Messiah for the Universe

Author Interview
Rev. Steven J. Boint Author Interview

Did Jesus Die For Dogs? examines the relationship between nature and God’s salvation. Why was this an important book for you to write?

We miss so much when we ignore the full scope of salvation: understanding, joy, and purpose to name a few things. What I mean by understanding is, for example, we all know that Jesus was born in a manger. The focus in Christmas sermons is almost always on his humility. But, where else COULD he have been born? If he is the savior of the whole creation, it is only fitting that he be born surrounded by humans AND ANIMALS. The first Adam was born surrounded by plants and animals, the same needed to be true for the second Adam. The lyricist of “Joy to the World” understood this; when explaining the meaning of Jesus’ birth he wrote: “. . . let men their songs employ while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy. No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the Curse is found [the Curse being the twisting of the universe by sin].” He understood that the Messiah would bring in a renewed universe where the lamb would lie down beside the lion. The Curse would be lifted and Eden would return. Christ was messiah for the universe.

We miss joy because we miss God’s presence around us. The Gospel of John starts “In the beginning was the logos. . . “ Logos is usually translated as “word.” But to many if not most of John’s original audience, they would have read it in accord with popular stoic philosophy which used logos to refer to the rational structure of the universe. The very foundation of the universe became flesh. Johannes Kepler, founder of modern science and a Lutheran pastor, explained to an acquaintance that he studied science to understand the regularly repeated acts of God’s self-revelation. For Kepler, and biblically, each reflection on a body of water is placed there actively by God. Wind is God moving each molecule of air. All things hold together because God actively holds them together. The universe is not a machine wound up and now running on its own. In other words, God surrounds us and the whole world is holy.

And although I don’t draw these implications in the book, we miss purpose because we think only preachers and evangelists matter to the Kingdom of God. But this whole world is loved by God. We scratch God’s heart when we misuse creation. Global warming, plastic in the oceans, habitat reduction . . . how can Christians stand by and let what is loved by our Creator and Redeemer be decimated? Once we understand the depth of God’s love for bees, songbirds, frogs, polar bears, the need to defend them is obvious.

What do you feel is a common misconception people have about God’s salvation?

Certainly most Christians view salvation as a ticket out of hell and into an otherworldly eternal church service. The biblical picture is much different. Salvation is a never-ending process of being engulfed by the whirlwind of God’s creativity. God built a physical universe and we are physical parts of that universe. This universe, though twisted now, will be restored and become the arms of its creator wrapped around each one of us. God did not create us to live in an ethereal realm, that’s why, according to the Bible, the universe will be physically renewed and we will be physically resurrected.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

Assurance that all parts of this creation matter to its creator. God will not lose what God has created. All will be restored. It is as true for critters as for people, “God is God of the living, not of the dead.”

This book certainly has an attention grabbing title. What was the inspiration behind the book’s title?

I’ve watched the sadness, almost despair, of believers who have lost a pet. The church seldom offers any consolation although it should because salvation embraces animals as well as people. I wanted to drive that home with the title. The subtitle “What does the Bible say?” lets readers know this is a study of actual scripture. Other authors have covered this material from a history of theology standpoint, but presenting the biblical picture is less common. I wanted to let the audience know that the Bible affirms the everlasting value of the relationships we form with animals.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Website

Do animals go to heaven? Are humans the center of God’s universe? Is polluting Earth a sin? Is fighting to sustain habitat a form of witness? Decide for yourself! This theological discussion lays bare the major biblical themes that involve nature, allowing each reader to draw informed conclusions within his or her Christian tradition. Noteworthy not merely for what it includes, but also for what it leaves out, “Did Jesus Die For Dogs?” examines the relationship between nature and God’s salvation as revealed in scripture. Limiting discussion to the main thread of salvation history, this discussion avoids favoring one Christian tradition over others while highlighting biblical themes that theologians from all traditions should include in their understanding of the work of Christ. And . . . YES!

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on October 11, 2020, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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