6/3/14 John see video about 65
What is the central problem of humanity according to the Bible? In a coffee shop conversation I asked John, a retired professor of medieval studies, who happened to stop at the coffee shop on his way to a vespers service at a nearby monastery. I was especially interested in his answer because I wondered how one could understand the people and culture of the Middle Ages without understanding their basic orientation toward God and the Bible? Because of the influence of the Catholic Church and it’s teachings on purgatory and writings like Dante’s “Inferno”, many people wrongly associate the Church of the Middle Ages as the source of teachings about God’s wrath and the condemnation of man. But it goes back a lot further than the Middle Ages, all the way back to the fall of man into rebellion and the curse of Genesis 3, and much of the horrible imagery of hell that comes from Jesus himself. But when I asked John, he really didn’t identify our estrangement from God as being the basic problem of humanity, which until only the last century or two has been the basic and clear understanding of most people and cultures with a biblical or Christian influence. How we are to get back into a right relationship with God has been the source of a lot of confusion and manipulation, and has led to hypocrisy and disillusionment as the emphasis has been on the works of man rather than the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Unless we come to terms with the basic biblical foundation that we as sinners are under God’s wrath, we can never find out way back to a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus. I didn’t have time to talk with John about all this before his vespers service, but just a reminder of the biblical foundation of our condemnation, hard as it is to talk about, might have been a help for a man who seems to be searching for God without even realizing that he has been lost.