Profound Hope: A Journey Through Darkness Essay Example

Profound Hope

In the dark entrance of a secluded cave, I sit and ponder on how I will survive. My only light comes from a small fire which took me about two hours to get started from clicking two flint stones together. If not for the small fire, I would be very cold due to the fact that caves stay the same temperature all year. My clothes are damp from the moist air of the cave.

This all started when my house burnt down leaving me with no place to live. I no longer have a job because I made a living on the computer, which burnt with the house. My car also went up in flames in the garage attached to the burning house. So, here I am, struggling to start all over again. That terrible night I was lucky enough to still be dressed and on my way out of the engulfed house, I grabbed a pocket sized Bible off of the coffee table.

Sitting by the fire, I take the small, white Bible out of my pocket. The Bible had Holy Bible printed in gold letters across the front cover. As I flip through the thin pages, I wonder what made me grab the Bible instead of something with cash value. Then, I come upon a book in the Bible that tells of a man that lost all he had. It goes on to tell how God helped him out of his despair. At this moment, I began to realize why my only possession was a Bible. I would soon realize that it has always been the most important possession I have ever had.

As I began to read more, it took my mind off of where I was and how I came to be there. Most importantly, it gave me a sense of hope that I would make it in this desolate world on my own. Story after story, I read. The more I read, the more I came to know what I had to do in order to survive. Answers flowed from that book into my reality, as if I was having a conversation with someone about what to do next. I soon fell into a deep sleep from exhaustion and hunger.

The next morning I awake to the sound of my stomach growling. I knew that I must eat. The season was between spring and fall. There was plenty wild vegetation; I just had to find it. I got up and left the caving on my first hunt for food in the wilderness.

Walking along I heard a squirrel in the tree above me. I looked up and to my surprise; I had found food with the help of a squirrel. I saw something that I had once heard were “opossum grapes”. I knew that they were good to eat because I had eaten them when I was a child. I climbed the tree until I could reach the grapes; I pulled out the tail end of my shirt, and began stuffing it full of grapes to take with me. By the time I got back to the cave, I had already eaten over half of them.

I knew that I would have to have more that to eat, so I went out to find an object that I could be used to spear a fish with. As I was walking, I stepped on a broken beer bottle. Immediately, I realized that I could use the broken glass to stab a fish. I hurried down to the creek in the bottom of the valley. I sat for a long time try to figure out how I would get close enough to fish to stab it with the glass.

Then, I saw a shallow pool of water filled with branches, grass, and FISH! I stooped down over a rock by the shallow pool and quietly waited for my chance to strike. Just when the fish were getting use to my presence, I struck! I managed to wound a small but big enough to eat fish. I was so proud of myself. I knew that I would need a couple more, so I sat and waited to strike again. After a few hours I had four fish.

On my way back to the cave, I gathered some green branches to use as roasting sticks for my soon to be dinner. I couldn’t wait to taste them; I hurried back and quickly started a fire. I used the edge of the glass to cut the fishes’ heads and tails off. I pilled back their scaly skin and rinsed them with water that I had carried from the creek in the end of the broken beer bottle. Soon, they were roasting over open flam on green but sturdy sticks.

That night I ate all four of the fish and the rest of the grapes that I gathered earlier that morning. With my belly full and my body warm, I took out my Bible and began to read again. Story after story, words flowed form the pages into my soul.

The next morning, I realized that I was beginning to smell a little stout. I walked down stream a little way from the fish pool to bath. I took my clothes off and scrubbed them on a rock, rung them out, and hung them on a tree branch to dry. Then, it was time to bath myself. Although I did not have any soap. I could still scrub my body and rinse my hair. I waded around awhile in the water trying to give my clothes a little time to dry. Once they were dry, I put them back on and headed back to the cave.

That day, I knew I needed to go to town for some supplies, which I planned to get out of the trash. As I drew closer to town, I stopped and took the Bible from my pocket. I knelt down on my knees with the Bible in my hands, and, I began to pray. The night before, I read that if you ask, you shall receive. So, I was asking God to deliver me from this desperate situation.

When I arrived at the edge of town, I went into the local laundry mat to use the restroom. After using the restroom, I went back out into the laundry mat. I walked over to the chairs lined up against the wall and sat down to rest from my long walk into town. In the magazine next to me on a table, I found a perfume sample. I picked up the sample and rubbed it all over my clothes to make them smell more presentable.

