“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Universe was Made for the Cross

Creation, I have suggested, is an expression of God's nature much as a work of art bears the mark of the artist. God is like a fountain - it is in his nature to overflow, that is, to create, and to express himself through creation. According to Christianity, God reveals himself most fully to mankind in Jesus, and especially in his death and resurrection. In the cross and the empty tomb, God's wisdom, beauty, justice, love, self-giving and self-emptying nature, and power over evil are seen clearly in an unparalleled way (see "The Victory of God," "The Self-Empting Nature of God").

These qualities, which are part of the divine nature, that is, of God's character, are just as real in him without the story of the cross. God is immutable: his nature is not changed through his interaction with creation. The God who suffered and died on the cross is also the God who exists eternally before and beyond the universe.

But God is like a fountain, or like the sun: his light must shine, his nature must be expressed in new ways and shared and revealed to creatures made in his image. God's story must be told, the beauty of his ways expressed, the depths of his nature revealed. Something like the cross must therefore happen, and consequently a world must be made where this can occur.

If the cross was God's design for the deepest and highest revelation of his character to mankind, then it was primarily for this event that the world was made. The design of a universe in which creatures would have a free choice to sin (possibly accomplished through the indeterminism of quantum mechanics) and would be subject to death and evil (accomplished in part by the second law of thermodynamics; see "Integrating Scientific and Biblical Eschatologies") makes inevitable the need for salvation from sin and victory over death and thereby sets the stage for the cross. In other words, this world was created and allowed to fall into evil so that God could empty himself and enter an evil-filled world, and in so doing overcome evil and reveal himself most fully.

No comments:

Post a Comment