Monday, March 31, 2014

How Voltaire’s Estate Enlightens the World

François-Marie Arouet, otherwise known as Voltaire, is known to have arrogantly quipped, “One hundred years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity seeker.” Enlightenment philosopher, hedonist, and skeptic, was Voltaire. I don’t know if it is right to call him an atheist in the truest sense of the word, but he was a God-hater to say the least. Voltaire lived and died in utter hopelessness. Instead of putting his hope in the truth, he defied truth, even rejecting a bedside nurse or doctor who tried to lead him to the hope found in Jesus Christ, replying that he would take the person with him, to hell. He lived a lie, and died hopeless in his efforts to stamp out truth. And what of his predictions that there would be no Bible one hundred years from his death? Before I answer that, let me tell you what the Bible itself has to predict about its existence.

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah said, The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) The New Testament apostle Peter quoted these words of Isaiah and said, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers, the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25) Both Old and New Testaments of the Bible predict that the existence of all that is written in the Bible can never be stamped out. It is truth, which is eternal, and leads to eternal hope. It is indeed a sad thing—sad beyond human expression—that Voltaire missed out on this. What then of Voltaire’s prediction that there would be no Bible one hundred years from his existence?

Voltaire lived in Geneva, Switzerland, before he moved to France. In Geneva, he owned a large estate, with undoubtedly, an impressive house to go with it. The Geneva Bible Society purchased this house, and it is used today for the production of the very book Voltaire thought would become obsolete. Voltaire’s estate is helping to bring true “enlightenment” to the world!

There is hope, and it is found in the person of Jesus Christ, and the truth of His Word to us, the Bible. It is as eternal, as unchanging, and as unaffected by time, space, and matter, as the very mind of God. In fact, it is the very mind of God revealed to man, and in it is found the Truth which gives you hope. As illustrated by Voltaire, to deem as obsolete that which has stood and will stand forever, is in itself an act of obsolescence, because it sets you up to be remembered merely for the hopeless life you lived, not for the hope you can point people to.

Are you hopeless? Find a Bible from a friend, or a store, or online, or by any other means, and read it. It has stood longer than anything else in time, and will continue to. You would do well to read and believe all it has to offer.
Are we hopeful because of the truth we have found in the Bible? Then we must be sharing this hope with people through the lives we live, and through the Bible.

© Kenny Damara, 2014

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