And, it was “game over”



Mr. (Eric) Metaxas pushes back against what he calls the “lie that faith and science are somehow opposed to each other.” He thinks the two work in tandem. As he wrote last year in these pages: “There are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart.” In sum: “Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident?”

This resonates with people. “They say: ‘You know, it didn’t make sense to me that the universe made no sense.’ ” In his book about the miraculous, Mr. Metaxas cites the Christian scholar C.S. Lewis, who wrote in his 1952 book “Mere Christianity”: “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” […]

While he “floundered,” he was influenced by a good friend who was a Christian. Mr. Metaxas’ initial attitude was: “Don’t come too close. That’s all that weird stuff I’ve been trained to avoid. On the other hand, tell me just a little bit more.” The friend gave him “The Cost of Discipleship,” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran pastor from a prominent family who stood in solidarity with the Jews in World War II, publicly denouncing the Nazis at his peril. At age 39 Bonhoeffer was murdered by Hitler’s henchmen two weeks before the Americans liberated Flossenbürg.

This story laid the groundwork for Mr. Metaxas’ “dramatic” conversion experience, which he says happened overnight, in a dream. It was “game over.” He said he knew he believed in Christianity and his only question was: “How do I reconcile my life to this?” […]

His answer: A book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the figure who had sparked his interest in faith. “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” (2011) has sold hundreds of thousands of copies world-wide, translated into 19 languages.

Mr. Metaxas, in our interview, recalls how in 1939 Bonhoeffer was sitting safely in New York at Union Theological Seminary. He elected to return to Germany, what Mr. Metaxas calls “the great decision.” What would animate someone to leave comfort and security for the depraved Nazi Germany, where he would surely be arrested for supporting the Jews?

“One day,” Mr. Metaxas says, “his reading was ‘He who believes does not flee.’ And he really felt God was speaking to him, saying that if he had faith he would not worry about his life, but would return to his family and to his people and face whatever he must face.” In short: sheer obedience.

It’s a startling story, one that is particularly resonant during these pre-Christmas days of Advent as Christians ponder how someone who had no reason to subject himself to suffering returned to a dark place.

Bonhoeffer would later meditate on Advent from a Nazi prison cell—and as one leafs through a collection of his sermons and letters, it becomes apparent how studying Bonhoeffer might have heightened Mr. Metaxas’ capacity for awe: “No priest,” Bonhoeffer wrote, “no theologian stood at the manger of Bethlehem. And yet all Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders: that God became human.”

~ Kate Bachelor, The Death of God is Greatly Exaggerated: An Interview with Eric Metaxas, best-selling author, radio host, public speaker and humorist.

Portrait of Eric Metaxas:


  1. a ‘heightened capacity for awe.’ what we all strive for. what an amazing man.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think it is written in the Bible (Matthew 7.13-14) that “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
    The more I am frustrated to read from religious people that one can understand the world by adopting the naive idea of a devine plan. It seems to be the straight forward conclusion that if natural science is a hard business, and that one can not learn it by quickly browsing through a few glossy picture books, it is easier to believe that the meaning of the universe is based on a hidden plan.
    Let me tell you, that even if there would be such a plan, it would be to frightening for us to understand it. And for sure it would have nothing to do with a funny book called the bible, written by some story tellers 2000 years ago. And it would not have to do anything with a christian god, who loves his followers and punishes the heretics.
    Better use all of your time to do some practical useful things, instead of wasting it for praying in the church. And if you want to understand the universe and the role of ourself in it, better study proper science, like physics, biology or astronomy, and don’t give up at the first difficult equation or formular.
    regards, Michael


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