Occasionally we think of our lives and how they are affected by our sin. (Usually we are more consumed with how the sin of others affects our lives, but we’ll set that aside for the moment.) At a certain point also some of us consider how our sin, stretching back to Adam, has affected Creation, corrupting literally the entire world. There is nothing our sin has not tainted.
And so – I thought, which is always a dangerous thing – what about time itself? How has our sin, collectively and individually, affected time? We unconsciously think in terms of aging and decay: everything fades with time. Even when we talk about enjoying the moment, we lie to ourselves. Every moment we find ourselves enjoying is in the past by the time we realize it has brought us happiness. We are grasping at our histories even as we seize the day.
The greatest joys of our life become wearisome to us, given enough time. And what is this, but the greatest of sin’s corruptions? Given an eternity to worship our Creator, we chose to steal a moment of sinful pleasure, and we’ve been doing it ever since.
We took the beauty and wonder of eternal discovery, eternal growth, eternal intimacy, and we corrupted it through our sin into nothing more than a relentless destroyer, a slavering beast. And beast it remains, devouring each second of our lives. It knows neither joy nor remorse: and beauty having become beast, it slips its fangs between the seconds, rending our futures instantaneously into our pasts. Fears and hopes, joys and sorrows, they become, as the great Preacher said, vanity. The beast we call the present devours all.
Or perhaps this explains it better: there are whiny children at Disneyland.
Through the wide, ever-hungering jaws of the present every moment of the future in this world must pass. Until…
Until our mockery of God’s creative power – our sin, our efforts to remake everything in our own image, our twisting of dominion into rebellion – ceases. For while the beast is sovereign over every single moment of human history since Genesis 3, it reigns at the sufferance of a Sovereign greater still. And that Sovereign is set not simply on redeeming men, but every aspect of His glorious Creation.
Consider this. There will be a moment when weariness ceases. When hope beyond anything we’ve ever dared to hope is realized, and does not become part of the past, but an eternal victorious moment in which we dwell forever.
“Further up,” C. S. Lewis cried out in The Last Battle, “and further in!” I hope he gets to lead us up the mountain one day, for I will gladly (truly, unabashedly glad for perhaps the very first time in my immortal existence) follow.
And the Present will sleep contently at the foot of its King, hunger sated.