I grew up in a world with parents that taught me that anything was possible. With that spirit I went through life ready to conquer the world. This year as I turned 30 I realized that life is not as easy as I once thought. Competition in the business world has increased, and the need to distinguish your brand is becoming more and more difficult. As I study companies and look at new ventures and products, I always take note of their branding and their marks otherwise known as a Trademark. Looking through my Seventh-day Adventist filtered worldview, I started to wonder what God would think of trademarks and of owning the sole rights to a product. The more I thought about this the more I was curious.
I decided to think about what, if anything, God has trademarked in history. One of the key points of owning the mark of something is to get it to market first or to claim it first. Looking in history I came to the story of Johannes Gutenberg. He is the man credited with the invention of movable type and the printing revolution. What is so cool about his story is that he ventured into that industry solely for profit. Yet, as we all know, monetary profit is not what we credit him for. As Christians, we credit him for the bold endeavor of getting the Bible printed in a form many could have in their own libraries. This was in 1455. John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible into English in the 1380’s had contributed to the 14th century decline of the Papacy. Now with the printed Bible Europe began to see the ‘morning’ with the Light coming off of the printing presses.
A turning point of history had arrived. The spreading of information by the new technology of movable type certainly effected Europe. Christopher Columbus discovers the New World in 1492. Martin Luther posts his 95 theses in 1517. As printed books and pamphlets became more and more affordable, knowledge began to filter down from the elite to the lower classes and something that had been nonexistent for over 1000 years began to arise in Europe---the Middle Class, freedom of press, and freedom of speech. For the first time God’s trademark--his written Word--could be seen everywhere.
Then I wondered why God chose that particular time in history to bring together His mark, ‘Truth’ as we know it in the Bible. Let’s be honest, God could have waited a few hundred more years and brought out the Bible as a major Hollywood production. He could have invented the technology for iPhones instead of printing presses.
The more I studied the more I realized why God did what He did. There is something about the printed page that has a life of its own. An iPhone needs a battery or it will not work. That means it has limited life. A page though can last for thousands of years. The reality is that God in essence ‘trademarked’ His Truth when he put the King James Bible together. For hundreds of years to come, people would see that the Bible that was promoted via Gutenberg’s printing press was the ultimate form of freedom of speech. Do you know whose freedom of speech it benefited most? I would say God’s. For over 1000 years God has been credited with beliefs that were not His. The Bible for the first time was not read by a selective few but by many. As a collective unit it would show that God was not a god of eternal hellfire. It would show that He did have a Sabbath day, that the Papacy that cloaked itself in Christian garb was in reality a wolf in sheep’s clothing. God made his Truth shine forth like the morning so that no one would misunderstand Him anymore. That ‘mark’ if you will, has made it’s impression on the minds of millions around the world. It contrasts very much with the ‘mark’ of the Papacy in claiming to have the authority to change God’s Holy Law without his permission. The Bible, God’s Trademark of Truth, would show once and for all the principles of the kingdom of heaven never to be questioned again.
I believe God did this in the form of the printed page because after the lights go out and batteries die and all oil on earth is burned up, the printed page lives on. What a blessing to have access to the Light.