This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it." Talmud, Shabbath 31a

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be crass, but I think the best explanation is the one that Yancey related in his "What's So Amazing About Grace?" He documents a man summing up the Gospel in one sentence, "We're all bastards, but God loves us anyway."

Anonymous said...

These responses with their Christianese speak to the believer, but I'm not sure they would speak to a pre-Christian.

Simplicity is key. I would offer,

"Yes, he did."

Anonymous said...

"Christ crucified for sinners." He's whom all the old testament sacrifices pointed toward. He's to whom all Christ's Apostles still point us, now. His kingdom is not of this world. He makes all things new.

Anonymous said...

Now that you've been picked up by The Atlantic, I expect more comments...

But frankly this non-Christian is puzzled by all the Christians thinking that they know better than Jesus... What did He say in answer to this sort of question?

"Love God with all your heart, mind and soul; and your neighbor as yourself..."

Only comments referencing Hillel the Elder are on target here. How have Christians gotten so far away from their Christ's message?

All the best,

Emyth

David Cronkhite said...

The message of the Bible is this:

How the Good Creator has taught men the joy of worship through suffering.

Tom Veil said...

I think that these answers focus too much on Grace and not enough on The Great Commandment. I would choose the phrasing Jesus used at the Last Supper: "all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35 RSV)

Farming Family said...

Wow I love Doug's. Thanks for the Question. God Bless Now

Anonymous said...

First, why are there no comments from women?

Second, what a silly exercise. Why silly? Because Jesus already did it - o.k., in two sentences, but they could easily be combined into one - Mark 12:30-31. And his answer was far more eloquent than any of these.

Anonymous said...

"Here is a long tome containing fractured history and arbitrary and patently ridiculous rules that, if you say you believe them, will represent a costly signal to indicate that you are a committed member of our tribe." P.Z. Myers

Why ask only Christians??

Aaron said...

Didn't somebody already try something like this and boil down the Christian ethic to a mere four letters: WWJD?

Jason Carter said...

Two somewhat interesting observations:

1. Love your neighbor as yourself. The vertical dimension of the Gospel is basically totally absent in the responses.

2. Relationship. It's the one word that is strangely absent. Although some of the replies allude to the (broken and restored) relationship with God (the horizontal dimension!), none of them ever use the word. Maybe because “relationship” is not a fashionable word in biblical theology? But that’s sort of like leaving out The Trinity in a short-list of doctrines because the actual word isn’t found in the Bible.

Anonymous said...

"Why ask only Christians??"

Because people like PZ Myers are spiteful, hate-mongering, vulgar, ignorant little trolls. That's why.

Nick said...

I can do it in one short word: "Tosh"

Jesus Yo said...

"Kill what God commands, convert the rest."

Hector said...

The bible is a cultural artifact containing astro-theological metaphors entirely based on myths.

Trolleyfan said...

Okay, I'll give it a stab:

"Actually thinking for yourself, what's that?"

Trolleyfan said...

Here's another:

"You have free will to do anything you want, but if you do anything other than what *I* want, I'll burn you forever."

Anonymous said...

The story of a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father and who can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your lord and master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that he (as his father) put there and that is present in humanity because a rib-woman and a man made from dirt were convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

shrik said...

PZ Myers is most certainly *not* ignorant.

KG said...

"Why didn't you ask any women to contribute?" - Gillian

Pretty obvious I would have thought, Gillian: the Bible is one of the most misogynistic documents ever written, and the blogowner is a Christian

Anonymous said...

The myth the describes in detail the Abrahamic god's incompetence in all things while holding humans responsible for everything.

Anonymous said...

The bible? A book about a petty, vengeful god smiting or commanding genocide upon everyone who doesn't believe in it, having an unnatural interest in human sexuality, and being so insecure as to threaten eternal condemnation for anyone who doesn't believe in it.

Anonymous said...

Lloyd-Jones would say: the primary purpose of the Gospel is to glorify God (Jo 17:1).

Jinx McHue said...

You're being trolled by the rabid, mindless fans of bigot and hate-monger PZ Myers.

Butterfingers said...

Theologins confirming what we've always suspected: They don't know what they believe any more than the ordinary faithful.

Anonymous said...

To Jinx: This is an open forum on the internet. There's no password on this. And frankly, I and others can have an opinion about the subject of the author's post as well, which BTW someone else pointed out was not an original challenge. So I don't think you have room to call other peoples' honest opinions "trolling". You would not be barred from posting on PZ's site, so don't act like there's some written rule that only Christians can post here.

