Tag Archives: Christianity

The Foundation Of Hope For Eternal Life

The only certainty of life is that it all comes to an end.  Death is the ultimate deadline around which everything moves.  If nobody ever died, nothing would ever get done, because there would always be tomorrow to do it.  Paradoxically death moves everything that happens in life into insignificance; death is still the end in any case.

“For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.” (Eccl. 2:16)

Present moments are as puffs of smoke here, and never seen again.  That which truly matters, matters in eternity.  Nature itself, in the long run, leans toward death.  The second law of thermodynamics tells us that order leads toward disorder.  Creation itself is on its way toward inert energy.

Immortality entails participation in that which is immortal, and nothing in the physical universe is immortal.  Immortality, if it is to be found at all, is to be found in that which transcends the physical.  The world that is discernible by our five senses may point to it, but such is not to be found in it.

For the Christian, the answer is quite simple – it is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He lived again after having died.  He lives eternally in a spiritual body not subject to death.  If this is true, the case is closed.  Death is not the end.  “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).  Conversely, for that same reason, the Christian’s hope for eternal life can rest on nothing else.

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”  (1 Cor. 15:17-19)

What is the testimony to us of our Lord’s resurrection today.  All the witnesses to it have since passed; it is the testimony of the church, in the Scriptures, and in the rise of Christianity itself.  It is the effect that one obscure carpenter turned itinerant preacher had on history.  It won’t do simply say you do not believe the testimony.  You would also have to find an alternative explanation as to how Christianity arose.

We, the body of Christ, do not hold hope in eternal life based on a future promise as did the Hebrews of old, or based on metaphysical speculation, as did the Greeks.  We have confirmation in history.

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ”  (1 Cor 1:22-25)



The Historic Faith

It is unfortunate that this needs to be explained so much these days, but Christianity is a historic faith – it reflects a God at work though human history, and His work recorded in Scripture needs to be understood in the context it was done.  The notion of a “Bible Christianity” shorn of the baggage of history always leads to a hermeneutic where the Scriptures are read through the prejudices of the age, with modernist assumptions.  The great blessing of the Christian walk is that it offers freedom from slavery to the age in which the Christian lives.  (Rom 12:2)  In a mad world of constant tumult, it grounds the soul in a Truth that does not change, (Mal. 3:6) and in that Truth lies immortality.  (John 3:16)

The same Scriptures have been studied by the church for nearly two thousand years, and the timeless message in them is the message that has been understood by the church throughout that time.  For that same reason, for anything to supplant the historic faith something would have to come along showing itself more conducive to those who confess it.  From what I can see, there’s no sign of that.