Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The World Does Not Exist

This could be my single weirdest post ever, and it could be that I'm totally off my rocker, and it could be that the end of the term is finally getting to me and I'm just plain going to crack up.  But here goes…

The world we see around us and the people that we know and even our very own selves do not exist.  We are false creations, we were never intended to be, and we will not be in the end.  

A former pastor of mine told me that if I wanted to see what the world really was I should read Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22.  Sometime try doing that, read the first two chapters of the bible and the last two.  Why?  Because that is how the world was intended to be (Gen 1-2) and how the world will be in the end (Rev 21-22).  The whole rest of the bible, from Gen 3 through Rev 20 is the story of how things got messed up and what God has done, is doing, and will do to restore things.

The real world is the world that really exists, and what really exists is the world that God created and intends.  That is not the world we live in right now to say the least.  Even our very own selves are not as we were intended to be, and even we will be made new in the resurrection (see 1 Corinthians 15).  

Want a concrete example of why the real world doesn't exist?  George Bush, the President of the United States may be the most powerful man in the world (some would dispute this and say its actually those who run the banks, etc. but my point remains).  And in fact, one might say that George Bush is lord over the whole world.  And, in a similar fashion there are governments and institutions around the world that exercise control over the world and all that is in it.  However, they are not the real rulers of the universe.  (By the way, this is not some anarchist argument about the inherent evil of all government, I'm just pointing out that whether it be the best or the worst leaders of this age, they are not the true lords of the universe).  

It has been argued that Jesus was really a failed political revolutionary, not the Lord of the universe and that he basically died as a martyr for a failed cause (a la Albert Schweitzer).  This view is typical of those with Christologies that deny Jesus being fully God and fully man.  What's ironic is that I think these people are right, Jesus did die for political reasons, but it is precisely because he was fully God and fully man that he died.  Because Jesus Christ was the Lord of the Universe as the one through whom all things were created (Col 1, John 1) he threatened the principalities and powers of the day (mainly the Jewish establishment that had close links to the Roman government) because he exposed them as frauds.  They were not the real rulers of the universe, he was!  No one likes to be exposes as a fraud so they killed him.

Here's where everything went tragically wrong (for the rulers of this age).  In the resurrection Jesus' claim to Lordship of the Universe was vindicated as even death which is the ultimate weapon of the principalities and powers of this world, could not ultimately contain him.  So this sets up the book of acts, in which Paul goes throughout the Roman empire and declares quite openly and publicly that Christ crucified is the Lord of the Universe, not Caesar and because Jesus is the true Lord of the Universe people should place their faith and trust in him.  

Ultimately the purpose for the church, and its task of preaching the Gospel, is not to increase the population of heaven, but to participate in the mission of God in bringing about the creation of the New Heavens and the New Earth.  This does not preclude eternal life, but eternal life is only one aspect of salvation in a much larger scheme.  

So what does this all have to do with the non-existence of the world around us?  As Paul writes, "For the present form of this world is passing away" (1 Cor 7:31).  Note, Paul does not say "For this world is passing away" but rather this "form" (schehma in greek) is passing away, not the world itself.  In other words, the world which we see and live in isn't the "real world" because its not as God intends, that is the only real world.  The one we see is only a "form" with temporary rulers (who at their best are like those of 1 Cor 13, and at their worst are Rev 13) and even our own selves are not as we were intended (Gen 2) nor how we will be in the end (1 Cor 15)


At 9:41 PM, Blogger George Larson said...

I eats 'm chic-fil-a.



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