End Result: Corruption
By Anthony Casperson
A few video game console generations ago, there was a game that I very much liked playing. For about 5 or 6 years, I’d played it at least once a year. As I once again approached a time in the year where I could play the game, I wanted to try something different.
And so, I bought a cheating device.
On account of the fact that I’d beaten the game multiple times, I figured it wouldn’t hurt me at all to cheat. Plus, the idea of leveling up characters with whom I never played sounded like a lot of fun. And since it wasn’t an online game, it wasn’t like I’d be hurting anybody else’s fun in the game either. I just wanted to have a little bit of different experience and there would be no injury at all to anyone.
At first, it seemed that the device didn’t want to work. I looked up what the problem might be. And tried a few. All with no result. However, in the process of failing to have the cheating device take control of the system, I discovered that the game’s save file had become entirely corrupted.
I lost everything.
The save data of every previous playthrough. The ability to play a game on the console without entirely resetting the whole thing to factory settings. And any sense of fun. It was all gone.
Had I continued to play the game as the creators had designed, I’d have been fine. But because I wanted some “harmless” fun that was not intended by the designers, I wound up with total corruption.
But this is not the only case where the desire for some “harmless” fun can result in unintended corruption.
There’s a tendency, in some circles, to downplay (or entirely ignore) the sinfulness of our culture’s perspective on human sexuality. (And there are a large number of other specific sins that could be listed here, but given western culture’s proclivities, this is the one I’ll mention.) This tendency often proclaims that there are “bigger” problems to deal with. And some proponents even deny the universality of the bible’s statements about God’s intended design for his human creation.
However, a statement or belief that belittles any part of the bible, or considers it to be outdated and out of fashion, actually is a big deal. At least, for any who actually rest their hope in Jesus.
The concept of the inerrancy of scripture, the wholly reliable truth of the word of God, comes under attack if we state that certain words recorded in the bible are no longer valid or right because we’ve “moved beyond” such antiquated cultural norms.
After all, Paul writes in 2 Tim. 3:16-17 that all scripture is God-breathed (they are the very words of the sinless, eternal, unerring Creator of everything). But not only that, the words of the bible are also profitable/useful/beneficial to us for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. And the purpose of the words are all so that we servants of God might be properly equipped to perform every good work set before us to do.
If every piece of the bible is beneficial to us, then how can there be a part that we say is detrimental to us if we state it in the present? How can we teach, rebuke, correct, and train with verses we find problematic? And most certainly, these verses tell us that the word of God is the biggest deal when looking to do good works because they are what gives us the strength and ability to do the good works.
But even more importantly, if we’re able to deny or dispute the rightness of certain words in the bible, where does this doubt stop? What’s the limitation? And who decides where it is?
Can we trust that we even have a problem to be saved from? That Jesus can save? Are we really sure that Jesus said he was God in human flesh? Doubt and questions in one place allows for questions in other places of scripture. Like, can we be sure that the words stating Jesus was raised from the dead (as proof of God’s acceptance of his sacrifice) are true? Are these words just some ancient cultural way to speak to a deeper truth that we need to once again rediscover?
Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:12-19, if Christ is not raised from the dead, then we have no hope. And we are to be pitied above all other humans. Our persistence in standing firm in this life with all of its travesties and difficulties is for nothing if there is no truth to it.
We’d lose everything.
I know that this perspective can sound all “doom and gloom.” Like maybe I’m just trying to showcase the worst possible outcome because I have some vendetta against people who disagree with me. (I don’t, but that could be a claim from some people.) But answer me this: Who holds the right to declare which parts of the bible are 100% the very words breathed by God, if we start declaring some parts as problematic and antiquated?
And if you want to go down that trail, searching for some way to get the “harmless” result you desire to prove good, be careful.
The end result might just be total corruption.