Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mysteries of Perfect Fire

River of Fire, Lake of Fire, Sea of Glass Mingled with Fire

“… The ancient of Days took his seat. … His throne was flaming with fire. … A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him.” – Daniel 7:9,10 (NIV)

After I read these texts my mind suddenly started visualizing this scene. I had not planned to do this. It almost started automatically. In a way, I was lost in a trance, though a somewhat conscious one. It’s intriguing when moments like this happen.

Lest I forget, let me mention that I had in mind concurrently the other bodies of fire that apocalyptic literature mentions, i.e., the Sea of glass mingled with fire, the Lake of fire in which death and Hades are destroyed. I’ve thought more and more that all of these fiery bodies of water or energy, whether river, sea or lake, are different manifestations of the same reality: God’s presence or his very essence and nature. The text comes to mind, “Our God is a consuming fire.”

As I envisioned the river of fire I thought of the large rivers I’ve seen during my life whether in the United States or in Europe. I saw this river of fire that comes out from before him [the Ancient of Days] as wide and as long as the rivers I had seen. For some reason I didn’t think that this river ever ended.

Since God’s throne will one day be on the new earth as it is now in heaven, I thought that the river of fire encircled the entire globe and ended where it had begun, God’s throne and God, himself.

The book of Revelation says that the new earth will have no need of the sun because God’s presence will provide light enough for its inhabitants. Since the river of fire encircled the globe from east to west, I thought of an extension or continuation of the same river flowing out from God’s presence but going north to south to compliment the river of fire that flows east to west.

I thought of the dwellers of the new earth living in homes along both east-west or north-south axes along the river of fire, to stay close to the light and thus to God’s presence.

I also thought of the light and of the awe-inspiring scene of God’s flaming and glorious throne at the nexus of both the east-west and the north-south rivers of fire.

The Bible speaks of God dwelling in unapproachable light. These wide and globe-encircling rivers of fire would certainly prevent anyone or anything from getting too close to the light of God’s presence.

I thought of the fate of the unrepentant. It is possible that they will, in fact, be near these rivers of fire. As moths would do when delighted with an incandescent light bulb, the unrepentant will run into the fire, or light, and will destroy themselves. In this way it will be said that the unrepentant ran to their own destruction by running headlong into the lake or river of fire.

Perhaps the tranquil sea of glass mingled with fire will be what comes into being after the unrepentant have run, of their own choice, into the Lake of fire.

The source of their being was God and in their final moments it was to that same source of life that they returned of their own free will. However, not having accepted Christ’s robes of righteousness, they were not able to stand in the presence of God and live.

God didn’t cause them to run into the Lake or River of fire. He merely allowed them to finalize their own self-destruction. Perhaps their own stubbornness resulted in what common sense would tell them was an unwise course of action—running into a lake or river of fire.

In spite of their physical bodies being destroyed by their own conscious action, might not their minds be preserved at least in God’s memories? An earthly parent who’s watched the execution of their child because of crimes against the state does not stop loving and does not forget the memory of their evil and perhaps unrepentant child. How could they? That child was the fruit of their bodies and dreams, however frustrated those dreams turned out.

Throughout eternity God will always remember each life or soul (mind) that he created, even the ones that ran to their own self-destruction in the Lake or River of fire. Such is the price, or nature, of perfect love. It does not end, even in the face of the death of those it loves.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

With God as our Time Machine where Can we not Venture?

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

"Frank J. Tipler suggested in 1974 that if a sufficiently long cylinder with the mass of several neutron stars was induced to spin along its longitudinal axis, the cylinder should create a frame-dragging effect and warp spacetime in its locality as the spin approached the speed of light."

This article from which the above quote is taken set me to thinking about the real possibility of an advanced civilization, or being, creating such a device. Serious scientists today postulate three scientifically realistic modes in which to engage in time travel, i.e., "near light-speed passage, black hole ergosphere passage and Tipler 2-way time machine (construction of a large rotating cylinder of dense matter.) " George Zebrowski, Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia. Even though these are technically for forward time travel, we won't digress too much by exploring the equivalent modes for reverse time travel.

After we've been in the Next World, i.e., Heaven, for a million years, might not the theoretical concept of Tipler's Cylinder make it an interesting historical, scientific and experiential enterprise with which to revisit some of the significant occurrences of human history, as well as the distant future. The reasons for wanting to do so are more than just educative. In an age where seeing a filmed version of something is no longer absolute proof, might not witnessing the actual event in real-time be beyond proof? It would also be an enriching experience to outdo all such experiences.

