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Plan A and Plan B
By Richard Gunther
a father and mother calling their children to the living room for a ‘family
chat’. The five children arrive, excited and curious, and take their seats
along the couch. In the centre of the room is an easel, with a large pad on it.
The ages of the children range from six through to eight and all the children
children" says father, "We have called this conference to explain to
you Plan A and Plan B".
folds back the cover of the pad and shows the children a list of items.
you are good children" continues mother, "This is what we will do for
you. We will pay for your education, clothing and food for as long as you need
it. We will also pay all your university fees should you decide to go on, and
any extra training costs. We will take you for trips around the world and spend
many happy holidays together. We will also finance you into your own business,
should you decide to start one, and then we will buy you a house, furniture,
car, and any equipment you need. In short, we will give you everything, plus all
the extra things that make life enjoyable."
says father, "Is what we call Plan A".
turns the page over and reveals a second list.
this" says father, "Is what we call Plan B. This plan depends
on your attitude. If you have a bad attitude and refuse to be good, you will
receive only what Plan B entitles you to. As you can see, this list is much
shorter. All we will provide in Plan B is the basics. We will make sure you have
just enough food to live, just enough clothing to stay warm, and only what you
cannot live without. When you leave school you will be on your own, and should
you need anything we will probably not give it to you".
don’t think that we don’t love you" says mother, "Quite the
opposite. We give you all the opportunity to enjoy Plan A or Plan B because
we love you. We just want you to realise that what we do for you depends
entirely on your attitude to us. Your choices matter. You are
responsible for your own life".
things spring from this story. One things is the almost brutal pragmatism of the
parents. They are so objective, they force their children to blame no-one but
themselves for their lives. The second thing is the absolute fairness of the
we go on, let us look at the alternative :
family conference is called and the parents say "No matter how horrible
you are, we will provide for you in every way. You may burn our house, destroy
our cars, and drag us down the street, but we will continue to look after you
does this teach the children?
There is no incentive in pursuing hard work, diligence and integrity, because
all receive exactly the same reward,
Good attitudes and bad attitudes are (morally) much the same, because the
parents make no difference between them,
Rewards are not worth aiming at since even the wicked child receives an equal
we come to the Bible, we find a similar system working, from the first chapter
to the last. Dozens of examples are there, each one demonstrating the fact that
God presents every person with a choice between two possible lives, although it
must be stressed that God scales his two plans according to the choices
we make. He uses a sort of ‘heaven slide rule’ to calculate everything -
background, circumstances, personality, peers, education, etc. Only God can
factor in every aspect to get a fair result - no human could ever make
judgements as fairly as God can.
rest of this essay is devoted to drawing out some of the principles involved in
choosing either Plan A or Plan B. Perhaps we can learn something useful by
examining characters from history who have already gone before us?
original purpose (Plan A) for Lucifer was service to God in heaven. We are not
told in precise terms exactly what Lucifer did, probably because it is none of
our business, but the Bible describes his ‘job’ in such terms as :
full of wisdom . . . perfect in beauty . . . you have been in Eden the garden of
God . . . every precious stone was your covering . . . you are the anointed
cherub that covers . . . you were upon the holy mountain of God . . . you have
walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire . . .you were perfect in
your ways from the day that you were created . . . O covering cherub . . . from
the midst of the stones of fire . . . your heart was lifted up because of your
beauty . . . you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness . .
further insight into Lucifer’s life is found in Jude :
the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he
has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness until the judgement of the
great day". Jude 1:6
together, it appears that just prior to creating Man on earth, God created
Lucifer ( = shining one) and a host of other angels. All these wonderful created
beings were given a ‘job’ and most of them it seems were content with what
they were told to do. But Lucifer was not satisfied. He wanted more.
you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne
above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in
the sides of the north:
will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High".
