The World Is Upheld by God's Word.
Christians call it “the Fall” – the Fall of humanity. We now live in a Fallen world.
Last week we reviewed the story. How Adam, to whom God had given dominion of the world, chose against God and brought evil into the world. Now the world is in the power of the evil one, the devil, called in Scripture the ruler or prince of this world.
End of story? No!
Most people know the climax of God’s story with humanity is salvation in Jesus Christ. Yes.
But let’s not rush the story. It is also true that God has chosen space and time, spirit and matter, to work out His designs, His plan. Scholars call it “salvation history.” We’re still in the midst of it. The Bible reveals God’s plan – it’s no secret. Paragraph 1 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church sums it up most succinctly:
“God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.” – Catch that: God’s plan is that humanity share in God’s blessed, wonderful, fabulous, joyful, loving, holy, eternal life! Wow! – “For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church.” – Family. God’s family. That’s God’s plan.
We in the Mojave Desert, in 2022, in our ordinary lives – here and now – we are in the midst of God’s plan for the entire universe! Clearly the Fall, and our sin, is not the end of the story.
So what else does the Bible teach us about this world, even its now Fallen condition?
“And God said, “Let there be ....’” (Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24; cf., v. 26.) Psalm 33 tells us: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth.... For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth.” (Ps 33:6, 9.)
“Breath” and “mouth” and speaking (“said”) are allegorical ways of stumbling humanity trying to express the real truth of God’s absolute power to create out of nothing by mere expression of God’s intelligent, creative thought. To speak is to express a thought, put it into effect. God “spoke” creation into existence. When the fallen angels sinned, did they go out of existence? No, but they spiritually died – they lost their connection to God. When Adam and Eve sinned, did they go out of existence? No, but they too spiritually died – they lost their connection to God. (That is restored in Christian baptism.)
So did God give up on humanity? Like, OK, that model didn’t work, let’s try humanity version #2 next. Or, let’s try Plan B next time. No!
God had no alternative versions or plans. God never fails and makes no mistakes! God is all powerful! Remember that good old-fashioned word: Almighty? All mighty. Yes! Way beyond our puny imaginings. We need to ever expand our thoughts of God. He can overcome all of the evils that devils and humanity chose to bring upon this world. And not just overcome, but restore the original good – plus bring an even greater good in the end.
So after the Fall, did creation go out of existence? No. Did God stop “speaking”? No. God is still “upholding the universe by his word of power” (Heb 1:3). If God were to stop “speaking” would the world go out of existence? You bet! Nothing would exist except God.
Look around you. Does the world still exist? Then you know for a fact that God has not given up on this world, not given up on humanity, not given up on you. God is still working out His plan to bring us all – all who choose to accept – into His family to share His blessed eternal life.
When hope wanes, when the sorrow and suffering seem to never end and only get worse – stop and look around. The sky, the birds, the trees, the sand, your hand. Do you still exist? Then God is still “speaking” and loving and calling you to come close to Him. Hope in God. He is still “speaking” in this fallen world. Ask for the gift of hope. It is real. Romans 8.28.
Dibby Allan Green