Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent, Day 4

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First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless. - 2 Peter 3

Even many Christians who do not scorn modern science believe that a day will come when God will just wipe the rules of nature away and call us all home. Certainly God could do this. But would it be in God's character to do so? I don't know for sure, but I really don't think so. Personally, I believe that the universe will continue to unfold as it is doing so now. Someday the human race will no longer exist, but that extinction may happen very slowly, gradually, and painfully. Or it may happen rather soon as the result of our own actions, as we continue to make our planet uninhabitable for human beings.

Does this make me one of the "scoffers"? It's hard to know what to do about passages like these, passages from scripture that sound so certain, but which are based on an ancient understanding of cosmology. We cannot hold this author accountable for his lack of scientific knowledge. But do we not also treat scripture as "the word of the Lord"? Who wrote this, and in what sense is it true?

I find truth in this passage in the assertion that God created everything that is, and that it is through the energy of God that all things continue to hold together in being. The "day of judgment" may well refer to the end of time, when God chooses not to hold the universe in being any longer. But I can only be concerned with my own "day of judgment," when my own time as a human being is finished. It is my prayer that I will meet God face to face. I have no power to preserve my life forever; I am totally reliant on God's creative energy to save me.

What does salvation mean? For me it means that since I exist now, I will always have existed, and therefore I am a permanent part of the universe's cast of characters. If life goes on outside of this life, may I be a part of it. Since God is the God of the living, and since Jesus went ahead of us to "prepare a room" for us, I believe this will be the case.

In the meantime, the God who creates, redeems, and sustains is coming into this world. Let's continue to "prepare a room" for Jesus

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