Lucifer, the shining one, became Satan, the adversary. (Satan means
"adversary"). He has been opposed to God from the time of his
rebellion in heaven, right through to today. He has been the power behind all
the world’s corrupt leaders, all the false religions and cults, all the wars
and tyrannies and wickedness in all places of leadership inside and outside of
the Church. He resisted Jesus by sending the religious leaders, he instigated
the betrayal by putting the idea into the heart of Judas, and he raised up the
Roman Empire in order to crucify the Son of God and then to persecute the
his apparent autonomy, Satan does only what God allows him to do, but
that freedom has brought untold misery to this planet, and why? Because people
who choose to reject God’s ways naturally fall into the only other option -
Satan’s ways. Satan can only take what people give him, and his power depends
on Man’s willingness to yield to him.
and Eve were given:
Perfect communion with God
Perfect communion with Nature
Perfect communion with each other
Utterly amazing intellects
The promise of eternity in a perfect world
was God’s Plan A for them, and as long as they obeyed, they would continue to
enjoy all the blessings of Plan A. But they chose Plan B.
to Adam he said, ‘Because you have hearkened (been persuaded by) the voice of
your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You
shalt not eat of it: cursed (degraded) is the ground for your sake; in sorrow
(discomfort, difficulty) shall you eat of it all the days of your life; Thorns
also and thistles (diseases, droughts, floods, etc) shall it bring forth to you;
and you shall eat the herb of the field; (instead of the perfect fruit of this
garden). In the sweat of your face (hard toil, labour) shall you eat bread, till
you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to
dust shall you return". Genesis 3:17
B was the only option left for Adam and Eve. They made their choice and they
received a different life. God said it was "for your sake" which shows
that it was still a blessing, and a demonstration of His love, but it was not as
good as Plan A. (Perhaps the whole aim of Science-driven, and Technology-driven
Man today is to regain Plan A without including God or obedience to Him?)
first two human babies born into the world were both male, and at some point in
their lives they each chose a lifestyle which suited them. Abel became a
shepherd, Cain became a horticulturist. There is nothing inherently wrong or
sinful about either choice, but Cain also chose an attitude. He decided
to bring produce - plant material - as an offering for his sin, while Abel chose
to bring the specified offering - a specific animal.
seems, from the account, that Cain was sincere (Gen.4:5,6) but his offering was
not the one God wanted -
faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain".
as a result of his rejection, Cain grew angry. He had decided that his way of
offering, and his type of offering were acceptable to God, but now he realised
that his brother Abel had beaten him. This produced bitterness, hurt pride,
resentment, hate, unforgiveness, revenge and finally murder.
as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he
him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous". 1 John
is called "of that wicked one" meaning Satan, because Cain murdered
his brother. Satan too is called a murderer (John 8:44, 1 John 3:15). Here we
have, in a nutshell, one of the main reasons for religious intolerance.
It has been estimated that some 50 million people were killed through the
persecutions of the Roman Catholic church over the Dark Ages, and countless
millions have suffered before and after that time in other ways because of
religious opposition to Christianity. Even today there are numerous stories of
missionaries being killed or mistreated because of their attempts to bring the
light of God’s love and truth into countries where religion has bound the
people. Behind it all is the fact that the only ‘religion’ in the world
which teaches salvation by grace through faith in God’s Son is the Christian
religion, and it always stands in opposition to all other faiths. Cain is still
alive and well today.
was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God".
this means is, Noah chose Plan A. He chose to obey God - unlike everybody else
in the world. (Genesis 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded
him, so did he".)
faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear
(motivated by conviction), prepared an ark to the saving of his house (family);
by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which
is by faith". Hebrews 11:7
. . . a preacher of righteousness" 2 Peter 2:5
record is clear and simple. Noah was given instructions and offered the choice
of obeying them or not. He, though a sinner like all of us, decided to do what
he was told. This meant that he had to exercise faith. He built the ark and God
saved him. Noah’s obedience was called "righteousness".
what of the people in Noah’s day, who refused to make provisions against the
coming flood? They had 120 years to make up their minds. They could have
sheltered in Noah’s ark, or built copies of it. They could have made all sorts
"days of Noah" are frequently pictured, in ‘Bible story movies’ as
wild and drunken, but I think that is quite a false view. I think the "days
of Noah" consisted of civilised communities, and well-ordered systems, with
people living in respectable towns and cities, enjoying well-organised lines of
communication and transport. Noah, I believe, lived in the equivalent of a
quiet, settled Western city. People then had plenty of food, good clothes and
time to be idle. Commerce was thriving. Resources were seemingly unlimited. Most
people in Noah’s day (I believe) would have wondered why Noah was so
‘antagonistic’ as they would not have thought there was anything ‘bad
enough’ going on in their midst to warrant any major judgement. Those people,
who chose Plan B, soon discovered that Noah was, unfortunately, correct in his
assessment of the situation.
as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (i.e.