Kapitano said...

"God wants to make you suffer, and love him for it. Bitch."

Anonymous said...

Dismissing any dissenting opinions immediately as trolls? It almost seems like the term troll has become a security blanket for you. Was the bible not good enough on its own then?

Jared said...

A laughably inept and incoherent explanation of the numinous, riddled with barbaric bronze age morality and an espousal of the obscenely immoral concept of vicarious redemption; also known as "scape goating".

Ira said...

A perfect god punishes people for being like he made them, then tries to apologize for it by killing himself in the form of his son.

Anonymous said...

I can summarize the Bible in one word: TULIP. (Well, that's an acronym, so I guess it doesn't count.)

How about this: The Bible is the story of God's chosen people, whom He redeems through covenant and Christ, and of the rest of humanity, whom He created for Hell.

Splunge said...

I don't understand why my life hurts, better blame it upon another.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christian Linnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christian Linnell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nick Andrew said...

"An ancient collection of primitive man's stories about their superstitions, full of bronze-age morality and savagery, yet bizarrely cherished by millions of modern people who think truth, wisdom and knowledge comes only from one really old book."

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Hi ... found your site today through a link.

Great reading all these sentences ... they are good, but is there a reason you missed half of humanity? Where are the women's voices?

MarkNS said...

How about this sentence:
The bible is a ragtag mix of historical tidbits and bronze age superstition cobbled together over several hundred years as an attempt to understand the world and to impose order.

Eric said...

"PZ Myers is most certainly *not* ignorant."

Shrik, as the saying goes, we're all ignorant, only in different areas. I'm sorry to say, but when it comes to theology, philosophy, religion in general and Christianity in particular, Myers is decidedly ignorant. He's an excellent writer, a decent scientist, a fine professor (from what I understand), a nice guy (in person, not on the internet), and, in the areas I mentioned, a know-nothing who's unfortunately unconcerned and utterly unaware of how very little he knows.

Arakiba said...

The message of the Bible in one sentence? "Do as you're told or you'll burn for eternity."

Thalio said...

The Creator of a billion galaxies and a billion billion stars picks one small desert tribe on the planet Earth to reveal Himself to, and on the third try (after Eden and The Flood) covers a debt to Himself by Himself thereby somehow finally rescuing the entire venture from becoming an abject failure.

Anonymous said...

A cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and drink his blood and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

Anonymous said...

God is.

Anonymous said...

It has already been observed and the question offered...but I hear there is strength in numbers. So-- good blog, and great question. But why did you not ask any women? Please consider it in the future, as the Church is not one gender, color, age, etc.

Anonymous said...

How about, "A cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

Anonymous said...

God became man so that man may become god (in life and nature but not in godhead).

Nick Andrew said...

Eric wrote:

"when it comes to theology, philosophy, religion in general and Christianity in particular, Myers is decidedly ignorant."

So where is the sophisticated theology of which Myers is supposedly ignorant? It's not to be found in this post or comments.

"A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever."

Is that it? As PZ pointed out, that doesn't explain anything. In fact, it's a six-year-old's level of sophistication.

What you fail to notice is that sophisticated theology is hot air when there is no evidence for the very existence of any god, let alone the specific jewish one. The bible makes specific claims which have been refuted (creation myth, adam and eve, noah's ark, moses' 40 year wanderings etc) by science. The evidence for historicity of jesus is scant.

The story _doesn't make sense_. You've read the multiple comments here about how "jehovah sacrificed himself to himself to appease himself for a problem he created deliberately". That's the jesus story in a nutshell. Why should anybody take that seriously? The sophisticated theology of which you claim Professor Myers is ignorant is merely a desperate rationalization, an attempt to hide the basic idiocy of the message with layers of feel good flowery prose. "Jesus died for your sins" sounds so great and personal, but the story breaks down immediately. Jesus was god anyway, so he didn't really die. Cause he came back. At least all the gospels agree on that, even if they conflict on other main points. And why did jesus have to die "for my sins" anyway? Why die? Why not go to prison for a while? Why not do nothing at all? The answer of course is in the barbaric times when the OT and NT were written, death was the standard punishment for many infractions. This is not part of a magnificent plan, but a childish rationalization of a world barely comprehended by these ignorant savages. Dolling it up in the 21st century is an insult to our intelligence.

