Trophies are some of the prizes people strive for in video games. Rob, the host of Playstation Access UK’s, Friday Feature, made a comical video entitled, 7 Platinum Trophies We’d Totally Unlock If They Didn’t Take FOREVER![i] where he discusses a racing game entitled ModNation Racers. He stated that in order to acquire the Star Creator Trophy, the player has to achieve 250,000 Create Experience Points[ii] (CXP), by being an artistically endowed salesperson. You earn CXP by creating your own vehicles and convincing other players to use your creation in their game. Accomplishing the Star Creator Trophy is dependent, not on just doing some task in the video game itself by being creative, but basically convincing other human players to use your creation; ergo, sell others on why they should use your creation. However, these CXP are awarded in small chunks. Rob points out, for example, that for a player (P1) to download the creation of another player (P2), P2 will earn a measly five CXP. This means that P2 has five CXP down, 145,000 CXP to go to get the Star Creator Trophy for ModNation Racers. This is why, for many people, trophies like these are simply not worth the time nor energy to strive for.
However, for those gamers who do want to achieve these pixelated ego-strokers, they can, but they have to do what the game instructs in order to achieve this. They learn what needs to be done and they begin doing what needs to be done to achieve the trophy. If, however, a player doesn’t want to embark on the grind needed to achieve the 250,000 CXP in ModNation Racer, for example, but they want the Star Creator Trophy, they are simply out of luck. The creators of the game set the ground rules and there is no compromise on them. These games will not award the trophy for anything less than the expected tasks needed to earn it.
The grueling tasks needed to achieve video game trophies share a common ground with religion. Religion is often viewed as the commitment to do X, and/or Y, and/or Z to appease some divine being/s – and hopefully earn a ticket into heaven upon death. If you want to go to heaven, you have to do: A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H, etc. Many people include Christianity in this but this understanding of Christian salvation is wrong. Christianity teaches that there is no amount of tasks that one can do to earn salvation. To put it in video game terms, there is no amount of tasks that one can do to earn enough XP to achieve the “Salvation Trophy.” In other words, unlike the near impossibility of accomplishing the deeds needed to get the Star Creator Trophy in ModNation Racer, earning one’s way to heaven under the Christian system is simply impossible. Why? It is impossible, not because it requires more stuff to do than what one can do in their lifetime; but because human beings are not able to achieve the tasks needed to accomplish salvation based on their own abilities. To put it in video game terms, in order to achieve the “Salvation Trophy” one would have to accomplish perfection, as how God’s nature sees perfection – in mind, deed and word. This would have to be accomplished without even one failure. To put it like this: that time when you were two-years-old at daycare and you took your classmate’s blocks when he was playing with them to play with them alone, destroyed (theoretically speaking) any chance you had for salvation. However, in the Christian system things get even more deterministic. I referred to the time when you bullied your fellow daycare classmate as taking away your chance of salvation theoretically, because being that bully (or thinking unclean thoughts, or even seeing things any other way than the way God sees them) is your default wiring, (cf. 1 Peter 2:7-9). Human beings are hardwired to hate God, (Romans 3:10-11). Ever since the first human beings, namely Adam and Eve, (Genesis 3) sinned against God, this world and everything that makes it up, including you and me, has been physically and metaphysically corrupted, (Romans 5:12; 8:22). Therefore, there is no way that any one of us can earn that proverbial “Salvation Trophy”.
However, this salvation trophy is not beyond our reach. However, it still has to be earned. Since we can’t earn it how can it not be “out of our reach”? ANSWER: God earned it for us, (John 3:16). “God [demonstrated] His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8). “Being found in appearance as a man, [Jesus] humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,” (Philippians 2:8.) What is all this talk about death? “For the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23a). Death separated us from God. However “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 6:23b). Ergo, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved,” (Romans 10:9). This is a promise, but a conditional promise. What if the player of ModNation Racers does not accumulate 250,000 creative experience points? They won’t receive the Star Creator Trophy. The game promises it. What if they do accumulate 250,000 creative experience points? They will receive the Star Creator Trophy. The game promises it. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. God promises it; but what if you don’t confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and don’t believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead? You won’t be saved. God promises it. Through the death on the cross of the human being named Jesus, God earned the proverbial points to open the doors to salvation; and He achieved this salvation for us.
To conclude, what is one to do? Accept three things:
- “[For] unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24); and who is the “He” that Jesus is talking about? God in the flesh, (c.f John 1:14;8:58).
- Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through [Him],” (John 14:6).
- And neither 1 nor 2 are comprisable. If you want that Star Creator Trophy in ModNation Racer, you have to get 250,000 creative experience points. If you want to get to heaven, you have to go through Jesus Christ the LORD and creator of heaven and earth, (John 1:3).