That evening, when I arrived home from work asking the kids about their day, the first thing I thought to ask them about the movie was “Were you frightened by the flying monkeys?” Their answer was to simply laugh and say, “No dad, they aren’t real. It sort of looked fake.” It was easy for them to set aside those frightening creatures as just “made up/ make-believe/ fake” things on a screen.
For many of us when we come to places in the Bible where Satan and demons appear in the narrative, it is easy to act like those parts are simply the bad witch or the flying monkeys. We haven’t experienced much with that kind of supernatural evil, so those stories while somewhat scary do not seem particularly real to us. Depending on our background, we may want to believe the Bible, but in our educated, Western culture, we struggle even to believe in the reality of supernatural evil at all much less those kinds of encounters.
Tim Keller posed 3 questions to his church congregation. For the skepticism you may feel in your own heart or the cultural skepticism you may face when you speak to others about the account presented in the Bible, here are 3 questions:
1. Could your skepticism of supernatural evil come from a simplistic worldview? Isn’t it a bit simplistic to believe that everything is visible and completely explainable?
2. Could your skepticism of supernatural evil come from a narrow cultural understanding?
3. Are you comfortable believing in God? Is it inconsistent to believe that there is a supernatural good Being, but there are no supernatural evil beings?
As we continue to read Mark together, we must remember that the people in the accounts were real people, dealing with real issues and struggling with real evil. The blockbuster of the Gospel of Mark is not merely loosely based on a true story. It happened. It was real.
I am glad the flying monkeys aren’t;)