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COME, LET US CONSIDER THE WISDOM OF GOD...
It is not as if we had to psychoanalyze Him at a distance. That would be blasphemy, presumption and folly, mad arrogance and common philosophy.
In our current theme, God has also told us about CREATION and CONSUMMATION. Gould is fascinated with the fact of what he calls 'decimation' - profound losses of life forms, not new releases since the superabundance of creation's time, long ago: and this, with good reason, since the evidence he himself not least, appears to have unearthed, is precisely the opposite of what denies the realities of once-only creation at the first, with subsequent diminution to the present: and it is, on the other hand, exactly in line with what the Bible states, has stated, and that constantly over some three and one half millenia. The evidence as delivered by such as he confirms the word of God, not the theories of men. This with all the other evidence we have been at pains in no small measure to review, is precisely what confirms this, ribaldry mocking a creative world in and of itself.
The biotic diversity has run down; it is like an unwinding clock, except that much left in huge proportions, leaving whole realms of vital architecture no longer in front of us. In Gould's own terms, not mere species but a goodly number of phyla are now - omitted from sight, drowned in the sea of circumstances, and perhaps, not implausibly, in other seas as well!
Decimation as a device of creation is certainly rich, like a diet of pure cream, that is off, with no other food. Distasteful, really: not on. Going is not coming.
THERE is the REALITY, the factual and the actual: HUGE architectural prodigies in ENORMOUS profusion, without PLANNING CONFUSION but equipped with RAREFIED WISDOM in their DEVICES for life. We have seen Lamborghinis in profusion, and their racing characteristics have been of the most astute; we have seen tourers, and their qualities have been fascinating. The whole veteran list of life forms is stunning. They of course were just the result of lying on the beach, and they ... what is the word, came to 'arise', ah yes!
However, leaving myth in preference to rationality, let us consider the real matter in hand, the evidential reality both from the ONLY BOOK which predicts and retrodicts to cover millenia without confusion or embarrassments, and NEVER repents of its utterances, in marked contradistinction even to careful science, which is advancing to the point of coming closer to what is written, when it is science indeed. The writing in our cells is so LIKE the word of God with which the universe was founded, and come to think of it, the laws in matter itself are so LIKE the regulative features of speech, wrought into a realm ordered by such thoughtful power that codes and describable laws express it. No case other than legal, none exempt from law, has ever been defined or even definable in that realm (cf. SMR pp. 418ff., Ch.3, pp. 422Eff., That Magnificent Rock 7).
THEN DECIMATION !
The flood was one such feature, and it is both just and fitting to conceive of this when it is explicitly linked in the Bible to the denial of creation as a twin rebellion in thought for our terminal epoch in this present Age, as explained in the preceding chapters (cf. II Peter 3)..
But what of the present and the future ?
Not in destruction did creation 'arise', and not in decimation did it flourish. Neither did abortion create a child, nor did decay invent advance. The laws of the universe are not really to be found as devices of understanding by the exceptionally bright means of frankly contradicting them.
Let us look at science. MATTER has come and is not coming; LIFE is going and is not coming; ENERGY is becoming less available and is not being created (in the matter-energy total complex: cf. That Magnificent Rock Chs. 1, 7).
WHAT THEN IS COMING ? It is rather all going: as Sir James Jeans, the astronomer used to emphasise of the universe, it is like a clock running down. We have noted the work of Lord Kelvin in the similar sphere of thermo-dynamics. Arrival WAS, but now IS NOT the name of the game, as far as the construction of the universe and its biota is concerned. The KINDS of things we have, are those we have had, except of course for the creations of surrogate creators, like ourselves, which are decreasing; and we have for physical media, to work with what was, minus what has been lost, in terms of materials.
That is what is GOING; and what comes ?
What is coming ? It is the end prepared for by the artist, the architect, the inventor, the Creator. What else ? It is all planned, ordered, legislated. It is a house in which to live, and the repair man is not available; though there are magnificent inbuilt maintenance procedures which are not planned to ensure eternity for this present world. It is to be shaken (Hebrews 12:25-28, Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:25) and only the things which are in fact unshakable, those then founded in and on God direct, are to be able to withstand this shaking process (which like old age, disturbs the force and facility and agility of the 'legs' or legislative, and programmatic structure with its own terms and conditions - on which it all stands). It does not stand because it wants to; it stands because it was made to; and it was also made to decay, and the reason for that, we have also dealt with in detail (as in Biblical Blessings 7, The Biblical Workman 1 , 7 and so on - see Curse in Index, together with Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17).
