In the past, I struggled countless times with questions such as these:
“How can some people actually believe that it’s OK to murder children before they’re born?”
“How can people defend religions that prescribe violence and demonstrate that brutality via the murder of thousands upon thousands of other faiths, and yet rail against Christianity, which is committing none of those atrocities and is actually the primary target of that violence?”
“How can people who supposedly champion tolerance and following one’s moral conscience cheerlead the persecution of those who actually do just that?”
“How can people indiscriminately brush aside all the philosophical, empirical and historical evidence for God and the truth of the Bible, and yet have faith in propositions that are intellectually much harder to accept?”
I’ve also been amazed and disillusioned to read what our ‘tolerant’ culture says about Christians. As a case in point, in their book, So Many Christians, So Few Lions, historians George Yancey and David Williamson provide pages of comments made by unbelievers towards Christians with one example being a white female aged 66-75 with a Master’s degree who said, “They should be eradicated without hesitation or remorse. Their only purpose is to damage and inflict their fundamentalist virus onto everyone they come into contact with.”
Maybe you wrestle with similar questions and concerns today and oftentimes feel like the world has lost its mind where truth, morality, and reason are concerned. If that’s the case, let me walk you through some of the truths I gleaned from studying what the Bible teaches on the subject.
Back to the Beginning
It all starts in the first book of the Bible.
Genesis 3 reveals a conversation that took place between God and Satan after the fall of Adam and Eve. In that short discourse, God disclosed the fact that two spiritual lineages would develop; “families”, if you will, that are still going strong today: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15, my emphasis).
Many know that the last part of the verse is the first prophecy in the Bible about the coming of Christ. Jesus would be struck by the enemy on the ‘heel’ (the cross), but He would ultimately deliver the death blow to Satan at the same time.
However, the verse also reveals two “seeds” or spiritual ancestries that are physically represented by Cain (the seed of the serpent) and Seth (the seed of the woman) who replaced Abel. Behind these two lines are two spiritual fathers with markedly different agendas.
Worse News Than Luke Received
Nobody likes being told they’re a child of the devil.
In John 8, Jesus shuts down a group of scribes and Pharisees (v. 3) who tried to use a woman caught in adultery against Him. Immediately afterwards (and not surprisingly) they begin to hassle Christ about a variety of things, which leads Jesus to open up about the real divide that separates them:
“You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. . . .I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father. . . . You are doing the deeds of your father. . . . You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:23, 38, 41, 44).
While Luke Skywalker may have been depressed to learn that Darth Vader was his dad, I guarantee you it wasn’t depression but rage that the Pharisees and other Jews felt when Jesus said their father was not God but the devil. The sad thing is, according to the Bible, Satan appears to have lots of “kids”.
The Best Adoption Story Ever
The idea that there are two spiritual families – God’s and Satan’s – crisscrosses the entire Bible. Even in Jesus’ New Testament parables, you see this truth being delivered in stories such as the wheat and the tares: “as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil” (Matt. 13:38–39).
Scripture is also clear on how you tell the two families apart: “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). The “fruit” that someone bears – their beliefs, attitudes and feelings toward God, His people, His Word, His Son, and their moral compass – demonstrates to whom they belong.
But here’s something that’s really important to understand: no one starts off neutral where the two “families” are concerned. We all were born into the family of the enemy and it is God who rescues and adopts us into His family: “For He rescued us from the domain [literally, the “authority”] of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13–14).
God is the one who grants repentance, leads us to the knowledge of the truth, and helps us come to our senses so that we “escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:26).
To Whom Do You Belong?
Once you understand these Biblical concepts, the answers as to why some people believe the things that they do become clear.
Some people have no problem with the murder of innocent babies because their father, who hates God and those made in His image, comes to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). There are those who participate in and defend murderous religions that persecute Christianity because their father’s religious system tolerates all false beliefs, but despises the truth and is responsible for “the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth” (Rev. 18:24).
Those who preach a false tolerance and yet persecute Christians do so because their father, “make[s] war with the rest of her [spiritual Israel’s] children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17). And those who flippantly reject valid evidence and arguments for God’s existence behave that way because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).
The old saying, “Like father, like son” is said to have started around the 1,300’s and basically conveys another maxim, which is “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” In other words, a child tends to exhibit the characteristics he/she has inherited and learned from their parent.
As Christians, we need to understand this is why unbelievers oppose God’s truth and His people. We also need to not be arrogant, but be patient with those currently outside of God’s family and remember, “we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:3–5).