Summary: The premise of the movie was for George to find out what would have happened… how life would be different, if he had never lived. What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?
Ephesians 2: 1-3, 11-12
It’s a Wonderful Life
Movie Plot: Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, a local good guy with a beautiful family, lots of friends and a good job at the family bank. One day, his Uncle Billy loses an $8,000 deposit and George fears the worst. He gets drunk in a bar, crashes his car into a bridge and decides the only way out of the situation is to commit suicide by jumping off the bridge. In answer to many prayers, God sends a guardian angel in the form of an old man named Clarence. He doesn’t look much like much of an angel, and in fact he is only an angel second class who has not yet earned his wings (by helping someone on earth)
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The premise of the movie was for George to find out what would have happened… how life would be different, if he had never lived.
What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?
Although many committed Christians owned slaves in history, it was Christians who historians credit with being the primary force behind ending international slave trade. Two-thirds of the members of the American abolition society in 1835 were Christian ministers.
In the ancient world, for example in classical Rome or Greece, infanticide was not only legal, it was applauded. Killing a Roman was murder, but it was commonly held in Rome that killing one’s own children could be an act of beauty. Through a higher view of life, it was the early Christian church that ultimately brought an end to infanticide.
The modern pro-life movement is largely Christian. This pro-life view has been true from the very beginning of Christianity.
The Puritans were highly educated people (the literacy rate for men in Massachusetts and Connecticut was between 89 and 95 percent) who founded colleges, taught their children to read and write before the age of six, studied art, philosophy, and other fields as well.
All but one of the first 123 colleges in colonial America were Christian institutions. While these universities have lost their Christian identities, it is interesting to read the founding statements of these schools. Harvard, for example, was founded on this statement: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3.”
There is a group of scientists who believe there is an infinite, personal God who created it, sustains it and can act within it in a natural and non-natural way. Here are some of the scientists (although some were deistic) who believed that God was the primary Cause of the universe and the one who created the laws of nature. These men gave birth to modern science:
Johann Kepler (1571–1630), celestial mechanics, physical astronomy
Blaise Pascal (1623–1662), hydrostatics
Robert Boyle (1627–1691), chemistry, gas dynamics
Nicholas Steno (1638–1687), stratigraphy
Isaac Newton (1642–1727), calculus, dynamics
Michael Faraday (1791–1867), field theory
Charles Babbage (1792–1871), computer science
Louis Agassiz (1807–1873), glacial geology, ichthyology
James Simpson (1811–1870), gynecology
Gregor Mendel (1822–1884), genetics
Louis Pasteur (1822–1895), bacteriology
William Kelvin (1824–1907), energetics, thermodynamics
Joseph Lister (1827–1912), antiseptic surgery
William Ramsay (1852–1916), isotopic chemistry
With few exceptions, scientists before 1860 were followers of Jesus.
Compassion and Mercy
Both historically and statistically, Christianity has led the way to alleviate suffering in the world. Just to name a few of these organizations that continue to alleviate suffering in the world are Samaritans Purse, The Salvation Army, The Red Cross, World Vision, Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, United Methodist Committee on Relief, ChildFund International, Catholic Relief Services, Operation Blessing, Lutheran World Relief, Prison Fellowship Ministry, and Habitat for Humanity. Not to mention the countless of efforts by local churches and the hospitals that have been built all around the world.
The Christian faith has influenced literature in such Christian writers such as Dante, Chaucer, Donne, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Dickens, Milton, and scores more.
Had Jesus never been born, music would likely sound very different from what we’re used to. There may never have developed the cantata, the concerto, or the symphony. Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach were Christians who worked to honor God with their work.
Bach, for example, signed all his works with Soli Deo Gloria (“Solely to the glory of God”).
Art has likewise been magnificently impacted by Jesus. Classical Christian art tries to bring out the best of mankind–pointing us to a higher plane. Artists like Michelangelo used his paintings to honor Jesus. Incredible architecture in the beautiful cathedrals in Europe were built to honor Christ.
So, had Jesus not been born the world would be poorer in almost every area of life.
Some of these points are adapted from the book What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcomb.