Some day our time in this age (internship of a life) will come to an end.Â And everyone, whether clear or ambiguous, has a concept of what the next age will look like and we live life now, based on the results of â€œthen.”Â The end is always framed through some type of worldview and no matter what belief system we come from there is always a beginning of creation (cosmogeny), a brokenness of that creation that then needs some type of salvation (soteriology), and an end resulting in restoration of that creation (eschatology).
Growing up I went to a christian church at least 3 times a week. My worldview was really ambiguous to say the least and have come to find out that it wasnâ€™t really that Biblical, even though so much of it was put in place by the church I attended.Â I had a Biblical creation account (cosmogeny) in my mind that I would speak boldly about in basic terms to â€œdefend my faith,â€ while in my heart it was a distant story not connected to real history, teetering far more on fairy tale than truth when it came down to it.
Even though it wasnâ€™t really talked around in detail at all, I did have broad thoughts around restoration (eschatology). However, it wasnâ€™t firmly planted on the whole mission of God in the Bible, now that I look back. For the most part, what I understood was that when someone died, they floated up to heaven and remained there forever doing who knows what (Audio Adrenaline defined it for me back then: click here). Resurrection of my physical body was no where in my grid of thought. I also had an understanding surrounding the final generation that would be on the earth, and thought believers would be raptured w/o any warning right before some bad stuff hit the earth (Tribulation) leading up to the end (Left Behind series sound familiar).Â I always thought that was very convenient and satisfied my Western fears of having to endure too hard of times.Â Continuing, I then thought that Jesus would return briefly to a destroyed earth after God had â€œcracked the whipâ€ on the rest of wicked humanity, hover in the sky for the second time (still havenâ€™t found that in the Bible) in order to â€œpick upâ€ the others that had been saved during the bad times.Â Iâ€™m not sure if I believed I would come back with Jesus the second time around to hover in the sky, but if I did, I would have thought I was returning to my ethereal existence â€œsomewhere up thereâ€ following the second phase of raptured believers.
As a result of the restoration/eschatology understanding I had, I gave myself almost completely to focusing on this age and it caused so much of the Bible to seem useless, empty or just a means to bring comfort in, or exalt my current life. I now understand why. The Bible is held together by the theme of Godâ€™s restoration at the end of this age and beginning of the next age, giving specifics to it all throughout itâ€™s pages. Whereas I skipped over or didnâ€™t see the specifics in the Word because I had no real tangible hope to take hold of except a floaty cloud realm, some heavenly mansion idea that really didnâ€™t make sense to my reading of Scripture, and an easy escape from the bad times (rapture) if I happened to live near the end (try telling that to believers in persecuted nations).Â The way life then worked out was me barely hanging on to my dry religion. The only thing that kept me from jumping off the cliff into secularism like so many of my other church friends, was experiencing Godâ€™s love in powerful ways toward the end of my high school years. That was the thread that helped me hold onto trying to live my life in passionate pursuit of God.
Well, that brings me to the subject that I will be aiming to write several posts around in the days ahead. As I have already said, there was ambiguity surrounding my understanding of creation (cosmogeny) and restoration (eschatology), which obviously left my process of salvation (soteriology),Â just as foggy…if not more.Â This will be my target for the future posts, so consider this the intro to what is coming.
All three subjects put together, in light of current studies and prayer, have caused the Word of God to explode and take up most of my thoughts and meditations of my heart.Â I canâ€™t stop focusing on God, His mission and love for humanity! My hunger for the Word of God only continues to grow day by day in light of these three key pillars in the Bible, causing His love to become far more real and tangible in the place of prayer.Â Iâ€™m focusing on the subject of salvation out of the three I have mentioned, mainly because it has been deeply stirring in my heart and has connected so many dots in the Word of God.Â Really the other two subjects are just as important and all three belong together in our walking out of Christianity…but this is where I will spend my time blogging for now.
To end out, here are just a few resources that address some of things that I mentioned above, but will not be taking the time to address in the near future:
Kurtâ€™s Blog (there are multiple parts to this blog series)
- Kurt has been my closest friend over many years and love his hunger for the truth of the Word. These posts put Scripture and language to the hope we have.
Jen’s Blog (there are multiple parts to the blog series)
- Jen is a good friend of mine and puts simple language to some pretty significant concepts of the Word.
- Tim is a pastor of a church in Florida and has some great material on his website. I personally love how he walks you through the Word line by line and draws the depth of the Old Testament into the New with some clarity.Â The materials that I would point you to in regard to what I have been sharing, would be some of the articles on the left side of his website. One of the main oneâ€™s would be â€œEarly Church Eschatology.â€
- This guy covers the entire gamut of what I am talking around through his two massive courses given on his website. It takes time to process through his stuff, but I recommend his teaching far higher than any other teaching I have been through.