In zealous grandeur of conception, thought and creativity, the Lord God has founded things: all of them. Those equipped with freedom (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri 16) have done as they will; and those how have loved Him, have done as they might, with the power of God, available through this slender, viable but vulnerable frame of ours. It is often amazing to reflect, as one senior dentist once shared, that the young ever reach 21 years of age. It is still more amazing how we who are not longer kittens and lambs, manage to avoid fractures and fussy frictions to the point we can continue, abounding even in what some might regard as old age, when care and compunction are needed in re-assessing the physical being! God be praised, it is a mighty provenance.
Whether we have loved Him or not, we have all fallen. NONE has followed Him in earnest perfection of heart all his/her days, and all are abashed at the imponderable perfections, mysteriously grand, but clear for all that, like distant hills on a good day (cf. I Cor. 13:12, Isaiah 33:17 in context 33:14-20), which, since He became a man, are the measure of our own imperfections of Christ.
Yet, however far we may have fallen, HE is calling to UPGRADE, and this is NOT contrary to the second law of thermodynamics, BECAUSE when HE who made it all, remakes by His own unalterable and infinite power, then there is no lack, and the new spiritual injection, the glorious intrusion works all over again: but now on this other plane, the spiritual.
This is not to say the Creator cannot or will never work in the physical at all, at this time; He quite often does in gracious interventions of mercy, by appropriate injections of enlivening or miraculous power and co-ordination (Isaiah 40:26ff., II Timothy 3:5 - cf. SMR pp. 339, 347ff.); but NOT so often or so freely as to countermand what He has commanded, the structural orders, and the formative, searching tests of all things (Psalm 11:5, Job 1). Whatever He deems needful for His work, He is well able to do (Matthew 28:19-20). Sometimes His interventions all but stun the mind in their deftness, ingenuity or power.
Meanwhile, the created structures and their offshoots and willed developments, these are searched, have been shaken in the flood and plagues and in many other ways, while whole Empires have been given opportunity, like the British, the Russian and the American (and currently the nascent Chinese Empire, in a sort of Indian Summer of doubtful security) to seek the Lord, and have performed in this way or that, their special features being placarded, and the Lord's response past all mere contrivances of circumstances, planted squarely in history (Acts 17:26-27). Naturally the standards are His own, and are assessed in His own way (cf. II Kings 25, II Chron. 36); and this will reach a due finality in judgment (cf. Proverbs , Jeremiah 25:28, II Peter 3:10, Revelation 6:10-17, Matthew 25).
Yet this is neither arbitrary nor capricious, but in clear terms of what He has said. We do not always understand the ground of His every action, for He is God and we are His creations; but we ARE able to understand quite clearly the PRINCIPLES which He esteems, and the PROMISES He keeps, for they are written and hold no grudge to comprehension (cf. Proverbs 8:8-9).
Thus there is not only a beginning in a flourish of grand design*1, excellent contrivance, as His word indicates (Proverbs -14). There is not only a testing in a multi-stage stage of events of state, diplomacy (do they lie ? do they deem it necessary ? do they want to live with and by lies ? will this then be their own moral milieu by their own choice ? and do they thus insult the divine, and then languish when their hearts will no more respond to truth at all!). Events personal, social, economic, psychic, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, myriads of them are open to test; opportunities flow, tragedies challenge, disasters loom, actions are at option, to call or not to call on the Lord, BY FAITH in His word, in His faithfulness, in His promises (Psalm 107 is a saga to present this point in depth).
is says, "that men would
give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!" - Psalm 107:15.
How many times for the author, has He so acted that one must delightedly praise Him saying with the Psalmist:
has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two" - Psalm 107:16.
The inundation with design in the creation, the expatiation of testing in the interim, the invasion and irruption by Christ in the midst, the proclamation of the long and accurately predicted Gospel to the Gentiles precisely as planned and pre-published: it has all come.
And now ?
