Rich Hannon: "I am presuming God will eventually explain why this train-wreck of a world should go on so long. "
I think God is a loving being. I didn't always feel that way. I'm glad I'm beginning to feel so more and more. However, I've always suspected that there is so much more that has happened and is happening behind the scenes that would explain why all of this imperfection and pain has been with planet Earth for either 6,000 years (conservative estimate) or millions of years (progressive estimate.)
I've sometimes thought that perhaps revelation is imperfect and we've assumed too much from what sacred writings he has bequeathed to humankind. Could it be that God lets this often tragic world continue because it's up to those he created in his own image to finally get it right by themselves? Did he not give us the basic tools to accomplish this, e.g., our minds? If you believe that it's taken millions of years for humanity to arrive at this point in history, might it not take a million more to make it to God's realm instead of us waiting for him to return to our realm. But wasn't this what the builders of the tower of Babel were set on doing, "making it to God's realm" They failed, the bible tells us. Perhaps all attempts at reaching God physically are meant to fail. The best we can do is try to reach him in spiritual ways.
When Jesus said "I come quickly" or that he's coming soon, he must have meant just that. Even the disciples believed such. Something must have happened that we don't know about to delay Jesus' return so much.
If Jesus doesn't come in the next thousand years, then we really should go out in search of him. I mean this in the most serious way. It is not an expression of doubt, just of mild bewilderment.