By Nelly Favis Villafuerte
The first sentence of the first chapter of the first book (Book of Genesis) of the Holy Bible is the opening salvo of the Holy Bible. Our acceptance or rejection of this passage influences our attitude towards the other parts of the Holy Bible. Many of us (this writer included) believe the opening passage without question, without ifs and without buts. Others think the opening passage of the Holy Bible is just fiction and a myth. The first passage (Genesis 1:1) says: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Some of the implications of the opening passage of the Holy Bible are:
- It is the simple record of God’s creation of the universe. The world is not a result of blind chance. Though we may not understand the complexity of how God created the heavens and the earth, the passage shows God’s divine creativity;
- It also disputes atheism since creation is the work of God. (An atheist believes there is no God);
- The passage crumbles the theory of polytheism for there is only one God;
- The passage repudiates evolution since the universe was created and did not evolve (from a single primordial cell?);
- The opening passage assumes the existence of God. The Holy Bible does not attempt to prove the existence of God; and
- The God who created the heavens and the earth has no beginning, meaning that He has no father or mother or other ascendant. In other words, God has no ancestral beginning.
One may ask: Are the theories of creation and evolution irreconcilable? Yes. Both cannot be true. It has to be one or the other. The entire historic weave of Christianity, the stories of Adam and Eve, of man’s fall to sin, of salvation, would come to naught if we believe that man as well as animals evolved. Descendants of ants, monkey, elephants, rats (name other animals or plants as well) do not need a Savior. These animals and plants are not spiritual beings.
The Holy Bible presents only one plan for the salvation of our soul. If man has no soul, it is pointless to discuss the doctrine of salvation since there is nothing to live beyond the grave. It’s a dead end. But this is not the case. The human soul is immortal as this is how our God created them. Our spiritual life does not cease when our fleshly bodies passes away in death. Our souls will live forever. If we are saved by accepting God’s plan of salvation, we go to heaven and if we reject God’s gift of salvation, its hell for our souls.
The only one plan of salvation for our soul has been simply expressed in the Books of Titus and Ephesians. Thus: “It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of His (God’s) own mercy that He saved us.” (Titus 3:5, Good News Version) In another Biblical passage, “for it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift so that no one can boast about it x x x” (Ephesians 2:8-9, Good News Version).
From the Biblical standpoint, it is very clear then that salvation is a gift. We all know that a gift is something that is given free – it cannot be bought or earned. Being a gift, all we need to do is to accept it.
Many people do not yet know that salvation is freely given. In their desire to be saved people turn the gift to a kind of purchase arrangement by “earning” their way to salvation. Yes, many are seeking to be saved but they are approaching salvation their own way. Despite their zeal and sincerity, they do not understand the greatness of God’s salvation.
The Bible says “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31). Understanding the true meaning of the word “believe” in relation to salvation is very critical. The word believe simply means to have complete trust or to have complete faith in Jesus Christ. It is mentioned more than 150 times in the New Testament that we must believe in Jesus Christ to receive eternal life.
Many people say they have always believed in Jesus Christ since they were children. They also believe about the things that God did… and can even quote from the Holy Bible. But whether or not they have complete trust in Jesus Christ for all their needs is another matter. A person who trusts Jesus Christ 99.99 percent and reserves 0.01 percent of his trust for other intercessory entities or for good works as a passport to eternal life in heaven is not complying with the Biblical passage on salvation. We must have complete trust and faith in Jesus Christ. He should be our only personal Savior. Does this surprise you?
Do the Jews, God’s chosen people need to comply with the Biblical passage on salvation as a passport to eternal life in heaven? (To be continued)
This column continues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who cannot afford to buy their own copies. If interested, please send your letter-request to Ms. Nelly Favis-Villafuerte, 5233 LRV Building, Fahrenheit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly mention if it is the Tagalog, English, Cebuano, or Ilocano Bible that is preferred.
Be joyful and forgiving! (Comments may be sent to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: [email protected])