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T
his story is not so much to bc bclicvcd as it
is prcscntcd as a mattcr lor hypothcsis and
spcculation. Human bcings will ncvcr know
cvcrything, and in trying to achicvc an ovcrall picturc
an cxtra amount ol conjccturc sccms hclplul.
!t bcgins with a bricl survcy ol sccular pcrspcctivcs
about scvcn vcry basic cvcnts. Tis is what thc world is
thinking. Tcn, what might bc a 8iblical intcrprctation
ol thosc cvcnts, as contrastcd to thc sccular undcrstand
ing: An attcmpt is madc to paint an ovcrall picturc ol
thc rccord ol lilc on this planctlrom Gods vicw
pointand thcrcby to clarily, to thc cxtcnt possiblc,
thc naturc ol Gods mandatc to man. Tis will cxplain
my bclicl that God has sought not mcrcly to list us in a
8ook ol Lilc, but to cnlist us in a strugglc, a war, against
thc works ol an intclligcnt, cvil pcrsonan allout activ
ity which is distinctly morc than to await thc blcssing ol
ctcrnal lilc. Tis story, in ccct, prcscnts a rationalc lor
thc cxtcnsivc battlc into which wc arc rccruitcd.
Te Story: Introduction
Tc chart on thc ncxt pagc is a bricl summary ol what
somc ol currcnt scicntic and acadcmic opinions
would suggcst. All aspccts arc not ncccssarily truc but
thcy arc widcly bclicvcd. At thc bottom ol thc pagc,
thc last tcn thousand ycars, wc scc what somc call Tc
Young arth. Tc conjccturcs cxprcsscd hcrc arc that
thc old carth prcccdcd Gcncsis 1:1, thc 8iblc picking
up thc story at thc point ol a vcry rcccnt ncw bcgin
ning as dcscribcd in Mystcry Six bclow.
Te Seven Mysteries in the Background
Tcsc arc curious and pcrplcxing cvcnts lor thc origin ol
which thcrc is littlc or no complctc sccular conscnsus:
1. Mattcr, 14 billion 8C
2. Lilc, 3.5 billion 8C
3. Prcdatory lilc, 500 million 8C
4. Human lilc, 10, 000 8C
5. Archaic civilizations, 8,000 8C
6. A ncw bcginning, 5,000 8C
7. A third ncw bcginning, 2,000 8C
Mystery One: Matter, 14 Billion BC
Te Origin of Inorganic Matter
arly humans quitc possibly thought thcy livcd on a at
carth. Tcy wcrc cntcrtaincd at night by tiny lights in
thc sky moving in puzzling ways. Latcr humans lcarncd
that thcy cxistcd on thc surlacc ol a hugc sphcroid
hanging in spacc. Still latcr thcy discovcrcd that thc
largc hot, lightgiving objcct daily crossing thc sky was
somcthing thcir planct itscll circlcd. Still latcr thcy
lcarncd that this immcnsc hot objcct was just onc ol bil
lions ol stars in a swirlcd, structurcd galaxy which could
bc sccn as a wholc swath ol tiny lights across thc sky
(callcd thc Milky Vay), an objcct so largc that travcl
ling across it at 186,000 milcs pcr sccond would takc
100,000 ycars. Tis was hardwon knowlcdgc. Rclativcly
lcw individuals alivc today comprchcnd all ol this.
8ut that discovcry, comparcd to what camc latcr, was
nothing. Lcss than a ccntury agoin my lilctimc
humans lurthcr discovcrcd that our cntirc, cnormous
galaxy was only onc ol at lcast 50 billion othcrs, that
most ol thc stars you can scc at night arcnt actually
stars but galaxics. Not only that, but it bccamc clcar
that thc cntirc univcrsc sccms to bc cxpanding.
Te Story of Our Planet
Ralph D. Winter
Vrittcn lor this volumc.
: Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
Ralph D. Winter
Furthcrmorc, this hugc rcalityno mattcr how lar away
lrom us arc its scattcrcd, distant partsis apparcntly
madc up ol a subsct ol tiny, mystcriously structurcd at
oms which run lrom thc simplc to thc vcry complcx, all
ol thcm with lar smallcr ccntcrs compriscd ol somc ol
thc strangcst rcalitics ol all. Tcsc atoms and thcir clus
tcrs (molcculcs) joincd by an cntircly dicrcnt kind ol
rcality, rclcrrcd to as radiation, lorccs and clds, clcctri
cal, magnctic and gravitationalcombinc in thousands
ol ways to constitutc basic, incrt, nonliving mattcr, that
is, air, watcr, rc, sand, snowakcs, crystal structurcs,
mountains, clouds, thundcrstorms, ctc.
Howcvcr, thc most mystcrious thing ol all is thc lact that
thc majority ol our most rcspcctcd astronomcrs now
bclicvc that all ol this cnormous univcrsc poppcd out ol a
vcry tiny objcct about 14.5 billion ycars ago, blowing up
big so suddcnly that in thc rst lraction ol a sccond it was
alrcady as big as our galaxy (which at thc spccd ol light
takcs so long to cross)! Tus, this unaccountablc cxpan
sion was cnormously morc rapid than thc spccd ol light
itscll. Tis strangc phcnomcnon is callcd thc 8ig 8ang.
bviously, nothing could bc morc dicult lor com
mon scnsc to acccpt. 8ut most astronomcrs actually
do bclicvc it. Tis is all hugcly mystcrious, a vcritablc
bundlc ol mystcrics. Vc will simply call it Mystcry
nc, Tc rigin ol !norganic Mattcr.
Mystery Two: Life, 3.5 Billion BC
Te Origin of Organic Matter
istinctly additional to thc appcarancc ol mattcr is thc
appcarancc ol lilcthc living cntity, thc lilc lorm, that
has bccn pccring up at thosc tiny lights. Human bcings
who havc bccn puzzling about thc stars and othcr things
rcprcscnt a wholly dicrcnt, but cqually mystcrious
rcality, callcd thc organic, that is, lilc lorms ranging lrom
phcromoncs and viruscs to hippopotamuscsobjccts
that, whilc composcd out ol inorganic mattcr, constitutc
a radically dicrcnt, sccond, rcality. Vhilc thc inorganic
is likc a lumbcr yard, thc organic is as dicrcnt lrom it
as thc intricatcly dcsigncd homcs produccd lrom thosc
matcrials. Lilc lorms arc uttcrly dcpcndcnt on inorganic
atoms, but inorganic atoms arc not dcpcndcnt on lilc.
And, (il you can bclicvc it) all thc objccts in this ad
ditional organic world also dcrivc in grcat mystcry
lrom somcthing vcry smallcach onc in a dcvclop
mcnt which could bc callcd a Littlc 8angnamcly
microscopic spccks incorporating billions ol codcd
molcculcs which prcdict thc lorm ol lilc that will dc
vclop lrom cach such spcck. For cxamplc, cvcry human
bcing, without cxccption, has dcvclopcd out ol a vcry
tiny spcck callcd a zygote, thc mcrgcr ol an ovum with
a spcrm. Crcatc thc zygote, and you havc crcatcd thc
human. 8ut this is still a vcry tiny spcck.
Furthcrmorc, thc rst appcarancc on this particular
planct ol lilcol this phcnomcnon which ! havc callcd
thc Littlc 8angis an addcd dimcnsion bcyond thc
rst mystcry, sincc cvcn thc vcry smallcst and simplcst
lorms ol lilc arc incrcdibly complcx, and so lar as is
prcscntly known, to bc lound on no othcr planct. Tc
univcrsc is cnormously largcr but mainly so lar away as
to bc vcry dicult to study. Microscopic rcality is much
closcr but so tiny as to bc cqually dicult to study.
Howcvcr, whcthcr scicntists try to pccr into thc
nuclcus ol an atom in thc inorganic world, or into thc
naturc ol tiny prccmbryonic lilc in thc organic world,
they have come to no consensus whatsoever about origins,
that is, whcrc thcsc things camc lrom. Ycs, oncc in
cxistcncc, both astronomic and microscopic rcality
can bc watchcd in ongoing dcvclopmcnt, trackcd and
prcdictcd to somc cxtcnt, but absolute origins of either
matter or life are still utterly mysterious.
Vc might notc that whilc scicntists havc no signicant
conscnsus about absolutc origins, thcy havc to somc cxtcnt
agrccd not to think about thcm. Furthcrmorc, volution,
onc ol thc most widcly hcld thcorics, that is, thc conccpt
ol unaidcd, unguidcd, random cvolution ol lilc, is by no
mcans univcrsally acccptcd. Many thinkcrs havc urgcd thc
rccognition ol intclligcnt dcsign in naturc. vcn onc ol
thc most outspokcn dclcndcrs ol thc thcory ol unaidcd
cvolution, Richard awkins, actually admits that dcsign at
lcast appears to havc bccn involvcd, saying,
8iology is thc study ol complicatcd things that givc thc
appcarancc ol having bccn dcsigncd lor a purposc.
Mystery Tree: Predatory Life, 500 Million BC
Te Cambrian Explosion
Somcthing only rcccntly rcportcd is cvidcncc that, long
bclorc thc appcarancc ol human bcings, thc lcngthy
rccord ol thc dcvclopmcnt ol lilc suddcnly burst
into ncw complcxity and lor thc rst timc displaycd
predatory lorms ol lilcat cvcry lcvcl lrom bactcria to
visiblc animals. Richard Fortcy, ircctor ol thc 8ritish
Muscum, in his rcccnt book Life, cxprcsscs this vicw,
which was also rcportcd in National Geographic.
Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
Tc suddcn divcrsity ol thc Cambrian xplosion, so
callcd, is mystcry cnoughit is thc last thing which
orthodox arwinism would want to discovcr. Noth
ing could bc morc pcrplcxing lor thosc who assumcd
a gradual cvolution ol lilc. Lcss oltcn mcntioncd, but
cqually, il not cvcn morc mystcrious, is thc simultancous
appcarancc ol all kinds ol crcaturcs displaying (cithcr
or both) anatomical dclcnsc mcchanisms or tools ol ag
grcssion and dcstruction. Vhy this all ol a suddcn:
Mystery Four: Human Life, 10,000 BC
Homo Sapiens
A lourth mystcry looms into vicw as soon as wc go
bcyond thc gcnctic common dcnominators ol all lilc to
noticc thc vcry signicant dicrcncc bctwccn animal
lilc in gcncral and that particular lorm ol animal lilc,
homo sapiens.
How did this ncw, vcry rcccnt, vcry intclligcnt, rccc
tivc animal suddcnly comc into bcing: Scicntists,
again, prcscnt no conscnsus. \arious prchuman lorms
ol lilcthc hominids and cvcn thc Ncandcrthalshad
thc opportunity in what would appcar to bc lar morc
than 11,000 ycars to sclcctivcly brccd plants and ani
mals. Tat intclligcncc did not appcar, and, ol coursc,
nothing likc computcr chips cvcr appcarcd in thosc
lincagcs. Rcccntly, NA studics havc dcnitivcly rulcd
out thc Ncandcrthals, who wcrc around lor maybc
100,000 ycars, as prccursors to humans.
Tc actual rccord ol homo sapiens is vcry mixcd. Homo
sapiens has dcstroycd morc living spccics than any
othcr lorm ol lilc. Furthcrmorc, no othcr lorm ol
animal lilc has bccn as dangcrous to itscll. Humans arc
thcir own worst cncmy. Tc most ancicnt lossil rc
mains givc cvidcncc ol both homicidc and cannibalism.
Tc historic rccord ol mcrcilcss gcnocidc is vcry ncarly
incrcdiblc. Tis cannot casily bc accountcd lor.
Mystery Five: Te Archaic Civilizations,
8,000 BC
!ntclligcnt cnough to dcvclop plants and animals
gcnctically, man was also ablc to build citics and
civilizations, typically incorporating harshncss, human
sacricc, and bizarrc rcligious activity. Furthcrmorc,
thc socallcd archaic civilizations do not sccm to havc
cvolvcd slowly but spring into bcing suddcnly.
Tus, constituting a lth mystcry is thc suddcn and
unprcccdcntcd risc ol human culturc, or civilization.
Ncithcr computcr chips nor automobilcs could havc
cmcrgcd lrom thc work ol intclligcnt but solitary
individuals. Many things havc happcncd today only
bccausc a wholc globc ol intclligcnt humans havc
workcd in an awarcncss ol cach othcrs progrcss. Just as
computcrs working in tandcm havc grcatcr capacity, so
humans in advanccd collaboration havc donc (and arc
doing) othcrwisc impossiblc things.
Tc socallcd archaic civilizations (using Toynbccs tcrm)
sccm to appcar without background. Tc gyptian Sphinx
and pyramids appcarcd in thc carlicst portion ol gyptian
history. Tc Stonchcngc circlc in ngland was apparcntly
morc sophisticatcd in an carlicr construction. Tc vcry
sophisticatcd Sumcrian socicty lrom which Abraham
camc had bccn in dcclinc lor 800 ycars, how it got startcd
is a mystcry. Tc Tcohuacans who prcccdcd thc !nca
cmpirc crcatcd morc rcncd pottcry. Tc suddcn appcar
ancc ol thcsc carly advanccd civilizations is, in lact, in itscll
so mystcrious a phcnomcnon that somc sccular scholars
havc suggcstcd cvcn highcr civilizations prcccdcd thcm.
thcrs gucss that thcy must havc appcarcd alrcady highly
dcvclopcd from outer space. Tc apparcnt suddcnncss and
sophistication ol thcir origin thcrclorc rcmains a mystcry.