Now the inundation of the world with judgment: the designs of man, that mini-designer, of his words and works, all these things now come up for assessment. In the greatest conceivable creation of a pilgrimage process, a test site, with a contender far greater than mere programmed rocketry, man is set. Now he has performed, and who will wonder that the end is now to be announced. As Peter declares in Acts 10:4243 -
It is one of those glorious things: it is there if you want Him. If you do not, then you are doubly exposed, 1) by your sins 2) by your disinclination to have them removed, like a cancer patient plainly and recklessly refusing a necessary operation, because he/she is too busy, too vain or too resentful of the medical profession ... or whatever. Sin abounds. Naturally, the grand Designer has it all worked out (Romans 8:29ff.), so that nothing is left to chance, any more than it ever was. Circumstances are set, arrangements are made, designs are written and enacted, history is covered (Ephesians , Isaiah 48).
· Meanwhile, those who are indeed His,
· those who belong to the One who would have ALL men to be saved, by means that do not violate in desecration of the very 'image of God' base which He has given us (I Tim. 2:1-6),
will come to Him, the very salvation of God (John 6:65, Isaiah 43:10, Acts -12).
God knows beyond our knowledge, but His own principles are plain, and He knows how to work it all out, and work it all in. It is HIS SHOW. We however are given opportunity in whatever field or phase, to be His; and none is lost to circumstances, since these too are His.
THIS DONE, however, there comes the end of the Age.
NOW is the profusion of judgments (cf. Revelation 16-19). Now is to come the judgment capacity accorded to Christ, who FIRST BORE JUDGMENT FOR US, WHO COME BY FAITH IN AND TO HIM (I Peter 3:18). He does not judge without first in empathy being willing to be judged FOR US. Hence these judgments enter into the realm of ultimacy (Matthew 25:1-10); and they are according to His own declared word (John -50).
The tempests of His approach already vex the earth (cf. Revelation 6ff.); even at the present phase of history, it begins to seem almost like an injured toy on the nursery floor, for there is none to fix what God is judging.
His involvement is increasingly personal, in that society and its structures are entering into the final rigours of their due rebuke. This comes whilst the millions of slain, raped and abused children, the millions of slow dying dead, snuffed out by hunger or thirst, the millions of civilians overturned in their prime, by the pride of nations, the millions of students viciously indoctrinated by those who do not even understand what they say, but earn their own salaries with such vice: all these cry out, even from the ground of their spilt blood, or their slit psyches.
NOW said Christ, when on
earth: the Prince of this world is judged. This is he who was to come, and who
"NO PART IN ME".
· That ruler, present in preliminary format at that time,
· and frequently illustrated and applied in various atrocious and grotesque malevolences or dire invasions of the human scene, in various realms, political, academic and even in a distorted sense, religious and ecclesiastical (cf. SMR pp. 918ff., 1032-1088H incl. 1079 with 1031C, 667ff., 685ff.),
· was still to come into his full efflorescence, his personal consummation of evil, self-aggrandisement, and spiritual tragedy, mentally or even spiritually mixing the creation, wildly with its own Creator (as in Romans 1:20-25, John 14:29-31, Revelation 13, 7, II Thess.2, cf. Jeremiah 2:14,27-28, 10:11-16). Like a flower of evil, he is to bloom in his time (I John ).
The preliminary judgment in word, the opportunity for the maturation of all the evil plans and anti-God devices, to be tested and exposed: it has also come on scene. The power of God in the person of Christ has come; its manifestation in love, sympathy, utter holiness and divine authority has come; and been rejected. The Holy Spirit has long convicted the world of sin, because they do not believe in Christ; of righteousness , He went to His Father, being crucified in hostility though resurrected in power, and is visibly seen no more; and of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (John 16:8-11). The invariable gospel of salvation from sin, divine friendship in redeemed peace and redemption by free grace, which Paul had already preached (Galatians 1), has moved on the earth like a zephyr of surpassing beauty. The long period of gestation for the world, while all these things have been applied, preached, spread, taught, counselled, this too has come.
The end phase has also come.
The end of the Age is near
and hastes (cf. Luke ,28). Its necessary ingredients,
such as the liberation of
NOW consider this! Here is wisdom. GOD IS NOT MOCKED. SOW THE WIND, REAP THE WHIRL-WIND. GOD HAS A SENSE OF HUMOUR THAT RELATES TO TRAGIC MOCKERY IMPENITENTLY PURSUED (Proverbs 1, Psalm 2). Indeed, let us cite the former, lest lost in the philosophies of irrational impersonalism, any should not feel the edge of truth.
"Wisdom calls aloud outside,
She raises her voice in the open squares.
She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates of the city.
v She speaks her word:
"How long, you naive ones, will you love naïveté ?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
"Turn at My rebuke.
