After I read the “plan of salvation” in the back of one of those eschatology books, my soul experienced mounting tension. Honestly, it boiled down to only one question that I had to answer. And I intuitively knew that my response to that query would set the course for the rest of my life. So, what would it be? How would I answer? Here is the question.
Is the Bible true or false?
That was it. Pretty simple, aye? The question is a watershed question for anyone: how you answer it will send you in a clearly defined direction. And I knew that my response could be a global paradigm shift for my future.
The reason this question came into view was after I had read that troubling verse in Revelation 20:15. That one sentence tucked in the back of the Bible took things to a whole, new level, and I could not dismiss it.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
What’s It Going to Be?
The Bible stated that I would go to Hell if I could not find my name in the book of life. Umm…so what is this book of life, I asked. Answer: “I don’t know.” But Hell? Oh, yeah, I know all about that. My daddy and brothers often requested that I go there.
But this time, it was not about my family’s hyperbolic anger. God was asking me the ultimate question, which I had pared down to, “Is the Bible true or false?” I intuitively knew that it was less about Hell and more about the integrity of the Bible.
To say, the Bible is false meant that I could go on my merry way and enjoy life. Who cares?
And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19).
But if I say that the Bible is true, everything in my life would have to change. So, I went into my muse chamber and began to reason things out. I had to know the truth.
You’re Not Okay, Neither Am I
My culture tells me how great I am. The PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) spinners implore me to have healthy self-esteem because I am somebody. Their positive affirmations about my goodness bombard me every day. All I need to do is think happy thoughts. Even the Christians clichéd me with, “God don’t make no junk.”
But, then, I started reading my Bible, and it had another story. It said that I’m a dirt-bag, a sick sinner, going to Hell, have no hope and the end of my life could not be bleaker. Shoot, even the good stuff that I do is filthy (Isaiah 64:6).
The happy people in our world, a lot of whom are on medication, were selling a message that could not be more contrary to the words of the Bible. (Cf. Romans 3:10-12, 23, 6:23) What was I going to do?
The End of the Matter
I concluded that humans didn’t write the Bible. Someone else had to write it. Up to that point, I had spent my teenage years and early twenties reading PMA books, and all of them told me that I’m a fantastic person. Truthfully, I stunk, and I knew it. They were trying to put lipstick on this pig.
There is no question that a person’s view of themselves is elevated. We are in love with ourselves. We are self-exalting. There is no way a human would write a book that says we’re not like what every intelligent, self-esteem groping human in the world believes.
Someone else had to write the Bible. Its view of humanity is deplorable. And it went on to say that we can’t save ourselves no matter how highly we think of ourselves (Romans 10:9, 13). My conclusion led to more questions. One specifically: Who, then, did write the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17)?
It was at that point when I made my decision. God wrote the Bible, and I was going to Hell because my name was not in the book of life.
My path was now set.
The year was 1984.