Do we play by the rules? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Continuing our walkthrough of this book, we now come to a section about rules and why they matter. Many of us play games without rules every day. Nowadays, most video games don’t even come with instruction booklets. When I was growing up, those booklets were a treat. If I found my old instruction books today from the games i got, I would probably look through them just to reminisce.
A lot of games we play are simple enough that we don’t see a rule book. Most people have gone to a sporting event and understood what is going on in the field without sitting down and being told the rules of the game. When I was in DivorceCare and we had a get-together, we would sometimes go out in the yard and play Corn Hole. I never once read anything on the rules of corn hole, but they were simple enough to understand.
In our world, we also have rules for how to play the game. If you’re a Christian, you can find some rules in the Bible, but certainly not all. There can even be debate over which rules apply and when. A favorite of internet atheists is to ask “Well why are you allowed to eat shellfish” as if they have just given a devastating blow to any Christian. (And to too many, they sadly have.)
Also, we have to understand what it is that we’re playing the game for. What are the victory conditions. If you’re playing Mario or Zelda, it’s normally to rescue the princess. If an RPG, it’s to defeat the main villain and save the world. If it’s a puzzle game, it’s to get a high score or finish a certain number of levels. Of course, there can be overlap.
What are our victory conditions?
Like the rules of the game, these aren’t written out for us, aside from Scripture. C.S. Lewis once said that if a ship is at sea, it needs to know three things. Those are how to stay afloat, how to avoid hitting other ships, and why it’s out there in the first place. I still remember the first time I heard that.
I heard the first two and those made sense, and yet the last one was the most important one really and I hadn’t thought about that as something to think about. You have a lot of people today who are health enthusiasts and want to live a long and healthy life. There is plenty of information out there about how to do that, but where is the information on why to do that?
What about money issues? Plenty of people will teach you how to save money so that when you are in your senior years, you can have enough to live on. What is not taught is why you should want that in the first place. This is not to say that people don’t have reasons for wanting health and wealth, but how many people think about what those reasons are?
We who are Christians need to think about this also. Is our goal just getting to Heaven? Then you have the question of why not become a Christian and just kill yourself? Why not just do evangelism by converting people and then killing them immediately so they can get there? Internet atheists are rightly answering this kind of theology with questions like this.
After all, the going to Heaven goal gives us something to die for, but really not much to live for. If you think this world is just going to be destroyed, why bother trying to save it and take care of it? Someone like myself looks at the world and sees the darkness and does my best to say “Challenge accepted.” I was talking with someone within the past week about our city of New Orleans and told him that our city does have huge problems with realities like crime, but that just gives us a chance to shine all the brighter.
If we are playing a game and playing it to win, we need to think about these questions. How do we play it right and what are we playing it for? Without these, we will be less than valuable players. We might even lose the game.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)