Mystery Six: A New Beginning, 5,000 BC
!n vicw ol all this cvil, it is possiblc that Gcncsis 1:1 and
lollowing, may rclcr to a massivc astcroidal dcvastation ol a
hugc scction ol thc carthgutting thc cntircty ol what wc
call thc Fcrtilc Crcsccnt ol thc Middlc astlollowcd
by a ncw bcginning in that arca. !n that casc, thc days
ol Gcncsis might bc dcscribing thc gcncral scqucncc ol
things lollowing such a major collision. A chart in Scientic
American (March 2002) shows 60 major catastrophcs in
thc last 500 million ycars. Tc rcsults cach timc could cas
ily bc dcscribcd as lormlcss and void (thc 8iblical phrasc
lor thc dcsolation lollowing a war). Tc dust hurlcd into
thc air produccs at rst total darkncss, gradually thinning
out to allow a glow ol light cach day, nally you can actu
ally scc thc sun and thc moon, ctc. Surviving humans in
othcr parts ol thc planct would bc cycwitncsscs.
!n this ncw bcginning wc notc that Gcncsis 1 dcscribcs
thc rccrcation ol both animals and man without thc
carnivorous violcncc cndcmic in all othcr parts ol thc
carththat is, plants, animals, and man arc hcrbivorous.
Tis ncw bcginning did not last many gcncrations, and
with intcrmarriagc with othcr humans outsidc that arca,
carnivorous bchavior took ovcr again.
Tc book ol Gcncsis also rccords a sccond ncw bcginning
with a man namcd Noah. Tis did not last long cithcr.
Ralph D. Winter
Mystery Seven: A Tird New Beginning,
2,000 BC
Te Abrahamic Period
Anothcr ncw bcginning, thc scvcnth mystcry, is what thc
Ncw Tcstamcnt actually calls a mystcry. !t was not supposcd
to havc bccn a mystcry down through Jcwish history, sincc
it was madc clcar to Abraham in Gcncsis 12:3. Tis mystcry
involvcs a radically dicrcnt way ol looking at things. Tis
ncw pcrspcctivc was courtcously or cuphcmistically callcd
by thc Apostlc Paul a mystery instcad ol a blind spot. !n Lukc
24 wc notc that Jcsus wcnt lurthcr whcn Hc bluntly statcd
that His hcarcrs ought to havc undcrstood what thcy appar
cntly did notthat a chosen people was called both to be blessed
and also to be a blessing, callcd to spccial scrvicc, not just to
survival, and to cxtcnd that blcssing to all thc world.
Tc Jcwish pcoplc, awcd and impcrlcct though that
pcoplc may bc, dcspitc unusual pcrsccution and mis
undcrstanding, has clcarly sct a world rccord in thc ad
vanccmcnt ol human lilc. Jcwish pcoplc havc cxccllcd
in almost cvcry cld. Tcir contributions in proportion
to thcir actual population has no comparablc cxamplc
in any othcr human tradition.
Mcanwhilc, somcthing about thc intrinsic Jcwish clc
mcnt in Christianity and Christianity itscll has bccn
thc primc movcr in thc cnormous, diculttocxplain
aspccts ol supcriority ol Vcstcrn culturc. Many schol
ars, rcprcscnting a widc varicty ol thcorics, havc sought
to cxplain what has bccn thc sccrct ol thc Risc ol thc
Vcst (xamplc: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jarcd ia
mond), cvcn thc Chincsc govcrnmcnt. Altcr chccking
out many strands within thc Vcstcrn cultural colossus
to discovcr thc sccrct, somc highup Chincsc ocials
havc dccidcd thc uniquc clcmcnt is in thc rcalm ol thc
dominant rcligion ol thc Vcst. (Scc thc rst pagc ol thc
opcning chaptcr ol Jesus in Beijing by avid Aikman.)
Howcvcr, lrom a strictly sccular point ol vicw thc mat
tcr ol thc vcry naturc ol this ncw clcmcnt in human
history is not yct rcsolvcd. !t can still bc classicd as
a mystcry. !n any casc, thc Vcst and thc Rcst is lor
bcttcr or worsc thc incvitablc contcxt ol any immcdiatc
luturc lor human civilization.
Part 1: Before Jesus: Te First Half
of the Story
At this point wc can only scc that thcsc scvcn mystcr
ics rcmain mystcrics lrom a purcly sccular standpoint.
Vhat othcr basic world vicws might illuminatc and
hclp to cxplain or undcrstand thcsc mystcrics:
Surcly, onc ol thc most likcly candidatcs as an altcr
nativc hcrmcncutic is a pcrspcctivc incorporating a
divinc bcing and intclligcnt intcrmcdiatc bcings. Tc
rcmaindcr ol this story will ask how thc scvcnmystcry
sccnario would look lrom that point ol vicw. Vhat will
bc prcscntcd is, ol coursc, not thc only possiblc intcr
prctation lrom that standpoint.
Unlortunatcly, this story at rst glancc sccms so com
plcx lor most pcoplc, that attcmpts to tcll it arc oltcn
considcrcd mythical, mcaninglcss or whimsical. vcn
prolcssional historians shy away lrom intcrprctations
and valuc judgmcnts in lavor ol simply drcdging up
what sccm to bc lacts.
Vhat is attcmptcd hcrc is vcry bricl, hardly morc than
an outlinc. !t is intcndcd mcrcly to tcst out thc intcr
prctivc potcntial ol thc basic pcrspcctivc cmploycd. !t
is not so much to provc anything as to gcsturc to a ccr
tain pcrspcctivc and ccrtain vcry concrctc implications.
Te First Mystery: Matter, 14 Billion BC
Tc 8iblc says a lot about thc glory ol (what wc now
know a lot morc about) outcr spacc. Tis is mystcry onc.
!l anything crics out lor a Crcator, cspccially in vicw ol
thc 8ig 8ang thcory, thc univcrsc docs. !t is not just a
hcap ol trash. Considcr thc swirling disklikc shapc ol our
galaxy, thc incrcdiblc spccd ol light, thc lar lastcr carly cx
pansion ol thc univcrsc as is now suggcstcd, thc planctary
rcalitics maintaincd by gravitation, thc dclicatc balancc wc
arc told ol, which il gravitation wcrc slightly morc or lcss
would rcducc all stars to rcd dwarls or bluc giants.
Yct it is totally strangc and totally mystcrious. No
thcological rationalc sccms to cxplain it.
Te Second Mystery: Life, 3.5 Billion BC
Tc mystcry ol lilc is conncd so lar as wc know to
our onc mcdiumsizcd planct circling a mcdiumsizcd
star locatcd hall way out in thc disk ol a mcdiumsizcd
galaxy which, it is said, is only onc ol 50 billion othcr
galaxics. 8ut with this sccond mystcry is an cntircly ncw
pcrplcxity, thc virtually unlathomablc intricacy ol lilc.
Tc diligcncc ol thc sccular world in thc rcalm ol palc
ontology has bccn quitc amazing in thc last lcw ycars,
lar cxcccding all prcvious corts.
A ncar conscnsus now cxists among thc worlds sci
cntists as to both thc agc ol thc univcrsc and thc agc
6 Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
ol our planct13.7 and 4.5 billion ycars, rcspcctivcly.
Sincc lossils ol tiny carly lorms ol lilc arc hard to nd,
it is not at all clcar just whcn that rst appcarancc ol
lilc took placc.
A major changc is sccn in thc transition lrom prokaryotcs
to cukaryotcs, and billions ol ycars latcr on, largcr lorms
ol lilc appcarcd, somc radially symmctric, somc with bi
polar symmctry, having a lront and a back. Tis is sccn in
thc diacaran ra, just prcccding thc Cambrian.
Te Tird Mystery: Predatory Life,
500 Million BC
Vhat is apparcntly uncontcstcd is thc idca that at a
Cambrian boundary (525 million or so ycars ago),
both a vast ncw and suddcn prolusion ol lilc lorms
appcarcd, hall ol thcm, lor thc rst timc pcrhaps, bcing
vicious and lilcdcstroying!
According to many palcontologists today, lor ovcr
thrcc billion ycars thc story ol incrcasing sizc and
complcxity ol lilc lorms displaycd ncithcr prcdatory
lilc lorms nor dclcnsivc lilc lorms (hard shclls, spikcs,
cshtcaring tccth). 8ut thcn suddcnly all this gavc
way to a statc ol violcnt conict that was totally uniquc
and uttcrly pcrvasivc, continuing to this day.
From thc standpoint ol God doing thc crcating, onc
aspcct ol mystcry is why God would havc takcn so
long to dcvclop morc advanccd lorms ol lilc. Furthcr
morc, il wc concludc that thc ncw prcdatory lactor is
thc rcsult ol God suddcnly dcciding to crcatc pcrvasivc
violcncc and sucring, that mcrcly poscs thc additional
puzzlc ol why Hc would do it.
!t sccms morc rcasonablc to conjccturc a lcngthy,
thrccbillionycar pcriod ol tranquility in naturc in
which good intcrmcdiatc bcings wcrc busy at work
diligcntly lcarning lrom God and dcvcloping nonvi
cious lilc lorms undcr Gods guidancc. !t would takc a
long timc bccausc angcls arc nitc, and cvcn lilc lorms
too small lor humans to scc arc incrcdibly complcx.
Tcn, il God had bccn cmploying thousands ol intcl
ligcnt, angclic bcings in thc proccss ol claborating and
dcvcloping lilc, and il onc ol thc chicl lcadcrs ol thosc
intclligcnt bcings wcrc to havc turncd against Him,
would that not cxplain thc suddcn prcscncc ol lilcdc
stroying lorms ol lilc in thc Cambrian pcriod:
8y corruption of creation wc must rccognizc gcnctic
damagc (not just dclccts) both bclorc and altcr
conccption. Vc must pay grcatcr thcological attcntion
to malcvolcnt gcnctic altcration as wcll as thc cxistcncc
ol tcrribly hostilc pathogcns, viruscs, bactcria, parasitcs,
vicious animals, and thc crucl, hatclul, warlikc gcno
cidc ol wholc pcoplcs by humans.
Tis corruption might thcn bc said to havc happcncd
whcn Satan and onc third ol thc angcls turncd against
God. Tc suddcn appcarancc ol violcncc and prcdation
in thc Cambrian Pcriod would sccm to bc a logical
point at which this happcncd. Jcsus dcath on thc cross,
thcn, whilc oltcn sccn as (mcrcly) a tragcdy csscntial
to thc rcscuc ol humans, could, thus, bc thc kcy to thc
rcstoration ol all crcation.
For most vangclicals thcrc is a massivc disconncct
hcrc. nly whcn wc stop and think about it can wc
imaginc a monstrous, pcrvasivc, intclligcnt distortion
ol crcation. Vc dont stop to rcalizc how illogical it is
to blamc all that on God, as somc do, instcad ol con
sidcring thc involvcmcnt ol an intclligcnt vil nc.
Tus, a bcttcr cxplanation lor thc massivc sucring
and prcmaturc dcath in naturc might bc what was
mcntioncd alrcady, namcly, thc possibility that many
lorms ol lilc at all lcvcls ol sizc and complcxity, al
though carlicr crcatcd bcnign, havc bccn distortcd into
vicious mutations by a skilllul, dcstructivc tampcring
with thcir NA by thc vil nc and his cvil scrvants
(whcthcr human or angclic).
8ut our disconncct may blind us to thc thcological
signicancc ol thc corruption ol all crcation. Vc tcnd
signicantly to rcducc our thcological conccrns to thc
spiritual,thc purcly immatcrial, thc cmotional and
mcntal problcms ol human lilc lorms. Vc lct Jcw
ish and sccular doctors attcnd to thc problcms arising
lrom microscopic cvil and discasc control. Tosc work
crs at this point, unconsciously or consciously, may bc
opcrating intuitivcly lrom a morc 8iblical thcology
that was not damagcd, as ours was, by Augustincs
ncoplatonism (scc latcr).
Tc curious rcsult would sccm to bc a common
tcndcncy not only to allow God to bc blamcd lor all
appcaranccs ol cvil, but to rcsign oursclvcs to not un
dcrstanding God whcn cvil appcars (obsons book,
When God Doesnt Make Sense), thus cxcluding lrom
our thinking any pcrccption ol thc instrumcntality ol
intclligcnt, cvil powcrs. As a rcsult our cvangclism may
bc drastically and unncccssarily cnlccblcd in so lar as
it docs not portray our God as opposing such things,
Ralph D. Winter
as well as enlisting redeemed human beings specically to
ght against them.
!n actual lact, thc lcngthy dcvclopmcnt ol lilc lorms on
this planct may thus bc parallcl to thc 20th ccntury dc
vclopmcnt ol thc automobilc, which was an cvolution
ol a sort involving (and rcquiring) thousands ol intcl
ligcnt cnginccrs inputting at cvcry point lor morc than
100 ycars. Vc can, thus, imaginc tcams ol intcrmcdi
atc bcings working scmiindcpcndcntly in dicrcnt
contincnts. Just as automobilc manulacturcrs working
indcpcndcntly on dicrcnt contincnts bcgan making
SU\s at thc samc timc, so lilc lorms in ccrtain catcgo
rics, likc tigcrs, clcphants, crocodilcs wcrc dcvclopcd
with thcir slight dicrcnccswhich SU\s also havc
lrom onc company to anothcr. Furthcr, many animals
havc lour lcgs, many motor vchiclcs havc lour whccls.
Somc companics makc smallcr oncs with two whccls,
and so havc othcr companics donc similar things.
Howcvcr, at cvcry point intclligcnt bcings havc bccn in
volvcd in a distinctly cvolutionary proccss. !t has bccn by
no mcans an unguidcd (arwinian) random proccss. !n
thc casc ol automobilcs, a ycar 2000 Lincoln Contincntal
is incrcdibly morc advanccd than an carly Modcl T Ford,
so latcr lorms ol lilc arc phcnomcnally morc complicatcd
than carlicr singlcccll lilc, and singlcccll lilc is unimag
inably morc complcx than carlicr bactcria, ctc.