Surely I will pour out My spirit on you;
I will make My words known to you.
"Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out My hand and no one regarded,
Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you...
"They would have none of My counsel
And despised My every rebuke.
Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them:
"But whoever listens to Me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil."
CHRIST indicated that not a hair of our heads would be harmed - of those who are His, but almost in the same breath, that many would be led to magistrates and killed as the case required. Clearly the safety is that of the Lord, to preserve intact our integrity, to complete in consummation our contribution (as with Job in his HIGHLY SPECIALISED ROLE), and if death in THAT setting is it, then it is still safe. It is merely a change of form; what matters is inviolable (cf. Luke -18).
It is not the change of form that matters to those whose new form is secure (II Cor.5:1ff.); it is the purity of spirit and the completion of our responsible activities for the Lord, here or elsewhere, in the love and the glory of His presence (cf. I Peter 1:8ff.).
But listen a little further from Proverbs 8 (and here you may, if you so wish, consult the DETAIL of that matter, and its intimate relationship with the Messiah, Jesus Christ, much further in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 27, where also some details of this translation are seen): Here again,
Wisdom speaks (cf. I Cor. ):
"For My mouth will speak truth.
Wickedness is an abomination to My lips.
All the words of My mouth are with righteousness:
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.
"Receive My instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold:
For wisdom is better than rubies...
"I wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge with witty inventions.
"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil:
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom:
I am understanding, I have strength...
"The LORD possessed Me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
I have been established from everlasting
[cf. Micah 5:1-3, John 17:1ff., 8:58, SMR pp. 96ff.],
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth,
When there were no depths, I was brought forth...
When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep...
"Then I was beside Him as one brought up tenderly before
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him
Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
And My delight was with the sons of men...
"Blessed is the man who listens to Me,
Watching daily at My gates,
Waiting at the posts of My doors,
For whoever finds Me finds life,
And obtains favour from the LORD;
But he who sins against Me wrongs his own soul:
ALL those who hate Me love death."
Thus in wisdom, and with Him (cf. I Cor. , Col. 1:16, John 1:1-14), God created the world. There is but ONE GOD (I Cor. 8:5-6), the rest being according to the word of God, 'so-called gods'. That is His phrase, fully expressed in Isaiah Chs. 43,45. God the Speaker, God the Word are one Being, with the Holy Spirit, one triune Being (cf. SMR pp. 532ff.).
With this wisdom, in the course of lovingkindness and mercy, God has often called Jew and Gentile to Himself, with outstretched hands, with mercies and with enduring patience. His servants have been slain in multitudes, harassed, slandered, libelled and despitefully used; but they have continued to speak (cf. Matthew -44). It is not a game. The crucifixion of the Lord in human format was not a device. It was intensely personal and immensely meaningful. Without THAT, justice would be sacrificed, and mercy illicit. By it, justice and not mere favoritism, mercy and not mere astringency, both were fulfilled (as in Psalm 85:10-11, cf. Romans -30). Love won: life could receive credit and adopted place from the members of the human race; and this in mercy, justly.
Revivals have clapped their hands throughout whole nations, as in Ireland and the US; churches have continued underground, while those praying may be sent to the lions, or have their cheek bones broken by angry servitors of the furious State (as in the USSR in the long littleness of inglorious Communism - 1917-1991); missionaries have forsaken all to follow Him, and lived in reduced living conditions, amid dirt, poverty, disease and often danger and hatred. They have still continued. Those who have come to the Lord Jesus Christ through their ministrations, have good reason to wonder how they could possibly have been so blind, so inert, so misled, so confused, in the face of such light and wonder and privilege; nor are these alone. While the rejoicing continues, the ruthless realities of hate and slander, pretence and deviousness continue, like wild dogs in the wilderness.
Revivals have clapped their hands throughout whole nations, as in Ireland and the US; churches have continued underground, while those praying may be sent to the lions, or have their cheek bones broken by angry servitors of the furious State (as in the USSR in the long littleness of inglorious Communism - 1917-1991); missionaries have forsaken all to follow Him, and lived in reduced living conditions, amid dirt, poverty, disease and often danger and hatred. They have still continued.
