The Gospel begins with God.
Genesis 1:1 begins “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The beginning of time itself was God creating. Our basic understanding of God begins with Him being the creator. This is the most fundamental, foundational, permeating truths any person can know, that God created all things.
That means there is design, there is purpose, there is a reality and existence outside of you. You did not make time. You did not begin it all. You do not determine your purpose. God began it all. God made it all. God has a reason and purpose for what He did. It’s a sweet thing to know your purpose. It’s a beautiful and freeing thing to know God’s reason for making you. It gives weight and purpose to all things you do, once you know what it is and once it permeates everything you are. But what is it?
Now, in my last post I spoke about Pokemon. I asked myself a question as I reflected on the new game, “Would you really give up knowing God, having a wife, having a future, and obtaining everlasting joy and satisfaction, for a new game that will also be old in the next ten years?”
Over the next few posts, I want to answer the previous question and answer this question: “What is our purpose in life?”
In this post, I am going to answer the question: “Would you really give up knowing God for a new game that will also be old in the next ten years?”
Let’s jump back a little bit. The statement behind this question was: “Now, a year later, as I read reviews and the awesome new features of Pokemon X & Y, my heart yearns for those days. To simply play without cares, worries, or thoughts. To achieve success in an alternate universe feels so much easier, and is a tasteful satisfaction of the immediate kind. But my heart also hesitates.”
So when I ask, “would you really give up knowing God?” I didn’t have in mind enjoying God through playing the game. What was behind the question was the scary fact that my fleshly nature would play the game to rid myself of the pressures of this world. To hide myself away into another reality, so that I could ignore this one. To ignore and stiff arm the creator of the universe for being the best in a much smaller universe. That I would trade joy in God for the ability to conquer a smaller, lesser world. That was scary.
There can be a way to see God through all things, because He created all things. Pokemon isn’t man’s idea, it is God’s idea. The world has animals. There is fighting and conquering. There is a food chain. People train and tame animals. There are (were) dinosaurs, ducks, platypus, and crocodiles in this world. Pokemon is God’s world disguised, twisted, and packaged in the form of “new monsters, new world, new purpose.”
Easy lies of living in a Pokemon World
The Pokemon world fascinated me as a kid. I remember time and time again wishing that life was like the Pokemon universe, and that all I had to do was catch and train Pokemon. But it wasn’t just how easy it would be, it was far more interesting and felt more rewarding than the world I lived in.
The Pokemon world’s leading philosophy was “to be the best.” That was the chief end, the goal, the purpose of every character. Build up the best team, beat other teams, rise to the top, and have the best collection. The theme song to the television show began with, “I want to be the very best, like no one ever was.”
Stories, games, and people shape our lives. The Pokemon story gave me a taste for being the best. I liked it, and I adopted it as a life philosophy. To conquer and be on top and be known as the best was my desire. That was my purpose for living and goal of my existence. To be the very best like no one ever was. That is what would define me.
But, this purpose was small. What would happen when I become the best?
In the Pokemon games, once you beat the Champion, and once you built a bigger and better team and caught ” ’em all,” there was nothing next. Nothing left.
The old nature in me, the old man, the me that desires to eat mud pies, doesn’t see the steak and potatoes that are offered to me.
The fleshly nature thinks the easier something is, the better. Mud pies are easier to make than steak and potatoes. I mean, take dirt, add water, mix, and serve. Steak takes years of growing a cow. Potatoes takes months of waiting for the plant to grow them.
Being a champion in Pokemon was easy and didn’t last. It’s a mud pie desire.
But knowing God is an infinite quest. Loving God is a lifetime of learning and doing. Loving God is an everlasting experience that we can’t fully grasp yet in this life. The most delicious steak and potatoes.
The beginning of the Gospel is God. He made all things. The Pokemon world is not as fascinating as the man who made it or the technology that made it possible. The author of Pokemon is in a reality far better than his makeshift reality. And even his little created world is saying something about He who made all things.
God is to be known. He is that He is. And knowing what He is will take you eternity.
I would not trade knowing God for a game. I will use all things, including games, to see God’s hand and His thought, behind it all.
My fiance is a greater joy and reality than any video game, tv show, internet delight, or instant pleasure. Work is a great pleasure given by God in which we get to labor with God in the things He so desires. To hide away, and draw myself into the small shell of the Pokemon world is to miss out on the glory that is revealed in this world. The heavens tell of His glory, and I want to see it all.