Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying,
“Return to dust, you mortals!”
For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,
as brief as a few night hours. – Psalm 90
I think the concepts of time, and eternity, and immortality are endlessly fascinating. I especially like ideas that are difficult to wrap my head around.
Many people dismiss the idea of God because they feel that everything either has a rational explanation, or that it will just as soon as we master that next part of scientific inquiry. God, they reason, only exists as an explanation for what we don’t understand; understanding, therefore, eliminates the need for God.
For me, however, there is just as much wonder in discovery as there is in mystery. Everything I learn about this amazing world, and the unfathomable universe, gives me a larger and more spectacular appreciation for the Creator. Then looking in the other direction, understanding the human body, and in particular the science of the brain, also increases my appreciation for the scope and the limitless imagination of God’s work in and through the tiniest details of creation.
I have been thinking about time, and how what we understand as days, and months, and seasons, and years are all dependent on the rotation of the Earth, the movement of our moon in orbit, the tilt of the Earth in relation to its movement around the Sun, and the journey the Earth takes in relation to the Sun, as the entire solar system is caught up in its own dance relative to other systems, galaxies, and unknown elements.
And then I thought about the fact that all of this can only be discussed using the words of a language that is completely rooted in terra firma. All of our reference points, metaphors, analogies etc. come from experiences that have never escaped the pull of earth’s gravity.
Not only that, but my language – American-English – evolved without the rich linguistic and experiential heritage of the majority of this world’s colorful culture and diverse anthropological history. There is so much even here on earth that is outside the scope of my vocabulary and my understanding.
One of the evidences that the Bible is such a literary and spiritual masterpiece is how it succeeds in inviting us (beings of such limited perspective) into the narrative of God’s ongoing story.
You see, God has already sown the seeds of eternity into the innate nature of each one of us, and the scriptures call to that essential understanding, as deep calls to deep. When we read God’s word, when we hear the voice of Jesus calling us to follow, and when we begin to live as intentional disciples, then we are lifted from the limitation that is mortality into the limitless possibility that is immortality.
Paul describes this as “becoming a new creation” in Christ (2 Corinth 5:17). He also talks in terms of – “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality“ (1 Corinthians 15:50-55).
I understand this as an exiting invitation to engage everything – known and unknown – with more wonder and an open spirit.
more knowledge, more clarity:
There is nothing that we can learn about this spectacular and amazing universe that will not point with more clarity toward faith, and assurance, and the beautifully unfolding story of creation and our place in eternity.
As the Psalmist says, “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!”