Why You Should Read 1,167 Pages (in the Next 57 Weeks)

Question: Why did God create the universe?

  • A. Because he was lonely
  • B. Because he wanted to share his love
  • C. Because he was bored
  • D. Because he wanted to glorify himself

(Hint: there is more than one correct answer.)

Settled on an answer yet?

The correct answer choices are B and D.

Now, some of you (hopefully most of you) are celebrating: “Yeah! I got it right!”

Others of you are asking, “Really? Why are A and C wrong?”

By the end of this post, you’ll know why.

For a long time, I’ve been concerned about the theological depth (or lack thereof) in Apologetics.

Too many speeches are surface-level explanations of profound topics, delivered without insight and exposition.

And that’s the best-case scenario.

The worst case? Outright…

(choosing my words carefully here)

Near-blasphemy.

I won’t say blasphemy without a qualifier, even though I want to.

Does this occur often? Hopefully not. I don’t view enough rounds to offer statistical analysis.

But anecdotally, I know it does occur.

At a tournament a few years back, my dad judged an Apologetics round. One speaker touched on the topic of why God created the world.

The reason this speaker gave?

Because he was lonely.

So he made people, who are totally awesome.

Riiiight.

Nope-timon.gif

God lonely? GOD? LONELY?

What are we going to do in heaven for all eternity? Enjoy ourselves, with God thanking us for being there so he isn’t lonely any longer?

Me genoito! (“Absolutely not!” in Greek, e.g. Romans 6:2.)

No way!

Eternal life is not about us. Eternal life is about God. Jesus said so: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV).

And what about eternity past? You really think that God was lonely for all eternity, then suddenly realized that he could create people?

I better pause here to clarify my tone of voice. Paul had the same problem in letter-writing: “I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you” (Galatians 4:20 ESV).

Sounding harsh is not my intent. If you’ve thought (or said) that God created the world because he was lonely, I don’t think you’re automatically a heretic or an unbeliever. You may simply be poorly taught.

God was not lonely in eternity past. Before the foundation of the world, God was delighting in himself. The Father loved the Son in the Spirit: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24 ESV).

God created humankind (and the whole universe) for his glory: “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7 ESV).

John Piper (my favorite pastor) has a fantastic sermon on this if you want to learn more. Here’s a quick quote: “So, why did God create the universe? Resounding through the whole Bible — from eternity to eternity — like rolling thunder is: God created the world for his glory.”

God created the world to share his love, so that we might respond to it in kind and glorify him for his majesty and mercy.

Why do I know this? Because I’m so smart?

No. Because I’ve been well taught for many years. (AKA 20 years, 15 if you count from when I could actually retain information.)

I sit under fantastic preaching every week, straight from the text of Scripture. My parents have always taught me truths about God, and they instilled the habit of daily Bible reading when I was just a boy.

You may or may not have the same background.

But it’s never too late to start.

And now we finally get to explain the title of this post:

Why You Should Read 1,167 Pages (in the Next 57 Weeks)

Guess what book is 1,167 pages long?

No, not the Bible (although you might be able to find a version exactly that length).

Of course you should read that. But I’m talking about another book. And if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you can probably guess it:

Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.

My dad has always said that Systematic Theology is required reading before I leave the house.

Well, LORD willing, I’m heading off to seminary in August. So I realized that I really need to get reading.

A friend from church and I meet every Wednesday morning to discuss a chapter or two. We’ve been at it for about 6 months now, and we’re probably 3/5 of the way through.

Reading Systematic Theology has been personally beneficial. I consider myself to be fairly theologically astute, but I’ve learned much from the book. Moreover, Grudem writes devotionally. I am often led to worship by his explanations of key truths.

Will you join me?

Grab the book, grab a friend, and start meeting. Discuss one chapter each week and you’ll be done in 57 weeks. If you read about 40 pages a week instead of one chapter, you’ll finish in half that time.

The result: you will know your Bible better.

You will know the truth it contains better.

You will know your God better.

And your Apologetics speeches will sparkle.

So tolle lege. Take up and read!