I've been spending time in the hospital this past day or so, at what the doctors are telling us could be my mom's deathbed. All kinds of things are discussed at such a time, aren't they?
Yesterday we were talking about my mom's slumped posture, with my dad expressing disbelief that she could breathe properly bent over. She tells us she can, and I mentioned that, when I am running and need to stop for air, I bend at the waist. It seems to allow my lungs more room--or maybe gravity just cooperates--to fill with air. My sister said, "That's because our organs aren't designed to stack up on each other, like when we are upright. They're designed to hang; that's one bit of evidence some use to say we're descended from apes."
The time has come to just say what I think about that. Mind you, I am not expecting everyone to think this way, too. But this is my blog, so I get the floor, 24/7.
The Bible teaches that the wages of sin are death. We die, right? That means we're sinful. I'm sorry if the logic escapes you, but it seems pretty clear to me.
We are obviously meant to be eternal beings. Everything in us fights against death. In our culture, those who commit suicide are pitied for giving up a great gift. Even those of us who believe in something greater fight against the time when we go to join whatever it is we perceive it to be.
I hope you're still with me.
My Christian faith teaches me that God knows, because He created me, that I am meant to have an eternal life. He mourns because my sinfulness will eventually take that away from me. He loves me enough to make a way to restore it to me. Through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus, He took away my sin and returned to me my eternal life.
Again, I hope you're still with me. We're going to take what might seem like a side trip for a bit.
During the 18th century, those of the Enlightenment turned further away from God and more toward the "power" of humanity. They rejected religion and religious teaching against such things as sin, morality, and guilt. But, again, the Bible teaches that the final enemy is death...and there was no answer for the Enlightenment when they looked there. The obvious answer is that, after we die, there is nothing, we are gone like a vapor. But then what about that power of humanity?
In the 19th century, Charles Darwin took a sailing trip and wrote a book called On The Origin of the Species. Although his research was intricate and as modern as could be for the time, even he pointed out, several times, that the conclusions he was making were flawed and could not be verified. (And I am not in the camp that says he recanted his theories on his deathbed.) But to many, they made sense.
Of course, they said, there's the answer. We are not dirty, rotten sinful beings, after all. Time and chance have progressed apes to an ultimate form which we call human. When humans act in a way the religious people call "sinful," they are just reverting to their ancestral, animal instincts. There's your answer! The power of humanity is great! Where we can, we will rehabilitate these poor wretches. Where we can't, we will exterminate them. Humanity is the serene, evolutionary masterpiece we believe it can be.
(See? Not just a side trip. Still with me?)
But it's not about that. We can't rehabilitate what doesn't want to rehabilitate. For example, I really want to lose these last few pounds. It was a chore to drag myself out of bed this morning and run my 30 minutes. I really wanted that chocolate chip cooky I had last night, and I ate it, even though I knew that eating out for both lunch and dinner had put me way over any points total I was aiming for. We're just too weak. So, if I can't control something as simple as my own diet and exercise regimen, how can I expect to control my anger when I am wronged? Or my frustration when life gets hard, as it will? Or my desire for pretty, fun things to decorate my home and life?
The beauty of my belief is that I don't have to, but I can. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me to keep my mouth shut even when those around me are acting in a particularly heinous manner. But doing so doesn't earn me a space in the Heavenly choir. Nothing I do gains anything for me when I consider Eternity. It's all been done, 2,000 years ago, and I lean on that plain and simple fact to get me through each horrible, awful day. Because life this side of Heaven is, even at it's best and most beautiful, only a shadow of what is to come. And, even though I know that I will continue to fight against that inevitable day, I will someday know that in spades, when I open my eyes to see my Lord and all the folks in Heaven saying, "C'mon. Further up and further in."