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Charismatic Puritan

Right doctrine leads to right thinking, and right thinking leads to right living.

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Location: Gaithersburg, MD, United States

Jealous for the truth, beauty and majesty of our glorious risen Savior.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Snozberries Taste like Snozberries

A practical application of Hebrews 1.3

As I awoke last Saturday morning cruising onto the rising sun at about 520 miles per hour (well it was morning, obviously, at my current longitude, although my body clock was somewhere on the other side of the international dateline at about 11:00 later that night – yes, I’m a time traveler!), I became acutely aware of the sustaining grace of our orderly, law-making, law-abiding, creator God. The basic physical principles that have existed since about 10-43 seconds after God said, “Now,” were keeping my Boeing 767 in the air above the Pacific Ocean. Bernoulli’s principle (and/or Newton’s Third Law) works, every day, thousands, if not tens of thousands of times to keep millions of God’s image-bearers airborne as they bustle about across the surface of the planet that God, in His total sovereignty, sustains in existence.

Physics works. Planes fly, internal combustion engines run, electrons flow across filaments or slap against glass to make light or images on a screen. Atoms clack together in the air and make sound; a fork made of a particular metal of a specific length and thickness will consistently produce the same, calculable tone. Oxygen gets picked up by hemoglobin in your red blood cells as they slide through your lungs and is deposited in your eye to fuel the intra-cellular machines that will eventually (like, in milliseconds) allow a burst of electrical charge down a neuron into your brain so you can read these words. Biology and chemistry and mathematics work. When you eat a piece of chocolate, it tastes like chocolate because right then, at that point in spacetime God actively and consciously sustains the order of that time-space continuum in its progress by the word of His power such that we have a reliable, predictable world. The oranges taste like oranges and if there were snozberries, they would taste like snozberries because the King of the universe made and keeps them that way.

Did you ever think about the effects of Adam’s rebellion on the physical properties of metals? I admit I’m a little outside the realm of the Genesis text here, but I suspect that prior to his rebellion, had Adam learned metallurgy and blacksmithing, there would be no structural fatigue. There would be no rust. O-rings and valves and rivets would not fail. Things would not break – not bridge spans, not light bulb filaments, not my mom’s hip.

Did you ever think that before Adam’s rebellion nothing would have spoiled? I don’t think we would have found an instance of rotten, over-ripe fruit on the ground under a tree somewhere in the garden. If Adam hadn’t rebelled, I don’t think we would have ever seen moldy cheese. We certainly wouldn’t have seen spina bifida or its rostral evil sister, anencephaly. If Adam hadn’t rebelled against the loving, sustaining, creator God that walked with him in the cool of the day, such that God was reviled by Adam’s presence and was required to separate Himself from this now spoiled world, my friends’ daughter would have lived longer than just that one day. In fact, she would never have died.

Right now, the sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient God who sustains the universe by the power of his word knows both the exact location and specific trajectory of every atom and subatomic particle in your body or hurtling through the universe. He knows this with no uncertainty. He knows about that little divot in the yard where you are going to roll your ankle and the avocado pit that is going to deflect a paring knife into the palm of your hand. He knows about the turbine that is going to shred itself inside its housing, sending fragments of hot metal into the fuel tank of a plane that will then plummet to the ground, or sea, with everyone onboard just as He knew about the plates of earth’s crust that slipped over and sent a wall of water to kill a hundred thousand people in Indonesia. He was not ignorant or impotent. He was separated because of sin, but He was in complete control.

Because of sin there is venous thromboembolic disease, multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter and the cancer that began in my grandfather’s lungs and then spread through his body. Because of sin God has ordained errors into the system (even as He continues to sustain it, otherwise it would just explode), so that we suffer consequences of sin. Because of God’s sovereign control over His orderly universe, fibrinolytics and anticoagulants and meropenem or imipenem and surgery and radiation – and vaccines – typically fix those consequences of sin, but not always. That is His deliberate plan. God has ordained suffering because of sin so that His Son, Jesus, could suffer on a cross to put sin and suffering to death. That is the death of death in the death of Christ. As Piper says, God has chosen to reveal the greatness of the glory of His grace through suffering.

But! But despite Adam’s rebellion, but because of Jesus’ obedience to the cross, the day is rapidly approaching when all this error will be corrected, wiped away, and a new, perfect and perfectly sustained creation will unfold. In the new Jerusalem, there will no be no NH&NE Medical Center. There will be no need for civil engineers (sorry, Brock, but we’ll both be out of a job) or building inspectors. There will be no decay in the load bearing members in the eternal city that has God as its designer and builder. There will be no rust and no spoilage and always, forever, with perfect clarity and unblemished luxury, the snozberries will taste like snozberries.

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