I am from the Middle East, and I always enjoy discussions with friends from that part of the world. Once I said to them, “Do you know that most people believe that in the final judgment, God will put their good deeds on one side of the balance scale, and their evil deeds on the other side, and in this way decide their eternal fate – whether they go to heaven or to hell?”
They responded, “Yes, don’t you think so too?”
I was silent for a moment, then commented, “Since most people believe that, I gave it some serious thought. After all, what’s the use of gaining the whole world, if at the end I lose my soul? But the more I thought about it the more trouble I had with the idea.”
Sammy is a good friend of mine. We are both from the Middle East. He is intelligent, sincere and very strong. Once he told me, “You are always nice to people; you probably have no enemies.”
I said, “No Sammy, you are wrong. I have many enemies, and they are very powerful.”
We can know certain facts about God – such as His wisdom and power – from what creation reveals. But the only way to have a correct view of Him is to accept what He said about Himself. We can never come to a true knowledge of God unless He reveals Himself to us through the infallible communication of the Bible which is His Word.
Many of my religious friends are convinced that God could not possibly have permitted wicked people to kill Jesus Christ. Instead, they say, “Someone else was put on the cross and God made people think it was Jesus.”
But when I ask, “Who was it?” they have different answers. Some say it was Judas Iscariot. Others think it was a volunteer who was promised Paradise if he would take Jesus’ place on the cross. Still others say it was a passerby.
I have heard 12 different views in all. Many of my religious and moral friends believe their view to be true, but I cannot agree with their theories about the cross. And here are my reasons.