Provocations immeasurable have been made, often on purpose, to destroy stability and saltiness of message and testimony; but they are endured, and the word still continues to be preached, in season and out of season. Murders of minds, reputations and bodies for Christ's sake abound, and the blood is before the Lord (Revelation 6:9-11). Where mercy is rejected, judgment is aroused (cf. John -36, Revelation 17; 18:2-4). Without redemption, wilfully refused, man is not merely an unfinished symphony (News 82), though he is that; he is a burner of the score; it is just that he does not know the score in multiplied cases: he WILL not!
The patience of God does not remove judgment: it pauses it. It comes, for truth is not to lie slain in the streets for enduring ages, the knife in its back, the nails in His hands (cf. Isaiah 59:14). Since God is love, the slaying of truth is hate. It is one thing to hate evil; it is another to hate truth.
The message is not altered: that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, offering that atonement, that reconciliation which is purchased as He was slowly murdered, He who was without any sin, the Son of God, the only begotten, so that the guilt might descend through His willingness surely on Him (Isaiah 53:1-6), for all those to be healed. Sinless (Hebrews ), He could stand it; all-powerful, He could overcome it (cf. Hosea ): willing, He would die, dynamised, He lives (Psalm 40:1-3, Acts -24).
AND NOW the end is coming
(Matthew 24:14)! and HE is coming... ( Titus 2:13). It is NOT surprising; but
what IS amazing is that He could endure so long with such patience (II Peter
3:9) in the face of such incredible provocation, lying slanders about His
spiritual intentions, His power and His creation, abounding like Autumn leaves,
while this world itself falls (II Thessalonians 2:10).
Judgment will come in surges as in Revelation 6-16. It will come with incredible seeming loss, and disturbance and disorder, for which some will even have the outrageous effrontery to charge God! but the sins will have their havoc restored to them, though God wait long in His wisdom, for all the branches of the tree of evil to try their seeds, lose their flower and perish. There will be no answer. Nothing answers to man but the truth. Judgment will be according to truth (Romans 2), just as every mouth will be stopped: for whom has He wronged, who is offered to all (I John 2:1-2) ? and at such cost to Himself!
With just such a sheer magnitude as the first creation, does judgment come. He created when He pleased, and judges when He deems right and fitting, having fulfilled all the criteria, and offered lively mercy to all. There is no circumstance which can prevent this, for having made peace by the blood of the cross, it was His pleasure to reconcile ALL things to Himself, yes all things whether in heaven or on earth; there is no exemption, no exception (Colossians 1:19-23). That is His principle; these are the purlieus, the gospel is His prerogative, and He will have His way how He will (cf. I Peter 4:6, -22). He would have all men to be saved, is Almighty, does as He pleases, and so will have without loss, all who are His, whom indeed He has foreknown (Ephesians 1:4).
In many ways, with the paths of many designs, in sheer abundance, like the first creation, will come the paths of judgment. Judgment's day will include the world's confusion, its philosophies in despair, its vulnerabilities exposed, its lordly provocations exposed as sheer humbug and arrogance and pride, its systems of subversion relieved of their portentous majesty, its sinners of their folly, as the day grows to His actual return. As HE PLACED man on earth; so He will REMOVE HIS OWN. The results of that loss will resemble a flash of lightning. Indeed, so will His coming be (Matthew 24:27ff.), and in this removal (I Thess.4), there will such a diminution of restraint on this earth (II Thess. 2:7-8). Like an anti-creation it looms, an entire disorder of mind, spirit and flesh in the carnage of hate and rebellion that marks itself as evidencing what it really is. It will be like tuberculosis, dormant for years, then declaring in blood its evil ways, in the consummation of the disease.
Thus there is -
This is the way of it. The DECIMATION of Gould is merely the PREPARATION for the judgment when the clock is run down, and the stage totters (Hebrews 12:25ff.), the Judge is entering and folly pays its price.
In view of this profusion of creation and consummation, there is no loss of meaning. Pilgrimage to consummation or condemnation is the way of it; profusion of entrants is the day of it. Creation of life, the creation of lives (II Cor.5:17): this has been the divine order. Now is the stage of it set, as for a school prize giving; but the greatest and only essential prize is Christ (Philippians 3:8, 1:20-21), the One towards and for whom His servants work, out of LOVE, since He is, in the end, in His spiritual being, altogether lovely.
The one language of DNA,
like the one book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), the one Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9,
Acts 4:11-12), has parallel in the one Lord (Ephesians 4:4), the living word of
God, the Christ in whom all things will be gathered in one (Ephesians 1:10);
and through whom mankind, past, present and future will go to life's
consummation or to the dimness of anguish of what has denied, mocked or
rejected its Creator in the end, closing tight its eyes to the grace in the
face of Christ Jesus.