Without evidence, all your sophisticated theologians are making it up as they go. "God spoke to me" is not evidence. Interpreting the bible is not evidence. Conclusions based on nothing more than what would make them feel good are not sound. You buy into this claptrap, and then have the gall to accuse PZ Myers of ignorance?

Nick Andrew said...

Eric wrote:

"when it comes to theology, philosophy, religion in general and Christianity in particular, Myers is decidedly ignorant."

So where is the sophisticated theology of which Myers is supposedly ignorant? It's not to be found in this post or comments.

"A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever."

Is that it? As PZ pointed out, that doesn't explain anything. In fact, it's a six-year-old's level of sophistication.

What you fail to notice is that sophisticated theology is hot air when there is no evidence for the very existence of any god, let alone the specific jewish one. The bible makes specific claims which have been refuted (creation myth, adam and eve, noah's ark, moses' 40 year wanderings etc) by science. The evidence for historicity of jesus is scant.

Nick Andrew said...

Sigh ... double post cause Google (blogger.com) said my post was too long (but posted anyway!)

KG said...

"Great reading all these sentences ... they are good, but is there a reason you missed half of humanity? Where are the women's voices?" - Janet Oberholtzer

Well, Janet, I'd guess it's because the basic message of the Bible to half of humanity is "Shut up and do as you're told."

KG said...

Eric,

How about you tell us, briefly, what it is you think PZ Myers is ignorant of that would, rationally, make any difference to his assessment of Christianity as a load of ridiculous and pernicious nonsense? Unless you can do that, you're just another using the "Courtier's Reply".

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

A wonderful exercise! Here's my stab at it: The Kingdom of God was lost by sinful Adam and restored by the obedient Lord Jesus Christ, who by His death, burial, and resurrection has triumphed over Satan, sin, and death, and through the Spirit is graciously redeeming an elect multitude to joyfully share in His eternal, glorious, universal reign, which reign has already begun and will be finally consummated when Christ returns from Heaven to judge the wicked, resurrect His believing people, and bring a final end to all evil.

Bengt said...

God creates the world, almost immediately regrets it, destroys the world in a worldwide flood, finds out it didn't really work, starts to focus on a smaller group of people, developes a violent love/hate relationship with them, feels rejected, sends an avatar of himself in an elaborate suicide/sacrifice of himself to himself in order to appease his bloodlust, said avatar comes back to life, suddenly finds out he is now three gods that's simultaneously the same god, spreads his focus to the whole of humanity in the name of love, vows to destroy the world and most of humanity again.

Cris D. said...

Doug Wilson's answer was so poetic and erudite that he left out the part that the warrior vanquished death itself and slew the dragon by his own death and resurrection victory.

Shane Burr said...

Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love others as yourself."

KG said...

Still waiting, Eric.

Noemi Mitsunaka said...

Hello!
I'm Noemi, 17. I loved this post! That's great!
God put in me a desire to create a site in order to edify teenagers, like me. So, I really apreciate this article, and I want to translate and publicate at 'Nisso Pensai' (my website, based on Philipians 4:8 - translating the name, it's like: 'Think about such things'). Can I do it citing the font and your blog?

Dane Ortlund said...

Noemi - of course.

-Dane

The Renegade said...

As a redeemed sinner rescued from the devil, the world and my own sinful flesh by Christ's merit alone, should I ever presume to answer in a single sentence what God Himself took 66 books to communicate to humanity? The depth and richness of the Scriptures are too glorious for that.

KG said...

Still waiting, Eric. Or anyone else for that matter.

Tim said...

The Bible is the greatest love story ever written.

Anonymous said...

Do as I say or I will torture you for eternity because I love you so very much.

Confused said...

"Incompetent tyrant tries to regain control with the introduction of a protection racket."

Anonymous said...

Christ and the Church

Anonymous said...

God becoming man so that man may become God.

Anonymous said...

I am asking the same question to some of my friends, it is really fun hearing the answers of people and reading them, and learning together. IT really gets your brain thinking the better you can summarize a topic concisely easily enough for a child to understand, the better you yourself get it!


Chelsea

kuyamanny said...

From Ligonier's Facebook page:

"How Dr. Sproul would summarize the message of the Bible: "the autobiography of God."

Dityo Ramadhani said...
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Dityo Ramadhani said...
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Dityo Ramadhani said...
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Anonymous said...

reading your comments reinforces Dr. Eswine's answer. at least in my estimation. Thanks Dane, for the question, for who you asked, for your thoughtful engagement with the blog.

