GOD ON TRIAL:
GOD ON TRIAL – Opening Arguments, is an audio dramatization of the war between God and Satan for the souls of mankind. Each episode addresses critical questions of free will and responsibility that draws the listener deeper into the conflict that forces them to become the jury and answer the question, “Is God fit to rule the universe?”
EXTRA! EXTRA! GOD’S IN TROUBLE!
Initially God had given Adam and Eve the authority to manage Heavens affairs on the Earth. When they sinned they forfeited that authority to the one they had yielded to, that is, Serpent, also known as Lucifer. Lucifer, recently evicted from the courts of Heaven for treason and mutiny had fallen to the earth in a blinding rage. In his unrelenting fury, he immediately forged a sinister scheme to get even with God.
Dressed in the skin of a serpent and using man’s own desire to know God better as his ploy, he plotted against the Kingdom of God. Using doubt and reason, he tricked the humans into violating the one rule God had given them to not eat the fruit on the forbidden tree.
Their disobedience, solicited both ignorantly and innocently, became Satan’s basis and argument for the confiscation of all that pertained to them, including their domain, authority, and offspring. With one strategic move, the Kingdom of God had been overthrown and Satan became the Prince of this World.
The curses that had come as a result of that disobedience remain to this very day. The man was cursed to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow. The woman would bring forth children in pain, and the serpent would forever crawl on its belly and eat dust.
The man and woman were sent out of the Garden, and lost their place of intimate fellowship with God. That place of fellowship between God and us was not restored until Jesus Christ came to earth as the Word made flesh. He dwelt among us for a short time, declaring the true nature of the Kingdom of God and dying that it might be reinstated in the hearts of humans.
But even with this gracious gesture of reconciliation from Heaven, the Kingdom of God waits and the curse of sin remains. Calvary made redemption possible, but it could only be had on an individual basis. Each person must make the choice for themselves if they will receive Christ’s atonement for their sin.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
God On trial – Opening Arguments began as a deep theological thesis back in 1998. I had hoped to put all the wonderful revelations God had been showing me in a book. But, to my own dismay, there were so many words on the page that I found it difficult to get through the lengthy dissertation myself. It became apparent to me that if I did not even want to read the manuscript, who would ever want to read the book?
At that point, a more seasoned writer suggested I “chunk” the material. “Chunking” the material was a novel idea, but what did it mean? The only thought that came to me was to make the book more fun by breaking the thoughts up and translating them into dialogue. If I could reshape the contents, and tell it as a story, the power of the words would be released and lift the reader into a new dimension.
Thus a new idea was conceived to solve an old problem of boredom and disinterest. To construct a script I would need scenes, settings, times, and characters. The more I considered the idea, the more it seemed right. How much more emotion could be conveyed through drama of the characters than by the reader raking through the dry pages of another self-help theology book.
The format of a script also put a lot more white space on the page, and next to pictures, nothing is more appealing in reading a book than to finish a page without loosing interest and getting stuck in the middle of it.
The characters came alive. The issues could not be ignored. Passions rose and tempers flew driving the arguments about the sovereignty of God and questions about sin and redemption out of the deep theological corners of “who cares” into the center of the room. Drama and dilemma filled the pages. Theology lost its dignity and got all tangled up in the lives of real people.
Questions and answers became straight forward and clear cut. The court room setting created another element of discussion and observation as the witnesses were cross-examined by the opposition. The reader was forced to participate and became the jury in the trial of the ages. Was God fit to rule the universes? Does He have a right to be sovereign? Are the rules set or can they be changed?
But, alas, the solving of one problem led to the creation of another. We would agree that it is not wise to try to put new wine into old wine-skins. The idea of a book written, not as prose, but in the form of a script, brought a predictable round of rejection from all of the major publishers. I was unable to convince them that the second oldest and most beloved and well read book in the world, Pilgrims Progress, was written in the form of a script. Some suggested they would be interested if the book were rewritten in a prose format. Others assured me that their readers would never accept this new kind of a book.
So it was back to the drawing board. The Lord was clear in His direction and instructed us to take the script and make it into an audio book. The model had proven successful in such well known series as Left Behind, and so the idea of an audio-dramatization of God On Trial – Opening Arguments was born.
