Monday, August 18, 2008

A Thought on Eternal Life vs Eternal Existence

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. John 17:3"

How many people today seek after eternal life? Many seek after everlasting existence, but how many seek life…that is to know the only true God and Jesus who He sent?

I was thinking about this last night, after watching a anime about high school relationships (boy was it full of drama), and the thought occurred to me that we are so deluded as to what life really is! Think about the common human view of "life" after death. If people are true to themselves they'll admit that death isn't/can't "be it" or the end of existence. We all feel/know that there has to be more. "He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Eccl.3:11" And so we come up with theories. What is Heaven and Hell in the mind of a common American? Hell is a place where the devil is king and punishes people because they wanted to have a fun existence and "party down." The people who commit social and moral indignities; things like drinking(alcohol), smoking, sex, drugs, murder, swearing, uncouth practical jokes (burning feces on a neighbors door step) etc. are sure to end up there. Whereas heaven, is a place where you get wings, a harp and some Philadelphia cream cheese while sitting in clouds surrounded by naked babies. Or it's a party with dancing, attractive people and a jazz band, where God is a king and if you don't behave you'll be sent to H, E, double hockey sticks.

Neither view involves eternal life, but instead everlasting existence, because neither view involves knowing Jesus. I think that is why Jesus said the road is narrow that leads to life and few find it. Because life isn't mere existence, it is something more wonderful than we can imagine…the ability to know and be one with God! "Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one: I in them and You in me." Don't we who call ourselves Christians understand the significance of these words? We get to share in oneness with God! How could we not rejoice in all things if we remember this truth?

Perhaps it's that we often neglect the wonder that is knowing God and having true life. Maybe we think it's not a big deal because it's a free gift or because it's available for all who would believe and therefore less "special." Or maybe it's because we don't really want life, we just want an existence forever pleasuring in our own delights, ignoring the fact that they can't truly satisfy. I love the picture of this that C.S. Lewis gives in his book "The Great Divorce." It shows people that want to save their existence instead of have true life with the source of life and therefore find hell and run to it, without being sent there. "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." For as long as we want an existence that is selfish and based on our "being" only, we will never be able to have Spiritual union and oneness with God, which is life! For Christ came to bring the word of life, one in which there is a unity and knowledge of the life source, God the Father. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge because you have rejected knowledge…(Hosea 4:6)"

Why do we grumble and complain? Is it because we don't understand the love of God? For truly if we did, wouldn't we be like Moses and not the Israelites, like the prophets and not the people, or like Christ a servant of all first, and not like ourselves greedy little master "want to be." For if we recognize God's Lordship and submit to Him then we will be able to know Him. This is life, to know God and Jesus. If we love Him we will abide in His word and He shall personally bring us to communion with the Father. So rejoice in the hope of life, an honor without precedence, that God would choose part of His creation to share His person and eternity with. Quit complaining about the now, and rejoice in the hope of true life!

Now some may say in this life we have troubles. Indeed we will, for Christ suffered first and those who follow Him will also suffer because of the enemy, so that they may be made perfect through His sufferings. Yet, it has been also said He will give us His peace and not only that but as we serve Him He will be in us and with us.

What then is left? "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. Mark 16:15-18" Often today there are those who "hold to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these… (They're) always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Why? Because they don't want to know Him, "For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (from 2timothy3)" These are strong words of warning, I hope we will abide in Him with our whole hearts, mind, will, and strength.

Let us go to the Author of life through the Son of His love and grace and know Him. Rejecting the wicked things of this existence and receiving life; we will hold on to truth and shall walk with the Lord God.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me. Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

"Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15”

1 comment:

gospeloflove said...

I actually wrote this a while ago and just posted it now.