Saturday, May 9, 2009

Our Eternal Occupation

Here is a very helpful and edifying article by Kevin Bauder from "In the Nick of Time" on OUR ETERNAL OCCUPATION. He discusses the fact that it is unlikely that we will not merely (merely is a poor word) gaze upon God's glory in heaven - as though we are in a "perpetual trance." Here are some highlights:

...In fact, part of the way that humans were intended to enjoy and glorify God meant looking away from Him rather than looking at Him. For example, when Adam named the animals, He was looking at lions and tigers and bears, not at God. By looking away from God, he actually learned more about God, for he was able to discern God’s character when He saw it reflected in God’s poiema. The naming of the animals also gave Adam the opportunity to perform a task to the glory of God. If Adam had refused to shift his gaze from the divine presence, then he would actually have missed an occasion to worship and serve God.

...Admittedly, Adam had moments when God was the object of his full attention. There were times when Adam was permitted to look at God, and there were times when he was required to look away. Bringing glory to God required Adam to do both, to oscillate between the beatific vision and the everyday things of the world, to alternate between the sacred and the profane—except that, when the ordinary things of this world are used to reveal God’s character and as tools in our service for God, then they, too, become sacred.

Everything in Eden was sacred because everything (material and immaterial alike) was devoted to the glory of God. Everything in our lives should become sacred in exactly the same sense. For the true worshipper of Jehovah, nothing is common.

As it was in the beginning, and as it is now, so it ever shall be, world without end. God does not intend for us to sit eternally in a celestial trance. To be sure, there will be moments of pure adoration when we add our voices to the mighty choir of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs. We, too, shall cast our crowns at His feet. We, too, shall exalt the worthiness of the Lamb.

That being said, there is still the new earth, the holy city, the river, the tree of life, the nations, and our own resurrection bodies. While none of these things will be exactly natural, they will be material. Materiality must have some purpose, even in eternity future. Why should it be unthinkable that we might be required to shift our gaze away from the divine Shekinah in order that we may see the many splendors of His glory reflected in what He does and has done? Why should it be unreasonable to suppose that He will have some task for us to perform, some exercise of mind and limb, to which we must direct our attention in order to honor Him?

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