Posted on May 23rd, 2011
Harold Camping was wrong. You probably knew that long before the morning of May 22nd dawned, and you logged into Facebook to make sure that your friends hadn’t disappeared. After all, Camping hasn’t been the best authority on theological matters – his blatant disregard for the finality of scripture proving this point, time and time again.
Still, leading up to the 21st, I had to ask myself, Can I accept the idea of the world ending? This isn’t a question solely related to Camping, and it is one I have wrestled with long before I knew anything about him. This question is, in fact, based on a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith.
Throughout the Bible we see that life as we know it will end, Christ will return, and there will be a new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1, Rom. 8:21, Isa. 65: 17). In Philippians 1:21, Paul states, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” How could Paul face death with such complete and utter confidence? Ultimately the question boils down to what we consider most important.
God has given each of us desires, dreams, hopes and aspirations. These are all good things if we view them as ways to further His kingdom, and spread the gospel. Yet, these same gifts can become corrupt if we make them more important than our primary responsibility to God. If we are not constantly looking toward redemption, our works and plans can and will become idols in our lives.
As humans, we are rooted in the temporal. Looking to the eternal doesn’t come naturally, we can’t see it or feel it – it isn’t in the least bit tangible. It is much easier to grasp the present, much easier to desire earthly relationships: marriage, children, and a home, before desiring God. Somehow, we fear that we will lose experiences on this earth, when Christ’s return can only mean redemption for all of creation and a new wholeness we have never experienced! Deep inside we know the present can’t be the only thing that exists, for God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
From Blueprint to Cathedral
In an essay on transcendence, C.S. Lewis wrote,
“Our natural experiences (sensory, emotional, imaginative) are only like the drawing, like penciled lines on flat paper. If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape; not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun.”
This must be our cry. Throw open the shutters, pour therein the light! Christ return and bring your children home! “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” -Revelation 21:3-4
Written by Eric Novak. For more articles by Eric, check out his site: EricNovak.com