Realism in The Bible

I wrote an article for the student run magazine/blog the Alethian. It is a Christian blog that has everything from student’s works, to why apologetics are important to the Christian faith. I wrote an article for them on realism in the Bible. So I thought I would share my little article with you. Here it is:

As Tim Hawkins said, “There is a reason you don’t see all the illustrations in the ‘precious moments Bible’” ( Frankly, the Bible is not a feel good book all the way through. There is some pretty hard core, gritty stuff in there! If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself. There are multiple references to topics that would make a Christian family go “Oh!” if they were spoken of at the dinner table. That stuff is wrong and sinful. It is not made light of in the Bible, but… “gasp” it is not ignored either.

Many times I have heard that I should not “read, watch, look at, listen to, etc.” because of the sinful references that can come up in the world around us.

Families tend to try and hide that from their kids. I should know, I come from a family like that. Sheltering kids from the gritty reality of the world is a tricky topic, but sheltering kids from the reality in the Bible, can give them quite a shock later on. I am going to focus on the latter of the two topics in this article.

Everyone knows the story of Noah’s Ark.

If you went to Sunday-School as a kid, then I’m sure you would have heard it multiple times. It’s such a cute story with all the fluffy animals, the rain, and Noah looking up at the sky—a huge smile on his face. You know what I am talking about: the scene that is always painted on nursery walls. So adorable, right? Wrong. If you read the actual account in Genesis, chapters six through nine, you’ll see that the story may not be as cute as we had been told throughout our childhood years.

 Noah’s ark was not a fun ride on a floating zoo.

In fact, this story was much sadder, not to mention scary. Think about this for a moment… God sent a worldwide flood to kill every living thing, except those who were crammed in a home-built boat with a whole zoo of animals. Image living back then, and getting off the Ark after the flood. There would probably still be some bodies lying around, and nothing would be recognizable. The life you had lived up until then would be completely gone. Who knows, maybe Shem and Ham had a couple of buddies that didn’t get on the ark. Imagine thinking about them, and knowing without a doubt that they were now dead… scary right? Noah and his family had their home and all of the people they knew, literally washed away.

When I first learned the real story of Noah, I was shocked.

I thought immediately that I had been lied to my whole life! Now obviously, bits and pieces of the story still lined up, but the whole reason God sent the flood in the first place, was completely different. I spent my whole life thinking that God sent the flood because Noah was a good man, and God wanted to make the world better by just continuing with Noah’s descendants. In part, this is true, but it is a very “rose coloured glasses” way of looking at the story. And we all know that rose coloured glasses do not allow you to see completely clearly. When I found out that the real reason God had sent the flood was because the world was evil, and he just happened to spare Noah because he “found favor” with him, I was shocked, not to mention scared (Genesis 6:8). I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been chosen to stay on the ark, or joined the rest of the world in death had I lived at that time.

There is a good reason we don’t tell three year olds the details of some of those stories.  I do not think we should start telling our toddlers in Sunday-School about the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the stoning of Stephen, etc. But should we leave those stories out of the Bible completely? Should we ignore them now because our whole young lives we were never told about them, and the topics were always conveniently avoided? No. Those stories are in the Bible for a reason.

Let’s face it people, the world is broken.

Broken far beyond repair. People are messed up. Correction, humanity is messed up. To me, that is good news… in a weird way. If we didn’t have issues, we wouldn’t need a savior. If we were perfect machines, Jesus would never have had to die for us, but we would never have had free will either.  The Bible is not “kid safe” because, frankly, the world is not “kid safe”. The real, dirty, shattered, gritty, sinful world is out there, and we cannot hide that.

I could go on for pages and pages about this, but I’ll try to summarize my thoughts. A perfect world does not need saving, but our world is far from perfect. Jesus gave up his life for us so that we could be saved. He paid our ransom in full. Those who try to deny that there is sin in the world, or even that there are those references to sin in the Bible, are denying that we need a savior. By denying sin, they are denying the reason why Jesus came to save us at all. The Bible is a reminder that the world has been broken and sinful ever since that incident in the Garden of Eden.

I don’t think we should hide the fact that we are broken. Instead, we should rejoice that there is a savoir who can heal us, who has wiped clean the slate. This is definitely not a licence to sin, per say, but rather an insurance policy for when we do make mistakes, promising that Jesus will be there to catch us and carry us through.

So there you have it,


What did you think? Let me know!