Wednesday, September 20 , 2017, 8:22 am | Fair 60º

 
 
 
 

D.C. Collier: There’s a Party Going On, and You’re Invited

“Your eternal destiny is not cosmic retirement; it is to be part of a tremendously creative project, under unimaginably splendid leadership, on an inconceivably vast scale, with ever increasing cycles of fruitfulness and enjoyment. That is the prophetic vision which ‘eye has not seen and ear has not heard.’”
—Dallas Willard

Have you ever been alone somewhere when you hear the raucous sounds of a party nearby? Everyone sounds like they’re having a great time, and there you are, lonely and excluded. The temptation to sneak down the hall and peer in seems irresistible. You even dream of wrangling an invitation to join in.

We seem wired to run toward the action and away from loneliness, especially if it involves interesting people and significant events. Nobody enjoys being left out.

Suppose there was a party going on right under your nose — one that you couldn’t see physically but that was nonetheless real. Think of it this way: scientists agree that there is something counterintuitive about our universe. Total mass-energy calculations seem to indicate there is no such thing as empty space, as most of us understand the phrase.

No matter where we look in deep space, we can only see about 5 percent of what we think of as ordinary matter. The remaining 95 percent of what exists is a mysterious combination of something called dark matter and dark energy, which are totally invisible and thus far unmeasurable by conventional means.

The Bible tells us that there are two primary components to humanity’s perceived existence that are every bit as mysterious as the physical universe we just described.

There is the natural realm, which is visible to our eyes, and there is a supernatural realm, which is completely invisible to the eyes. Not unlike dark energy and dark matter, the supernatural realm is every bit as real as the visible realm, though undetectable to the naked eye. The Bible teaches that the supernatural realm is ultimately more powerful and will last longer than the natural realm.

The Bible also indicates that, although one portion of this supernatural realm is constrained by time and space, another portion exists outside of time and space, and is eternal. All universal power and authority reside in and emanate from this eternal supernatural realm, which Jesus Christ referred to frequently as “the kingdom of God.” This kingdom is ruled by a single person who is simultaneously manifested as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In Doorway Papers, author Arthur Custance, a Canadian anthropologist and scientist who specialized in the connection between science and Christianity, described the difference between the realms of time and eternity this way:

“The really important thing to notice is that time stands in the same relation to eternity, in one sense, as a large number does to infinity. There is a sense in which infinity includes a very large number, yet it is quite fundamentally different and independent of it.

“And by analogy, eternity includes time and yet is fundamentally something other. The reduction of time until it gets smaller and smaller is still not eternity; nor do we reach eternity by an extension of time to great length. There is no direct pathway between time and eternity: they are different categories of experiences.

“The fundamental point to grasp in all this is that when we step out of time, we step into eternity, and we cannot be in them both at once. But God can.”1

Many mythological writings depict heaven as a stagnant place where its inhabitants are sitting on their own private little clouds strumming harps. Custance debunked such fanciful notions, with a much more vibrant portrait of heavenly reality:

“When I find myself in his (God’s) wonderful presence, it will not be as a miserable wretch, apologizing before God for my ragged soul that would seem scarcely worth the price of its purchase. No, it will be a glorious new me!

“It will be a perfected spirit (with all that belongs to the old sinful self — buried and done with forever) reunited with a resurrected body made like unto his ‘glorious body’ (Philippians 3:21) to form in some wholly satisfying way a new, yet identifiable, Arthur C. Custance.

“But because that name represents the old person and not the new, that name, like the old person it represents, will no longer be used or even remembered. I shall have a new name (Revelation 2:17). This is the promise of eternity ... a glorious new nature worthy to behold the Lord in his glory and to form a part of his royal court.”

Think about it — if God is as resourceful as to create “all this,” why would He stop there? Suppose He has much more to do, and He’s inviting us to participate as charter members of His royal court? The best part of the story is that God is eagerly recruiting new members into His eternal enterprise, and those new members will populate His heaven with an all-volunteer army of joyous co-creators.

So, what do you suppose are the “qualifications” to join this cosmic party? Tune in next week.

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. Custance, Arthur C. “Time and eternity: studies in the consistency of scripture with itself and the assured findings of research.” 2nd Ed. 2015. Edited by E.M. White, R.G. Chiang. Vol. VI: The Doorway Papers. Doorway Publications, Canada. Pt. I, CH. 4. p.27–32.

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