Tis ncw pcriod ol an cxtcnsivcly violcnt naturc, il wc
wcrc not so accustomcd to it, would ccrtainly appcar
as a lrightlul distortion ol a good crcation in which
thc lion lormcrly could lic down with a lamb. Tis
pcriod ol violcncc has apparcntly continucd unabatcd
intcrruptcd by rclativcly lrcqucnt astcroidal cxtinc
tion cvcnts bctwccn thc Cambrian pcriod and thc
prcscnt. Midway (250 million 8C) occurrcd thc
grcatcst cxtinction ol all, which is said to havc killcd
95 ol all lilc. Following that altcr a whilc is thc
100millionycar pcriod ol thc dinosaurs, notorious lor
thcir viciousncss. !t is thought that thcy in turn wcrc
dcstroycd by a major astcroid only 65 million ycars ago,
ushcring in thc agc ol thc mammals, allowing thcm to
go lrom mousc sizc to cnormous 1,500lb marsupials
and cvcn largcr hairy mammoths (bclorc thcy wcrc
drivcn cxtinct by humans).
Tus, at thc Cambrian boundary somcthing totally ncw
up to that timc occurrcd, somcthing so dcvastating as to
rcquirc pcrhaps thc labcl ol a principlc ol disordcr. !t
is as though at that point, in othcr words, a major lcadcr
ol thc angclic workcrs dccidcd to work against God and
to distort and dcstroy thc vcry crcation this samc lcadcr
and his workcrs had lor so long laborcd laithlully and
intclligcntly to producc. Gods intcndcd good crcation
was distortcd cxtcnsivcly so to blur thc naturc ol God
and to promotc thc idca that God bunglcd or, worsc,
that God was thc author ol cvilsomcthing, to bc surc,
many pcoplc today claim must bc truc but lor rcasons
wc dont undcrstand. For thc lattcr, God docs cvil that
good may comc ol it, ol coursc.
Tc point at which that rcbcllion happcncd could bc
callcd thc lall ol Satan. His lall would thcn cxplain thc
outragcous cvil that pcrvadcd all ol naturc lrom that
point on lor thc ncxt 500 million ycars. !t would also cx
plain constant warlarc, lrom that point on, bctwccn good
and cvil angclic bcings, cach sidc attcmpting to dclcnd or
dcstroy crcationthc onc dcvcloping dcstructivc traits
in lormcrly bcnign animal lilc, and thc othcr dcvcloping
dclcnsivc mcasurcs against bcasts ol prcy.
As alrcady mcntioncd, sccular scholars havc painstak
ingly discovcrcd and rccordcd 60 dicrcnt major astcr
oidal impacts (major that is, producing cratcrs largcr
than 14 milcs in diamctcr) that havc occurrcd sincc thc
Cambrian pcriod. All ol thcsc astcroidal impacts mas
sivcly killcd lilc, onc ol thcm killing morc than hall ol all
lilc on carth, both plant and animal lilc. (Tis is whcrc,
rcspcctivcly, coal and oil dcposits comc lrom, it is sup
poscd.) Vcrc thcsc collisions timcd by God to cut o
violcnt dcvclopmcnts such as thc dinosaurs that sccmcd
to havc spiralcd into hopclcss violcncc: Vho knows:
Spccialists in prchistoric lossils havc talkcd lor ycars
about prchuman hominids rcaching back to a mil
lion or morc ycars. Until rcccntly thc Ncandcrthal
man was considcrcd a prccursor to modcrn man.
Fairly rcccntly, howcvcr, othcr scholars havc pointcd
to thc grcatcr importancc ol thc appcarancc ol cultural
lcaturcs as bcing cvcn morc hclplul than cstimating
progrcss by studying boncs. Tis may pcg thc appcar
ancc ol humans into vcry rcccnt timcs, thc Gcncsis
cvcnts cvcn morc rcccntly.
Te Fourth Mystery: Human Life,
10,000 BC
Tc lorm ol lilc which wc carlicr dcscribcd as sccking
to intcrprct thc tiny lights out in thc sky is thc samc
onc which has bccn capablc ol paticnt, skilllul, sclcctivc
brccding ol both plant lilc and animal lilc, an involvcd
proccss rcquiring high intclligcncc.
8 Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
8ut notc that both plant cultivation and brccding has
bccn cstimatcd (by dicrcnt groups ol scholars) to
havc rst appcarcd about 11,000 ycars ago. Tc intcl
ligcnt and intcntional brccding ol wolvcs into tamc
and lricndly dogs is said to havc bcgun about that
samc timc, according to vcry rcccnt proposals. All ol
thc major lood sourccs in usc today, ricc, whcat, corn,
potatocs, ctc., arc thc rcsult ol this kind ol vcry intclli
gcnt sclcctivc brccding and rcsultant gcnctic altcration.
arlicr lorms ol lilc callcd hominidsor humanlikc
animalsdistinctivcly lack such capabilitics, as intcl
ligcnt as somc hominids havc bccn.
Human lilc at this stagc is still a distortcd, violcnt
lorm ol lilc. Humans in thc imagc ol God await thc
dcnic cxpcrimcnt.
Te Fifth Mystery: Archaic Civilizations,
8,000 BC
Tc book ol Gcncsis also rclcrs to citics vcry carly on.
!t is possiblc that many ol thc marvclous achicvcmcnts
ol thc archaic civilizations, along with thcir astounding
crucltics, may havc lcd to a vcry spccic dcstruction ol
a largc portion ol thc carth, and a ncw bcginning.
Tus, it could rcadily appcar that thc rst chaptcr ol
Gcncsis givcs a vcry graphic dcscription ol thc dcstruc
tion and rcplcnishmcnt ol a largc portion ol thc carth,
such as thc Fcrtilc Crcsccntthc known world
lollowing an astcroidal impact, which would normally
havc rcndcrcd it lormlcss and void, tohu and bohu
(absolutcly dcvastatcd is thc mcaning ol this phrasc
throughout thc T).
Tus, as understood by the author of Genesis and his hear-
ers, 1:1 might refer not to the creation of the universe
but the recreation of that portion of the earth, that is the
known world. Gcncsis 1 would thcn bc an cycwitncss
account dcriving lrom humans outsidc that arca.
To bc laithlul to thc 8iblc (and without qucstioning
that God crcatcd thc cntirc univcrsc) it is crucial to
rccct that 8iblc bclicvcrs may havc lor many dccadcs
bccn jumping to conclusions il thcy havc assumcd
Gcncsis 1:1 to rclcr to thc origin ol thc cntirc univcrsc
or cvcn thc origin ol our planct. Grammatically and
cxcgctically it could just as wcll mcan Vhcn God
bcgan to rchabilitatc thc hugc scction ol thc carth (thc
known world) damagcd by thc most rcccnt astcroidal
collision, things wcrc lormlcss and void, and darkncss
would havc blankctcd thc wholc planct, thc phrasc
lormlcss and void in thc Hcbrcw always rclcrring to
a dcstroycd situation. !n thc casc ol an astcroidal colli
sion thc dust would gradually scttlc and an incrcasing
glow would bc sccn hall ol cach day until nally thc
sun and moon would bccomc visiblc. Tis, incidcntally,
would allow actual dircct rays ol light, producing rain
bows, which, puzzlingly, Gcncsis mcntions latcr con
ncctcd with anothcr judgmcnta ood. Largcr lorms
ol lilc would havc bccn killcd by thc ood, but wcrc
prcscrvcd by Noah, and would thcn gradually rcplcnish
that cntirc (local) scction ol thc globc.
Tus, Gcncsis 1:1 may bc spcaking undcrstandably to an
undcrstanding audicncc, not talking about thc crcation
ol thc cntirc univcrsc but much morc likcly thc rcc
rcation ol thc dcvastation and dcstruction causcd, say,
in thc Fcrtilc Crcsccnt ol thc Middlc ast. Tc rst
chaptcr ol Gcncsis thcn docs not rcport magically or
mythically cvcnts ol which humans did not know, but
rathcr thc actual scqucncc ol things lollowing a major
but local cvcnt. Tis brings us to thc ncxt mystcry.
Te Sixth Mystery: A New Beginning, 5000 BC
Most signicant ol all would bc thc ncw crcation lor
thc rst timc ol a spccial arca callcd dcn, and thcrc
a lorm ol lilc not only with thc unprcccdcntcd intcl
ligcncc ol homo sapiens, but with lcaturcs undistortcd
by Satan. Tc purposc ol this ncw crcaturc thc 8iblc
dcscribcs as replenishing, bcing lruitlul and multiplying
as wcll as caring lor othcr living crcaturcs.
Grisly cvidcncc ol thc cxistcncc ol an vil onc consists
in thc sorry lact that cvcn this ncw crcaturc lalls, that
is, is scduccd and thcn scriously distortcd by that samc
vil nc. !n what ways did thc vil nc distort this
latcst crcation ol God: Hcrc arc thrcc possiblc clucs:
1) Tc human birth proccss may havc bccn in scvcral
ways curscd. 2) Humans who wcrc intcndcd to bc hcr
bivorous wcrc gcnctically altcrcd to a carnivorous statc.
3) Tc good angcls, duc to thc cmcrgcncc ol war and
pcstilcncc, and working gcnctically, urgcntly rcwircd
thc dcnic humans dclcnsivcly lrom having small
lamilics to bc immcnscly prolic, with as many as 25
prcgnancics pcr mothcr. ( John Vcslcy was numbcr 15
and Charlcs Vcslcy was numbcr 17 cvcn though thcrc
wcrc ncvcr morc than vc childrcn alivc at any point in
thcir lamily.)
Tis radically dicrcnt way ol looking at things allows
us to undcrstand thc appcarancc ol a ncw, unlallcn
human bcing (both bclorc thc lall ol Adam and oncc
Ralph D. Winter
rcdccmcd) as an additional crcation for the specic
purpose of aiding in the restoration of what had already
been created and distorted, this to bc donc by advancing
Gods Kingdom, His will on carth, an occupicd planct.
Alas, howcvcr, through sin, human history has contin
ucd to bc lor thc most part a story ol human scllag
grandizcmcnt rathcr than conqucst ol cvil. Humans,
unlikc othcr animals, havc morc oltcn lought thcir
own csh and blood than workcd togcthcr to rcstorc
Gods originally good crcation. Tus, thcy havc givcn
littlc attcntion to ghting thc principalitics and pow
crs, thc rulcrs ol thc darkncss ol this carth.
Te Seventh Mystery: A Tird New
Beginning, 2000 BC
Undcrstanding this allows us to rccognizc in thc carly
pagcs ol thc 8iblc (apparcntly as Tc Subjcct ol thc
8iblc) thc lull spcctrum ol thc ingrcdicnts ol thc Grcat
Commission in thc call ol Abraham and thc lorctold
involvcmcnt ol his spiritual lincagc in thc rcdcmption
ol all thc pcoplcs ol thc world. Tis is parallcl to thc
carlicr mandatc to Adam to rcplcnish thc carth, not
continuc to dcstroy all othcr lorms ol lilc.
Yct, thc lollowcrs ol Christ havc morc oltcn xatcd
on how, pcrsonally, to gct to hcavcn. Tat has bccn an
attractivc cmphasis, ol coursc. Tc vangclicals havc
donc a bit morc than that, in a scnsc, by sctting asidc a
rclativcly small part ol thcir hcarts, livcs and rcsourccs
to assist others to get to heaven (cspccially thosc at thc
cnds ol thc carth). 8ut thcir truncatcd idca continucs
to bc that thc advancc ol thc Kingdom consists pri
marily (and pcrhaps mcrcly) in the rescue of humans not
the restoration of a corrupted creation as part of glorifying
Godand thc dclcat ol thc vil nc who has donc
and is doing that corrupting.
Tc corruption ol thc dcnic ncw bcginning, not thc
carlicr Fall ol Satan, is what most pcoplc talk about il
thcy spcak ol Tc Fall. !t is not casy to imaginc all ol
thc particular aspccts ol distortion ol thc human rc
sulting lrom this additional invasion ol cvil. Tc 8iblc
says that man was only doing cvil continually.
vcn so, whilc wc may not bc ablc to prcdict human
succcss in quclling all cvil, at minimum, lor thosc in
lcllowship with God, thcrc continucs to bc thc nccd
lor a clcar and public alignmcnt ol human cort with
Gods purposcs to dclcat all cvil. Tc important point
is that this kind ol alignment will morc lully portray to
an unbclicving world thc truc attributcs ol our God,
and thus tcnd to rcmovc a truly major barricr to bc
liclnamcly, thc articial and unncccssary qucstion ol
why a good and all powcrlul God would sponsor cvil
in naturc and human aairs.
Tus, rst Satan lcll (long bclorc Gcncsis 1:1) and
had procccdcd cvcr sincc thc Cambrian cra to tampcr
with and distort thc NA ol bcnign animals and cvcn
to dcvisc virulcnt pathogcns. Ncxt, vcry rcccntly, thc
cvcnts ol thc Gcncsis account click in, and, as a rcsult
ol Adams lall, thc ncw human crcaturc dics spiritually.
Hcncc, thc unlolding story ol thc cxpansion ol human
bcings into thc cntirc planct turns out to bc an account
ol unmitigatcd gross and violcnt cvil. Satan and his
workcrs now do what thcy did to carlicr lilc lorms, dis
torting thc NA ol humans introducing vicious and
warlikc traitsa possiblc lourth aspcct ol thc cursc.
Not only docs curscd and dcpravcd humanity pro
cccd to kill o a largc proportion ol thc carths animal
lilcvirtually all largc animals, thc lilc thcy wcrc in
tcndcd to rcplcnishhumans thcmsclvcs also succumb
to pcrvasivc cannibalism and human sacricc as is
rcvcalcd in thc carlicst rcmains ol skulls and socictics.
