30 peace child1Many years ago Kathy and I read Don Richardson’s “Peace Child.” It’s about the Sawi Tribe in Dutch New Guinea. In 1950 these people were cannibalistic headhunters who were almost perpetually at war with neighboring tribes. But they had a sacred ritual whenever peace was to be made. The chief’s own son would be offered to the other tribe as a “Peace child.” Richardson used this ritual to explain how God sent His own son to earth to be the guarantee of peace between man and God. Richardson began to wonder if every tribe had some cultural connection with the Gospel. He traveled far and wide seeking out remote places and peoples and studied their cultures and without exception he found some story, practice or something to connect with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

According to Phil Ryken, “He discovered that many people groups—both ancient and modern—have partial knowledge of religious truth. Whether these beliefs come from what God has revealed in creation or from remnants of a faith passed down since Biblical times, they bear witness to God and to the gift of his atoning grace. Richardson tells the story of the Inca king who rejected the sun god Inti in favor of an older and greater deity—the life-giving and merciful Viracocha, who dwells in uncreated light. He gives examples of tribes like the Karen people of Burma, who had legends of a lost book that one day the Supreme God Y’wa would send to set them free from oppression. He even describes tribal rituals that make atonement for sin. For example, one day every year the Dyaks of Borneo put their sins on a little boat and sail it down the river—a “scapeboat,” so to speak.”

Don Richardson argues that all of his research and discoveries around the world serve to illustrate the truth of Ecclesiastes 3:11. The first part of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 deals with the times of our lives. There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to love and a time to hate, a time to laugh and a time to cry, etc. After Solomon lays out the opposite events in our lives “under the sun” in Ecclesiastes 3:11 he moves from time to eternity and says, “God has put eternity in man’s heart.” We are all born with an intuitive grasp that there must be something beyond this life under the sun. We are born with longings that nothing on earth will satisfy. Therefore, as C. S. Lewis has so aptly suggested, we were made for another world. David Jeremiah’s commentary on Ecclesiastes is entitled, “searching for heaven on earth.” Solomon’s search was frustrated, a vanity of vanities an attempt to catch the wind. Jesus said, “I got to prepare a place for you and I will return to take you to be with me.” (See John 14:1-3)