The Bible addresses many basic issues of life and death, of the present and the future, and so it is difficult to select just one theme as the main one. Students of the Bible have generally grouped the leading topics treated in the Bible under two main heads. Let’s look briefly at both of them.
The first school suggests that the main message of the Bible is the wonderful presentation of salvation. The good news of salvation in Jesus Christ is the fundamental message of the Scripture. Under this head there are many basic truths:
- God created a majestic universe and crowned it by forming the first man and woman in sinless perfection.
- Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation from Satan, and fell into sin and shame. The consequences of sin are obvious, but people everywhere still love to rebel against God.
- Yet God did not abandon humanity on its course to destruction. He chose one people to demonstrate his special care and from them to provide a Savior for the whole world.
- God sent his own son Jesus Christ to bear the awesome consequences of sin. God does not just blithely disregard sin, but he poured out all the terror of eternal condemnation on his son in those terrible hours of suffering and death on the cross.
- In the resurrection of Jesus, God demonstrates his victory over sin and calls people everywhere to identify with this victory by faith in Jesus Christ.
- In living in this salvation, we know that life is not meaningless, but we live surrounded by God’s love, and bound for eternity with him.
The second school of thought views the main message of the Bible from a much different perspective. These readers agree that salvation is certainly very important, but it is only part of a much greater message. That bigger message goes far beyond the man-centered focus of salvation to embrace the purpose of all time and space. We may call this message the revelation of God’s plan and purpose for the universe. Under this head there are also many basic truths:
- God in his dynamic and creative essence resolved to create the universe and delight in it.
- However, God is not the sole transcendent being. There is a rebellious and fallen being named Satan who opposes God and his plan. He deceives and undermines God’s purpose everywhere.
- This conflict marks all history and results in two kingdoms. Satan foments disorder and all that is bizarre and sinister. Quarreling and dissension among God’s people is often his most horrid device.
- In sending his son Jesus Christ, God established the decisive hour in this conflict. In his servanthood, Jesus was the opposite of all the pomp, pride, greed and egoism that Satan promotes.
- In Christ’s death, Satan declared victory over God, but the resurrection turned that seeming victory into actual defeat.
- Satan still prowls the world, but he realizes he cannot win. God’s people are now heralds of his present and coming kingdom. Gradually the contours of the final conflict emerge across the world.
- Eventually evil so captivates and enslaves humanity that the climactic end time of history arrives. Finally, Christ returns to earth as the victor and God’s kingdom is established for all eternity. The purpose of God’s creation and universal plan is achieved.
Both these majestic messages are found in the Bible. They are simply two perspectives on one majestic theme: God’s Plan For His People And His Cosmic Kingdom. What is your heart’s response to his message?