(Scc Scientic American, August 2003, p.33)
Tc ivinc rcsponsc to a humanity that is only doing
cvil continually (Gcn 6:3) now appcars to bc a plan
whcrcby all ol thc pcoplcs ol thc carthin lact all ol
lallcn crcationmust bc rcclaimcd, rcconcilcd, and
rcstorcd with thc assistancc ol a choscn nation, and on
thc basis ol thc lamb slain bclorc thc loundations ol
thc world.
First Noah and thcn Abraham arc choscn and thc
powcr and gracc ol God arc displaycd not only in
thcsc kcy pcoplc but in all who call upon Him: Tc
cycs ol thc Lord run to and lro throughout thc wholc
carth to show Himscll strong on bchall ol thosc whosc
hcarts arc pcrlcct toward Him (2 Chr 16:9). Spccial
rcvclation to and through Abraham is Gods gilt to all
pcoplcs, and what is latcr tcrmcd the kingdom of God. A
rccovcrcd and rcstorcd crcation bcgins to cxpand across
all thc carth.
8ut whilc wc rcmcmbcr thc lall ol man wc usually
lorgct thc lallcn crcation. ncc humans arc rcstorcd in
rcpcntancc and laith, in thc blcssing ol God, rcdccmcd
man is now cxpcctcd to rcsumc his original purposc, to
work with God lor thc rcstoration ol all crcation, and in
thc proccss makc crystal clcar that Satan and not God is
6o Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
thc initiator ol cvil and all lorms ol dcpravity, as wcll as
all lilcdcstroying lorms ol lilc, whcthcr largc animals or
tiny bactcria you cannot scc with thc nakcd cyc. How
cvcr, apparcntly ncithcr thc lull rcstoration ol naturc nor
cvcn thc lull rcstoration ol humans will takc placc until
thc cnd ol timc. Howcvcr, humans must continuc to
rcsist Satan and copc with physical distortions and ght
back at cvcry lcvcl, joining with thc Son ol God in thc
dcstruction ol all Satans works (! Jn 3:8).
!n Jcsus day, altcr 2,000 ycars ol incrcdiblc cxpansion, thc
domain ol Gods ncw inucncc had grown to such an
cxtcnt that Pctcr in Acts can say that Moscs is prcachcd
in cvcry city ol thc Roman cmpirc. Sccular scholars today
agrcc that in Jcsus day Jcws wcrc onctcnth ol thc popu
lation ol thc cmpirc, that is, about tcn million!
Tc ld Tcstamcnt tclls this story. Tis portion ol our
8iblcs, carlicr in a prcChristian Grcck vcrsion callcd
thc Scptuagint, portrays thc cxpcricncc ol a choscn
nation rcccting marvclous and authcntic godlincss
and yct tragic, human shortcomings.
Tc childrcn ol !sracl wcrc pushcd into gypt and
cvcntual slavcry thcrc, but thcy apparcntly lclt a wit
ncss bchind. Tc northcrn group virtually disappcarcd
in dispcrsion possibly planting somc ol thc synagogucs
throughout thc Roman cmpirc. Tc southcrn group
latcr lound thcmsclvcs in cxilc in tcrritory whcrc
pcoplc bclicvcd in two suprcmc gods, onc good, onc
cvil, lollowing Zoroastcr. Tis cxpcricncc cnablcd thcm
to undcrstand morc complctcly thc cxistcncc ol an vil
nc without acccpting that cvil pcrsons cquality with
Godthat is, thc Zoroastrian vicw. Howcvcr, that was
not truc ol latcr Christians ol thc Manichacan pcrsua
sion who rctaincd much ol thc Zoroastrian dualism ol
two cqual gods.
!n any casc, thc word Satanas in thc NT (lrom Satan
in thc T) now bccamc thc namc ol a powcrlul, vil
angclic pcrsonality, an intcrmcdiatc bcing. Now, it is
not just thc ordinary word lor advcrsary as with thc
Hcbrcw cquivalcnt in most ol thc ld Tcstamcnt oc
currcnccs ol thc wordwhcrc cvcn God whcn oppos
ing a lalsc prophct is callcd an advcrsary (a satan). !n
thc NT Pctcr is similarly callcd an advcrsary (a satan)
whcn hc opposcs Jcsus, although satan in thc NT usu
ally mcans thc rcccntly undcrstood vil nc.
Vhcn in 8abylon, although thcir hcart cry was to
rcturn to thcir land, Gods word to His pcoplc through
!saiah (49:6) was that such a rcstoration to thcir land
was in His purposcs lor thcm outrankcd by His intcn
tion lor thcm to bc His salvation to thcir captors, to
thc cnds ol thc carth (which mcant whcrc thcy now
wcrc across thc cntirc lcrtilc crcsccnt to thc mountain
slopcs ol ast !ran).
Just what was this salvation to which !saiah rclcrrcd:
Tc word mcans dclivcrancc lrom cvil, rcconciliation with
God, wholcncss, rcstoration, a lcllowship with Himin
all thy ways acknowlcdgc Him and Hc shall dircct thy
paths. !t rcminds us ol thc conccpt in Micah 6:8: Vhat
docs thc Lord rcquirc ol thcc but to do justly, lovc mcrcy,
and walk humbly with thy God. r Pctcrs straightlor
ward commcnt, ! now rcalizc how truc it is that God
docs not show lavoritism, but acccpts mcn lrom cvcry
nation who fear Him and do what is right (Acts 10:34). !n
thc lattcr casc Pctcr is rclcrring to thc million or so Gcn
tilcs who did not bccomc lull prosclytcs but attcndcd thc
synagogucs as dcvout pcrsons or Godlcarcrs, pcoplc
likc Cornclius who had bccn cxposcd to only what wc call
thc ld Tcstamcnt. 8ut, at that point in history thcir
truc lcllowship with God could not yct havc includcd an
intellectual knowlcdgc ol Jcsus divinity and His dcath on
thc cross. Vhilc Pctcr gocs on to indicatc that vcryonc
who bclicvcs in Him rcccivcs lorgivcncss ol sins through
His namc, hc apparcntly did not spcak ol thc blood ol
Christ bcing a sacricc lor sin.
Ncvcrthclcss thc ld Tcstamcnt kind ol basic salvation
is not dicrcnt lrom thc mcaning ol thc samc word
in thc Ncw Tcstamcnt, cvcn though thc vangclical
usc ol thc word salvation may bc considcrably dicr
cnt today lrom what it mcans in both thc T and thc
NT. For us todaywhcrc such knowlcdgc is rcadily
availablcwc may only cxpcct salvation to includc
an intcllcctual knowlcdgc ol Christ, His divinity and
His atoning sacricc, as wcll as an assurancc ol gctting
to hcavcn on thc basis ol a pardon lor our sins. Somc
pcoplc rcscrvc lor a sccond work ol gracc a dclivcr
ancc lrom thc power ol sin.
Tc basic conccpt ol salvation in thc ld Tcstamcnt
is thus not supcrscdcd in thc Ncw. !t is rathcr that thc
Ncw prcscnts us with an cvcn morc acccssiblc knowl
cdgc ol God in thc pcrson ol Jcsus Christ, bccausc in
His lacc wc scc thc glory ol God morc clcarly than cvcr.
Morcovcr, wc must rccognizc that thc ld Tcstamcnt
pcriod was not a timc whcn pcoplc rcally did not know
God. !l that wcrc truc it would bc hard to cxplain thc
Psalmscithcr thcir crcation or thcir prcscrvation and usc.
Ralph D. Winter 6+
!n rcpcntancc and humility wc Christians must
acknowlcdgc that Jcwish lamilics wcrc oltcn godly
lamilics. Tcir inucncc on thc 8abylonian and Pcrsian
kingdoms and vicc vcrsa will probably not in this lilc
bc lully known. 8y thc timc ol Christ only onc third ol
thosc carricd o in cxilc wcrc back in Palcstinc. And,
just think, a million Jcws wcrc now in gypt, anothcr
ninc million in thc rcst ol thc Roman cmpirc.
8y Jcsus day thcrc wcrc Jcws in Korca, South !ndia, and
China, and throughout thc Roman cmpirc. Tc Jcws
wcrc scnding out missionarics, in all dircctions, cvcn
though, as with many prcscntday missionarics, thcir
normal stratcgy madc mcrcly cultural convcrts, that is
(in thcir casc) a cultural shilt toward Jcwishncss, a rcsult
which would oltcn bc, as Jcsus dcscribcd it, hypocrisy.
Yct, in gcncral, Jcwish lamilics wcrc wcll rcspcctcd,
cvcn highly rcspcctcd. Vc know this bccausc thc
Roman govcrnmcnt accordcd thcm local politi
cal autonomy bcyond any othcr cthnic group in thc
cmpirc. Vc noticc onc Roman cmpcror with a Jcwish
wilc. Vc notc thc lrcqucnt prcscncc in synagogucs ol
God lcarcrs and dcvout pcrsons, pcrhaps a million
ol thcm, who constitutcd thc tindcr box into which
Pauls nationalitylcss Gospcl caught amc provid
ingchanging thc mctaphorthc backbonc ol thc
carly Christian movcmcnt.
!n gypt many dccadcs bclorc Christ, during thc cx
tcnsivc linkagc ol gypt to Grcck languagc and culturc,
God cmploycd somc wisc and godly Grcckspcaking
Jcws to draw an inspircd sclcction ol Hcbrcw docu
mcnts into a collcction thcy thcn translatcd into Grcck
calling it thc Septuagint. Tis was in thc sccond ccntury
8C. Tc rcsulting hclty documcnt bccamc thc most
inucntial sclcction/translation in history, thc 8iblc ol
thc carly church, latcr to bc callcd thc ld Tcstamcnt.
Tough it would bc ccnturics bclorc thc Christ would
appcar or thc Ncw Tcstamcnt would bc complctcd, this
book lunctioncd vcry ccctivcly as thc bcdrock basis
lor thc salvation ol many living in groups rcccting
many dicrcnt languagcs and culturcs. Tc Septuagint
is onc ol thc things which attractcd Grccks to thc Jcw
ish synagogucs.
!t is apparcnt that thosc ol us who look back to Christ
may nd it hard to rccognizc adcquatcly thc cxistcncc
lor at lcast 2,000 ycars ol powcrlul and salvic rcvcla
tion prior to Christ. Yct thc 8iblc rcvcals God talking
to Abimclcch and thc lattcrs signicant morality. Vc
scc onc ol thc gyptian pharaohs rccognizing thc work
ol God in Joscphs lilc. Vc scc God rcaching out to
Naaman thc Syrian through thc witncss ol a young
Jcwcss. Vc scc thc wholc city ol Nincvch sparcd duc
to Jonahs lukcwarm prcaching. ozcns ol timcs in thc
ld Tcstamcnt wc scc thc activc prcscncc ol God in
thc livcs ol pcoplc to whom Jcsus probably madc rclcr
cncc whcn hc said Many will comc lrom ast and
Vcst and sit down with Abraham in thc kingdom
ol hcavcn (Matt 8:11).
Vhat dicrcncc thcn did thc appcarancc ol Jcsus makc:
At lcast two incrcdiblc things. First, it now unvcilcd thc
astonishing basis lor thc vcry possibility ol thc gracc,
goodncss, and lorgivcncss ol God bcing cxtcndcd prior
to His birth, namcly, thc willing dcath ol Gods own
Son. Vc now know that all who comc to thc Fathcr, arc
cnablcd to comc solcly bccausc ol thc blood ol Christ.
Sccondly, in thc vcry pcrson ol Christ wc scc thc glory
ol God. Tc charactcr, will and purposc ol God arc now
brilliantly clcarcr than cvcr bclorc.
Tis obviously makcs it casicr, not hardcr, lor mission
work to takc placc, cvcn though in thc ccnturics bclorc
Christ was born thc glory ol God had bccn manilcst in
many ways. Ccrtainly anyonc rcjccting carlicr rcvcla
tion or latcr rcvclation would losc out.
8ut, it would bc vcry dicult to supposc that at a
ccrtain datc pcoplc all ovcr thc world, who might oncc
havc bccn acccptablc to God would now bc turncd away
by Him unlcss thcy acquircd somc additional knowlcdgc
about thc dctails ol thc plan ol salvation, or, shall wc
say, thc basis ol thc Gospcl. !t is undcrstandablc that
il thcy do hcar thosc dctails thcy will bc judgcd morc
strictly, but not that thcy would bc judgcd morc strictly
il thcy did not posscss that additional inlormation.
!s it lair to thc 8iblc to bclicvc that at a ccrtain datc,
say, oncc Jcsus was born, or dicd, or was rcsurrcctcd, or
had asccndcd, or was prcachcd by thc carly church lor
30 ycars, that prcciscly at that datc and bcyond that
datc it was then no longer possible to nd God without
additional head-knowledge ol thc basic dctails ol thc lilc
and dcath ol Jcsus: Jcsus has always bccn, cvcn in ld
Tcstamcnt timcs, thc only namc undcr hcavcn whcrcby
anyonc is savcd. Hc was thc lamb slain bclorc thc
loundation ol thc world.
Knowing Christ is now thc lar supcrior way ol know
ing God. 8ut wc nccd to rcmind oursclvcs that thcrc
was a truc gospcl in lorcc throughout thc 8iblc lrom
6: Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
Gcncsis to Rcvclation, lrom thc gospcl prcachcd to
Abraham in Gal. 3:8 to thc ctcrnal gospcl ol Rcvcla
tion 14:6,7lcar God givc Him glory worship
Him who madc thc hcavcns, thc carth, thc sca. !n Ro
mans 1, Paul dcclarcs, Sincc thc crcation ol thc world
Gods invisiblc qualiticsHis ctcrnal powcr and divinc
naturchavc bccn clcarly sccn, bcing undcrstood lrom
what has bccn madc, so that mcn arc without cxcusc.
Tis is thc simplc lorm ol thc Gospcl, call it thc message ol
thc Gospcl,namcly that God sccks thc salvation ol all
ol thc pcoplcs ol thc carth without thcm bccoming Jcws.
