The Future

District Fellowship News

March, April 2009

How do you see the future?

The question may seem strange to you, but your vision of the future makes all the difference in the world in your interpretation of current events and lifestyle. What you believe may happen or could happen certainly will affect your reaction to many of the events going on around us today. There are quite a few different scenarios we can have for the future but they pretty much boil down to two possibilities. Death is final or it is the beginning of the rest of your life.

Almost all apocalyptic visions of the future end with annihilation of ourselves, the world, the universe, basically everything. Starting from the most benign, death is the end for us. The world goes on but we just disappear, nothing of us is left. Our only hopes then are either that we do something so majestic and glorious that others will remember us forever or we do something so other centered that we can help make a better life for future generations. Of course, if we believe that the world can be annihilated ( the current environmental theory), or the universe (the current expanding-contracting universe theory, although with the apparent discovery of dark energy this theory may be blown), or everything (a real pessimistic view), it certainly can affect how we treat things, people, resources, possessions, or anything else we come in contact with. Many cultures throughout history, both uneducated and well educated, have shared a version of these visions.

Other concepts of the future see death as the next step. Many religious systems offered hope to their followers by offering their vision of what was to come. Some espoused that through time all consciousness would coalesce into one. Others saw places that rewarded good and punished evil. Some saw this happening soon, and others gave a time period. What do you believe will happen? Fortunately, God laid out a pretty clear view of what lies ahead. These foundational truths will certainly have an effect on how you react even in the situations we find ourselves in today .

Death is not the end. Paul writing to the Hebrews said, “...each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment…”, and to the Corinthians, “Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ ” Paul tells us of new bodies and a place called heaven that God has prepared for those who love Him. So for each of us there is hope beyond death, but it doesn’t just stop there. God also lays out a vision of events to come for this world. John, in the last book of the New Testament, tells the story of judgment for sin, punishment, restoration, a millennium of peace and finally a new world . If you are a Christian not only should the Biblical vision of the future bring you hope, but it will certainly affect your worldview, how you look at the world.

A Christian worldview then allows me not to worry about a cyclical expansion and contraction of the universe, it also allows me to dismiss the fatalism of the “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we will die” crowd. I am not hysterically concerned about giant rises in sea level causing a new flood, or the earth dying in the next century. Caring for the environment becomes a stewardship issue not an apocalyptic vision. I don’t jump on every new bandwagon that trumpets change or else, but I look thoughtfully at the issues from a Biblical perspective. I do care more for the right of an unborn human to live than for another human’s right to choose, because my worldview shows that this world and my comfort or theirs are not the end all. I can look at the economic situation and understand that there are good times and bad times, and wealth is a fleeting thing. I must take the opportunity to show compassion to others no matter what condition I find myself in. Only one person in this world can truly say, “There is no one worse off than I am.” No matter who that is, everyone else is better off than him/her. If your vision of the future depends on manmade wealth, and power; the glorification of what man has done, how far WE have come, then there is no hope. You are standing on the edge of a cliff whose face is crumbling around you with nowhere to go. But if your vision of the future revolves around the One who created  the  universe, designed its workings in all His majesty, and knows the future, there is hope.

So, the question that affects what you do today do you see the future?