/ Gentle Reformation

Why Can't Life Be Like Video Games?

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved games. Nothing much has changed since the days of the arcade room (save trying to get those pesky change machines to actually take my crumpled dollar bill). Even now as a grown-up, the latest concoctions from Blizzard or Valve or Games Workshop entice me mightily.

The other day I was thinking about these things. Something new occurred to me- why I like strategy games. It’s certainly true that I love the artistry of modern graphics. I also enjoy the challenge of trying to break a game or conquer an opponent. But there’s something about the objectivity of beating an opponent that brings particular satisfaction. This was the new thought.

Take a game like Warhammer 40,000.

While milling around before a tournament, nervous energy evident, a group of guys talk strategy and army builds. Inevitably there are always those who think their particular army is going to crush the opposition. Their confidence is apparent. Not to be outdone, another pipes up, counter-point in hand. No worries though. The first person brushes the problem aside with a simple wave of the tongue. Soon there is an extended back and forth, multiple voices chiming in, each quite certain that they have the definitive answer.

Depending on the personalities involved, the discussion can prove a bit maddening.

But here’s the good news. It isn’t a tournament of words. It’s a tournament of action with real results. Many of these confident chaps are going to lose. Some gloriously so.

Life is often like that pre-game chatter. Whether we’re speaking with an unbeliever about life’s biggest questions, or trying to hammer out important doctrinal, political, or cultural issues, the conversation often looks a lot like gamers arguing about their strategies. Each is quite confident they have it right.

The challenge with real life is that it rarely resembles a game. An objective result- a clear winner- isn’t achieved. It’s not like two people can sit down at a table and play it out, after all. There isn’t a game board where ideas can battle it out over the course of a couple hours, yielding clear results.

People do change their minds. That isn’t the point. The point is that debating issues with people often proves frustrating. Even if there was a chess board of sorts, it’s not as if both players would agree on the rules of the game. There would be rule disputes. There would be mistakes. There would be cheating. There would be ignorance of the rules. On it goes. No clear results. Just pre-game chatter.

Here I reminded of a wonderful truth though.

I am about to self-publish a book on the fall of Satan. Hopefully next week. I present and defend a fresh theory on the subject, one that I hope will help advance the conversation. One of the things that have become more and more apparent to me is the grand, cosmic debate, even war, over truth. One of the central questions of history and life is: Who is really Lord?

Satan called Christ’s lordship into question. Men call it into question. And thus there is a tremendous amount of pre-game chatter, if you will. God’s righteousness is doubted. His holiness is doubted. His character is impugned. Even His existence is challenged. There is not a single aspect of the Lordship of Christ that isn’t disputed.

One of the things I trace out in the book is God’s response to this challenge. Much can be said. All I want to point out here is that God doesn’t simply assert truths. He doesn’t just argue with dissenters in the arena of pre-game chatter. No. He “plays” the game... and wins.

What is the “game?” Life. Human history. Everything.

I believe that we are living in a stadium where sin is permitted to play itself out. Incalculable volumes of evidence is being accumulated for the Great Day when all the books are opened, when all the testimonies are taken into account, when all the choices and effects and motives are weighed and judged with perfect equity. Nothing will be hidden. All will be laid bare.

Interestingly, we are told that every knee is going to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2). Every knee. Every last doubt will be erased. Every contentious rebuttal will be shown wrong. Every falsehood will be exposed and recognized as such. In a word, God will win. And the losers will know they were wrong. They will admit it.

What a wonder, no? What a day that will be. In one sense, I shudder at the thought. It is terrifying. But then again who among the saints doesn’t long to see it?

Oh, to see how it will all come together, to see the one clear Victor emerge.