8y contrast, thc basis ol that clcctrilying truth bccomcs
clcar only whcn thc Christ nally appcars among mcn.
Paul, altcr rclcrring to thc 8ook ol Crcation, uscs this lact
to go on to show how pcoplc in thc ld Tcstamcnt who
rclusc this light can bc lost. !n thc ncxt chaptcr hc rclcrs,
howcvcr, to pcoplc outsidc ol thc Abrahamic covcnant
bcing savcd without that knowlcdgc whcn hc says, God
will givc ctcrnal lilc to thosc who by pcrsistcncc in doing
good scck glory, honor and immortality. Hc adds, Vhcn
Gcntilcs, who do not havc thc (8iblc) do by naturc things
rcquircd by thc (8iblc) ... thcy show that thc rcquircmcnts
ol thc (8iblc) arc writtcn on thcir hcarts, thcir conscicnccs
also bcaring witncss, and thcir thoughts now accusing
thcm, now cvcn dclcnding thcm. Vc must rccognizc that
what hc is saying is not purcly hypothctical.
!ndccd, chaptcrs onc and two arc mainly intcndcd to
show that whilc Gcntilcs havc cnough light both to
condcmn thcm and to allow thcm ctcrnal lilc, thc Jcws
havc lar morc rcason to bc condcmncd, prcciscly bccausc
thcy havc had grcatcr knowlcdgc. Tc upshot is that it
is unrcasonablc lor thc Jcws not to bclicvc that Gcntilcs
can bc savcd for they will not even be judged as severely.
Tus, can wc bclicvc that this gcncral statcmcnt ol thc
simplc mcssagc ol thc gospcl is not now superseded but is
now marvclously supercharged, cmpowcrcd as wc prcach
ol thc ncwly undcrstood basis ol thc Gospcl, that is,
Jcsus as Lord and Christ, thc son ol thc Living God:
Rcmcmbcring that most ol what ! havc said is purcly
conjcctural, lor thc sakc ol discussion lcts scc how
such a vicw might acct missions.
1. !t would, rst ol all, rcmovc an cnormous barricr to
our cvangclism which many thinking pcoplc cannot
lct go ol, namcly, thc idca ol pcoplc bcing scnt to hcll
simply bccausc othcr pcoplc havc lailcd to takc thcm
thc wordthat is, othcr pcoplc bcing pcnalizcd, lor
cxamplc, lor our lailurc. Rcmcmbcr thc Chincsc man
who askcd Hudson Taylor why his pcoplc had waitcd
so long to scnd thc word to China:
2. Sccondly, in tcrms ol this intcrprctation, pcoplc
rcsisting thc Holy Spirit arc doomcd whcthcr thcy
know about Jcsus or not. Notc that thosc most ccrtainly
doomcd arc thosc who havc bccn cxposcd to thc 8iblc or
who havc hcard ol Jcsus and rcjcctcd God. !s this uni
vcrsalism: Not cxactly, sincc it mcans many il not most
pcoplc who considcr thcmsclvcs to bc Christians will not
makc it. !n lact, it is almost thc oppositc ol univcrsalism.
3. Finally, this pcrspcctivc undcrscorcs thc proloundly
important stratcgy whcrcby missionarics can look lor
and cxpcct to nd a man ol pcacc who will wclcomc
knowlcdgc ol Christ. Tus, thcy can morc likcly bc
building on pcoplc who truly scck God rathcr than
on thosc who arc rcbclling against cvcn thc particular
way ol rightcousncss within thcir culturc.
!n our ncxt scction wc will look morc closcly at thc
cvcnts surrounding and lollowing thc !ncarnation. For
now, considcr onc possiblc qucry:
Vhy do wc bring thc Gospcl to nonChristians:
Vouldnt it bc casicr lor thcm to stay in thc knowlcdgc
thcy havc: !ts still basically a choicc whcthcr to bclicvc
or not bclicvc... why add thc diculty ol thc cross: And
docs this mcan that many Muslims arc savcd, bccausc
thcy arc sccking altcr God as bcst thcy know him:
Vc dont mcrcly go (in missions) to gct pcoplc into
hcavcn. Tat is so simplc as to bc almost a cop out. !l
that is all wc arc doing, it mcans wc dont havc to gct our
hands dirty, ght cvil, ctc. Actually, howcvcr, missionar
ics arc cmpowcrcd by thc lovc ol Christ which con
strains thcm to go (rcprcscnting Gods naturc morc lully
than that) to dclivcr pcoplc lrom thc actual powcr ol
sin, discasc and lcar. Vc should bc going to cnlist thcm
in thc mission to which God has callcd us all, that His
Kingdom might comc and His will bc donc on carth.
Vc can now do all this on an incstimably supcrior ba
sisthc lilc, pcrson, witncss, and blood ol Jcsus Christ.
o wc cvcr wondcr il thc sancticd intuition ol thc
pcoplc in thc pcw might somctimcs bc supcrior to thc
brittlc, purcly logical lruits ol our lormal thcology: !
rclcr to thc common mcssagc that il wc dont go and
tcll pcoplc ccrtain things thcy will go to hcll, but il
thcy scc thc Jesus lm and pray to rcccivc Jcsus thcy
will go to hcavcn (and our main job is thcn ovcr).
Ralph D. Winter 6
No wondcr 8ob Picrcc and his Vorld \ision was so
attractivc to so many lor whom a purcly savclromhcll
gospcl may havc lallcn on uncasy cars.
ur traditional approach tcnds to assumc that thc
Holy Spirit has had no prcvious work among thc
pcoplc wc arc scnt to rcach, that thc magniccncc ol
what wc call Gcncral Rcvclation has not allowcd
thcm to makc any stcps ol laith that God would notc
or honor. Vc assumc that thcrc is no prcvcnicnt gracc
ol which John Vcslcy spokc, that wc arc starting lrom
scratch among a pcoplc among whom thcrc is no
lcar ol Godwhich was Abrahams lalsc assumption
whcn hc visitcd Abimclcch.
!nto this admittcdly ambiguous situation our mis
sionarics go, somctimcs unwilling to pay any attcntion
whatsocvcr to indigcnous rightcousncsswhat in
8angladcsh thc lollowcrs ol Jcsus maintaincd, namcly,
thc adat or inhcrcnt law ol thc pcoplc. Cant wc
bring oursclvcs to rccognizc that wc arc not rcally privy
to Gods appraisal ol pcoplc, and that our manmadc
thcological lormulations dont cvcn makc a pcrlcct
match with thc 8iblc which wc cxtol as thc ultimatc
authority: !l wc arc not in a position to dccidc who
will and who will not makc into hcavcn, why do lccl
wc must do so:
Part 2: Jesus
Te New Basis for the Second Half
of the Story
Tcrc wcrc many lorcshadowings ol onc who was to
comc ( Jn. 11:3). Yct, whilc in a ccrtain scnsc Hc was
cxpcctcd during carlicr ccnturics, ncvcrthclcss, what His
cxact rolc was to bc was scarccly clcar in advancc and,
in lact, is still bcing pondcrcd to this day. Today, thou
sands ol books llcd with awc and wondcr havc bccn
writtcn about Him. Global history has sccn no grcatcr
impact lrom any othcr pcrson. \irtually cvcrything that
is happcning today in thc cntirc world is cithcr dicrcnt
bccausc ol Him or is bcst undcrstood through His cycs.
Tc 8iblc ol thc carly church, thc Scptuagint, which
had brought millions closcr to God, would now, bc
causc ol Him, bc accompanicd by an additional book
writtcn not so much by Jcws in thc diaspora as by
thc dircct impact ol thc lilc ol Jcsus. Hall ol it would
consist ol carclul accounts ol His ministry. Tc larg
cst numbcr ol pagcs would bc writtcn by thc Gcntilc,
Lukc, thc physician. All of it would owe its survival as
a collection to the widespread embracing of Him by people
outside of the ethnic Jewish lineage.
!n just a lcw dccadcs thc lollowcrs ol this onc pcrson,
born in a tiny villagc ncar Jcrusalcm would bc givcn
thc hugc Latcran Palacc in Romc lor thcir hcadquar
tcrs, which was thc lormcr Vhitc Housc ol thc
Roman cmpcrors. !n a lcw morc ccnturics human
bcings in most ol thc world would lollow a calcndar
calibratcd to His birth datc. !n anothcr lcw ccnturics
populations cnlivcncd by thc Christian movcmcnt
would conqucr almost cvcry squarc loot ol thc carths
surlacc, and latcr givc back most ol it to thc original
inhabitants, not without pcrmancnt changc.
Vhat was thc ovcrall picturc: Tc rst 2,000 ycars ol
thc Abrahamic Mandatc, that is, lrom Abraham to
Christ, would, incrcdibly, scc gcnuinc 8iblical laith
cxpand in a Jcwish cthnic vchiclc into thc wholc ol
thc Roman cmpirc and also in thc lorm ol tiny Jcwish
cnclavcs to thc vcry cnds ol thc carth.
Tcn, in a lcw short ycars, lollowing thc ministry ol Jcsus
ol Nazarcth, in thc ncw A pcriod, totally dicrcnt
cthnic vchiclcs would acccpt and carry that samc 8iblical
laith lurthcr into all thc carth in a much largcr and morc
inucntial movcmcnt, a movcmcnt that would no longcr
bc just Jcwish. Still latcr, in thc 20th ccntury, it would
cxpand cvcn bcyond what pcoplc call Christianity.
Tc lour Gospcls lay out thc story ol thc disturbing
discrcpancy bctwccn thc mcaning ol thc 8iblc and thc
various human rcligious traditions ol Jcsus day. Tc
rcst ol thc Ncw Tcstamcnt dcscribcs in somc dctail just
how that uncncumbcrcd laith brokc out bcyond Jcwish
cthnic boundarics.
Vc notc thc cxistcncc ol gcnuinc bclicvcrs who bclicvcd
in thc Scptuagint and in Jcsus as Lord. Vc scc such
pcoplc in both thc Jcwish and Grcck cultural traditions.
Vc also notc Judaizcrs who dctcrmincdly dcnounccd
any abandoning ol thc Jcwish garmcnts ol thc Gos
pcl, wanting Grccks to undcrgo an cxtcnsivc prosclyti
zation proccss in ordcr to bc acccptablc to God.
At thc othcr cxtrcmc wc nd lollowcrs ol Marcion who
arc so monoculturally Grcck that thcy could not ac
knowlcdgc thc authcntic spiritual strcam within thc Hc
brcw tradition. Tcy cnd up throwing out thc cntirc T
and much ol thc Ncw Tcstamcnt as bcing too Jcwish.
6 Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
Not quitc so cxclusivcly Hcllcnistic, othcr Grcck lollowcrs
ol thc laith ncvcrthclcss snccrcd at thosc Jcwish bclicvcrs
who maintaincd thcir cultural inhibitions about mcat ol
lcrcd to idols. Romans 14 dcals with that situation.
Vc notc a major spiritual tcnsion arising as both Jcsus
and thc lcadcrs who lollowcd Him undcrscorcd a thcmc
basic to thc ld Tcstamcnt, which all along had dcmand
cd hcart laith, not just outward compliancc with rcligious
lorms. Howcvcr, as a rcsult, this cmphasis on laith thcn
appcarcd to somc as a rcason lor ignoring all outward
obcdicncc. Jamcs dcals with that misundcrstanding.
Tis samc tcnsion bctwccn laith and obcdicncc would
arisc again and again down through history whcncvcr
thc laith would ow lrom thc lorms ol onc cultural
tradition to thc lorms ol anothcr. Truc laith always
is cvidcnccd in truc heart obcdicncc, but thc outward
lorm ol that obcdicncc is always culturaljust as is
thc outward lorm ol godlincssbut thc divcrsity ol
cultural lorms lcads to a brcakdown ol lormal unity
and opcns thc way to polarization bctwccn dicrcnt
strcams ol laith.
Tis was thc basis lor thc hostility arouscd against
Paul by Jcws who claimcd that his strcss on laith
undcrmincd obcdicncclor thcm obcdicncc mcant
adhcring to Jcwish lorms. Tc Ncw Tcstamcnt thus
anticipatcs thc opposition that may arisc cvcry timc
thc Gospcl takcs on ncw cultural clothing.
Tis kind ol a conlusion is sccn in Luthcrs supcrcial
comparison ol thc ld Tcstamcnt and thc Ncw Tcsta
mcnt, rcspcctivcly, as domains ol law and gracc. !n
actuality, both laith and obcdicncc arc cxpcctcd in both
tcstamcnts. Tc NT phrasc, thc obcdicncc ol laith in
Romans 1:5 and 16:26 (impropcrly translatcd in thc
N!\) and many othcr passagcs display thcsc two words
as two sidcs ol thc samc coin. !ronically, in thc Rclorma
tion lor thc Protcstants to havc choscn to cmphasizc
faith and thc Catholics to havc choscn to cmphasizc
obedience rcndcrcd both sidcs hcrctically oncsidcd.
Tus, it is important to rcalizc that thc movcmcnt ol
thc Gospcl lrom Jcwish to Grcck cultural clothing is
not portraycd in thc Ncw Tcstamcnt as a mcrc descrip-
tion ol what happcncd, but as an cxamplc ol what
would latcr happcn ovcr and ovcr again. Almost always
thc two sidcs do not undcrstand thc othcr, and thcy
may pull away lrom cach othcr in what anthropologists
call not assimilation but dissimilation.
Probably thc lcast rccognizcd cxamplc ol this kind ol dis
similation is thc 7th Ccntury A cvcnt in which an Arab
lcadcr lorgcd ncw clothing lor 8iblical laith out ol Arabic
garmcnts. Christianity by that timc was spccically and
ocially idcnticd with thc political and military powcr ol
Romc. As Romcs powcr wcakcncd, so did thc allcgiancc
ol many ol thc lormcr cmpircs minoritics and ncighbors.