But, even at this, though the story was finished, it was far from done. It was only after four more years and ten more rewrites along with the addition of a subplot that the idea of an audio book became a reality. The book was “chunked” again into episodes and brought together as a radio drama. Both professional actors and amateur talent share the drama and bring to life the characters of the book.
It is our sincere hope and prayer that God On Trial – Opening Arguments will minister to you and become a cherished part of your audio library and your spiritual legacy.
Q&A – ASK THE EXPERTS
The question of God’s right to sovereignty is the central theme of God On Trial – Opening Arguments. The conflict sets up with Satan’s attempts to locate and stop the “head crusher,” and regain his prize threatened by God’s planned intervention. Satan maintains that the Creator of all life and the universes that surround it does not have the right to rule planet earth simply because He made it. One of the main problems with God’s sovereignty is man’s free will.
- If Adam and Eve sinned, why do all of us get punished?Most people who blame Adam and Eve for our current day troubles, including the presence of sin and evil in the world, fail to realize that each of us would have been tested in some manner, and sooner or later, one of us would have sinned. Adam and Eve were acting as representatives of the human race. Their decision counted for all. By the same token, the penalty of one man, the sinless man, was also considered payment for all. Sooner or later, one of us would have eaten the fruit, so it doesn’t really matter who did it. What matters is that it’s been taken care of.
- Why did God have to test us in the first place?It is not God who tests us. It is His enemy, the devil, who scrutinizes God’s workmanship in us and calls for the test to see if our love is genuine. Testing is part of life. Since the rule in the war between God and Satan for the souls of the humans is basically determined by whom they choose to obey, each of us must get an opportunity to declare our affections in whom we will serve.
- Why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit?One thing is sure. They didn’t eat of the fruit from the forbidden tree because they were hungry. They had been given more than enough of everything they needed to be perfectly happy, including fruit. What motivated them to pursue the forbidden was their desire to know more. That desire, “to know more about God,” was used by the enemy to corrupt their relationship with God. By enticing them to disobey God to become more like Him, the serpent seduced them much like the fisherman uses the hunger of the fish to catch it.
- Wasn’t God just being stubborn and unreasonable in not giving them another chance?God gives us a lifetime of chances to say “yes” to His plan of redemption. Disobedience for any reason is still disobedience, though men and women of the 21st century might beg to differ. God’s justice is not free to change the rules to suit a stubborn and headstrong people since it would make a mockery of God’s mercy in loves demand that He judge sin and the abuse of His grace for the sake of the innocent.
- Was the forbidden fruit an apple?Though the command was made perfectly clear, that they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it was never identified as an apple tree. They were enticed to doubt both God’s love for them and His command to not eat. It was a simple command that the serpent used as the determining factor to see who they would serve. Satan uses the same question today to create doubt in God’s good intentions and suggests He is trying to control us and interfere with our free will.
- Why did God give us a free will in the first place?It must be noted that Adam and Eve had a free will at the very onset of their creation. They had been created in the image of their Heavenly Father. The Great I AM had created them in His own image, as little “I AM’s.” They were free because He was free. Since they were already free, exercising their free will to choose anything else than what they already had could only diminish their freedom.
- How do I know I can trust God?The enemy assaults the goodness of God calling His character and motives into question. He wants us to believe the things he plants in our hearts and minds are true so he can influence us to turn away from God. God has nothing to gain from hurting us except opposing Himself and His intentions in creating us in the first place. Satan persuades us that we are better off taking care of ourselves than to trust in the goodness of God. Thus he tempts us to distrust and disobey God.
- Why did God put the tree in the garden?God is love. By very definition, love is not love unless it is freely given. We must be given the option to choose to love or not to love, to obey or not obey, or God would only have our allegiance by force. You do not grab someone around the neck and force him or her to love you. God had to give Adam and Eve a free will and the option not to love Him, in order to prove that their love was genuine and that their choice to love Him had to be freely given. God cannot claim our love unless He gives us the option to reject Him. Without a choice we are merely wonderfully made robots, and not lovers of God.
- Will we ever get back our freedom?In truth, we are only free when we know the truth. Adam and Eve were already as free as they would ever be, but didn’t know that. There was no choice they could make that would make them freer than they already were because they were living in truth. Any exercise of their free will would mean they would have to believe a lie, and only result in a diminishing of their freedom.
