Our thoughts, we are told, should always be focused on eternal things, but unfortunately, the affairs of life often crowd in and wrest our attention away. Several recent events have especially occupied our thoughts, but instead of being a distraction, they have forced our entire nation to reconsider weightier matters.
One such event was the untimely death of the shuttle crew, as the Columbia spacecraft disintegrated upon re-entry. We grieve with the families and friends, but rejoice that several of the crew were strong Christians, and pray that their witness reached the others. The ongoing witness at the memorial service, from family members to President Bush, brought issues of eternity to the fore. His Word will not return void.
Meanwhile, we wonder what the long-term impact on our space program will be. The shuttle's work involved, for the most part, useful scientific investigation, with spin-offs of benefit to all, but the discovery of a naturalistic origin of life somewhere, somehow, sometime dominates much of NASA's work. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the lasting impact of the Columbia's last voyage was a redirection of America's premier science research body into useful work, and get the government out of the religion business.
War in the Middle East and terrorism on our shores likewise demand our attention, but these too are driving many to prayer. Our nation's security comes only from the Sovereign Creator of nations, and His mighty plan is unfolding. What a joy, what a stabilizing factor to know we are safe, no matter what happens, in His mighty hands. What an impetus to further ministry. What an incentive to let all know.
The recent ICR book, God and the Nations, presents the clearest picture of current events that I have seen. Yet it scarcely deals with today's "news," just Biblical teachings on the nations. On what basis does God allow the birth and blessing of a nation, or its death? I'm so glad we have the perspective of God at our fingertips.
This Easter season we can all find refuge in Him and His plan. A mind fixed on Him and a mindset firmly planted in truth will get us through difficult times. Couching the Easter message in its proper creation context gives it even greater fullness, and helps us keep our eyes on His Kingdom.
In the beginning, the Sovereign, transcendent Creator called the universe into existence, for His glory and according to His will. He fashioned the earth as His handiwork, and fitted it for man. Lastly He created man in His own image, male and female, and gave them stewardship over His creation which was originally "very good"—deathless and sinless. Mankind was in perfect fellowship with God and each other.
But man rejected God and His authority over them, bringing upon themselves the just "wages" of their sin, spiritual and physical death, and upon creation, the "bondage of corruption." Separated from God by our sin and locked in death throes, we are unable to help ourselves.
The Creator, however, desires fellowship with man. His holiness demands sinlessness in His presence and His justice demands sin's penalty of death be paid. So, in the fullness of time, He took upon Himself the form of a man, lived a sinless life for whom no sin penalty was necessary, and died a sacrificial death for sinful man. The wages of sin was paid as Christ died for our sins. God's holy justice was satisfied by this fully sufficient, substitutionary Sacrifice. When all was accomplished, He rose from the dead in victory over sin and death, offering eternal life to all who believe.
This same Creator now represents us before the Father as our advocate, and energizes us with His Spirit to live a life pleasing to Him. Daily He accepts into His family those who come to God through Him and welcomes into His presence His children who suffer the indignities of physical death. One day soon He will return to Earth to bring to fruition His eternal plan, and creation will be what He intended it to be, before it was ruined by sin. We will join Him forever in the new heavens and new earth, "wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Peter 3:13). There will be "no more death, neither sorrow, no crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
We can surmise that the Christian astronauts turned to their Lord as they plummeted to Earth, and we can confidently rest in Him as we face the uncertainties of war or terrorism. We can do so because He has told us of His plan, of how He redeemed fallen creation, and the just basis on which we are offered eternal life. Creation of which we are a part, was ruined by sin, even our sin. Yet the Creator Himself has died to pay the sin penalty of rebellious creation. Rising victorious over sin He clothes us in His righteousness, faultless to stand before a Holy God. Creation. Ruined, redeemed, restored. That's His plan, and we're included.
* Dr. Morris is President of ICR.