On the wall opposite of where I was sitting, I saw a bulletin board full of things for sale and help wanted signs. I walked over to the board and began to read. There on a piece of tattered paper were the words, “HOUSE KEEPER WANTED” written in red marker.

I tore the paper down from the board and set out to find the address that was printed at the bottom of the paper. Finally, I came upon an immaculate three-story house, whose address fit the one on the paper. There were very expensive cars parked in the circle drive. Then, I began to wonder why someone with so much money would post a help wanted sign in a run down laundry mat. Maybe, I had come to the wrong house. I looked at the paper carefully and then back at the address on the house; it was the right place.

Slowly I approached the large porch with tall white columns reaching to the roof of the three-story house. When I got to the door I hesitated in knocking. I was ashamed of my appearance. As I was adjusting my clothes before knocking on the door, the door suddenly opened.

I looked up to find a small, frail, old lady standing in the entrance of the large house. In a small, quiet voice she said, “You must be here for the house keeping position.”

I cleared my throat and replied, “Yes, Mam, I am. Has the position already been filed?”

She answered, “It sure hasn’t and if you would like, come in and I’ll fill you in on the duties you will be performing.” I followed her into the house, where we sat down. She began to explain, “Of course you will have to live here in the house and be on call 16 hours a day, Monday-Saturday. Sunday will be your only day off. I will pay you $400.00 a week and all of your meals will be provided.” I looked at her in disbelief. She was the answer to my prayers. Sweetly she looked at me and said, “ You will be wearing uniforms that I will provide for you.” As if she had noticed that I had not been well groomed in a few days and that I would need a bath and something clean to wear. Then she asked me, “Would you like to have the job?”

Immediately, I replied anxiously, “Yes, thank you so much! When do you need me to start?”

She quickly said, “You can start now if you like. Your room will be on the third floor. You can shower and put on your uniform. I’ll have the cook make you something to eat, then, you can get started.”

So, that’s how I went from having a home, to homeless, and having a home again. Sometimes things happen for a reason. I believe that the lesson in this is that no matter how small the possession, you should never forget the importance it may have in your life. The small Bible that I carried out of my burning house served as my lifeline to sanity, reality, and profound hope in my greatest time of need.

I’m a freshman in Arkansas. I love writting essays and short stories but I know that sometimes it is hard to come up with the time to write an essay. I was really pleased with this essay. I received an A for it and I hope that it will help someone.

 

Recent Studies Show Bible Is Wrong

Recent Study Shows That the Bible Is WrongThe Christian Bible says the words of God and states that God is omnipotent and cannot lie. If you think about that statement you realize that if God is omnipotent then he should have the power to lie.

The error could not be corrected by any additions made to the bible throughout the last two centuries. In order to fix that error and other scientific errors, too many changes would have to be made to the Bible. The Bible says that God created Earth in 6 days about 10,000 years ago. Clearly Earth could not have been created in 6 days about 10,000 years ago.

If Earth is merely 10,000 years old then how do you explain the dinosaurs that existed millions of years ago? Scientists discovered life fossils that date back billions of years, even the skeletons of modern humans date back before the time of Adam and Eve. If we were to believe the Bible, then we would have to believe that God created Earth before the stars, which is impossible. If the stars were created 10,000 years ago, we wouldn’t be able to see stars that were more than 10,000 light years away. That’s because if a star were further away than 10,000 light years, the light from that star wouldn’t have got here yet.

Our galaxy alone is about 100,000 light years across. If the sayings of the Bible were true, we wouldn’t be able to see but 1/10th the way across our own galaxy. We surely wouldn’t be able to see other galaxies or galactic clusters or know that the universe is expanding. Therefore the Bible is just plain wrongOur modern technology has proven the Bible wrong.

Meaning that if God exists, he didn’t write the Bible and the Bible is not his word. If the Bible is the word of God and the Bible is wrong, then God is wrong. If God can’t be wrong, then the Bible, which is wrong, can’t be the word of God. One little considered fact comes to mind: men who lived thousands of years ago wrote the Bible.

The authors had limited knowledge of the nature of the universe and wrote the Bible based on what they believed at the time. They didn’t know the Earth had a round shape and orbited the Sun, or that the Earth is a star among billions of stars in the galaxy that is but one galaxy in billions of galaxies that have existed for billions of years. To the authors of the Bible, the world appeared to be flat and God lived in the sky. They didn’t know that the sky is composed of a thin layer of gas that surrounds the surface of this planet.

