Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.
Everything in the Bible is true, but not everything true is in the Bible. It does not give us a road map of how to live our lives. It points, it guides, it instructs, but not everything we need to know is in the Bible. If we need to fix our car, we don’t go to the Bible. We need to look both ways before we cross a street because if we walk in front of a moving car, we are going to be killed or hurt. The Bible doesn’t mention that.
The Bible doesn’t contain all truth, just the truth about directing us to Christ. It opens our eyes, hearts, minds, and lives to the ways of God, to the salvation of Christ, and to the path of Spirit. That is its purpose – to direct us to life’s most important spiritual truths.
There are denominations that claim because the Bible contains the truth, we should take every word literally. That is not accurate. The Bible is not one book, written by one author, in the same structure and for one purpose. The Bible is a compilation of 66 unique books written by different authors from different perspectives, with a variety of style, tone, and form.
There are books revealing history in the Bible. There are books of poetry. There are tales, or novellas, to enlighten us, inspire us, direct us, guide us, and teach us. Some books are apocalyptic, some are prophetic. We don’t read the Book of Psalms the same way we read the Book of Matthew. The Psalms are songs, which are written as poems using a poetic style and written in poetic form. They use descriptive language – allegories, similes, hyperbole, and metaphors to present ideas, feelings, and truths about various topics. These will not be read as literal.
The books of Laws need to be read considering the context of the people to whom they were addressed. We need to find the truth and meaning behind and within those words. The Bible is all true, but we are obligated to interpret its words using the wisdom that God has given us. If we do not, we may distort the actual meaning of the author and miss the truth being communicated entirely.
It is difficult being a Christian from many levels. Although we know Christ’s main message – Love – there are times when we have questions of a spiritual nature that simply are not addressed by the Bible. For instance. Did Jesus laugh? The Bible doesn’t tell us that he did. But I believe that truth is simply not included in the Bible. How can someone be so loving and not laugh? He was actually accused of being too light-hearted. In Luke 7:33-34 Jesus described himself and John the Baptist from the perspective of his critics. “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”
So, apparently some people saw Jesus as having too much fun, being too open and accepting of others – even the derided tax collectors, who were lumped in with the general sinners. I don’t think there any possibility that Jesus didn’t laugh.
One question not addressed by the Bible is the idea of an animal afterlife. There is a mention in Revelation 19:11-14 - Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. But we must remember that this was from a vision given to the Apostle John regarding Christ’s judgment of the earth. We can’t take this literally.
The Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 65:25 describes the peace and the new world where “the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.” Is this true or hyperbole? The Bible does say that animals have souls and a spirit. But does this mean they go to Heaven when they die?
Here is my response. Everything I am about to say, I believe is the truth, but it is not in the Bible. First of all, God created all life - animals, humans, and all other living creatures, with humans at the top of the God’s hierarchy of creation. Genesis 1:26-28 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
It seems that animals were created for mans enjoyment, affection, and use, but not abuse. We form loving bonds between our pets and can care for all life in the wild. Proverbs 12:10 tells us that, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” It is considered the right thing to care for the creatures under our protection.
Fine. But does the soul of our beloved pets go to Heaven? Will we see them when we get there? Martin Luther believed we will see animals in Heaven. The description in Isaiah of the New World created by God also convinced C.S. Lewis that animals will be in Heaven. Rev. Billy Graham answered the question this way: “God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in Heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.”
My reasoning is this: God created all life. All life is, in some form, the energy of God. That energy cannot be stopped or destroyed. So of course, when an animal dies that energy persists and must reside somewhere. We may as well call it Heaven. In my studies, I have come to believe that it is our consciousness that draws us close to God on earth and in the afterlife. Our awareness will also draw us close to those we love in Heaven. When we die, we will be surrounded by those that we love, and that would include our beloved pets. If there is a bond between an animal or a person, they will be part of our heavenly family.
We are also told by Christ in John 14:2 that, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” Although there is debate over what this means, it is one of those truths that we do not read literally. In Heaven, or our Father’s House, there are indeed many rooms, and these rooms are divided by our consciousness, our spiritual awareness.
When we drop the body, we are drawn to the souls who we love and then more generally to people who think, act, and behave as we do. I don’t imagine it having anything to do with the color of our skin, our political inclinations or religion. In Heaven there is no politics, religions, or DNA to differentiate us. We are attracted to people who, at the spiritual level, are similarly loving.
People who are bigoted will be attracted to one room. The most loving to another, with rooms for all various gradations. We will have the ability to visit anyone, anywhere, but we will settle in a room that suits our development. Our spouse, children, family, friends, and pets will be with us. Our ex-spouses will be there if we still got along. Our enemies and those with whom we have separated will be there if, and when, we choose them to be.
This is true for all the bugs, mosquitoes, and all the creepy crawly things. They will be drawn together by their consciousness. Since their awareness is basically nil, we have availability to them in Heaven as we choose, but they will not be part of our own conscious existence in spirit-form.
The Bible contains truth, but not all truth. As our opening Bible verse says, we do not know everything that Christ did, taught, said, demonstrated, or revealed. How many other fables did Jesus tell? How many other lessons and tales reveal new insights into Christ?
There are even a couple of things that we hold as true from the Bible that are not in the Bible. For instance, the three kings that came to visit Jesus at his birth. Were there really three? Were they really kings? The Bible does not say. We are told ‘wisemen’ came to celebrate the birth of Jesus and that these wisemen gave him three gifts. But who’s to say there weren’t five wisemen who gave three gifts, or two wisemen?
Another example is that Eve took a bite of an apple at the enticement of the serpent. All the Bible tells us is that Eve took a bite of the fruit. Genesis 3:4 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. It could have been a pomegranate or any other fruit with a seed in it, a pear, fig, or persimmon. Probably not a papaya, guava, or kiwi.
In another instance, Revelations references New Jerusalem, described as “…the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” having the great street of the city made of gold. We have been told this is a description of Heaven, but in truth it is a description of a city referred to as New Earth or New Jerusalem. It is not a description of a place. Rather, the ‘bride of Christ’ is a metaphorical reference to the assemblage of God’s children, to the church, and not the place where our souls go after dropping the body.
The truth is, I have no idea what Heaven is like, how it works, or its appearance. But I will. We all will, and our questions will be answered. In the Bible, there is no physical description of Heaven outside it having many rooms. Frankly, I am glad the streets of Heaven are not paved with gold; it would be an ostentatious waste of material. Give me grass, a path, a forest. A gold street is no motivation for me. It would be ironic, however, to have the pavement beneath our feet be something that as mortal beings we strove to attain. Now it is valueless, merely a ground cover.
In conclusion, truth can be a tricky thing; we can acquire it from many sources, but we need wisdom to discern it and apply it lovingly. I often say that although we may have the right to do something, is it always right to do? That is Biblical, and that query leads us to truth. In 1 Corinthians 10:23 Paul writes: “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” The truth is that we are free, freed by Christ. Now we must make the wise choices regarding our freedom and listen to Spirit, not the world, to God and not the ego.
It is my prayer that we find the truth, the truth of the Bible and the truth outside the Bible, and not just what we assume because others have told us it was true. I pray that we move within to the quiet sanctuary of prayer in order to fill our heart, minds, and souls with the love and wisdom of God so that we can live a life of truth for the benefit of others. I pray we remember the sentiment of Proverbs 16:6 - Love and truth bring forgiveness of sin. By respecting the Lord, we avoid evil.