[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Joel's Day of Wrath & The Gospel

by Johanna Sawyer

An animated French couple advance on a tourist attraction on a beautiful day in Chicago. The two are non-practicing Catholics and environmentalists, with the man wearing a "Green Party" t-shirt. Meandering toward the center of activity, they are approached by a woman they don't know.  She asks if they have strong opinions on the bigger realities of life and whether God exists. They beg off from the interruption, feeling the urgency to move on to the next leg of their sightseeing. But the woman hands the couple a flyer, which is promptly stuffed into the man's messenger bag. Two nights later, the man finds and carefully reads the printed flyer on his Air France flight out of JFK...

The Great Dystopia

Originating in the near east, Christianity has constantly been in flux in its language and culture. Instead of being based on ethnicity (or culture) it is based on a text. And its text is urgently concerned with a future time of great ecosystem damage. This period of global disorder will be sent by God. But He would rather not (or is extremely hesitant to) send it. Because of the immense loss of life that will result, and because of His hesitancy regarding the loss of life, God’s period of great hardship has been delayed. The God of the Christian text is a 3-person God. This means that He is the most relational God possible or conceivable, and also the most personal God possible or conceivable. Because He is compassionate, He has sent (message-like) evidence to scientifically-informed humanity. This evidence shows that God is both creative and protective. It is the great mass of evidence that an invisible, cosmic Architect finely-tuned the vast universe and the Earth’s ecosystem as a complexly-responsive habitat for mankind. However, a time of loss is approaching our habitat. God will make our habitat dramatically less habitable. Lasting for less than a decade, the period of ecosystem degradation will be God’s subjective, personal response to (and judgment of) various human sins: corrupt political leadership in the world, greed in the international economic system, deceptive rhetoric, religious violence and genocide, the current genocide of Christians, wars based on ethnic hatreds, the sex abuse of children in media and in schools and families. But God will also judge a universal sin, which is the resolute refusal of humanity to be grateful to Him (our habitat’s Architect) and give thanks to Him and worship Him. Therefore, the unappreciated Creator will begin to un-create and dismantle our habitat. Our highly passionate Creator will judge the Earth’s ecosystems with fierce destruction, so that at one point a third of the Earth’s residents (perhaps 2 Billion) will perish. Earth’s political rulers will respond to the devastation with genocide on Christians. But our Christian text teaches something else. It is that God’s fierce anger has already been expressed in space and time. Earth’s 3-person God has already expressed wrath—onto God’s Son. On the Cross of Christ, God the Son both “expiated” and “propitiated” human sin, meaning He fully purged (by paying for) sin—and fully satisfied God (and God’s justice) regarding the punishment of sin. In purging sin, the Son suffered immense pain, but did so because He looked forward to refreshing peace, intimacy with, and emancipation of, those He loved. But humanity has rejected the Son and His love. Even though He proved Himself the righteous master of our fragile habitat by rising from the dead, humanity has refused to be thankful for the Son and to worship Him, esteeming only Nature and themselves. Nations refuse to repent from corruption and refuse to worship the Son. Individuals refuse to admit sins from their past and to repent from sins in their current lives. If humanity would repent, God would bring healing—and the period of ecologic dismantling would again be delayed. No one except God Himself knows when the destruction of our habitat will ultimately come—but you (and your friends and family) will not perish, or enter Hell, if you believe in the Son, who generously gives eternal life to whoever believes in Him and His faithfulness. When you believe in Him, eternal life and future resurrection is secured to you through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit. That is, because of His compassion for the world, God sent His Son—so that whoever believes in His Son would not perish, but have eternal life. All of this is what the Christian text, the word of God, teaches. Carefully considering this message is in our self-interest. After the end of Earth’s judgments, after the genocide of those who love Him, after His enemies are judged, the Son will bring peace and healing to the Earth. He will rule the nations with love, purity and justice in our newly-healed habitat, planet Earth.

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