- Where did the devil come from?God created the serpent, formerly known as Lucifer, the light bearing angel of heaven and the choir leader of the heavenly hosts. When he started a mutiny to take over the halls of heaven and the throne of His Majesty, the King, he was thrust out of heaven by Michael the archangel and the loyal hosts of heaven. Jesus saw him fall as lightening to the earth (Luke 10:18). Today the devil has many names including Satan, Lucifer, and the Evil One.
- Will the devil be saved?The devil cannot be saved because he will never ask for pardon. He is convinced that even though he is defeated that having a kingdom of his own is still better than submitting to God. He finds the pleasure he gets from hurting God’s children worth the effort in continuing his evil destruction of the human race.
- Why didn’t God just finish the devil off Himself?God is just. He does not cheat. Life cannot be destroyed. It can only change shape and or be move into another space. It would seem that though God can do anything, He refuses to break His own rules, including those that govern creation. Once Satan was created, he could not be uncreated or erased.
- If God is love, what is the devil?The devil is the absence of love and the epitome of fear. Satan’s activity on earth only became a major problem when he got God’s children to submit to fear.
- How did the devil get control over the world?When Satan, a.k.a., the serpent, got Adam and Eve to doubt God’s love for them and tempted them to believe that God might be keeping something from them, he persuaded them to use their free will to choose to explore their options and disobey God. Their agreement with the devil gave him control over them and their domain. They were captured and Satan took over their authority and domain and made them slaves to him.
- How do we know which truth is true?The fruit of truth is freedom and peace. True freedom can only come from our believing the truth. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Believing the lie brings us into bondage. The lie Adam and Eve believed was that they had been “kept out of the loop” and were not as free as they would be if they knew what was on that forbidden tree. Their desire and decision to disobey God came from believing the lie. Consequently, they lost their freedom and access to peace and rest living sin-free had provided them.
- Can things ever go back to being good again?In pursuing the desire to “know more,” Adam and Eve demonstrated true ignorance. They had no clue how much hinged upon their contentment and willingness to trust God to fulfill their lives. There was nothing they had to do to be. There was nothing more they had to earn to have. God had already done it.
- What happened when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit?God had given them authority over the garden. After “The Fall,” imperfection and unhappiness entered the world and things were never the same. They lost their power and authority to administrate the affairs of Eden to the one who had overtaken them. All creation went into shock and started feeling the effects of stress and anxiety for the first time.
- Who took over the earth?Satan set up his ruler-ship in a hierarchy of powers with demons vying for position left open by the turnover of Eden. Because demons now had a playground, earth became a favorite spot to hang out. Their presence corrupts every place they inhabit bringing with it disease and destruction.
- Why are so many Christians living defeated lives since “The Fall”?Since the fall, the concept of BEING has been swapped out for DOING, leaving the human race RACING instead of ABIDING. God originally created us as human beings which are in harmony with His nature as a supreme being. Today, we act under the assumption that we must DO to BE. We must DO something, so we can HAVE something, in order to BE something. This demonic reversal of the divine order has created huge emotional, physical, and spiritual burdens for God’s children. They are stressed with being religious and exhausted by performance. They are restless and uncertain; seeking and never finding, trying and never achieving, going and never arriving.
- Where did the curses come from?The curses came from God who pronounced separate curses upon the man, the woman and the serpent. The man would work and earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. The woman would bring forth children in pain and her desire would be to her husband. She would submit and look to him for her validation and protection often to her own demise. The serpent would crawl on his belly and eat dust. The devil could look forward to having a sweet and short-lived victory in bruising the heel of the Deliverer but would pay with his head.
- Does God expect us to be perfect?Many people think God sits up in heaven waiting for us to screw up so He can hit us over the head with His big fat spiritual baseball bat. We think that to get to heaven we have to be perfect, or at least, “try” to be good. Trying to be good is both unscriptural and impossible. The bible is very clear that there are none righteous, no, not one – that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
- If there is none who is perfect, how can God expect us to be 'holy'?The Lord commands us to “be holy as He is holy” (I Peter 1:16). We are already holy as we abide in Him. Holiness does not refer to a perfect spotless life with no sin or flaw. It means that we are fully dedicated to Him, and set aside to do His will.
