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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Will the Real Illusion Please Stand Up?

A while back, I gave my friend Dave a copy of one of my favorite books. It is called, “The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis,” by Hugh Ross. Last week we had lunch at our weekly hang out, Rumi’s, a Sufi themed Mid-Eastern cuisine Restaurant.

Dave told me how much he enjoyed the book. What struck him the most was the utter expansiveness of God in both time and space. He had not really reflected before on just how enormous God is and how seemingly insignificant we are. I grinned really big. That was precisely the impact it had on me years ago.

When you think about the billions of years matter has existed and about a universe that is ever expanding, human beings are a notch below “next to nothing” and only slightly higher than nothing. The rumor is that this God of the universe stepped in to our space and time continuum, become one of us, and allowed himself to be treated like scum, just to be in relationship with us. That is insane! But that is the gospel. If the rumor is true it means that we are far from insignificant. Because the God of all creation values us we are of inestimable worth. This would be the most amazing story ever told!

So I ask you, is it true that we are of immense value to a powerful and passionate God? If so, do we feel like we are among the most significant beings in the known universe? Do we see ourselves and others as being of inestimable value? I don’t think we do. Sure, as a race, we occasionally talk a good line about being masters of our destinies. We elevate ourselves to heights of glory. But ever present is our personal mortality and even our potential mortality as a species. The final words of the last song from Pink Floyd’s “Final Cut” album, a song about the last thoughts of man just as he is being annihilated by a nuclear explosion at the end of the world, are “Finally, I understand the feelings of the few. Ashes and diamonds. Foe and friend. We were all equal in the end.” Still, most of us, most of the time, cannot bring ourselves to live with the logical implications of what this means.

So which is the illusion? If a cold heartless universe is the truth, then why does every human culture ever known seem to hold out the hope of some enduring future or purpose? If the story of a passionate and powerful God is true, then why does so little of our existence seem to connect with such a reality? One is an illusion and one is authentic. We need to be disillusioned.


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