Perhaps the most significant events or people in human history, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for example, would be of utmost importance to experience first-hand. Others might also wish to witness first hand the creation of the universe, the beginning of life on Earth, and other similar historical events. Since anything is possible for God, and since Tipler's conjectures are based on Einstein's theories of relativity, might there not already have been humans from the distant future who where present at the crucifixion itself? Of course, all of the precautions of cause and effect would have to be left untouched. I am referring to, for example, visiting early twentieth-century Germany and convincing young Adolf Hitler to enter a monastery or other non-political vocation.

It has been suggested that we will be remade in the Next World so as to have enough challenges and novelty to make sense of living the millions of years successfully that eternal beings will be privileged to enjoy. Be that as it may, revisiting key events, or people, in cosmic history might be what keeps eternity constantly challenging and meaningful. Some would rather forget everything that happened in the previous imperfect world, our present world. Others might want to be reminded about how much they have to be thankful for in their transcendent glorified life.

On the other hand, might not the exceptional thinkers of human history, e.g., Einstein, Galileo, Copernicus, Mozart and others, actually be future visitors from a time when time travel presents one of the significant vehicles to better the future, by improving the past. If we consider this unlikely, but potentially feasible approach to Earth's history, might not we be constantly experiencing an adjusted reality because of benign visitors from the future?

Another possibility might be that given enough visitors from the future perfect world visiting us throughout their future eternity, might not this imperfect world slowly be transformed into a shadow of their future perfect world? What if finally, after millions of years, the two worlds, the perfect and the formerly imperfect world merged, leaving one pristine, eternal, incorruptible perfect world.

The future creates the past. The past creates the future. It is all a cycle.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Adventism's New Horizons

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea exists no more. Revelation 21:1

After having done a google search for both Adventism and “space colonization” I was intrigued by the 19,000 results the search engine produced. One link, contained a footnote with an interesting resource: “This book, entitled Worlds Beyond, edited by Larry Geis and Fabrice Florin, explores the social, political, and technological aspects of space colonization. It is particularly interesting due to the continual references to 1492, Colombus, and America.”

The title of the article speaks of America-as-Utopia. I took this line of thought one step further and came up with Adventism-as-Utopia as though Adventism itself, or the world community and its resources, could be a Utopian community virtually and with some planning, physically. I remarked to a progressive acquaintance years ago that if only for their value as Utopian literature, Ellen G. White’s Testimonies for the Church had value. I now believe their value is more than just wishful thinking about a perfect world.

This started me thinking. What if life in this world gets worse and worse, e.g., global warming, terrorism, disease, a nuclear holocaust, other cataclysms, enforced immorality, and it becomes less and less utopian as the decades fade into the next century? Adventism with its significant intellectual and financial resources should start exploring what most think unnecessary or unfeasible, seeking a more ideal and permanent place to fulfill their future destiny.

What would the early Christians have thought of future Christians sailing across the great sea west of the European continent and building huge and long-term cities in the undiscovered countries of the Americas? Adventists should learn from their short-sightedness and think about the next phase of humanity and Adventism as well, the migration to non-terrestrial worlds or space habitats. Private citizens have already started exploring space exploration for financial or personal advantages. Why shouldn’t Adventists do likewise?

What if Jesus delays not because He’s taking too long to come to us, but because we haven’t made the physical enterprise to move closer to Him, literally? Perhaps this is what Adventism and 21st century Christianity is destined to do—to leave this dying world and start again elsewhere.

"This is not the stuff of science fiction only. Scientist Dandridge Cole originated the term "Macro Life" in his 1961 book The Ultimate Human Society, where he outlines the idea of using asteroids as mobile "societal containers."
See also, the following quote about U.S. Physicist and space pioneer, Gerard O'Neill: "In 1977 O'Neill founded the Space Studies Institute at Princeton University, an organization that continues today to fund research in space manufacturing and resources. He also worked on mass drivers for space propulsion, research and design concepts for space stations, Space colonization, solar power satellites, and lunar and asteroid mining. He authored the book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space which inspired a generation of space exploration advocates."

How meaningless and pointless all of human and Adventist-Christian history would turn out if our lack of future vision derails the future of humanity by not planning now for the potential self-destruction of life by the criminal and unwise excesses of modern as well as post-modern humanity?

I propose that Adventism start planning this eventual migration or partial migration to a safer and more permanent world, or worlds, now while we have the intellectual, spiritual and financial resources to make it a future reality. Won’t you join those of us who presently share this visionary interpretaton of taking the everlasting “gospel into all the world,” where “world” is best thought of as cosmos, and not just this small, dying planet?

Monday, February 05, 2007

On the Road Alone

God, if you're only a concept in my mind tonight
What a beautiful concept you are.

Even if you exist only in my mind
I still want to believe in you.