- Why is God so strict about having everybody obey Him?God links obedience to love when He says; “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). For the Christian, obedience becomes the demonstration of their faith in the Word of God. God also knows that disobedience to Him gives the enemy an opportunity to stake his claim to our life and well being because we have chosen to listen to Him. God’s insistence upon our obedience, then, is for our own good and justifies His protection of us.
- How can disobeying God be wrong if He’s the One who gave us a free will to begin with?God does not fault us for using our free will. He allows us to fail, to learn, to repent and to choose. He knows His way is the only way to enjoy the fullness of His blessing and abundance, but will not force anyone to love Him or go to heaven. God is not willing that any should perish, but that whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom. 10:13). We must use our free will to make that decision.
- Why does God let the devil pick on us?God has a perfect will. Satan has a will too. His will is to destroy us. We have a free will that can choose either way. Because God has given us a free will, He must allow us to use it so He often has to allow His permissive will for us to operate instead of His perfect will. Like a parent whose teenager just got his/her license and wants to drive but subsequently goes out and smashes up the car.
- What's the reason God will let us be tested?The Bible says God tempts no one though He must allow Satan to prove His workmanship in us. Therefore, we are tested that our faith might come forth as pure gold. He also makes us a promise saying, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
- God expects too much from us. It’s not fair!God does not make sense to the human mind and reasoning. He warns us in Isaiah that His thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not His ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9). We seek a human justice, a temporary resolution that seems right and fair, but appearances can be deceiving and even our best efforts to do good are often subject to defeat. Only God truly knows our hearts and circumstances.
- What if I do something wrong?God knows, more than we do, the insidious attack and constant condemnation the devil sets up against us. He calls Satan, “the accuser of the brethren” and reminds us that if our heart condemns us that He [God] is greater than our heart and knows all things (1John 3:20).
- What must I do to get to heaven?Jesus told the rich young ruler who came to Him asking how he could be saved that “…there is none good but God” (Mark 10:18). From these statements we can safely conclude that God’s expectations of us are far different than what we have come to believe. We believe we have to be good to get to heaven. God says there is no way we can be good enough to get to heaven.
- Can’t I be good enough to get to heaven on my own?If we could be good enough to get to heaven on our own merit, why would Jesus have had to die on the cross to save us? It’s the devil who sets us up to try and be good so he can cause us to fail and become discouraged in trying to establish our own righteousness apart from Christ, not God. To be saved, I must believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ that He came to earth and died for my sins. Confession of that is the basis for my righteousness and my salvation.
- Why did God make such a “big deal” over sin?Sin is a big deal because the universal code of justice demands, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” and the rule of conquest is determined by whom we yield ourselves servants to obey (Exodus 21:24, Romans 6:16). Sin separates us from the blessing and protection of God and allows us to be exposed to the oppression of the enemy. Because the wages of sin is death, and the universe operates upon a principle of justice, the sentence must be served and justice must be satisfied before life and safety can be restored.
- Why didn’t God just give Adam and Eve another chance?Sin had created a separation between man and God that would end in death if nothing were done about it. God said, “…the soul that sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Though the word seemed harsh, if God didn’t do something about it, all would be lost. When your hand is cut off from your arm, and thrown into a corner, can it live? When God said separation from Him brings death, was He cursing the man or was He stating a fact. Sin separates us from God, from ourselves and from others. Those separations set us in opposition to ourselves, God and those called into relationship with us. Sin poses an impossible problem for the one cut off in that they have no power to restore the connection any more than the hand has the power to knit itself back to the arm.
- So what’s the solution to sin?It was up to God to come up with a solution. He would have to satisfy His justice and His mercy. The critical issue was integrating God’s love and mercy with His justice. It was not just a matter of fairness. The universal code of justice demanded “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” but God is also love (Exodus 21:24). Life is not just an accumulation of deeds that must be weighted in the balances of good and evil. It is our response to the love of God. We are precious because God loves us and does not want to lose us forever because of sin.
The antithesis of sin is NOT perfection and the payment of sin is NOT penance! God is the beginning of our eternal salvation and He is the end.