About 30 years ago, at the height of the “Cold War” between the West and the Soviet Union, there was a possibility that mankind could be wiped out by a nuclear war. Those fears proved groundless (well at least for now). I remember writing an article in which I said, that basing our defense on a policy of revenge, was unethical, and the evil of that policy corrupted as all. A Christian friend of mine said that as the world was going to be destroyed by God, being concerned about the state of the world was like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
- Is the future of our world dependent on us, or is it all predestined by God?
- Is the world we know going to be destroyed, or do we need to look carefully at the Scriptures to determine what they actually mean?
- Are Christians going to be whisked off to avoid God’s judgement on the rest of humanity?
- Is there any point working for a better world – or are we just busy “rearranging deck chairs” while the Titanic sinks?
- Can we hope for a better world, now, and in generations to come?
I’m not a theologian and so cannot adequately answer all these questions. But I have found, that not all theologians have such a negative view, of gloom and doom, about the future of our world. If our view of the future prevents us seeking good, and wanting a better world for our children, then I seriously think that we need to re-examine those views.
An Optimistic World View
I have just read a book by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench called “Victorious eschatology” which I found really helpful. At the beginning of the book Don Atkins is quoted as saying:
“I cannot imagine getting up every morning with a defeatist attitude about life. Nor can I imagine serving a God who cannot overcome evil, but simply snatches away a few poor souls. Harold Eberle and Martin Trench’s new book, ‘Victorious Eschatology’, gives us a clear understanding of what to expect as kings of the King.”
I am passionate about the state of the world. I strongly believe that as Christians we should seek to make this world a better place in every possible way. My personal concern is mostly about the relief and elimination of extreme poverty. But doctors, scientists, teachers and even politicians can do their part in working towards a world with less suffering and poverty.
The Kingdom of God
I believe this passion for the world comes from Jesus who taught us to pray,
“Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
This applies to the “here and now”, not just to some future dispensation. God’s love for the world is boundless. He wants everybody to be free from spiritual darkness, free from extreme poverty, free from disease and suffering, and free from exploitation by others.
If our view of the “end times” leads us away from seeking God’s Kingdom, here on earth at the present time then we need a paradigm shift in our thinking. Much of the theology about the “rapture”, the “antichrist” and “end times” only came to fore in the 20th century. At best this teaching is irrelevant, and at worst it is destructive to God’s plan for us as human beings, the future of the church and bringing about his Kingdom, here on earth.
I realise that I’ve been controversial and probably trodden on a few toes! Much more could be written on the subject. I enjoy hearing from you, so please air your comments, agreements, or disagreements below.
- An Optimistic End Time View (A helpful Facebook group)
- Hope That Is Better Than Heaven (glennpackiam.typepad.com)
- Eschatology (legacydevotional.net)
- Victorious Eschatology, a book review (incisivereview.com)