Mark Hall is a great friend and one of the elders of my congregation, the Westbury Church of Christ. Mark has been very influential in my trips to China.Here are some of his thoughts.
We know the Bible is God’s word, written by men and inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21). However these inspired men used their own language and phraseology and even quoted from non-inspired writers to present God’s word (Titus 1:12 for example) in a way that communicated the message intended. The current equivalent of Paul’s reference to the Cretan poet Epimenides, would be to quote lyrics from a song, or quotes from a movie which is what I will do today.
There is a science-fiction movie that has androids called replicants. The replicants have a built-in design and safety mechanism to limit their lifetime to 4 years, which a group of them are rushing to find a way to over-ride before their 4 year deadline (pun intended) is reached.
At the end of the movie one of the replicants makes a summation of his life that very well expresses the futility of a life lived with no hope beyond life itself ;
The replicant mentions things that he has done and the things that he has seen and says this concerning his life; “All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.”
How sad, how futile; a viewpoint that sums up a life as simply passing moments that will soon disappear forever into nothingness.
The alternative found in God’s word is very different.
A life lived to please God is useful and everlasting. It not only makes life interesting it also invests in life after death. As a contrast to the “tears in rain” view of the meaning of life, listen to just a couple of Bible perspective views of life-
#1 Life is about more important things than making money, there can be a treasure to be collected after death;
Matthew 6:19-20 (New King James Version)
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
2) Our earthly existential experience is short, temporary, and burdensome, in comparison to life after death, like a tent compared to a building;
2 Corinthians 5:1-9 (New King James Version)
1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
9 Therefore . . .
“Therefore” is always a reference to what came “before”, and in this case the “before” is about the reality of life after death that was mentioned in the first 8 verses of 2 Corinthians 5. I purposefully ended with “Therefore”, the first word of verse 9. As Paul Harvey used to say, there is a “rest of the story” in Chapter 5, which is worth reading.