I just finished reading a Tony Hillerman mystery in which the villain was a New Mexico landowner who started out as a geologist working for an oil company. He was looking for oil, and in the process of finding it he also found a huge uranium deposit. The uranium would have been worth much more than the oil, and he did not want to see it go to waste, so he arranged to have the oil well blown up and all the workers killed in an apparent drilling accident. He remade his identity, came back a couple of years later and bought up the land when the oil company’s lease on it had expired, mined uranium to his heart’s content and became hugely rich and powerful.
The whole mystery hinges on the fact that this man had two completely and totally separate identities. There was the old self–who he was prior to the apparent drilling accident, and the new self that he made himself into afterward. He took this so far that all that remained of his old self was a few artifacts which he kept hidden in a strongbox in a secret vault.
I think a lot of evangelicals do the same thing. We divide our lives into two completely watertight compartments: our lives “before Christ” and our lives “after Christ”–that is, before or after we made the decision to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ–or “got saved”, to use the correct evangelical terminology. We justify this arrangement using verses such as 2 Corinthians 5:17 (“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”) or Ephesians 2:1 (“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world…”) or Colossians 1:21-22 (“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight…”). Continue reading “Is That a Hole in Your Soul Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?”