“I tell you, this world is going to Hell in a hand basket.”
Is it really?
Is the world getting worse with every tick of the clock?
Are we moving toward inevitable destruction?
Is that the plan of God for the ages?
That human history would continue in a downward fixed spiral toward total annihilation that will leave the God of Jesus Christ no other choice than to bring the cosmos to a heaping pile of ashes?
I hear this all the time. I see it on Christian network broadcasting. I see endless post on social media about the fate of human history. What is even more disturbing is the fact that so many Christians seem almost giddy at this assumed reality. I hear a follow up to this phrase over and over and it always goes something like, “Well it is the Lord’s will. All this has to happen to so Jesus can come back.” Really? Genocide, starvation, innumerable dead children, and cruelty must happen or Jesus will not have the ability to come back? Is that the biblical world view? Is this what we see mirrored in the life of Christ? That we as finite beings have some how caused a wound so deep that not even our Creator can mend?
Or is it that he can mend it but chooses not to?
These are the questions that consume my thoughts when I listen to people like Jack Van Impe and John Hagee. These are the things that we have taught our children and stripped the Gospel of its power to radically transform the world. The Gospel is not about God pushing humanity toward a cliff in which some will sprout wings and fly and others will plummet to an abyss leaving the earth destroyed in the process. The Gospel is not about getting a ticket for the evacuation of Earth to go to some other distant immaterial reality in the sky.
I not only think this view is wrong but extremely dangerous to the gospel. It is no doubt that this world can be an ugly place. Just this week we saw 21 of our brothers lose their lives for the cause of Christ at the hands of men of war. In the last few months we have seen the wrongful deaths of many people streak across our television sets. At any given time you can turn on the news and here about some tragedy or another, from an infant death at the hands of negligent parents to an elderly man who is missing after wandering off because of a health disorder. Do you want to know what Hell is? Look no further than your community. Hell is all around us.
To quote the late Gangster Rapper TuPac,
“You ever seen a crack head? That’s eternal Fire.”
One does not have to go far to see Hell but thankfully The Gospel is about the invasion of Heaven into the Earth! God is bringing(and has) Heaven to us and is working to rid the world of Hell. That is good news! This is what God has so graciously invited us to partake of, a new creation. We have been entrusted with this Gospel of Peace that has the power to redeem, reconcile, and restore all of creation but so many in the western church cling to a false ideology that the world is getting worse and that is part of the plan. We are called the take part in the ushering in of a new world. A world free from war, sickness, starvation, inequality, and even pollution. God has called us to be the agents of change in the world around us and what an honor that is. To be called to partner with the Creator to see a world healed and made new.
If the church would focus more on the present Hell then we would have much less to worry with concerning the later Hell. If we would take Jesus at his word and love our brothers (neighbors/ enemies) as he has loved us then we would begin to see Heaven invade the most mundane and dirty places. We would see the very life and breath of God animate what has been destroyed and left for dead. We would see resurrection. Thankfully despite the Doom & Gloom camps misappropriation and abuse of biblical prophecy the world is in fact a better place today that it has ever been. I’m not going to take the time in the post to list all the statistics and facts but I highly encourage you to do so!
Behold, Beloved! God is making all things new. This is the earnest hope of the Gospel of Jesus, our Messiah. That God loved the universe in such a way that he sent us his Son so that every fiber of creation could taste the newness of life and intertwine all things in Heaven and on the Earth.
“We are watching the birth, not the death, of a world.”
-Tellihard de Chardin
Through whom, to whom, and for whom all things exist!
For a more in depth look into what was discussed here check out;
Surprised by Hope– by N.T. Wright for a scholarly look into the beauty that is humanities final hope.
The Rapture Exposed– by Dr. Barbara Rossing for and in depth look at how dangerous dispensationalist theology(Left Behind, John Hagee, Kenneth Darby) is to the Gospel and world.
Skeletons in God’s Closet– by Josh Butler for a look into how God aims to rid the world of Hell.