Clue #7 – Scene of the Crime
God's Word reveals a crime scene. As spiritual detectives, can we discern what the crime is and what caused it? Part Seven of nine.
For an introduction to this series of nine clues, see Clueless.
Ready for another clue? Hope so! If you put on your detective hat (yep, that’s what they look like), we’ll examine clue #7. But first a comment on clue #5 – laws.
A student who read these clues asked me, “Is our conscience like a phone line to God?”
That’s a good way to describe a conscience. Yes! It’s as though God is on the phone, telling us what’s right and what’s wrong. But when a phone rings, we have a choice. Maybe we use call-display (which shows the number). We might think, Hmmm! I see it’s God calling. I think I won’t answer. Or we might mute the ringer, so we can’t even hear Him call.
Same with our conscience. Sometimes we know something we’re doing is wrong, but do it anyway. God is calling us, but we “screen the call.” The Bible calls this sin – acting independently of God and refusing to listen to Him. Refusing to “take His call,” we could say.
Sadly, all of us do it. We make choices that are wrong, like lying, for instance. We ignore our conscience, and make a bad choice. We choose to sin, but can’t choose the consequences. That’s why we get into a mess.
Clue #6 was Word – direct communication. We get to know each other through conversation. That’s why God gave us the Bible – the greatest bestseller in history. We called it “God’s Journal” – His conversation to us about the universe and ourselves.
Here’s more about this clue, to show how unique the Bible is.
It's been translated into more than 2400 languages (I didn’t even know there were that many). That includes English and Mandarin, like the 200-year-old translation in the photo. Almost everyone in the world now can read the Bible if they want, and detect enough about God to trust in Him.
Many writers contributed to the Bible – 40 or more. We could say, they were writers, but God is the author. God gave them the words (we call this inspiration), and they wrote them down in their own style.
Sometimes they recorded songs, sometimes history lessons. One writer recorded a love story. The Bible contains lots of poetry, and history. Many stories about Jesus. It is complicated and creative!
It took 1500 years to compile the entire Bible – a long, long time! Amazingly, each writer had two major themes:
- why we’re separated from God,
- and how He plans to bring us back to Himself.
The Bible is complicated, but life’s complicated too, and God is totally complicated, so we shouldn’t be surprised.
The Bible’s like the ocean – an infant can wade in the shallows, but further out, it’s over the child’s head. That’s why the Bible’s both simple and complicated for all of us. But it’s worth reading. It’s God’s Word to us!
The Bible’s messy too. That’s because life’s messy – lies, abuse, killings, wars. It’s full of stories about messed-up people with messy problems. That leads us to clue #7 – the scene of the crime.
Perhaps in movies you’ve seen the chalk marks that block off where the victim died. God’s Word shows us a crime scene as well. The crime? The mess our planet is in. What caused the mess?
In clue #3 we talked about beauty, saying God’s the artist who makes things beautiful. It prompted a detective question – remember?
In clue #4 we asked, why so much ugliness? Nature gets ugly – like the Haiti earthquake. So many killed; so many! Thousands of students crushed to death, sitting in their classes. How awful! It’s the total opposite from beautiful.
The ugliness of babies born with handicaps. People who are mean and nasty to each other. Slavery. Torture. Even parents who abuse little children.
There’s death – that’s the ugliest of all. Death’s never pretty; never beautiful. It makes a detective ask, If there’s a God of beauty, where did this ugliness come from? Let’s answer that. It’s a question detectives must solve, this ugliness: Why’s the world in such a mess? Can it ever be fixed?
The first book of the Bible, Genesis, means origins. It shows how the mess started.
God is King of the universe – that’s a clear teaching from Genesis. He’s like the emperors of ancient China, who owned everything. He made everything, so the whole universe all belongs to Him. Even we do.
But humans didn’t want God to be King. We became rebels, wanting to be in charge instead. We wanted to be emperors of our own lives, and of the lives of others. When you get 6.6 billion little emperor-wannabes on a little planet, it gets messy. That’s our world – a real mess.
We’re like renters who pretend there’s no landlord. We live on this planet, but ignore God, and do what we want. We trash the planet, trash others, even ourselves. We figure we won’t have to pay up. There’s no landlord! we say. But we will have to pay up. Why? Because there is a landlord – God! He’s the King.
It would be worthwhile for you to read Genesis in the Bible. If you don’t have a Bible, I’ll be glad to get you one.
(I’ll help you get started, if you wish). Genesis is fascinating, because it’s full of stories. By chapter three, you’ll see clue #7, the crime scene.
The first two humans, Adam and Eve, rejected God’s love. They rebelled against Him and started the mess we’re in now. The rest of Genesis shows how the ugliness grew. It was like a bomb spreading deadly radiation. We’re all affected by the poison of their rebellion. That’s why we’re in a mess.
Genesis tells stories of people fighting God. It’s depressing to see how dark human history became – how people started destroying the world and one another.
Even today we do this – lots of fighting. Lots of lies. Our world’s full of anger, blame and shame. We have found so many ways to hurt the planet and our own lives.
Genesis also tells us God’s reaction to our behaviour. As King of the universe God doesn’t ignore our rebellion against Him. He’s determined to crush the rebellion and reclaim the earth as His. That’s the Genesis story.
But it’s not all dark. Genesis gives us hope too. God brought some back people to Himself – not many, but a few like Noah and Abraham. They’re the ancestors of a dad named Jacob and a teenager named Joseph. They stopped being rebels and became followers. They returned to God instead of running from Him. That’s what I had to do at one point in my life – that’s what I hope you’ll do too.
Remember our clue? Scene of the crime. We learn from Genesis why everything’s in a mess. Crime scenes are nasty – blood and gore, dead bodies, lots of sadness.
Our world is nasty too. There are disasters, disease and death. There’s rape and robbery, torture and murder.
It’s an ugly mess! What’s God doing about it? God the King became God the Judge. He’s the landlord who will evict the bad renters. That’s the sobering part of our search. We’re all in trouble with God – we’re on the run from Him.
But God doesn’t want to be our judge. Because of His love for us, He chose to be our Rescuer. He made a way for us to get back to Him. An important detective activity for us will be to find out what is the way back to
God. We’ll talk more about it, next clue. (I’d love to help you find the way back, btw.)
Clue #7 says, God’s Word, the Bible, shows why the world’s in such a mess and why we’re on our own, separated from Him. We think we’re king of this planet; king of ourselves. That means we’re in trouble with God, the real King. But there is a way back to Him. We must find it. We have two more clues.
Any questions? Let me know, k?
Paul Johnson, SHARE, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell: 403.816.6981.
The nine clues appear as a series of nine articles on Christianity.ca:
Clue #1: Design
Clue #2: Information
Clue #3: Beauty
Clue #4: Complexity
Clue #5: Laws
Clue #6: Word
Clue #7: Scene of the Crime
Clue #8: The Corpse
Clue #9: The Mystery
Originally published on the website, Spiritual Detective Clues, 2009. Reprinted in Baptist Horizon, beginning May/June 2009.
Used with permission. Copyright © 2010 Christianity.ca.