Of sandstone and apologetics


31 May 2003

The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God’ (Isaiah 40:3).

There is a marked recurrence of the word ‘desert’ in the Scriptures. To most of us, the word immediately triggers images of sand, lots of sand. The Hebrews knew the desert’s sand well, and this is why it was a powerful symbol to them.

Metaphorically speaking, most of the modern world has become a desert because it has abandoned the God of the Bible. What happens when His Word—the ‘water of life’—falls onto the desert sand? It immediately disappears into the sand. Why is that? Because of the way sand is made: tiny, individual grains are packed together, but they still have lots of space around them. A scoop of even the finest sand includes at least 40% empty space. The only way to eliminate the space is to bind the grains together into solid sandstone.

In a sense, Christians can be compared to sandstone, made ‘solid’ by the grace of the Holy Spirit. But does water penetrate sandstone, too? In most cases it does! A look under the microscope reveals the reason: there are flaws in the cement, and grains are missing. So water still finds a way through the voids in the rock.

Isn’t it this way with us Christians? No matter how strong the ‘spiritual cement’ that binds us, if there are flaws in us, the ‘water of life’ (God’s Word) just flows through us and seeps away! God’s Word is flawless, but when we misinterpret the Word, it creates flaws in our lives and in our relationships with each other and with God.

In the case of sandstone, most of the flaws arise because of the presence of a foreign body that inhibits the cementing or causes grains to be lost.

In the same way, the thing that leads many Christians to a flawed interpretation of God’s Word is allowing foreign bodies (man’s fallible ideas) to infiltrate their lives and thus inhibit the crystallization of the ‘spiritual cement.’ As a result, some churchgoers are temporarily soaked by God’s water of life (they hear the Word), but it seeps away because of those voids.

One of the most powerful ways in which secular ideas have penetrated the church is through a naturalistic view of origins. Scientists who deny God’s creative power interpret the world as the result of natural processes, without any divine intervention. Since the first 11 chapters of Genesis are foundational to the Gospel, it’s not surprising that most of the secular teachings aim their ‘heavy artillery’ at these critical chapters.

Our ministry stands on the first line of defense, exposing the secular world’s weapons of destruction and equipping Christians with appropriate answers to fight back.

These answers strengthen the faith of believers; their ‘spiritual cement’ becomes stronger, not only storing the ‘water of life,’ but also overflowing with it, making a straight highway for the Lord in the desert of this post-modern world!

Published: 5 February 2006