!t is no surprisc that thosc who lor any rcason did not
want to bc idcnticd with Romc wcrc cagcr to acccpt
a nonRoman lorm ol Christianitylikc laith which, ol
coursc, was not callcd Christian but Muslim. !n our timcs,
8lack Amcricans, also, who havc bccn Christians lor ycars
quitc commonly switch to cmbracc somcthing that is not
thc rcligion ol an opprcssivc socicty. Tus, wc havc 8lack
Muslims, many ol whom dont rcally undcrstand what
thcy arc choosing. !t is, to thcm, simply prclcrablc not to
bc lollowing thc rcligion ol thc whitc man.
Tc carly !slamic movcmcnt thus includcd thc Ro
manopprcsscd pcoplcs ol thc Middlc ast, North
Alrica, and cvcn Spain (lor scvcn hundrcd ycars).
!slam bccamc a major inhcritor ol thc Mcditcrrancan
civilization whilc Christianity was now morc a phc
nomcnon ol thc tribal socictics ol what wc now call
uropc. Tis major dicrcncc handcd !slam a hugc
advantagc. Art, litcraturc, scicncc, tcchnology, mcdicinc
and politics wcrc lar morc advanccd in !slam than in
thc tribal socictics ol uropc, as valiantly as Charlc
magnc tricd to drag thcm up into civilization.
Tc dark lorcsts north ol thc Mcditcrrancan cvcntually
drcw crucially upon thc industrial proccsscs and thc
litcraturc, cspccially thc 8iblc, which wcrc carricd into
thcir midst by litcrally hundrcds ol monastic mission
ary 8iblctrcasuring outposts. 8y comparison, !slam
inhcritcd lullblown citics, highly dcvclopcd political
and monctary systcms, scholarship, mcdical knowl
cdgc, civil and military cnginccring, Grcck classics and
cxtcnsivc librarics almost totally unknown north ol thc
Alps lor ovcr 500 ycars. Tis advantagc hcld and was
hardly challcngcd until, in thc 11th ccntury, awcd cru
sadcrs brought back talcs ol !slamic supcrioritics. Tcrc
is much morc to tcll in thc ncxt chaptcr.
Howcvcr, wc arc gctting ahcad ol oursclvcs. ur pur
posc in this chaptcr is to pcrccivc clcarly in thc 8iblc
itscll not mcrcly a rccord ol many uniquc cvcnts but
also a handbook lor missionary crosscultural stratcgy
that both portrays and prcdicts how thc authcntic
8iblical knowlcdgc ol God can transccnd national and
cultural boundarics.
Ralph D. Winter 6
Tus, whcn wc scc thc stunncd Pctcr rcturning to thc
Jcrusalcm cldcrs with his cxpcricncc at thc houschold
ol Cornclius, and witncsscs thcir constcrnation, wc arc
cnablcd to rccognizc that samc pcrplcxity again and again
down through history whcncvcr thc powcr ol thc Gospcl
brcaks ovcr cultural boundarics that sccm to thc partici
pants on both sidcs to bc barricrs lar too hugc to cross.
To this day it is oltcn conlusing as wcll as inconvcnicnt
to nd so many culturally dicrcnt strcams to havc
bccomc cnlightcncd lrom this onc ancicnt sourcc. 8ut
things arc clcarcr oncc wc rcalizc that in thc 8iblc itscll
our 8iblical laith was authcntically manilcstcd in at lcast
two major cultural traditions, thc Scmitic ol thc T
and thc Grcck ol thc NT. Furthcrmorc, wc must rcalizc
that thc coming ol Christ clcarly sanctioncd outrcach
to thc Grccks and in so doing jumpstartcd a lrcsh ncw
undcrstanding ol thc mandatc to Abraham.
Today, ol coursc, wc look back on thosc two culturcs
lrom a still dicrcnt culturc. Vc may bc drawn to go
back to thc ld Tcstamcnt. !n so doing wc might say
wc prclcr thc Scmitic vchiclc and dcnouncc thc Grcck
lormulation, as did thc Judaizcrs (and as somc Mcs
sianic Jcws tcnd to do today). r, wc might prclcr thc
Hcllcnistic vcrsion and dcnouncc thc Jcwish tradition
as defunctas did Marcionor mcrcly outmoded and
superseded as havc many othcrs.
r, wc can takc thc 8iblc lor what it is, a divincly
inspircd showcasc ol truc hcart laith and trust in a
suprcmc crcator God, a laith that transccnds, cvcn
whilc inlusing, multiplc cultural traditions. Tc major
ncw lactor is thc incarnation ol thc vcry Son ol God,
which both conrms and grcatly enhances thc vcry rcal
powcr ol Gcncral Rcvclation, making it much casicr to
cxtcnd thc glory ol God to all nations.
Somcthing clsc is vcry ncarly uniquc in thc Ncw Tcs
tamcnt: thc pcrvasivc prcscncc in Jcwish and Chris
tian thinking ol cvil cmbodicd in a major advcrsarial
pcrsonagc, Satan, as mcntioncd in thc prcvious chaptcr.
Tc Zoroastrians had a vcry cxaggcratcd conccpt ol
a sccond, cqual and cvil God. Somc ol thc Jcws and
somc ol thc Grcck bclicvcrs adoptcd this cxtrcmc. As
wc shall scc, somc rcactcd against that cxtrcmc so com
plctcly that thcy adoptcd a ncoplatonic undcrstanding
ol a God who is thc author ol cvil and sucring but
who has mystcrious (pcrhaps good) purposcs in mind.
Vcstcrn Christianity to this day is conluscd about
this pointthc rolc ol cvil throughout all naturc as
wcll as thc human rccord. Tc tcndcncy wc thus havc
is to ignorc thc cxistcncc ol an cvil angclic pcrsonality
and gcncrally, and hcroically, to bc rcsigncd to cvil as
somcthing wc must allow God to work out lor good
without any dclibcratc cort on our part to undcrstand
and dcstroy thc sourcc ol that cvil.
For cxamplc, thc magniccnt Lausannc Covcnant
spcaks ol Spiritual Varlarc but rclcrs to only two
wcapons against cviltruth and praycr. Tis ignorcs thc
urgcnt ncccssity ol involvcmcnt on thc physical lcvcl ol
not only combatting discasc but thc many pcrvcrsions ol
our gcnctic inhcritancc as sccn in thc violcncc ol naturc.
!n rcgard to this unawarcncss ol thc naturc ol cvil wc
arc likc thc child soldicrs ol Vcst Alrica who havc an
amulct hung around thcir nccks which thcy arc assurcd
will not allow any bullct to hit thcm. Tcy arc to bc
protcctcd purcly by truth and praycr, so to spcak.
8ut thc Ncw Tcstamcnt prcdominantly spcaks in mili
tary tcrms. Vc ght not against csh and blood but
against powcrs ol darkncss who arc in somc ways still
rulcrs ol this world. !n thc NT Satan is now out ol thc
closct. Tc kingdom ol God manilcstcd in thc church
will contcst thc kingdom ol darkncss and its gatcs will
not hold out against thc advancc ol Gods powcr. ur
wcapons arc both spiritual and concrctc. Vc arc callcd
as soldicrs to ghtnot just to gloat ovcr our own sal
vation. Vc arc to bc soldicrs maximizing our inucncc
against thc god ol this world, not survivors maximizing
our comlorts whilc waiting lor thc millcnnium.
Tc 8iblc makcs indclibly clcar that our mission is to
glorily God among all pcoplcs, and that this is cs
scntially a battlc against darkncss and cvil, a battlc
in which thcrc will bc many casualtics. !l wc arc not
idcnticd with cvcry cort to dcmonstratc thc will ol
God against cvil wc arc to that cxtcnt lailing to dcclarc
Gods lull glory.
Tis, thcn, allows intclligcnt pcoplc to wondcr what
kind ol a God wc havc who docs not ask His lollow
crs to ght cvil on His bchall. r worsc, lairmindcd
pcoplc will wondcr what kind ol a God wc havc who
appcars unconccrncd to rcstorc His crcation lrom a
lallcn statc, who apparcntly is in lull rctrcat bclorc thc
lorccs ol darkncss and thcrclorc lavors mcrcly a world
widc cort to bail pcoplc out ol this world into a sanc
and sanitary hcavcn.
Vith thc additional loundation ol thc Ncw Tcstamcnt
nally bchind thcm, lollowcrs ol Jcsus Christ movcd
66 Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
out into thc world. Vc now can look back ovcr 2,000
ycars ol thcir corts. !t is a truly amazing story that
rushcs right up to our door and cngulls us. Vc will
now look at thosc twcnty ccnturics.
Part 3: After Jesus
Te Second Half of the Story
Unto whomsocvcr much is givcn ol him shall much bc
rcquircd, says thc King Jamcs 8iblc. vcn bclorc thc ap
pcarancc ol thc Son ol God, human socictics in all parts
ol thc carth had rcccivcd much. All human socictics
dcrivcd lrom dcn and thus may still posscss a rcsidual
knowlcdgc ol Godthc onc high God ol which on
Richardson talks about in his book, Eternity in Teir
Hearts. !n addition, thcy had thc 8ook ol Crcation. Vc
quotc again what Paul statcd in Romans 1: Sincc thc
crcation ol thc world Gods invisiblc qualiticsHis
ctcrnal powcr and divinc naturchavc bccn clcarly sccn,
bcing undcrstood lrom what has bccn madc, so that mcn
arc without cxcusc. Tc Psalmist had said it carlicrthat
thc hcavcns dcclarc thc glory ol God and thcrc is no
spccch or languagc whcrc thcir voicc is not hcard (Ps 19).
ncc Jcsus appcarcd, and lor thc rst timc sincc dcn,
a totally ncw clcmcnt cntcrcd into human aairs.
8oth thc scriousncss ol rcjcction and thc scriousncss
ol bclicl and obcdicncc with this ncw knowlcdgc now
cscalatc distinctivcly as lar and as widc as rcliablc word
ol thc pcrson ol Jcsus Christ bccomcs known.
l coursc, His blood was alrcady thc (unknown) basis
upon which mcn and womcn ol laith and obcdicncc
lor many ccnturics had drawn closc to God. !t had
alrcady bccn truc that thosc pcoplc ol laith without
knowlcdgc ol thc Ncw Tcstamcnt prior to thc !ncar
nation could only trust and obcy thc gracc ol God
without knowing thc dctails, that is, knowing only thc
mcssagc ol thc Gospcl without knowing thc basis
ol thc Gospcl. Vould it not bc rcasonablc lor this to
rcmain truc lor thosc altcr thc !ncarnation who know
only thc simplc mcssagc ol thc Gospcl and not yct thc
basis ol that Gospcl:
!n any cvcnt, thosc who did know dctails about thc
pcrson ol Jcsus immcdiatcly bcgan to grow into a ncw
transnational movcmcnt grcatly hastcning thc cxtcnsion
ol thc Kingdom ol God. Tis movcmcnt built signi
cantly on thc loundation ol dccadcs and ccnturics ol
Jcwish witncssby Pauls day pcrhaps a million God
lcarcrs who attcndcd synagogucs and, likc Cornclius,
had bccn groundcd in thc Vord (thc Scptuagint).
Tis movcmcnt cxtcnsivcly changcd thc world in thc
ncxt 2,000 ycars. A vcry intclligiblc way to tcll that story
is to spcak ol 400ycar cpochs, cach bcginning in chaos
or cxtrcmc dicultics and yct cnding in a ourishing ol
thc Gospcl in a ncw cultural basin, thc ourishing cach
timc bcing labclcd Rcnaissanccs, all but thc rst bcing
a labcl rccognizcd by sccular scholars.
0 AD to 400 ADthe Romans
Vhilc thc Vord wcnt in all dircctions it promincntly
changcd livcs within thc supcrbly intcrconncctcd Ro
man mpirc, no doubt with its grcatcst conccntration
at thc ast cnd ol thc Mcditcrrancan.
8y 300 A, it had grown so strong that thc grcatcst
and most scvcrc pcrsccution ol all (undcr ioclctian)
lailcd to conqucr it, and statc rccognition ol it bccamc
incvitablc. !n addition, thc son ol a major Roman gcn
cral, Constantinc, whosc mothcr and wilc wcrc Chris
tian, scizcd thc cmpcrors thronc. Hc immcdiatcly
madc pcacc with thc Christian movcmcnt and divcrtcd
statc lunds lrom pagan pricsts to Christian lcadcrs.
Tis had both positivc and ncgativc rcsults, thc lattcr
oltcn cmphasizcd in phrascs likc thc lall ol thc church.
Howcvcr, it allowcd thc prcscrvation ol documcntary rc
cords. Vc think right away ol uscbius and his massivc
compilation ol carlicr writcrsthc major quarry lrom
which wc minc inlormation about thc carlicr church
lcadcrs and thc Roman cmpirc itscll. !ndccd, this politi
cal twist madc possiblc thc rming up ol thc contcnts
ol thc Ncw Tcstamcnt. !t also bcgan thc translation ol
thc cntirc 8iblc into Latin. !t stoppcd thc pcrsccution
ol Christians, and, bcgan thc pcrsccution ol Christians
outsidc ol thc cmpirc, laying thc groundwork lor !slam.
!t also suddcnly crcatcd a scmiocial movcmcnt (madc
ocial ovcr a hall ccntury latcr) ol statcsupportcd
lunctionarics who oltcn kncw littlc ol thc truth ol thc
Gospcl, yct manncd lormcr pagan tcmplcs. Vorst ol all,
it idcnticd thc laith with a major military powcr and
causcd immcdiatc, massivc slaughtcr ol Christians in
lands outsidc ol thc mpirc, such as Pcrsia. !t was loss ol
lilc lar worsc than thc combincd Roman govcrnmcnts
pcrsccution ol bclicvcrs within thc cmpirc during thc rst
thrcc ccnturics.