In SMR Ch.5 we deal with beauty, and its nature; and this world abounds in it.
Sea-gulls in their almost beatific glidings, windswept scuddings, elegant counter-wind motions, delicate alightings; wagtails in their crisp, clean, adroit movements and calls, magpies in their effervescent commotions, dartings, swoopings, instructions to their young, adroit address, eagles in their majesty, lyre-birds in their spontaneous actions, watchful social relations with humans, lyrics of fidelity in burlesqued imitations of all sorts of sounds, fawns in their shyness, lambs in their gentleness and sweetness, even - and yes, termites in their sacrifice as earlier described, of some for all, mothers in their loving tendresse, their devoted sentinelling, their intimate and ceaseless oversight, fathers in their loyalty to death to protect: yes these things, in motion, in cry, in call, in morals, in action, they still exist. The denudation of beauty has by no means removed it.
The botanical symphonies, the ocean temptestuously magnificent, the skyscapes, works of art of the most delicate, dawns like fawns, young and tender, as yet unspoiled, the delicious newness of a baby, the first lights of youth: these things are not even now defunct.
WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS! calls the Psalmist (Psalm 29:2), filled with the awe of the wonder of the loveliness of His majesty, who knows how to confer some touch of His own delightfulness, and keep it in the midst of the most indictable offences of the flesh of mankind (96:7-9, cf. Exodus 15:11, Psalm 110:3, , 27:4, 90:17).
Co-operation, sacrifice, constancy, loyalty, team-work, beauty of self-control, patience, gentleness, courage, fearlessness for what is right, knowledge of the truth: these things are as sure as when first made. Indeed, love of the Lord and delight in the truth comes like a rushing stream from Alpine snow, even now, to thousands.
If, then, the evil has arisen like a storm, fired by the lusts of sin, and the auras of the eras of judgment, it has by no means obliterated what is good upon this earth, though it be cursed (Genesis 3, Romans 8:19-23, Galatians 3). If this pageantry and wonder, this moral loveliness is still to be seen amidst the last decaying lights of the polluted sunset, at this Age draws to its close, what then was the first dawn of the first Age ?
What did it resemble before sin opened its unlovely mouth, which, say what you will, is the lust of desire and the fire of folly, operating initially wilfully, and now both in that way and by habituation as well, by custom, expectation and sophisticated forms of rebellion; before sin activated its unwholesome wits, and assaulted much and many, with its suppressed ires, not least that God did not let it be god, and dictate to the universe, to its laws and to its Lord!
If this highly developed scene and its wilful bewitched scenario (cf. Galatians 3:1ff.) is still able to disclose such moral, spiritual and natural beauty, what then before the disease had long lingered, its penalties, pollutions and pus like a squalid traffic jam, with honking horns and bellowing claxons!
Let us then not merely look to the second law of thermodynamics, to the obvious facts of systematic reduction in our systems, dislocations and mutations in genes, as disease spreads and abuses of various kinds change the environment, to the curse, to sin and to judgment.
Let us regard no less, and indeed more, the VIRTUE which must be there to be dislocated, diseased and bled; for you cannot continually spend without first having, and without fresh provisions, without first having the reservoir to be drained. That first fulness will soon become a memory of the intellect, which can move backwards as well as forwards and a grief of spirit. Why ?
It is because the book of
Revelation (cf. Chs.4-6) makes quite clear this thing: that if the curse
on sin ,and on the earth, so far has been tremulous in its impacts, and
weakening in its rebukes, what is to follow will be vastly ACCELERATED IN
RESULTS. How looming the gloom and impending the repulse in the mad rush of man
for divine honours, by actually seeking to replace Him
us then reflect on the presence of this vast residue of loveliness of heart,
and forest and lake and wing and song, of artistry and the incorruptible
faithfulness of love in the Lord. If there is a curse, it is on what was made a
very prodigy of wonder, a marvel in which much of love still spills as from a
reservoir, redeemed, not newly invented, as the Saviour still acts with the
creative power where He now chooses to use it, on the souls of mankind. Blessed
those who so find Him.
· Blessed indeed those who find Him, before He comes (Acts -21):
· Let us then hear His word: "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets, since the world began" - Acts 23:19-21 (emphasis added).