Funny how no one protests the dominating and dour-faced deity on the boardwalk!  There stood the grimacing Neptune, trident at the ready, with tourists innocently posing for pictures next to the Virginia Beach idol, I mean icon!   Good thing he wasn’t a real god!!

I was enjoying a final field trip and play date with a friend before starting back to school. No we don’t have young kids; WE were the ones frolicking in the waves.

As I approached the towering symbol on the boardwalk, I couldn’t help but ponder the reaction should there have been an equally large Jesus, beckoning or protecting tourists who come to swim and sunbathe.  Yes, I know that precedent exists.  Outside Rio de Janeiro looms an immense Christ the Redeemer statue. Raised and secured on top of Corcovado Mountain, it was blessed and inaugurated in 1931 by Brazil’s president and a leading cardinal.  But that was 80+ years ago. Today there would be protests.

But instead of thinking about the injustice, I realized that the only reason the Roman god Neptune could be displayed in public in such a grand way by a municipality, is the fact that he is utterly powerless.  No one prays to him anymore.  He must be actually harmless, since Satan has removed him from the dark side’s arsenal of gods.   But Jesus, He is another matter!  He is to be feared.  He is powerful.

To get an idea of the relative power, consider this.  If Neptune WERE real and not just a mythological figure, then we would be talking merely about the King and Ruler of the Sea.  But we’re talking about the Son of God – Jesus, who CREATED the entire universe.  Here’s a way to think of the enormity of the universe. (Borrowed from JD Greear who quotes others.)

Imagine that:

  • The distance between our Earth and the Sun is represented by the thickness of one piece of notebook paper. (the Sun is the only star in our solar system)
  • Then the distance between the Earth and the closest star in the next nearest solar system would be a stack of paper 70 feet high.
  • Then the distance across our Milky Way Galaxy would be that same stack of paper, but now 310 miles high.
  • In our galaxy, it is estimated that there are 200 to 400 billion stars.
  • And scientists conjecture that there are 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the universe.

And it’s Jesus who created all this, at His word.  Talk about mind-boggling!!!

It’s a good thing we shy away from erecting a token statue of the Creator.

So, I say to the City Council of Virginia Beach.   Enjoy the revenue-producing draw that King Neptune exercises for you, for that is all he can do.  But fear the Lord and get wisdom!  (Proverbs 1:7)

PS:  Look at how that verse is rendered in French – « La crainte de l’Éternel est le commencement de la science » Did you notice how the word for knowledge is translated ?  Hmmmm