For this blog I'm going to depart from my usual light and frothy comments to ponder philosophically and theologically for a few paragraphs. But before I begin, let me pause to give myself a K.I.S.S. - to remind myself to Keep it Simple, Stupid!
Sooo, remember my P.S. a few posts back about my visit from the mormons? So now I'm following through with my thoughts on God, Time, and Us.
While talking with the sincere young men, it became clear that their loyalty was to the book of Mormon and the plan of salvation it contains. Which is not Jesus, who declared "I AM (aligning Himself with God in His appearance to Moses in the burning bush) the Way, the Truth, and the Life." This is why I would not call mormons Christ-ians, because Christ is not enough for them; they believe they have to add to what Christ did in order to earn their salvation.
As a Christ-ian, I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is also the Christ (Greek) or Messiah (Hebrew), the Anointed One. To quote Peter, the uneducated, blue-collar fisherman, who nevertheless delivers a magnificent oratory powered by the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, "God has made this Jesus ... both Lord and Christ."
But what does Jesus the Christ have to do with God, time, and humans?
Let's go back to the beginning. All the way back, as in to the Garden of Eden. Which, technically, is outside of time. The Garden of Eden is Paradise, everlasting, the place where God walks with humans and speaks with them face to face, and they are naked and unashamed. Forever.
But then they (Eve first, but Adam doesn't argue) decide that being the Creature enjoying intimate communion with the Creator isn't good enough. Being created in God's image doesn't cut it; they want to "be like God" as the serpent promises. They want to be more than created beings and somehow become their own Creator. Logically impossible, of course. But then, human pride is never logical.
You know what happens next: Humans are kicked out of the Garden. And into Time As We Know It. Think about it, if there's no death, is there really time? How do we mark time? Don't we speak of using the time we have well because we know we'll die someday? But if we'll never die, then time goes on forever and there's nothing to mark it off.
So my epiphany, if you will, is that God actually created time for humans. Us. Why?
Because He/They/the Triune God love us that much. Yep, we're all familiar with "For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son ..." But I also propose that He loved us so much He created time for us.
Consider the passage in which God sends humans out of the everlasting Garden paradise:
"And the Lord God said, "The [human] has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
First of all, note "us." God as plural. The Triune God as seen earlier in Genesis 1:2-3 - "... and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ..." Here we see the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) hovering and God (the Father) speaking (the Word=Jesus=John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.") Click on John 1:1 to read more about how the Word (Jesus) was involved in Creation.
[One could also say "us" points to Holy God as the royal "King of Kings" as in the practice of human royalty to refer to itself in the plural. (You know, as in, "We are not amused.")]
Secondly, and more important to my discussion of time, note that God does not want humans to live forever in their present state, i.e. no longer naked, but covered in animal skin (the first animal sacrifice to cover humans' sins) and ashamed, no longer able to walk with God face to face. Prideful and disobedient humans are sinners who can't stand in the presence of a Holy, Perfect God.
But God wants us to be able to talk with Him and be with Him. So much so that He had to kick us out of everlasting Eden and into Time so that we would have the chance in time to be reconciled to Him. The death that marks off our time is actually a gift from God to give us the opportunity to get right with Him. Otherwise, we would be everlastingly separated by our sinful state.
Furthermore, the death that marks time is also the only penalty capable of blotting out our sin and renewing our righteousness in the presence of God. Death is the ultimate payment to wipe out sin and restore us to perfection in the sight of a Perfect, Holy God:
Hence the animal sacrifice to provide covering for Adam and Eve.
And the animal sacrifices instituted with the law to cover sins.
And the ultimate sacrificial death of Jesus, the Son of Man (through the Jews and the line of David - hence able to be our human substitute, once for all time) and Son of God (present at Creation, Our Creator, Perfect, and Holy - hence able to satisfy God's need for a Perfect sacrifice) to pay for our sins and reconcile us with God.
Without death there is no time. Without death there is no reconciliation.
With death in time, there is reconciliation for us with our Creator.
So, thank God for creating time as we know it. And for providing Himself, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, to die as our sacrifice and make us right with the Triune God. So right now we can enter His throne room directly .
And one day we will again enter eternity, Paradise, the Garden of Eden, and be outside Time with the Triune God, restored, face to face, and unashamed.
That's why I'm a Christ-ian! I hope you are, too!
Monday, February 26, 2007