We have been to the sky and we have been above the sky and God isn’t living there. Other glitches appear in the Bible such as the error in the order that God created plants on the third day of creation and created the sun on the fourth day. For those who missed second grade science class, plants require sunlight to exist, otherwise knows as photosynthesis. No sun, no plants.

Another question comes to mind: why would a benevolent God create pathogenic organisms whose sole function seems to be to cause disease and suffering? God must have wanted pathogenic viruses in the world: because they exist today, God must have brought them on Noah’s ark. Why would he do such a thing is he’s infinite goodness, which is the meaning of ”God”? If God created everything, then He have to have had created himself. Since God could not have created himself because He wasn’t in existence to do so in the first place, the God theory is flawed. If the Bible is the word of God and He does not lie, then how can such an omniscient being make such foolish errors? In my opinion, the Bible was created to tell believers what is right and wrong.

The words of the Bible created fear in believers by giving examples of mass destruction or punishments done by God because of the behavior of people, and by creating the concept of hell. Humans created a god in order to explain existence and have hope that someone is looking over them. The concept of God gave an easy answer to people’s questions. Why did my son die? He died because God had a plan for him, and decided that he should die in the hospital 2 days after he was born.

A scientific explanation would be that he died because his heart failed due to the disorder that was caused by his mother’s excessive drinking during pregnancy. Before science existed, to answer questions people had nothing to turn to except their belief in God. Since people questioned things long before science was ever created, practically the whole population of this planet had developed a belief in god. And since “God made it so,” sounds better than “I have no clue,” God became the new explanation for all things that were previously unexplained.

The Biggest Influencer: John Calvin

Many people in history have made a very big impact on their culture, times, and/or religion. One that stands out is John Calvin. He had a really huge influence during his time—the early-to-middle sixteenth century. Calvin devoted almost his whole life to promoting Protestantism, and he made a big difference that is still seen today in Christianity.

Calvin was born in France in July of 1509 and belonged in a set of five brothers. He was baptized to the parish of Sainte-Godeberte, where his parents were parishioners (Walker 26). Calvin, as a boy, was very liberally educated since his parents were as well. When he was eleven, his father arranged for John to be in charge of a chaplaincy attached to the altar in the cathedral in Noyons, the city of his birth. In his twelfth year, Calvin was aided by a succession of small ecclesiastical benefices without duties attached. These were the only things that Calvin did in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church, and it was very short, because John’s father sent him to the University of Paris at the age of fourteen (29-30).

His father’s intention to send him to Paris was for John to specialize in the study of Theology, because he was remarkably religious, and was also a strict censor of everything vicious in his companions. But his father also wanted John to study law, because his father viewed law as “the surest way to wealth and honors” (44). Also, his father had gotten involved in a dispute with the cathedral chapter where he was employed. But, otherwise, Calvin followed his father’s “wishes” and studied law at the division of the University of Orleans. Looking to new possibilities, he also learned the Greek language. When his father died in 1531, there was no pressure to make a choice. He received a master of arts in Theology in Paris and completed the doctorate in Law, but after his father’s death, John came back to Paris and devoted himself enthusiastically to the language and literature courses of the newly appointed royal lecturers.

In his second stay in Paris, he published his first book, “Commentary on Seneca’s Treatise on Clemency,” in April of 1532. While studying here, he came across the writings of Martin Luther. Calvin began getting involved in the movement, and in 1533, he had his “salvation experience.” He wrote about it later and stated, “God subdued and brought my heart to surrender. It was more hardened against such matters than was to be expected in such a young man.” Calvin knew that to fulfill his place with God, he would have to turn away from the Roman Catholic Church. He exactly did that.

His first attempt to move from the Roman Catholic Church was November 2, 1533, when he gave a speech attacking the church demanding reform. He figured that if he spoke to the people and educated them on Protestantism, then they would be ready to make changes in the Roman Catholic Church. Unfortunately, it did not turn out the way he thought it would be. Instead of resulting in reform, the results were anti-Protestant protests all over Paris, forcing him to flee for safety. Two years later, while roaming over Europe and landing in Basle, Switzerland, Calvin published the first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion. This eventually helped set John as a leader in the French Protestant Reformation (128).

