My mind wandered to the Bible narratives and I pondered on the question asked early in human history by Cain in response to God after murdering his brother Abel.
God asked: “Where is your brother?” Cain responded, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9).
Riding my bike on my way back to my office from town this week, I kept thinking about the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Some of those questions included: “Who is my brother?
“Why should I worry about my brother’s affairs?”
“I should mind my own business,”
“I should respect my brother’s choice,”
“How am I to be the keeper of my brother?”
We face many tests regarding Bible stories, because in many cases they challenge our perspectives on life.
For example, the Bible account of Creation in Genesis chapters one to three. There are Christians who believe the six days of creation happened on six literal days, while others believe it actually took thousands of years. I’m using this example to illustrate simply how our perception of God affects the way we understand and interpret life.
One thing important in life for me is to “believe”.
But why do I believe in what I believe? What has been the process in the journey? What is the other option? To answer the latter is probably to say, “The other option is to stop believing what I believe and change my perspective.”
At this point I cannot change my attitude to what I believe, because it has helped shaped the person I am and the reasons why I do what I do. Because the things I do result from thought processes refined and categorised in my mind. If there is a need for a change to include or exclude, then a reorganising of the mind happens and is set in its new outlook, ready to face the new realities.
I want to bring in again the example of the Bible’s account of Creation. My bias and belief is that Creation happened in six literal days as I read it from the Bible. These are the things that helped me believe in this story: I believe God is a wise and orderly God in the way He created our world. There was a starting point and gradually each new day introduced new sensible realities. Note the order of Creation from days one to seven. First Day – light and darkness. Second Day - Separated water above and water below, vastness of the sky. Third Day – dry ground, with vegetation. Fourth Day – sun, moon and stars. Fifth Day – birds in the sky and fish in the sea. sixth day – animals and human beings. Seventh Day – rested. The creation story consolidates in my heart that God exists and that He is smart, loving and powerful.
For me to believe in the theory that creation took thousands of years and that God is still evolving, seems dumb, hopeless and powerless. However, both theories need faith, trust, or believe in. Of course, there are other creation stories and all of them, without fail, need to be believed.
Why do I believe in the literal Bible account of Creation? It’s simply because of my origins, according again to the Bible. It tells me God created the human race. We have the account of King David being amazed at how God put our bodies together with all its intricacies. (For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalms 139:13)
The Bible tells at how God connects with man, even though like Cain, we have opted to ignore our responsibilities. God took the initiative to redeem and save us to Him. He answered the question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” with a definitive “YES”.
How did he do that? By His 100 per cent willingness and trust in sending His Son Jesus to die on the Cross for you and I. This is sometimes hard to take in, as God connects to us in unique ways, but we do not recognise them. That’s because as I mentioned before, it is a process, a journey of packing and unpacking and repacking again up to the point where you will enjoy God’s presence in you, wherever you are and whoever you are with.
My answer to the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a big YES.
Why? There is so much negativity and abuse of power happening in our world and immediately around us. It’s time to care for one another, not just because the Bible encourages us to do so, but it is the right and honorable thing to do.
Seventh Day Adventist Church