Tis visiblc, public vcrsion ol thc laith has bccn callcd
Tc Church ol Powcr by Rodncy Stark in contrast to
Ralph D. Winter 6
Tc Church ol Picty which continucd on mainly in
thc lorm ol much morc 8iblically knowlcdgcablc and
accountablc lcllowships at thc houschold lcvcl and in
thc growing monastic communitics. Vhat happcncd
was altogcthcr morc positivc than ncgativc.
Vhat might bc callcd thc Classical Rcnaissancc thus
charactcrizcd thc Christian owcring ol thc lourth
ccntury, constituting thc invasion by thc laith into a
major cultural basinthc primarily Grcck and Latin
clcmcnts in thc Roman cmpirc. !n addition, Ccltic
populations in ngland and !rcland, Gothic tribcs in
middlc uropc, as wcll as arcas to thc ast, such as
Pcrsia, had bccn signicantly acctcdmorc by cxilcd
hcrctics than by scnt missionarics.
For various rcasons, howcvcr, thc Roman cmpirc was
sagging. Tc tribal socictics outsidc ol thc cmpirc in
thc north had long bccn sourccs ol rccruits lor thc Ro
man army. Altcr scrvicc thcy addcd signicant military
skill to tribal military prowcss. Tus, whcn thcy thcm
sclvcs wcrc invadcd and prcssurcd lrom thc stcppcs
ol Asia, thcy spillcd ovcr into thc mpirc and nally
in 410 actually occupicd thc city ol Romc itscll. Tcir
limitcd grasp ol thc laith at lcast madc that occupation
rclativcly mild and uncharactcristically nondcstructivc.
Mcanwhilc Constantinc had movcd thc scat ol cmpirc to
Constantinoplc (!stanbul), and thc ncw Romc, callcd thc
8yzantinc cmpirc, was unablc to prop up thc Vcst which
bccamc oodcd with tribal pcoplcswho wcrc Chris
tians ol a sort cvcntually adopting Catholic doctrinc.
400 AD to 800 ADthe Barbarians
Soon altcr 400 A thc Romans pullcd thcir lcgions
out ol southcrn ngland, and altcr 300 ycars ol rcla
tivcly stablc, litcratc civilization, chaos and unccrtainty
cnsucd, primarily duc to thc immcdiatc savagc invasion
ol Anglcs and Saxons.
Vhilc thc rst pcriod, 0400 A, cndcd in what ! havc
alrcady callcd Tc Classical Rcnaissancc, lrom 400
to 800 thc chicl and most durablc rcality in Vcstcrn
uropc was thc monastic movcmcnt which plantcd
hundrcds ol 8iblc study ccntcrs bcyond todays !talyin
todays Spain, Francc and ngland. !n thcsc ccntcrs thc
mcmbcrs not only sang thcir way through thc Psalms
wcckly, and paticntly madc high quality copics ol
8iblical manuscripts, thcy gathcrcd librarics ol Roman
classical litcraturc and mcdiatcd much ol thc cmpircs
tcchnological progrcss. Most ol thc major citics ol
uropc had thcir bcginning in thcsc monastic ccntcrs.
Latourcttc commcnts:
To thc monastcrics was obviously duc much clcaring
ol land and improvcmcnt in mcthods ol agriculturc. !n
thc midst ol barbarism, thc monastcrics wcrc ccntrcs
ol ordcrly and scttlcd lilc and monks wcrc assigncd thc
duty ol roadbuilding and road rcpair. Until thc risc ol
thc towns in thc clcvcnth ccntury, thcy wcrc pionccrs in
industry and commcrcc. Tc shops ol thc monastcrics
prcscrvcd thc industrics ol Roman timcs.
!n thc vcry middlc ol this 400 to 800 pcriod thc Chris
tians outsidc ol thc cmpirc to thc south and cast bc
camc absorbcd in thc Scmitic altcrnativc to thc Roman
lorm ol thc laith, !slam, cvcntually winning much ol
thc antiRoman Middlc ast and all ol North Alrica
and Spain, only to bc stoppcd at thc 8attlc ol Tours in
southcrn Francc in 710.
From carlicr Ccltic Christianity camc thc most ad
vanccd scholarship, which is amazing. Not only did
thcir missionarics do thc major work ol convcrting thc
invading AngloSaxons, thcir missionarics lanncd out
across uropc. From thcir lcarning ccntcrs in ngland
and !rcland Charlcmagnc loundcd schools and invitcd
thousands ol Ccltic tcachcrs to bring litcracy and
lcarning to thc contincnt.
8y 800 A thcrc was a signicant ourishing ol thc
laith undcr Charlcmagnc, which scholars rclcr to as
thc Carolingian Rcnaissancc. Charlcmagnc was a sc
rious bclicvcr and a morc promincnt lcadcr in thc cn
tirc world than any human bcing lor ccnturics bclorc
and altcr. At this point, howcvcr, Ccntral uropc was
lacing what Churchill callcd two smashing cxtcrnal
assaultsnot only thc Muslims lrom thc south but
now thc \ikings lrom thc north.
800 AD to 1200 AD
Tus thc 800 to 1200 pcriod bcgan with impcnding
chaos and unccrtainty that lastcd 250 ycars until thc
\ikings wcrc supcrcially convcrtcd and had occupicd
much ol !rcland, ngland and Ccntral uropc. Tcir
raids into Ccntral uropc arc lcgcndary. !n thc An
glican praycr book you still nd From thc lury ol thc
northmcn, Lord, dclivcr us. Unlikc thc scmiChris
tian Gothic tribcs which had carlicr invadcd Romc,
thcsc Scandinavians, although brilliant scamcn and
navigators, wcrc ruthlcss and barbaric. Vc scc human
sacricc, cvcn thc sclling ol thcir own pcoplc into slav
68 Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
cry in thc North Alrican slavc markcts. Tcir turning
to Christianity was in grcat part duc to thc witncss ol
capturcd young womcn who kcpt thc laith (parallcl
to thc girl in Naaman thc Syrians houschold) having
bccn capturcd on raids. Tcy also wcrc attractcd to thc
pcoplcs and socictics, and ycs, thc church ncry, which
thcy savagcd.
Tcir convcrsion prcparcd thc way lor a ncw cxcrcisc
ol military action and thc cmploymcnt ol thcir raiding
skills, inasmuch as all ol thc Crusadcs wcrc lcd by mcn
ol \iking dcsccnt. As stcrling as wcrc thc durablc gains
ol thc monastic movcmcnt, thc largcr populacc which
was caught up in a supcrcial Christianity was still
dccply anchorcd in ignorancc and tribal supcrstitions.
8ut by 1200 things had scttlcd down signicantly such
that wc scc again a rcnaissancc ol sorts, oltcn callcd
thc Twcllth Ccntury Rcnaissancc. 8y thcn not only
had thc \iking raids bccomc a horror ol thc past, thc
Cluny rclorm and thc Cistcrcians had grccncd uropc.
Tc univcrsitics wcrc born, Cathcdrals wcrc bcing
built, and, most important, thc Friars wcrc invcntcda
typc ol monastic disciplinc that was no longcr ticd to
monastic scttlcmcnts but carricd thc laith to a now lcss
turbulcnt outsidc world. 8oth thc Franciscans and thc
ominicans wcrc in vicw by 1200, thc lattcr talking
spccically about cvangclizing thc cntirc globc.
1200 AD to 1600 AD
Tc pattcrn ol thc carlicr thrcc supcrccnturics is onc in
which wc scc, cach timc, thc invasion ol 8iblical laith
into a ncw cultural basinthc Grcck and Latin, thc
Gothic, and thc Scandinavian worlds rcspcctivcly. Also,
in cach casc, carly chaos is lollowcd by a ourishing ol
laith toward thc cnd ol thc pcriod, that pcriod ol rc
naissancc cach timc gctting longcr and morc prolound.
Tc 1200 to 1600 pcriod, howcvcr, docs not prcciscly
showcasc a ncw cultural basin. !n onc scnsc thc cxpan
sion ol thc laith at this point in history had run into a
dcadcnd strcct. Vcstcrn uropc was a gcographi
cal culdcsac bordcrcd on thc north by icc, thc wcst
by occan, and thc south by thc !slamic Mcditcrrancan.
You could say that thc Crusadcs rcprcscntcd an cort to
cvangclizc toward thc onc opcn dircction to thc ast, but
thc Crusadcs wcrc in lact a tragically illinlormcd vcnturc,
doomcd to lailurc primarily bccausc thc Crusadcrs thcm
sclvcs wcrc not lar bcyond tribalism whilc thc socictics
thcy sought to conqucr had inhcritcd all ol thc commcrcc,
scholarship and political acumcn ol thc Roman mpirc.
Tc 1200 to 1600 pcriod docs, howcvcr, havc its pcriod
ol chaos, in thc lorm ol thc 8lack Plaguc, which killcd
onc third ol thc population ol uropc. Tis pcriod also
had, toward thc cnd, its rcnaissancc, what is usually
callcd Tc Rcnaissancc. uropc was rising and grow
ing bcyond tribalism.
Tc univcrsitics wcrc a major inucncc in this proccss.
8ut thc biggcst boost camc lrom thc 8iblc through thc
invcntion ol movcablc typc. At that timcin Luthcrs
daythcrc wcrc as many Muslims as Christians, and thc
lormcr wcrc morc highly cducatcd, sophisticatcd, and
civilizcd. 8ut thcir languagc could not bc printcd with
scparatc lcttcrs, and in any cvcnt, thcir 8ook, thc Quran,
which thcy addcd to thc 8iblc, had virtually rcplaccd thc
8iblc. Vithin 50 ycars ol Gutcnbcrg, by Luthcrs day, a
quartcr ol a million printcd matcrials, scvcntyvc pcr
ccnt rcligious, cntcrcd thc bloodstrcam ol uropc. Tcy
stimulatcd a totally unprcccdcntcd scicncc, statcsmanship,
industry, and tcchnology. Vithin a couplc ol ccnturics
this dclugc ol 8iblicallyoricntcd documcnts had pro
duccd historys grcatcst and most uniquc marvcl, namcly
thc undcnablc, cvcn mystcrious, phcnomcnon ambigu
ously callcd Vcstcrn Civilization. Tis dcvclopmcnt
within a short timc produccd twicc as many Christians as
Muslims, cvcn morc important, it brought many changcs
in socicty which dccisivcly movcd bcyond !slam.
Conccalcd in this pcriod is a major transition parallcl
to thc transition lrom Jcwish culturc to Grcck culturc
as dctailcd in thc Ncw Tcstamcnt. !t is, in part, thc
shilt lrom Latin to Gcrman, a longdclaycd mighty
shrugging o ol a Mcditcrrancan lormulation ol thc
laith lor various indigcnous, northcrn lormulations.
All this was thought by Mcditcrrancan bclicvcrs to bc
a dcparturc ol laith but was much morc a dcparturc ol
culturc. Tus, lor most obscrvcrs it has bccn intcrprctcd
to bc a contcst ol doctrinc bctwccn thc Rclormcrs and
thc Popc and his lollowcrs, whcn actually it was much
morc a massivc shilting ol cultural gcars, a rclcasc ol
northcrn pcoplcs lrom lorcign customs, traditions and
pcrspcctivcs in which thc laith had bccn packagcd.
Just as Grcck lormulations had carlicr rcplaccd thc
Jcwish carricr vchiclc, thc Jcwish way ol lilc, but not
thc ( Jcwish) 8iblical laith, so now, in thc Rclormation,
Gcrmanic lormulations rcplaccd a Latin way ol lilc but
not thc 8iblical laith within thc Latin carricr vchiclc.
Anothcr parallcl would bc thc cmcrgcncc ol an !slamic
tradition (which could almost havc bccn prcdictcd)
Ralph D. Winter 6
which providcd a dicrcnt, Scmitic, cultural vchiclc
lrom thc Roman and thc spccically Jcwish cultural
vchiclcs, but hcld on to thc basic monothcism ol thc
8iblc and much morc, cvcn thc virgin birth ol Christ.
Today similar transitions arc taking placc. Many ycars
transpircd during which Gcrmanic pcoplcs bccamc
involvcd in a Latin ccclcsiastical tradition. Fourtccn
complctc 8iblcs had bccn translatcd into Gcrman
bclorc Luthcr produccd a much morc widcly uscd
translation which thcn laid thc basis lor thc unity ol
thc modcrn Gcrman languagc and statc. Finally, thc
Latin tradition was rcplaccd with various indigcnous
traditions, such as Anglican and Rclormcd (Calvin
ist), mainly in tcrritorics ncvcr lully Romanizcd.
1600 AD to 2000 AD
Tis pcriod is split in hall by thc ravagcs ol thc
Frcnch Rcvolution and Napolcons wars. !n thc rst
hall, bctwccn 1600 and 1800, Catholic missionarics
cncompasscd thc world with a massivc hcad start ovcr
Protcstants who had still not lound thc Grcat Com
mission in thc 8iblc. As carly as 1210 thc ominican
lriars wcrc talking about going to thc cnds ol thc
carth but thc mcchanisms ol such trips wcrc miss
ing. Global circumnavigation nally was achicvcd
and Roman Catholic missionarics wcrc prcscnt on all
colonial ships. Tc utch Protcstants wcrc out thcrc
carly, too, but did nothing ol a missionary naturc.
Tc Japancsc wcrc so rcpcllcd by Catholic mis
sion prcssurcs that thcy closcd thcir ports to all but
utch ships.
Tcn, by 1800, massivc Catholic mission corts all
ovcr thc world wcrc almost latally damagcd whcn thcir
nancial roots in uropc wcrc cut by thc Frcnch Rcvo
lution and thc Napolconic wars.
At that samc momcnt ol history thc 8ritish cmpirc
bcgan to risc and Protcstant missions bcgan with thc
Villiam Carcy tricklc, cvcntually to gropc thcir way
into ood tidc oltcn surpassing thc carlicr Catho
lic inucncc. Tcy wcnt out to thc coastlands ol thc
carth, latcr going inland, and nally locusing on
spccic bypasscd or ovcrlookcd pcoplc groupsun
rcachcd pcoplcs.
