Bible teachings

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26th March, 2007

Seeing God articles
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Bible Teachings articles

Fruit flies and the death of Jesus

A Google search on “Drosophila melanogaster” (the famous fruit fly beloved of geneticists) yields 1,460,000 pages. A search on “atonement Jesus” lists 1,290,000 pages. Much more has been written about the pesky fruit fly than has been said about the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Do the same search on Google scholar and the contrast is even greater — 7,640 pages concerning Jesus' atonement and 178,000 pages devoted to Drosophila. Visit any university library and you will be totally amazed at the amount of shelf space taken up by learned tomes on this fly. You talk about skewed priorities!

Readers of the Dawn to Dusk website know that we put a lot of emphasis on the wonders of creation, its capacity to teach us about God's “power and Godhead” (Rom. 1:20), to lift flagging spirits, to inspire a heightened sense of the reality of God, and to build faith in God. Believers should never tire of growing in knowledge about the wonders of creation; indeed, they should thrill to contemplate that just one species of small fly could occupy so many brilliant scientists for so long. Every species of animal and plant has the potential for doing the same. And then, of course, you have the near-infinite marvels out there in space. However, believers need to understand that the endless wonders of creation are overshadowed by the innumerable wonders of something far greater — the atoning work of Jesus Christ. This awesome universe and our stunningly delightful planet merely make up the stage on which the plan of salvation, with

Jesus' atoning work at its very centre, is played out. The play is far more significant than the stage. The work of natural creation was stretched out over billions of years. The work of atonement, depending upon exactly what you include as part of the concept, took only hours if you restrict it to Jesus' atoning work on the cross or, extending it to the end of human history, thousands of years. Though the stage took billions of years to construct the play itself lasts only years. Yet the latter is much more eternally significant than the former! Who can understand?

If believers put out as much effort to probe the endless marvels of Jesus' last hours of fleshly life as scientists do in studying fruit flies, who knows but what magnificent insights they would gain. Yet the death of Jesus on the cross did not consummate the divine plan for atoning for human sinfulness. You see, God intends to save almost every human being who has ever lived — Jesus came into the world not to condemn it but to save it (John 3:17)! The cross provided full and sufficient grounds for human atonement but that glorious event did not of itself administer atonement to all! History is not over yet; God's plan involves nothing less than turning billions of depraved, sinful, dead human beings into glorious, living saints in the kingdom of God. How He will accomplish this atoning work is far more complex, mysterious and wonderful than how He made DNA to contain all the data necessary to make fruit flies and elephants.

From the rising of the sun to its going down, God's name should be — and will be — praised.

For a study of the biblical teaching on atonement, see "Ye shall be holy…" from the from the Dawn to Dusk book "Hebrews: a Fresh Look at an Old Book"


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