And whoever wrote about the cosmic - zombie: while I disagree, may I also say: well said, funny, incisive, good summary from a different worldview. Those contributions keep me reading comments.

Anonymous said...

Don't do to others what you would not have them do to you. (The rest is commentary.)

Anonymous said...

God created man who chose to sin and in order to restore that severed relationship God sent his son, Jesus Christ, who died as a ransom for our debt and was raised as an example of our eternal life.

Anonymous said...

Although the eternal Creator of the cosmos (things visible & invisible) planned in Adam that mankind could reflect His image, life & glory, enjoying fellowship with Him, he chose to believe the lie & disobey God, bringing His promised judgment of death on all lost mankind UNTIL the Heavenly Father progressively revealed thru His prophets & messengers, the promised ‘Good News’ found in His unique Son & Redeemer, Jesus Christ—Deity visible in human flesh—Who is saving for His everlasting kingdom a born of God people, made spiritually alive by the Holy Spirit, those from among the lost who have repented toward God & put their faith in Messiah & follow Him.

Duncan said...
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Duncan said...

I am late to the dance on this one (actually everybody has probably already gone home), but I cannot resist.
The Bible is clearly based on the structure of the romantic comedy. Here is some background.

In many romantic comedies, the three-act structure could be stated simply as “Boy meets girl, boy gets girl (Act One), boy loses girl (Act Two), boy gets girl back (Act Three).” Even though the protagonist wins the girl in Act One, his potential for failure should be evident throughout the act. The perfect love affair will start to unravel in Act Two, as the protagonist’s fears and the machinations of the antagonist build. The romance then falls apart, with the antagonist apparently victorious. By the end of Act Two, however, the hero will resolve to win the girl back and defeat his foe. In Act Three, the boy executes his plan and succeeds in restoring the romance.

http://www.fathom.com/course/21701762/session3.html

Ok, I am ready for my close-up Mr. Demill. The message of the Bible in one sentence (and one take):

God makes man; God loses man; God becomes man; God gets man back.

OK, it is a four-act structure instead of three, but at its heart it is pure Hollywood.

Duncan

Laws of attractions said...

Great info....thanks

Prophecy news watch

pastorgregory said...

The message in one sentence: I, God, love you, my creation, and will do whatever it takes, even if it kills me, to woo you back until time runs out and I completely put down the rebellion without violating any individuals’ free will to refuse my love even though that tragic choice results in personal destruction and eternal suffering.

DENICE said...

Great post, by the way I work for web based church management software . It is really helpful software for church. This software allows everyone to stay connected.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm late to the party but googled "message of the Bible" and came across this discussion. A friend of mine (J. B. Nicholson Jr) says the message of the Bible can be told in three words: Generation, degeneration, regeneration.

My mind went to 2 Cor 5:19, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself."

Foster Mamalion said...

I think pastorgregory's post:

"I, God, love you, my creation, and will do whatever it takes, even if it kills me, to woo you back until time runs out and I completely put down the rebellion without violating any individuals’ free will to refuse my love even though that tragic choice results in personal destruction and eternal suffering."

is a great restating and expansion of John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

What I find most interesting and revealing in these series of posts is the amount of venemous hatred leveled against one another by those who call themselves Christians and those who are anti-Christian. Have you not read "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"? and Jesus words "love your enemies"? God's grace allows unmerited favor even upon those who hate Him so they still have today to choose to return His love. True believers love even those who are unlovely, those who hate us and ridicule us, those who would even kill us for our belief in the Creator God. Read the true story of Corrie Ten Boom and how, by God's grace, mercy, Holy Spirit power she was able to forgive, accept, and love her German deathcamp torturer after he became a Christian.
Most of all, Brothers and Sisters, please drop the sarcasm and cutting remarks against those who question or ridicule you and our faith. Love them instead - that is what Jesus would do (and did!).

God bless you all for taking time to answer this instructional question!

Colin said...

Hi Dane,
This is such a helpful subject and there are some great insights in the comments too. Would it not be worth deleting the anonymous and off-topic ones then locking the thread? It's a pity to have to read through some of the less helpful contributions in order not to miss any of the gems.

Anonymous said...

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said unto him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

YohanJohn Kunnenkeril said...

Enjoy the great life as you change to Love God, love yourself unselfishly, and love others as you love yourself

becoming conscious said...

aAs one of you said "Enjoy the great life as you change to Love God, love yourself unselfishly, and love others as you love yourself"

God Himself must have experienced that and He wanted to share that and we have a "Choice" to respond tothat