!n this nal pcriod, 1600 to 2000, altcr many ycars
within a basically Vcstcrn Christian tradition wc
notc thc vangclical Rcnaissancc (morc oltcn callcd
the Evangelical Awakening) in which thc Vcst is signil
icantly grccncd. At thc samc timc massivc scculariza
tion took placc, rcvcaling thc supcrciality which had
lor a long timc bccn thc shallow laith ol thc majority.
Toward thc cnd ol thc pcriod millions ol Alricans,
!ndians, and Chincsc wcrc lorging ncw cultural vc
hiclcs lor thc laith which arc so dicrcnt as oltcn to bc
mistakcn lor shccr hcrcsy, as happcncd in thc birth ol
carlicr traditions, thc only common dcnominator now
bcing a ncw zcal lor thc study ol thc 8iblc in placc ol
lorcign ccclcsiastical and thcological traditions.
Tc vcry word Christianity bccamc trcatcd morc and morc
as incscapably and culturally Vcstcrn rathcr than purcly
8iblical. Amcricans had alrcady rcsigncd thcmsclvcs with
a ccrtain cquanimity in thc lacc ol disparatc 8aptists,
Prcsbytcrians, Anglicans, and pcrhaps cvcn Catholics,
but thcy wcrc not now wcll prcparcd to rccognizc as au
thcntically 8iblical various major ncw movcmcnts which
oltcn courtcously dcclinc to usc thc vcry word Christianity.
Yct, thcsc ncw movcmcnts ol dcvout bclicvcrs in Christ
in Alrica, !ndia, and China may outnumbcr all dcvout
rccognizablc Christians in thosc arcas.
Vc now lacc thc prcssurc (thc ncccssity:) ol giving up
as trcasurcd touch stoncs thc supposcd ccntrality ol our
own lavoritc thcological traditions, whcthcr thcy comc
lrom Augustinc, Aquinas, Luthcr or Calvin, in lavor ol
a ncw dircct rcliancc on thc 8iblc itscll.
Mcanwhilc wc arc surpriscd and conccrncd, along with
thc Roman Popc, at thc proposcd constitution ol thc
uropcan Union which makcs no rclcrcncc to Chris
tianity in giving crcdit to uropcs past. ur school
tcxtbooks and our univcrsity dcpartmcnts havc now lor
so long warrcd against any rccognition ol thc impact ol
thc 8iblical laith in thc mystcrious phcnomcnon ol thc
Risc ol Vcstcrn civilization, that wc arc dclightcd to
scc Rodncy Starks book, For the Glory of God, thc thc
sis ol which, according to thc book jackct, is Vhcthcr
wc likc it or not, pcoplc acting lor thc glory ol God
havc lormcd our modcrn culturc.
Such a statcmcnt is daringly contrary to thc massivc sccu
lar bias ol our timc, which actually blamcs rcligion rathcr
than crcdits thc impact ol thc 8iblc with most ol thc
bcnccial things that makc Vcstcrn civilization uniquc.
Tc story wc tcll is not nishcd. 8ut thc uniquc situ
ation in thc nal 50 ycars ol thc 2000 ycar pcriod
and a prognosis ol thc luturc wc approach in our
ncxt chaptcr.
o Tnv S:ovv ov iv Pi~xv:
Te Story: Part 4
Te Final MomentsBeyond
World War II
Vc bcgan our prcvious chaptcr with thc quotation
lrom thc King Jamcs \crsion, Unto whosocvcr much
is givcn ol him shall much bc rcquircd. Tc nal lcw
momcnts ol history contain an cxplosion ol totally un
prcccdcntcd complcxity. 8clorc Vorld Var !! Amcri
cans wcrc struggling out ol thc grcatcst dcprcssion ol
thcir history. Most Amcricans wcrc poor. Yct, by thc
ycar 2002 thc most common problcm lor most Amcri
cans was whcrc to storc all ol oncs cxccss posscssions.
At thc samc timc thc globc in gcncral was still wcighcd
down with scrious and virtually unsolvablc problcms.
Grcatly incrcascd population undcrlay many ol thcsc
problcms. vcry month thousands ol young womcn wcrc
bcing lurcd out ol ccntral uropc into global prostitution.
National Geographic rcportcd that 27 million pcoplc arc
cnslavcd in thc world today, morc than at any othcr timc
(cvcn il a smallcr pcrccntagc), many actually in thc USA.
Harpers Magazine rcportcd that in thc ycar 2002 lour
timcs as many pcoplc dicd in trac accidcnts as in
wars. Tis lact rcccts thc ovcrlay ol tcchnology that is
now at lcast lightly global.
Vhat cscapcs noticc is that today thc biggcst killcr ol
all is not war or trac accidcnts but discasc. vcryonc
knows that thc global south tccms with millions pullcd
down to thcir gravcs prcmaturcly by discasc, A!S
now addcd to malaria, and a host ol othcr grucsomc
discascs. 8ut cvcn in thc Unitcd Statcs ninc out ol tcn
dcaths arc prcmaturc duc to discasc. Canccr and hcart
discasc accounts lor hall ol this, and il wcighcd against
thc 8lack Plaguc would cxcccd thc lattcrs ravagcs.
Mcanwhilc thc global cncrgics ol vangclicals virtually
ignorc thc sourccs ol discasc. Vc takc carc ol thc sick.
8ut, our inhcritcd thcologicshammcrcd out bclorc
gcrms wcrc knownblind us to thc nccd to war against
thc discasc pathogcns thcmsclvcs, which constitutc an
cnormous onslaught against Crcation. Vould Satan bc
plcascd bccausc wc spcnt 99 ol our availablc mcdical/
pharmaccutical lunds on curcs rathcr than causcs:
Vc must rcmcmbcr that vision is lorcsight with in
sight bascd on hindsight. ocs all this makc scnsc in
tcrms ol thc Story wc arc attcmpting to lollow: Vhat
docs our hindsight tcll us:
Conclusion
Hindsight tclls us, lor onc thing, that pcrhaps thc most
signicant cvcnt ol thc sccond millcnnium occurrcd
just altcr Vorld Var !!. Prior to that war, altcr 500
ycars ol Vcstcrn conqucst ol virtually thc cntirc planct,
thc wholc nonVcstcrn world was by 1945 undcr thc
dircct or closcly indircct control ol Vcstcrn political
statcs. All but Tailand, and that arca was lclt intcn
tionally autonomous as a bucr statc bctwccn 8ritish
8urma and Frcnch !ndochina. vcn in Tailand thc
dominant cxtcrnal inucncc was thc Vcst.
8ut in thc 25 ycars following Vorld Var !! somcthing
happcncd on thc world lcvcl that had ncvcr happcncd
bclorc and could ncvcr happcn again. vcr thirty ycars
ago ! wrotc about this pcriod ol Tc TwcntyFivc
Unbclicvablc Ycars in a small book by that titlc.
Vhilc, at thc bcginning ol 1945, 99.5 ol thc non
Vcstcrn world was controllcd by thc Vcst, 25 ycars
latcr at thc cnd ol 1969 only .5 was still undcr
Vcstcrn control. mpircs that had lastcd ccnturics
collapscd. uropcans withdrcw into thcir turtlc shclls
lccling bruiscd and angry, although in somc cascs
proud ol what thcy had donc. 8ut thcir angcr was
cxcccdcd by thc antagonistic lcclings on thc part ol
thosc many nationalitics which had during this pcriod
wrcstlcd lrcc lrom Vcstcrn domination.
Now thcsc dozcns ol ncw countrics crowdcd into thc
Unitcd Nations and wcnt on thcir way sprinting or
staggcring into thc luturc.
Altcr anothcr 25 ycars it bccamc clcar that many ol thc
original rcgimcs ol thcsc ncw nation statcs would not
makc it. Robcrt Kaplans lamous cssay on Tc Coming
Anarchy prcdictcd a brcakdown ol at lcast Vcst Alrica
into pcrvasivc chaos. Mcanwhilc totalitarian rcgimcs
wcrc gradually rcplaccd as cmbryonic dcmocracy was
choscn ovcr cithcr Communism or Fascism, a shilt so
prolound as oltcn to ushcr in morc staggcring.
Today it sccms as though nuclcar wcapons arc availablc
to cvcry nation, and thc Vcsts tcchnology is rapidly
adoptcd in much ol thc world. !ndia, onc ol thc worlds
most nccdy nations is also ahcad ol thc Vcst in many
arcas ol tcchnology. vcn in thc USA onc out ol cight
pcoplc, a group thc sizc ol Calilornias population, still
livcs bclow thc povcrty lcvcl. South China was ablc
to modcrnizc ovcrnight, it sccms. Tc toys, trinkcts
and trappings ol thc Vcst no longcr bclong to just
Ralph D. Winter +
thc Vcst. !n Pakistan whcrc hundrcds ol thousands
ol childrcn arc workcd to dcath50 ol thcm by
thc timc thcy arc twclvcthc coming trcnd is to takc
bcttcr carc ol thcm bccausc thcir labor is so salablc
to thc Vcst, making much ol Vcstcrns laborsaving
machincs uncconomical by comparison.
Tis is a dcvclopmcnt somcwhat parallcl to thc bcttcr
mcnt ol uropcan scrls whcn thc 8lack Plaguc madc
thcm morc scarcc. !ronically, lor thc Vcst to dcpcnd
on lowpriccd labor around thc world tcnds in thc long
run to raisc thc pricc ol that labor and thc incomc ol
thosc involvcd.
8ut, now, what valid gcncralizations can wc makc
about thc ncar and lar luturc: And how docs all this
t into our story ol Gods kingdom cxpanding without
rctrcat, bcginning just ycstcrday with thc appcarancc
ol homo sapiens?
Tcrc arc gigantic, unprcccdcntcd changcs. Tc num
bcr onc cvidcncc is skyrockcting global population duc
principally to thc conqucst ol many discascs and thc
rclativc rcduction ol wars.
!l nations ol thc world all consumcd natural rcsourccs
at thc ratc ol thc Vcst thcrc arc alrcady cnough pcoplc
on this planct to cxhaust all ol this in months. !n any
casc, it is dicult to avoid thc conclusion that somc
thing so basic and csscntial to thc Vcstcrn way ol lilc
as cncrgy will not lor much longcr comc lrom lossil
lucls. !ndccd, oil and gas dcposits will soon no longcr
bc considcrcd lucl sincc burning thcm is not as stra
tcgic as thcir uscs lor othcr purposcs. Tat crisis ol
dcclining sourccs ol oil and gas will hit thc world vcry
hard by 2010, according to somc rcscarchcrs.
cspitc thc amazing progrcss which mcdicinc has
madc in undcrstanding and ghting many discascs it
is not at all clcar that wc arc making any pcrmancnt
gains. And, in rcgard to warthat othcr major mcnacc
ol mankindas Kaplan says, thinking ol Vcst Alrica
cspccially, thc worst rash ol wars may bc just ahcad.
So whcrc is thc kingdom ol God in all this: Philip
Jcnkins in his Next Christendom paints a vcry rosy
picturc ol global Christianity without, pcrhaps, tak
ing scriously thc incrcasing phcnomcnon ol othcr
movcmcnts to Christ bursting cntircly outsidc ol thc
cultural strcam ol Christianity.
n thc othcr hand, Jonathan Ricc, a scrious missionary
thinkcr, has rcvisitcd thc widcly acclaimcd vangclical
Awakcning which rockcd ngland in thc 18th ccntury.
Hc points out that thc altcrmath ol thc vangclical
Awakcning in ngland, largcly cmotional, was latcr
largcly ncgativc, ushcring millions ol thc ncxt gcncra
tion lor thc rst timc into scrious agnosticism.
nc gcncralization is salc: things arc gctting both
worsc and bcttcr at thc samc timc. !t is not a complctcly
uncvcn contcst lavoring cvil. Many bclicvcrs scc only
thc ncgativcs and grasp at tcachings about a rapturc that
will rcscuc thc laithlul bclorc things gct too bad. thcrs
scc only thc good but arc unprcparcd to scriously attack
thc cvils. Somc ol thcm havc thc opinion that this is
Tc bcst ol all possiblc worlds and that cvils thcm
sclvcs originatc with thc mystcrious purposcs ol God.
8ut is it mcrcly an cxpanding Kingdom wc should kccp
in sight: r can it bcttcr bc statcd as thc rcstoration ol
thc truc glory ol God and thc progrcssivc, csscntial dclcat
ol a major cclcstial countcr bcing: !l this uncommon
pcrspcctivc is at all valid, il rcstoring Gods glory through
strugglc is ccntral, noticc how rclativcly supcrcial is
much ol our cvangclism that docs not so much scck to
cxtol and rccstablish thc truc attributcs ol God as it has
bccn dcvclopcd as a marvclous markcting toolcmploy
ing both a dcsirablc carrot and a lcarsomc club.
!n this light ! pcrsonally havc comc to thc conclusion
that thc most scrious lronticr in missions is thc high
wall bctwccn our laith community and a world truly
awcd by thc cxplorations ol scicnccthc Rcligion ol
Scicncc. Tc two books ol ivinc rcvclation, nature
and scripture, havc bccn givcn to us to cnablc us to gct
closcr to God. Tc lormcr spcaks in a voicc hcard in
cvcry languagc and tonguc, thc lattcr must bc painstak
ingly translatcd into thousands ol thosc tongucs. Yct,
vangclicals tcnd to dcrclict thc onc book in lavor ol
thc othcr, whilc scicntists who want nothing to do with
thc book ol scripturc do thc oppositc, cspccially il thc
Christians, lor thcir part, rcad thcir book ol scripturc to
mcan that naturc docs not spcak ol thc glory ol God.