After this, he went to Geneva and worked with the reform of the Genevan Church (182). John went through many ups and downs during his stay in Geneva, and he fought through many personal and political conflicts. For example, a certain conflict was when he refused to distribute the elements for communion on Easter Sunday in 1538 while preaching at Saint-Pierre. For this action, he was ordered to depart from Geneva (213).

Set out from Geneva, Calvin moved to Strasbourg at the urging of Martin Bucer (217). Here, he published a revised and longer version of the Institutes and a commentary on the book of Romans. The new version proved how intellectual mature he was, and thus showed that he attained full status as a theologian. During this time, he married Idelette de Bure, and the couple had one child that died in infancy (228-230). Calvin was constantly urged to return to Geneva to try to revive the reform there. After much uncertainty, he left Strasbourg by himself in September of 1541 (262).

Upon his return to Geneva, he was invited back to help turn the city around spiritually. He evolved into a very influential resident and was considered the chief religious leader and the foremost interpreter of the “Word of God.” He never held a public office in Geneva, but he ruled with strictness, and sin was punished. He played a strong part in the decision-making that occurred in Geneva (278). He had laws passed to promote Christian behavior. Struggling with his reform attempts, on the side, his wife died in 1549. Calvin continued doing commentaries on the Bible and published discussions on 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, James, Jude, Acts, and many others between 1546-1553 (324).

The end of the Perrinist reign in Geneva in 1555 removed the remaining opposition to Calvin’s leadership in the city (355). Calvin attempted to make lives better for Genevan residents, but his sole purpose and interest was on the spiritual side of things. Calvin continued his commentaries on the Bible from 1555-1556, and in 1559, he completed the perfected edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin’s health declined throughout the early 1560’s, and he gave his last sermon on February 6, 1564. John Calvin died on May 27, 1564, and was buried in a common cemetery, in an unmarked grave, as he requested (434).

Many events helped Calvin achieve the great status that he deserved, but without the really remarkable ones that he achieved, little understanding would occur about the great man. His noted achievements in his theological values, also known as Calvinism, show that he brought new insight to the church. By looking at Five Points introduced by Larry Nixon, we can see Calvin’s final conclusions through intense Bible study.

The first point of Calvinism is Total Heredity Depravity. This teaches that all children are born into the world bearing the guilt of the sin of Adam. If an infant were to die, it would be condemned to hell. This doctrine is the source of the unscriptural practice of infant baptism. This is also the belief that “evil pervades every faculty of his soul and every sphere in life. He is unable to do a single thing that is good.” Scripture fully supports this belief. Genesis 6:5 says that “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” This explains how our desires became evil, and how wickedness penetrates our deepest breaks. In our heart is evil, and this was what Calvin wanted to show.

The second point of Calvinism is Unconditional Election, which teaches that people have nothing to say as to whether or not they are among the “elect.” This is the teaching of predestination, where only certain people are “saved” and others are “lost.” It is not biased by what one does; only being chosen is they way to be saved. This is seen in Philippians 2:13, which says, “…for it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose.” Therefore, Calvin believed that God chooses us, and we don’t choose Him.

The third point of Calvinism is Limited Atonement, which teaches that there is a fixed, limited number of people who will be saved, and that nobody else will be accepted by God when this number is complete. This is one of Calvin’s most controversial doctrines in Calvinism. The debate on limited atonement deals with the question of who Christ actually died for. Calvin answered this by saying that Christ died for the believer, or those who He had already elected. This is biblically illustrated in John 10, where Jesus says, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” It does not say for all sheep, implying that there is only a selected few. Thus, Calvin believed that Christ died for the predestined only, and not for all mankind.

The fourth point of Calvinism is Irresistible Grace, which says that any person who is among the “elect” will have no choice as to becoming a servant of God. This shows that the Holy Spirit will directly operate on the “elect,” and they will be unable to resist the Spirit’s work in their lives. When God sends the Holy Spirit to an “elect” to save from evil desires, that person will be changed like it or not. In John 6:37, Jesus says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me,” thus showing that if a person is predestined, he will be saved. If God chooses someone, and He is ruling, then it can be said that he will save us and not leave the work uncompleted. Thus, Calvin believed that the Holy Spirit only “operates” on the predestined.

The fifth and final point of Calvinism is Perseverance of the Saints, which teaches that a person who has once received salvation can never be lost. This says that Christians are protected by God, and they can never be away from God’s grace—also known as “once saved, always saved.” Proof of this is that “God is unchanging” in Hebrews 13:8, which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today…” thus showing that if he chooses to save someone, then he will save him/her and not change His mind letting him/her perish. Also John states:

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no

one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has

given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch

This shows that once God saves someone, He won’t let go.

