October 24th, 2020

Divine vs. human

By Submitted Article on December 28, 2019.


First of three parts

Jacob M. Van Zyl

The belt of the Orion constellation looks like three lined-up adjacent stars (called Three Kings by some). However, the middle one is almost twice as far from Earth as the other two. If we could view them from another angle, they would form a V, not a straight line. Furthermore, each of them consists of more than one star, looking like one to the naked eye. Things are not always what they appear to be.

Four witnesses, standing on the four corners of an intersection, watching the same collision from different angles, would agree and disagree to some extent. The same is true for the four gospels: apart from similar parts, each one added additional views and information.

In the Bible, there is a marked difference between the human and divine perspective. From the human viewpoint, Noah’s flood was a cataclysmic disaster; from the Creator’s viewpoint, he was cutting out dry wood.

When Abraham moved from the fertile Mesopotamia to the drought-stricken Canaan, it was a stupid decision from the human point of view; however, from God’s perspective, it was the first major step in the forming of a new nation, Israel.

When Jacob had 12 children with two wives and two concubines in 14 years, it was somewhat irresponsible for a guy who worked as a poor shepherd. From God’s viewpoint, he was fathering the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Joseph’s dreams of greatness (his brothers bowing before him) apparently came crashing down when his brothers sold him as a slave to Egypt. They thought they had shut up his big mouth for good. God used this injustice to make provision for the survival of those heartless brothers during a future famine.

By a strange twist of circumstances, Joseph became governor of Egypt when he interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh about seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of drought. In desperation, his brothers came to Egypt to buy food, and bowed before the brother they wronged so deeply, without even recognizing him after 22 years.

The Jewish leaders found Jesus of Nazareth guilty of blasphemy and persuaded the Roman governor to sentence him to death by crucifixion for declaring himself a king. They thought they got rid of a dangerous imposter.

God used their deed of hatred to perform the greatest deed of love: giving his only Son as atoning sacrifice to pay the sin-debt of humanity, opening forgiveness and reconciliation for them.

The sealing of his tomb and the placing of a Roman guard were meant to prevent any rumours of returning from death. Instead, it affirmed the resurrection. Nobody could have stolen the body – Christ did rise from the dead.

Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.

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