Right after high school, I attended a UPC (United Pentecostal Church) bible school. One lesson I remember was about the UPC oneness doctrine. S G Norris taught us to believe it by ‘revelation’; however, if we didn’t yet have the revelation, then we should just take it by faith until the revelation came because “obedience is better than sacrifice”.
Well, most of us were young, altruistic, very impressionable and looking for something to believe in. Many of our agemates were buying into Hare Krishna, the Moonies, becoming a hippie, anything to give them the feeling of being important, on the cutting edge, far out . . . . . Believing the UPC ‘revelation’ was also a bit far out and cutting edge (after all this doctrine was only a couple of decades into existence at this time, Pentecost was not even old enough to be an antique yet) and it was also pretty safe –at least not likely to be physically harmful. So we gave ourselves passionately to this revelation or heresy depending on your viewpoint.
Years later, I graduated secular college. One lesson I remember from there was about logic, how you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you just can’t fool ALL of the people ALL of the time. The problem with logic was that no matter how illogical something might be on the surface, our human brains seemed to be wired so that we could twist them into believing even the most ridiculous dogma –for those of you who took humanities, think Jar Boy.
So, how does one decide what to believe?? My UPC pastor at the time said he could ‘argue all sides of almost any issue’. Today his UPC church has ‘levels of salvation.’ 🙂
My then teenage son lamented “why doesn’t God just give us a specific list of rules?” My answer at the time was that God wanted us to have the pleasure of working it out using his instruction book, the Bible. I still think that is not too bad of an answer. 🙂
So if the plan of salvation is so simple that “a wayfaring man, though a fool need not err therein” why do we have a gazillion books and thousands of religions to explain it??????? If God knows the ending from the beginning, why did he start with the LAW?? Why didn’t he just start with Christ and be done with it and not put humanity through all this angst???? Why did He need the OT (Old Testament)??
The plan of salvation is truly very simple –Christ died as an atonement for man and anyone who believes has hope of salvation. So why is that so hard? That is so hard b/c human beings want to somehow be in charge, in the know, important, make up the rules, be in charge of the rules, etc. We can take any number of very simple tasks and write a thousand page manual.
So why did God make us this way? He could have made us more simple, more obedient, less questioning, less thoughtful. Well, that is an easy one — we are made in the image of God and even we understand the value of love that is not coerced, not paid for, not robotic. So God made us complicated beings for His pleasure – hey, He’s God, I have no problem with that.
Now back to the original question – why didn’t he just give us Christ from the beginning and save us all the OT angst? Why did He need the OT?
He didn’t need the OT, we did!
Because we would not have understood the value of Christ without what preceded Him. We have to have the LAW, the failures, the successes, the hopes, the dreams, the prophets, the kings, the priest, the plans, the fanfare to even begin to comprehend the value of the simplicity of a salvation so simple that even a “wayfaring man, though a fool need not err therein”.