The same conditions will exist) For as in the days that were before the flood
they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day
that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not ( = deliberately ignored, or refused
to acknowledge) until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the
coming of the Son of man be". Matthew 24:37-39
was told to leave his home and city, and he did. He was also told to go to
another country to live, and he did. In Genesis 12 God presented a rough outline
of Plan A to Abram, and later added the promise that from him would come
descendants as numerous as the dust - Gen.13:16, and the stars - Gen. 15:5. The
Abrahamic Covenant includes many tremendous promises - worthy of a separate
essay - but the point is that God presented these things to Abraham as a
possible future for him and his descendants.
response? "He believed in the Lord, and the Lord accounted it to him for
(and later Abraham) heard, believed, and acted on what he heard, even to the
point of taking his son Isaac to a mountain to kill him. So intent was Abram on
receiving the blessings of Plan A that he gave up everything to gain them.
Likewise also his children Isaac and then Jacob.
pattern can be seen all the way through the Bible. It is even more pronounced
when we come to the whole nation of Israel, some three million plus Hebrews,
gathered at Mount Sinai:
call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you
life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both
thou and thy seed may live" Deuteronomy 30:19.
A and Plan B were both clearly spelled out. If Israel obeyed God,
they would receive health, prosperity, security and so on, but if they
chose to disobey, they would receive all the opposite things, and end up
being taken away as slaves to die in foreign countries.
prior to entering the ‘promised land’ Joshua challenged the people -
"choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your
fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the
Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the
LORD". Joshua 24:15
Israelites reached the ‘promised land’ and settled in. "In those days
there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own
eyes". Judges 17:6. In other words, they chose Plan B. Eventually, with
Satan’s prompting, a majority of rebels called for a king, and Satan tried to
rule God’s people from behind the throne. The kingdom split into ten tribes to
the north and three to the south, and their separate histories are largely the
story of a kingdom crumbling into ruin. Finally both sections were taken captive
- the northern section went north to Assyria, and the southern section went east
of the great kings of Israel was David, but he didn’t always obey God. On one
occasion, God offered him Plan A, B or C :
when David was up in the morning . . . the prophet Gad (said) - "Thus saith
the LORD, I offer you three things (options, potential futures) choose .
. . one of them . . . seven years of famine . . . three months (of military
defeat . . . (or) three days' pestilence in thy land?" 2 Samuel 24:11-14.
(David chose number three.)
the smaller, southern section some returned to Jerusalem after 70 years under
Ezra and Nehemiah. These people became the nation of the Jews, (From ‘Jehuda’,
a derogatory term, similar to ‘Kiwi’ for New Zealander) and for 400 years
they waited for the Messiah to come. When the Messiah did come, the leaders of
the Jewish nation rejected him, and the opportunity to enjoy all the blessings
of Plan A were removed.
23:35 "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth,
from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias,
whom you slew between the temple and the altar".
Himself described this terrible future for the Jews of his day :
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent
to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen
gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! (You refused)
your house (nation) is left to you desolate. (ruined)
I say to you, You shall not see me henceforth, till you shall say, Blessed is he
that comes in the name of the Lord". Matthew 23:37-39. (This means that
Jesus will come when there are a significant number of Christians within the
Jewish nation - something we see being fulfilled today.)
all people Jesus says :
in at the narrow gate (Plan A): for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that
leads to destruction, and there are many who go that way (Plan B),
narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be
that find it". Matthew 7:13,14
we live on a Plan B planet. There is evidence of this in every area of life. One
needs to simply pick up a newspaper, or watch the News on TV to know this. But
living in ‘enemy occupied territory’ is not necessarily a bad thing. From
one point of view it can be a very good thing, because it presents a golden
opportunity to those of us who want to show our allegiance to God. After
all, we cannot be overcomers when there is nothing to overcome,
nor can we use any of our weapons (2 Cor. 10:4,5 and Eph.6) when there is
reminds us through all of Scripture that our world is dominated by Satan,
the arch Rebel, the enemy of truth, and the being who will do anything he can to
destroy humans. Christians enter a real and very tangible war when they
decide to obey Jesus, and there is no escaping it, because Satan attacks
Christians and unbelievers alike. Either we are captured and become servants of
Satan, to work God’s purposes one way, or we choose to become soldiers of the
cross, and work God’s purposes the other way.
There is, however, one huge difference between the two - only one of these two warring armies receives a reward. I know which side I would rather be on. Do you?
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