You know those times when you’ve read a great book and then later on you find out that a movie version has been made? Whenever that happens to me, I get excited. I love the book so much that seeing it acted out onscreen sounds amazing. But what’s the usual outcome in these situations? The book is better nearly every time and you walk away feeling a bit let down. The live action version of the words you read and the images you’ve created in your mind fails to capture the essence of what the author intended.
I am a Michael Crichton fan. I have been since the early 90’s. If you don’t know who that is, he wrote novels such as Jurassic Park, Disclosure, Rising Sun, The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, Congo, The Great Train Robbery and Timeline. All of these were eventually made into movies. Some, such as Jurassic Park, were huge box office successes and were decent movies overall. But to true fans, movies based on books change too much of the story. The characters are different or not included. Some characters not in the book are now big parts of the action. Movies are great but if you want to really enjoy a good story, read the book.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Sure. Sometimes the movie is more exciting and heart-pounding than the book ever was. I can’t think of a movie version of a book I’ve read personally where that is the case off the top of my head though. However, I can think of a situation where the written version of something pales in comparison to the live action version of the subject matter.
The Bible is written in such a way that if it were actually nonfiction as claimed, this world would be filled with everyday magic and miracles going on left and right. But that’s not the world we live in now is it? The movie version of the Bible story is depicted in the lives we live. We need to look at both versions, compare them and then decide if they match. If they are not the same, which is better and why?
The Bible makes many claims and many promises. Promises such as “John 14:13-14. “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” That’s the book version. How does that compare to the live action movie version of your life? Have you ever prayed to God and asked for something (anything) in Jesus’s name? Did he give it to you as promised? Did he come through each and every time? I’m guessing no. I know that there are Christians out there who will say that you are praying wrong, asking for the wrong things, have sin in your life blocking access to God or God answers in his own way which may differ from yours. These things are excuses, not God answering prayers. Does the Bible have these stipulations? No. Does the Bible place a disclaimer on that passage that says “results may vary”? No.
There are promises like in Matthew 11:28-29 where we are told “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Have you ever prayed for peace and rest when life got hard? Was your sincere prayer answered? Did all your worries and fears melt into peace? I know mine didn’t.
There are countless other examples of promises made to us in the Bible that look great on paper but don’t materialize in reality. Claims (oftentimes outrageous ones) also grace the pages of this well known manuscript. Claims of unicorns, talking snakes and donkeys, a man walking on water, a man dying and rising again, blindness being cured by spitting into someone’s eyes, a man living inside a whale, a sea of water being divided so that men could walk on dry land, a talking bush on fire, a virgin conceiving a child, a man being taken up into heaven in a whirlwind, the existence of angels, demons, cherubs and giants and so many more. The list is as long as it is absurd. These claims are not reflected in reality. The live action version of life leaves out the most outlandish and laughable aspects of the book. Why is that?
If God exists and wants us to believe in him and have a relationship with him, why leave out of our lives the most impressive things written in his book? If we are supposed to believe the story, shouldn’t the world we live in resemble in some way the words written down for us in our “guidebook”? You would think so…and you would be wrong. The story is full of the types of things you would expect to find in a book of mythology, fantasy or legend. It contains very little of what you’d expect in a biography, a journal or diary. The types of things you’d expect to find in those types of writings are things that are observable, fact-based and believable. The Bible is not that type of book.
I love both a good book and a good movie. I love filling my mind up with the imagery inspired by the words of gifted authors. I also love watching real people portray characters found in those stories up on the big screen. Live action along with some great special effects can sometimes capture the essence of a story. Sometimes it can’t. If I read about things that cannot be observed, cannot be corroborated and defy both logic and nature, I know that the story is fiction and was intended to be read for entertainment purposes only. When my reality is in conflict with a story, I know what is real and what is not.
The truth is that the live action reality of our lives can be far more rewarding than the fictional written version of life. There is no sin in reality. There are only people who do both good and bad things. People make mistakes, learn from them and take the necessary steps to avoid them in the future. There is no eternal reward or punishment needed for positive changes to be made. In our reality, we are responsible for ourselves, others and the world around us. We don’t need to (and absolutely SHOULD NOT) wait for a god to come and fix the mess we’ve made. We can heal this world. We can help those who are down. We can feed the hungry, clothe the unclothed and love those who may be different from ourselves. We can do these things because they are the right thing to do and not because of a greater power who is a tyrannical monster in the book version but a non-entity in the live action version.
Books are great entertainment. Books are great learning tools. Books can comfort us when we’re hurting. But books are not real life. Stories, some written and some oral, are just stories. Some are based on reality, some are based on fantasy and some are written with a deliberate intent to deceive. You can tell the difference by opening your eyes. Look around your world and compare reality to the stories. Some are written so long ago that it’s hard to say if they are all true or embellished a bit. But any story passed off as truth that makes promises said to stand the test of time are ones that should be easy to decipher as true or not. All you have to do is take a promise, follow the instructions and examine the results. If any promise is true, it’ll be reflected in your life. Many of you reading this have prayed in accordance with the promises made in the Bible. So what’s your verdict?