The Bible is a collection of writings that asserts as truth many claims. While its various portions were written over the course of some 1500 years by an estimated 40 individuals, it claims that one supreme spiritual mind is the source of the inspiration for these various writings. The Bible claims that this being is all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, and full of goodness, mercy, and love. It puts forth that this being is the only God that has ever existed and will ever exist. And this all-powerful, merciful, eternal God is the author and creator of all things seen and unseen. (Genesis 1:1-2:25; Psalm 19:1; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16)
It reveals that humans, unlike any other living creature, are in possession of an eternal soul given by God. Furthermore, it discloses a time unknown to creation when this one true God will destroy all that has been created with the exception of the eternal soul gifted to humankind (2 Peter 3:7-10; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). This destructive power was displayed once before when God wiped wickedness off the face of the earth with a great global flood (Genesis 6:1-9:17).
The Bible carries the story of redemption forward to this end of all creation with an illumination regarding the ultimate and final possible outcomes for the eternal soul we each possess. A few, those who have sought diligently to do the will of God, will be awarded an eternal dwelling in His rest (commonly called heaven). However, the rest of humanity will find their eternal abode in the lake of fire…the second death (commonly called hell). (Matthew 7:13-14; Hebrews 3:7-4:11; Revelation 20:11-15) The descriptions provided for these two possible outcomes for the soul are littered throughout the scriptures and paint a complete picture of the joyous pleasantry of God’s eternal rest and the dismal misery and torment of the lake of fire. With both outcomes being permanent and never-ending, one would be wise to carefully consider which one they are currently headed towards. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Philippians 3:17-21; Matthew 25:1-46; 1 Peter 1:3-9)
If these claims set forth in the text of the Bible are true, then we should heed the great call to action to seek the will of God and yield our lives to His plan, which will see our souls preserved for eternity in His eternal rest. For when we come to the end of the road of this life we will simply transition to the next. Investing our hope in the great claim, we can rejoice to know that our life is more than what this life has to offer, and when we come to its end, we can receive more than all the other living creatures of creation who, without a soul simply ceases to exist. However, if these claims are true, there is no joyous hope for those that choose not to heed Its warnings and yield to the will of God. For the only eternity, they shall enter is one of torment.
With all these claims, if the Bible is true, then individuals who have not given it due attention and careful investigation will find themselves highly disappointed on the day when all comes to an end, as Its text proclaims. Therefore, I invite you to follow this column for the next several weeks as we explore the question of the inspiration of the scriptures. I strongly encourage you to invest the time this exploration demands, because if the Bible is true your very soul is dependent on it.
Carl Hartman is the Minister at Main Street Church of Christ in Lockney