Our existence is a train to somewhere. Do we know where it, thus we, are headed? Are we headed anywhere? Are we on a wheel through which we are endlessly reincarnated, forever working out our karma, as the Hindu believe? When my oldest daughter was in 6th grade, we sent her to a Classical and Christian school. The first day, she came home and asked THE question: “Daddy, my teacher assigned us to ask our parents, Do you believe history is linear or cyclical? What does that mean?”
I understood that the question referred to the competing worldviews of Christianity vs. everything else. If history keeps repeating with no end, the Bible is false. If history has a beginning, which fable, myth, or philosophy best explains the beginning of everything? What if the best explanation isn’t a fable after all? Once you accept a particular belief, how well does it explain the end of history. Everything that has a beginning has an end, and most philosophies can construct the beginning of everything by utilizing various writings, discoveries, or almost anything pre existing, ending up with a theory plausible enough to adherents.
But the end? Pure conjecture….unless it isn’t. But how could it not be? It’s the future, which implies a stream of time from a source to….what? The Christian worldview says history is linear. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1. The end, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:1-5.
When you look up the definition of the word history, you are taken back to the Greek root, historia. Why Greek, why not further back, to the roots of the Greek word? Most manuscripts which make up the New Testament were written in Greek, though a few were in Aramaic or Hebrew. I suggest the word itself refers to “His story”. “His”, who dat? The Word of God–also known as Jesus Christ and the second person of the Trinity– created the universe and is the eternal now. While history is linear, the Creator views it all simultaneously. This stream called time flows, but our senses and mind can only apprehend a single point, where we are now. The future is around the next bend, the past no longer exists. Points along the bank exist in our memory–imperfectly–but the stream itself moves on, untethered to the bank back there.
In between the beginning of history and the end of all things is His-story. But what about the end of you? What is your fate after death? Is there a more important question to ask, or to answer? If you belong to Jesus, you don’t have to wonder.