We do not know the future. Regardless to what the tabloids and 1-800-pyschic commercials may tell you our ability to fully discern the future is pretty much impossible. In the 13th chapter of Corinthians Paul is imploring his readers to live lives defined by sacrificial love. And the motivation and encouragement for such love is the picture of the eternal hope we have from the receiving of the greatest sacrificial love that was freely given on the cross.
But Paul uses this phrase to illustrate the reality; We can barely make out what that future looks like from our current vantage point. Yet our hope in what we can see can be rooted in its being fully true. While the absolute clarity of tomorrow's promise is dimly seen, the markers we pass along the way in the present point us towards the future moment when it will not be seen darkly, but in glorious light.
If we are indeed imprinted with the DNA of eternity as image bearers of God, then we will have an innate sense of seeing eternity through the dimly lit glass of our present. And it would stand to reason that the experiences of our lives would leave markers and evidences of this eternal design.
Over the past few weeks we have been studying the book of Ruth at church and it concludes with a genealogy. While genealogies are typically boring affairs and most of us fly right past them when we come across them in the Bible I think they serve two important purposes...
1- They place the narrative of Scripture in history. The names mentioned are not just mythology, but traceable individuals and families that point to the reliability and historicity of Scripture. While they are not always written to be an "exact" account of a family tree, they do not make up people to fill in the gaps.
2- Genealogies serve to illustrate the on going story and purpose of human life that extends beyond our finite personal mortal coil. Dogs do not care who their great grand dog is, nor, do they care who their great grandchild dog is. Nor do other animals. Yet humans are intimately aware and find value in such family connections. For good and bad we see and intrinsically desire an observable place on the timeline of eternity.
If we are indeed made in the image of an eternal God than this is logical. And, it would be logical for Scripture as a reliable testimony to the character, person and nature of God, to contain elements that point towards these truths.
If we are nothing more than a pile of accidental DNA than death, lineage, family, etc, would have little influence on our state of emotions. The only value we would place on life, and ours specifically, would be for personal enjoyment and the impetus to procreate our DNA in some form. And when those two standards(enjoyment and DNA passage) become limited, or, eliminated, it would be reasonable to no longer value such a life.
But even at our societal worse we cannot fully embrace such folly.
As much as we try to deny it we are powerfully affected by things that happen to people out of our sphere of relationship. Genocide is heartbreaking. Murder is shocking. Death is feared. But in a society that is hell bent to disassociate ourselves from the eternal nature of life we try to philosophically justify evaluating the value of life by subjective standards that diminish the beauty of life as a whole.
I recently wrote about two significant indicators of this cultural "evolution". Society is trying to have its cake and eat it to. We intrinsically sense a need to value life objectively, yet we try to justify valuing it subjectively when it suits some limited moment. This is the fertile soil of a culture of death.
Either ALL LIFE is of significant value that is not possible to be measured by some sort of "standard"
NO LIFE is intrinsically valuable and worthy of protection. It is only subjectively so as long as the math lines up.....
We cannot know what the future holds because we see through a dimly lit glass. There is no fool proof formula that proves that it all "works out". But our internal selves, as affirmed in Scripture, point us towards the truth that life has a value that is impossible to measure.
When Ruth and Boaz got married they didn't do so because they were promised some great future if they would just do something difficult. They did what was right and what honored God and life. Through a dimly lit glass they chose life and a future knowing only that moving forward with God was the only way to see what would one day be on the other side. They never saw what came of their marriage(King David and Jesus), and oftentimes neither will we.
But God does.
Just because you can't see the future, doesn't mean it doesn't exist