A Matter Of The End Being Nigh?Written by A K Whitehead
A Matter Of The End Being Nigh?
For years, decades even, we have been assailed by "prophets", conference speakers, writers and similar to effect that "the end is nigh". In other words, that we are living in end times, that is, end end times. The Second Coming will be here before you can get home today!!
The Track Record Should we believe these people? On a probability basis answer must be resoundingly negative. Christian have been assailed for two thousand centuries by people who claimed that end is imminent. They were all wrong! Even so outstanding a disciple as Paul of Tarsus was wrong. Look at (probably) very first letter he wrote (or at least, first letter of his of which we have a copy, First Letter to Thessalonians, commonly dated to AD 50). This reflects his current view that Second Coming would probably happen before tea-time!But it did not.
Clearly someone, somewhere, sometime is going to be right. Eventually. But in meantime...?
Which begs question as to how long meantime will be, and that simply puts original question in a different form.
So what grounds are there for believing that people today know better that Paul did in his day - Paul who was so very, very near to God? Does someone, anyone have answer?
Who Has The Answer? Well, Jesus told us who has answer. Not himself, in his humanity, walking earth: "No-one knows that day or hour, not even angels in heaven, nor Son, but only Father." (Matthew 24:36)
If Jesus himself did not know, and if he has told us quite clearly that no one else knows either, why do we become so preoccupied in trying to predict Second Coming? In trying to do something which he has implied is both impossible for us and is not our concern? If it was our concern Father would not have hidden it and kept it from us
Jesus AutobiographyWritten by Lawrence Hilliard
"In Fullness of Time..."
"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to a dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon stage, And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." --Macbeth, Act V, Scene v.
One's weltanschauung is determined by aperture through which time and history is viewed. Modern secularism, consisting of humanism, relativism, pragmatism, pluralism, statism and neo-Darwinism, each in correlation, perceives history as consequence of impersonal natural forces acting at random in a blind movement of energy in cyclical fashion. Secularism's foci is present world, its focus is experiential now. Time is devoid of any purposeful design renouncing any symmetry by which sequential events within individual or nation are progressing unto a consummation. The enhancement of self in existential now is secularism's raison d' etre. Each fleeting nanosecond is demanded to bring meaning and fulfillment but ever passing present is incapable of such grand expectations. The attempt to extract from momentary what is immutable, stable and enduring is fruitless. It is what one philosopher calls trying to "eternalize time." The secularist ends up in what Thomas Altizer describes as a "...a total immersion in historical time, and an immersion that is totally isolated from any meaning or reality that might lie beyond it." (Dialectic of Sacred, p. 23) Late 20th century cosmopolitan man or woman lives in a calendar prison as constricting and oppressive as walls and bars that enclose inmate of any maximum security prison. With each passing hour reduction of life grows more pronounced and controlling. Having rejected any meaning or reality that might lie outside constricted moment, man has become time's prisoner. Within this enslavement, time has inflicted him with a disease from which there is no endemic antidote. "Eater of all things lovely--Time! Upon whose watering lips world poises a moment (futile, proud, a costly morsel of sweet tears) gesticulates and disappears." (E. E. Cummings, Puella Mea, p. 20) Modern secularism, having discounted any realm or dimension outside present world has become embodiment of myopia.
In late '60s, three British astrophysicists, Roger Penrose, George Ellis and Steven Hawking made a discovery that impinges on prevailing world view of time and history. Expanding on Einstein's original equations of general relativity, which implied origin for matter and energy, three physicists established that matter was not only finite but that time and space also had a beginning and thus was not infinite. "...in real time, universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which laws of science break down." (Steven Hawking, A Brief History of Time, p. 139) The space-time theorem of general relativity has enormous implications, theologically and philosophically. For time is dimension in which cause and effect phenomena take place. Without time there is no cause and effect. If time had a genesis, concurrent with origin of universe, then there must, by necessity, be an antecedent reality or dimension, that existed before time and was its matrix. This dimension would not be subject to time or space in any contingent manner, but would be determination of such. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross sums up point of divergence between measurable and immeasurable, "If time's beginning is concurrent with beginning of universe, as space-time theorem says, then cause of universe must be some entity operating in a time dimension completely independent of and preexistent to time dimension of cosmos. This conclusion is powerfully important to our understanding of who God is and who or what God isn't. It tells us that Creator is transcendent, operating beyond dimensional limits of universe. It tells us that God is not universe itself, nor is God contained within universe. Pantheism and aetheism do not square with facts.." (The Creator and Cosmos, p. 76)
"In beginning, God created Heavens and Earth." (Genesis 1:1)
3,500 years before discovery of three British scientists, in a succinct and understated declaration, there is set forth axiom of time and history; time is a creation from a transcendent God. It is dimension into which Eternal God would condescend to display His eternal nature to his handiwork, with ultimate intent to prepare those created in time for eternal communion with Him. In words of William Blake, time "is mercy of eternity." It exists by God's appointing to make eternity accessible to humanity, for God of eternity pervades time. Time being a consequence of Divine fiat presents no boundary, constraint or limitation to God. He is revealed as a God of infinitude; without boundary, measureless and unlimitable. Not sequestered by time or events therein, God can operate simultaneously in myriad dimensions. One of prominent names in Old Testament for God's relation to time and history is "First and Last" (Heb. aleph and tau, first and last letters of Hebrew alphabet, Isa. 41:4, 44:6, 48:12). The name indicates that God encircles, boundaries and encloses all of history. He initiates it, sums it up and is present in all its movements. God is controlling every nanosecond, directing it along to its consummate goal. The title pictures God as standing at time's birth and omega point simultaneously and within every intervening second saturating it with His providential preservation, direction and redemptive grace. God has enclosed time with His abiding presence. Solomon describes theistic perspective of time, "He has made everything beautiful in its time..." (Eccles. 3:11). Solomon utilizes a Hebrew word frequently used in Old Testament for contour of a beautiful woman. He sees in history a symmetry, a harmony, a contour of interrelatedness and design, not a discordant morass heading mindlessly toward a cul-de-sac. The historic Christian view of time has always embraced early Judaism's perspective of God's sovereignty over history. "History in Jewish conception is not a chaos leading to nowhere. But an overall progression with a definite goal which it derives from God who is above history, and who rules and controls history. For God in Jewish teaching is not only Lord of nature, but also Lord of history. History is arena wherein God's activity on behalf of man is made manifest, and in which, and through which, His eternal purpose is being fulfilled." (Isidore Epstein, The Faith of Judaism, p. 258)