Q. Will you judge me as an outsider? Do I really need to be saved? I know that there are some core salvation issues that are common among all races and creeds. (M.A.)
Common Salvation Issues?
Thank you for your thoughtful questions. I thought your statement about "core salvation issues common to all races and creeds" is an interesting one. In fact, what are those salvation issues among other religions and their creeds (statements of faith) about which you speak?
Only Christianity offers sure salvation from death and sin. Many religions speak about laws and rules concerning behavior. But, none attack the core problem for man - death.
Born to Die
Let me explain a bit more: Mankind has become warped or flawed. His thinking processes are skewed. His behavior lacks consistency. He is subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and is born to die.
In other words, from the moment he is born his DNA is already set to cause his physical and mental processes to self-destruct. This is the effect of "sin" and the Second Law of Thermodynamics that entered our universe.
It's a huge problem for mankind.
Primary Directive on Planet Earth
In fact, the entire planet and our immediate universe seem to be in self-destruct mode. Our planet suffers earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods and other hostile means of destruction.
Even the animal kingdom has turned on itself. "Survival of the fittest" seems to be the primary directive on planet earth. Men destroy men. Animals destroy animals. Birds and insects destroy one another. Nature seems to have turned on itself.
The other planets in our solar system are hostile. Comets, asteroids and meteorites cause tremendous destruction throughout the universe. There seems to be no possibility of life elsewhere that we know of anyway - everything is terribly hostile to biological life forms.
Does this seem right to you?
Without God's intervention none of this would change. Without His insight or information about our situation we wouldn't even know that this is "wrong," or in error. We would just accept all of life's difficulties and a hostile universe without question.
But, something in us protests the seeming unfairness of it all. This is as it should be. The God of the Bible assures us that one day:
"the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment…On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames" (2 Peter 3:10, 12, NLT).
This perfectly describes a universal, nuclear meltdown.
But, then the God of the Bible tells us that His children can look forward "to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13).
A Future Space City for Us
The apostle John continues this theme when he says, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared…And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven"…(Revelation 21:1- 2).
In other words, Christians can look forward to a new universe where there is no sin, evil, murder, or destruction. In this beautiful new universe they can look forward to living in a gorgeous space-city filled with brilliant lights and jewels:
…"he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone - like jasper as clear as crystal."
In measuring the city the angel told the apostle John that the city is a cube "as wide as it was long." In fact, "its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick" (Rev. 21:15-17).
The apostle continues, "The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst" (Revelation 21:18-20).
Floating Cubed-City for 100 Thousand Billion People
In his commentary on these passages Mark Hitchcock says …"the city is like an enormous floating continent coming down to settle on the new earth. To put these 1,500 miles in perspective, that's the size of the area from Florida to Maine to Minneapolis to Houston and back to Florida. The shape of the city is a perfect cube. The city contains 2.25 million square miles or 3,375,000,000 cubic miles of space. It has enough room to accommodate one hundred thousand billion people" (Hitchcock 2005, 124).
(Artwork: Flying City by robycr.deviantart.com)
Have you ever seen the floating space-city, Atlantis, in the third season of Stargate Atlantis? It's "food for thought" and gives us something to imagine from the Bible's description of our future space-city we will call "home."
Do you know of any other religion that describes anything like this? Do they speak of the origins of mankind and the universe, its ultimate destruction by nuclear forces, and a new universe and earth containing a space city ready for hundreds of billions of people?
Ultimate Extreme Makeover
But, that isn't the end of the story. Christians are promised the ultimate, extreme makeover! We are promised new bodies that won't age or die - no sickness, "zits," flabby bellies, arthritis or any of the other problems plaguing us today. Our future bodies will be just like the resurrected Jesus - full of power and able to "thought-travel" and go through solid walls.
And friend, I don't want to miss any of it! No other religion promises things like these. No other religion covers the Genesis of our origins to the promise of our madeover super-bodies living in the space-city of our futures. This is the "salvation" I need and want.
Alcorn, Randy. 2004. Heaven. Carol Stream, ILL: Tyndale.
Hitchcock, Mark. 2005. 55 Answers to questions about life after death. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.