One of his other views was his view on baptism. Calvin described baptism as “a sign of initiation, by which we are admitted into the society of the Church, in order that, being incorporated into Christ, we may be numbered among the children of God” (Calvin 583). Along with being reckoned among God’s children, Calvin thought the purity offered in baptism washed away all of our defilement (Battles2 359-60), and we are “purified for the whole of life” (Calvin 585). Calvin also explained that it is not true that people will be deprived of the grace of regeneration if they are never baptized. For this reason, he was opposed to “emergency” baptism before death by an individual, because Christ only commanded those who were apostles to baptize (Battles2 365).

Calvin disagreed with the Roman Catholic Church, which said that baptism restores one to the purity of Adam before the fall by releasing one from original sin (Battles1 108). Calvin acknowledged this by saying that by baptism, “God promises remission of sins, and will certainly fulfill the promises to all believers” (Calvin 596). Calvin thought the manner in which someone is baptized is irrelevant—“whether the person who is baptized by wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, or water be only poured or sprinkled upon him is of no importance” (596). Calvin also regarded the worthiness of the minister proceeding with the baptism is unimportant because “they did not baptize us into the fellowship of their own ignorance or sacrilege, but into the faith of Jesus Christ” (595).

Another view of Calvin concerned the Lord’s Supper. He described it as “a spiritual banquet, in which Christ testifies himself to be the bread of life, to feed our souls for a true and blessed immortality” (641). He contended that Communion “affords us a testimony that we are incorporated into one body with Christ” (642) and into eternal life and deliverance from our sins (Battles2 375). Calvin and a guy named Zwingli argued against a real presence in the Lord’s Supper (Battles1 109). According to Calvin, “the signs are bread and wine, which represent to us the invisible nourishment which we receive from the body and blood of Christ” (Calvin 641). To Calvin, the bread and wine feed us physically so the flesh and blood of Christ can feed our souls (Battles2 378). While writing why he doubted a physical presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, Calvin stated, “Christ’s body is finite” and “the Lord by his Spirit gives us the privilege of being united with himself in body, soul, and spirit” (Calvin 653). As with baptism, Calvin believed there was an inseparable connection between the sacrament of the blood of Christ and the preaching of the Word (Wallace 206).

Calvin did not think the manner of the distribution of the Lord’s Supper was very important. Whether the bread is received in the hands or divided among a group; whether the cup is handed to the next person or the deacon; whether the bread is leavened or unleavened; whether the wine is white or red—these could be decided by the church and no harm would be done (Keesecker 104). Calvin disagreed with Zwingli, who wanted to reduce the Lord’s Supper (Battles1 109). Calvin pushed to have the Eucharist celebrated weekly, but this did not work because the people of Geneva were more conservative than Calvin had estimated (White 65).

John Calvin was truly a great man, who made a lasting impact on church society. Through his writings, speeches, and Calvinism, he reached his goal in life, which was to learn about God and His Holy Word. His devotion to the promoting of Protestantism, succeeding Martin Luther, made such a difference his teachings are still seen today in Christianity.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Battles1, Ford Lewis. Analysis of the Institutes of the Christian Religion of John

Calvin. Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1980.

Battles2, Ford Lewis. Interpreting John Calvin. Grand Rapids, Baker Book House,

1980.

Calvin, John. Institutes of Christian Religion. Philadelphia, Presbyterian Board of

Christian Education, 1932.

Dyer, T.H. The Life of John Calvin. London, J. Murray, 1850.

Hyma, Albert. The Life of John Calvin. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Co.,

1943.

Keesecker, William F. A Calvin Treasury. Louisville, Westminster/John Knox Press,

1962.

McDonnell, Kilian. John Calvin, the Church and the Eucharist. Princeton, Princeton

University Press, 1967.

Nixon, Larry. “The Five Points of Calvinism.” 1998. http://www.mev.net/Article13.htm

Parker, T.H. John Calvin: a Biography. Philadelphia, Westminster, 1975.

Walker, Williston. John Calvin. New York, The Knickerbocker Press, 1906

Wallace, Ronald S. Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life. London, Oliver and

Boyd, 1959.

White, James F. Protestant Worship. Louisville, Westminster/John Knox Press,

1989.

 

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