“Back in the early ‘90’s, this place was silly with bucks,” Dave Newton told me once, “but things aren’t like they used to be.” I immediately mourned the passing of the early ‘90’s.
“I don’t think there’re any big fish up in Union Hill pond,” I commented to Ron Miller in my office this past week.
“My son caught a 6 lb. largemouth up there once,” he offered.
“Really?” I asked hopefully, already making a mental note for a future expedition.
“Yeah, but… that was years ago. Things aren’t like they used to be up there.”
If I had a buck (ha ha) for every time someone ended a story with that phrase in the last year, I’d be rich. But then again, the dollar ain’t what it used to be…
Why do things change? Why can’t we and our treasures and our surroundings or even the sacred stuff of memories elude decay, tarnish, rust, escape the melancholy observation of Psalm 144:4—“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow…” Oddly enough, in case you’d rather not get your answers from the Bible, science has uncovered some clues as well. The second law of thermodynamics states that “The quality of matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time.” Translation: Everything is slowly but surely falling apart and breaking down. Depressing? A little bit. But the evidence is overwhelming…
Consider the life spans of the ancients recorded in early Scripture. Genesis chapters 5,11 & 25 read like a helium balloon’s altitude status over the course of time – Adam lives for 930 years (!) and then dies. Shem, one of the sons of Noah, lives for 600 years before he dies. Shem’s great, great, great grandson Reu lives 239 years. And Reu’s great-great grandson, Abraham, lives 175 years before he “breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people” (Gen. 25:8). Besides several slight variations, the life span of human beings in Scripture continues to plummet, and with increased velocity following the flood, the further away history wanders from The Garden. Why? Because the promise of sin was an unraveling of all life towards death, and human genetics echoes this heritage through a law that science corroborates: ‘Matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time.’
Or consider Solomon, perhaps the most famous, wise and wealthy man in the history of our world. He was so famous, rulers from all corners of the known world knew of him, so wise that many of those rulers traveled thousands of miles just to listen to him and observe him in action, leading and teaching, including the Queen of Sheba herself (1 Kings 10)! And Solomon was rich, so much so that it is said he “excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom…and the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone (1 Kings 10)… What a success story. And yet, no sooner did the richest, wisest and most famous man on earth die, so also did the success of his vast empire as well, which ends up squandered and divided, so that by the end of the book of 2 Kings, king by successive king, there is nothing glorious left to speak of. The work of his hands has decayed, his great empire has fragmented, and his vast wisdom has died with him. Even the most successful human of all time fell prey to this world’s impermanence, because ‘Matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time.’
Finally, consider the aftermath of medical intervention to heal a human body, even the aftermath of miraculous healings throughout the Bible-- they both end, eventually, in the re-sickness and/ or re-death of the patient. Why? This happens because, even though Biblical accounts of miraculous healing herald the ‘first-fruits’ of the restored kingdom of God on earth, they do not represent the presence of that kingdom in its fullness. Those of us who are ‘saved’ have privileged access to physical, spiritual and emotional renewal through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. But not until we rise to meet Him upon His return will we be able to fully escape the law of impermanence and experience instead the fullness of that regeneration– a body that never wearies, never sickens and never dies again. Until then—‘Matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time.’ Depressing? A little bit. But the implications are stunning…
“The implications of the Second Law of Thermodynamics are considerable. The universe is constantly losing usable energy and never gaining. We logically conclude the universe is not eternal. The universe had a finite beginning -- the moment at which it was at "zero entropy" (its most ordered possible state). Like a wind-up clock, the universe is winding down, as if at one point it was fully wound up and has been winding down ever since. The question is who wound up the clock?
The theological implications are obvious. NASA Astronomer Robert Jastrow commented on these implications when he said, "Theologians generally are delighted with the proof that the universe had a beginning, but astronomers are curiously upset. It turns out that the scientist behaves the way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence." (Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 1978, p. 16.)
Jastrow went on to say, "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." (God and the Astronomers, p. 116.) It seems the Cosmic Egg that was the birth of our universe logically requires a Cosmic Chicken” (allaboutscience.org)…
The implications of the Second Law of Thermodynamics point to the existence of a moment of creation, and by extension, to a Creator. Who is this Creator? Who wound up the clock? Who created the earth? Who?
5 “Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?”
8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb…?”
25 “Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm…?”
29 “From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens…?”
36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind? 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens 38 when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?”…41 Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? (Job 38)
Who? I think you know WHO. And here’s the kicker: He who set all things in motion cannot Himself be moved. In a world where nothing is today exactly what it was yesterday, God stands unaffected by change. He is the ‘unmoved Mover.’ He is the ‘unchanged Changer.’ ‘He is the same, yesterday, today and forever’ (Heb. 13:8), He is the Immutable (unchanging) One. And the implications of HIS immutablity, the implications of HIS eternal permanence, carried out into the lives of you and I, are that His love will never cease towards us, His mercy will never age towards us, His power will never weaken in us, His promises will never stop applying to us, and His grace will never fail to surround us! He hates the sin that hurts you as much now as He did in eternity past and at the moment He conquered that sin on the cross, and He loves you as much today as He did in eternity past and on the day that He paid for your sin (past, present & future) on the cross. And that will never, ever, ever, EVER change.
Build your life on the Unchanging One.
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Surrounded By Grace,