Saturday, July 10, 2010

Themes vs. details

When I read through the Bible earlier this spring, I tried to pass over the details and instead concentrate on the themes. Reading 12 pages each day does not really allow one to soak up all the details. Instead, I jotted down any specific texts or topics I wanted to come back to later.

One topic I've been intending to study for the past several years is death. It can be a depressing topic, I suppose. What happens when you die? Is there consciousness after death? And a more recent addition to my questions - is there any conscious existence before a man is born?

The Seventh Day Adventist church, of which I am a member, has an official position on the topic of death. However, I do think it is of vital importance for each Christian to study and know what the Bible says for themselves. I want to know that my beliefs are the same as those of the church that I attend or I may need to find another church. The only way to discover what I believe is to dig into the Bible for myself.

I started with Genesis 2:7, which talks about God creating Adam, the first man. Then I looked up all the cross references that are listed in my Bible for this text. When I finished reading all of the cross references, I moved on to the next text on my list and looked up all the cross references attached to that text. I now have 6.5 pages of notes and texts related to creation, death, and the breath of life.

I'm not yet done with this study, but I am noticing a bigger theme that just what happens when you die. God is in control. Regardless of what else I find in my study, I am relieved and hopeful because I can be confident that God is always in control.

Here are several of the verses that illustrate this.

God created man. - And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

God gives to all life, breath, and all things. - God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things (Acts 17:24-25).

My soul is in God's hand. - Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:9-10).

In God, I live and move and have my being. - For in him [God] we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring (Acts 17:28).

Praise the Lord! I can have confidence that God is in control.