Sunday, 16 November 2014

Before, During and After

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain   Revelation 5:6

It's all a bit of a puzzle, this trying to get an understanding of the universe.
Whether it's wrapping your head around the apparent age (Billions of years) or size (Billions of Galaxies) or complexity of it, or trying to land probes on Mars or Comets to tinker with chemistry sets to get the right reaction for the possible recipe for life, the sheer scope and magnitude of it all makes us, here and now, appear pretty small and perhaps even pointless. Science - at least for some in the field - not only wants to tell us the 'how' these days, but the 'why' as well, and the answer it provides there is essentially, live for the moment, because that's all that's really going on.

It's an answer that seems to be popular everywhere right now. Every time the issue of religion comes up on a public discussion board, you can write down what the general consensus is going to be before you've even looked - science has finished the value of religion (which has only ever given us bad stuff anyway) so away with the hearsay and forward with the facts!

The real world, of course, looks somewhat different. Even if some man-made craft was to gain the correct 'burp' from some space dust, no scientist is able to go back to a primal age and actually show that this was what did the trick here, and even if they could, that still wouldn't undermine the fact, as Fred Hoyle noted (1), that in the first place,  the whole basic structure of things has been jury-rigged for the benefit of life, and someone needed to do that.

It would seem there is indeed method amidst the madness. The question then becomes why.

Science leads us to the realm, as Einstein noted (2), of the conviction of a mind and imagination beyond our own, but we need a different manner of wisdom to see the full signature of the one who heaven's glory is seeking to declare. Revelation about the nature, purpose and character of the God behind the realms we observe has been given in the 'shadowy' words and experiences of the Prophets but fully encountered in the person of Jesus Christ, and this is because all of time and space, matter, energy and order, have been made to express one great truth - the magnitude and splendor of His nature, which is the joy of His Father.

In Revelation 13, John defines Jesus as 'the lamb' with regards to His essential nature, especially revealed in the fact that He is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Vs 8). In that oh so deep moment described for us in Genesis 1:1, before the days of creation furnish the heavens and earth with all that is good, before the Lord moves beyond the sinking of the foundations of the earth to stretch out the stars and expanse by His wisdom and understanding, before the void of the deep of the darkness and waters are moulded by the work of His Word and His Spirit, another greater work is seeded into all things - Christ, His begotten Son, will be the very one who gives meaning and order to everything, that all things might truly come to express the beauty and richness of His nature (Colossians 1:17).

It doesn't end there, of course.
There would be a moment, notes John, because of the marring of the cosmos by sin, when heaven and earth would be scoured for one worthy enough to open the scroll of God's purposes, and at first, it appeared that there was none. History equally leaves us devoid of value and meaning when Christ is silenced - we are doomed to merely repeat our fatal errors until we sink, miserable, into death, but the sorrow is broken, for the Lamb appears, and heaven leads all of creation in jubilation over the consequences of this (5:1-14). All things now have their place and their purpose, leading finally to the great moment John unveils at the end of his revelation - all of life will become the new city and culture of the Lamb (22:1).

"Religion"is not what is readily ill-defined. Viable 'religion' is really all about intimacy. The reason we must speak of such a wonder as hearsay is because the alternative is truly shocking - God is with us, and wants us to know His ways and become those adopted into His family.

All of history will one day become 'Christ-shaped' - defined and delighting in the love of the Father through His Son, shared by His Spirit.

It means there's so much more going on than just molecules, and Christ wants to make that real to each of us.

(1)'Would you not say to yourself, "Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule." Of course you would . . . A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has 'monkeyed' with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question'.

(2)"We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written these books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations".