As I was walking down the corridors of London Bible College, I overheard a conversation (something which I seem to be doing alot of these days!). One of my fellow students asked the college philosophy lecturer what could prevent a re-run of the fall of man in the next life. What could possibly stop us from making the same mistakes over again but this time wrecking the new heavens and the new earth as Adam and Eve did this one? The philosophers reply....."Nothing....it could happen.... philospically."
Admittedly, I didn't really think too much about it at the time, but, this evening as I was walking the dog a thought occurred (something which doesn't seem to happen alot these days!). Some people think that we are able to sin because God has given us freedom. O.K. I don't really have to much of a problem with that...we have the freedom to choose God's way or to choose ours. And, it is said, that if we get on that train of thought and follow it right through to it's final destination.....then we find ourselves in a place where the only way we cannot sin is either for God to take away our freedom (making us the human equivalent of a robot) or for us to go on forever choosing God's way (which Adam couldn't manage for even one week in the Garden of Eden!). BUT......
What if.....there was a third alternative. Why is it not possible to have freedom and yet be unable to sin? Why can we not have freedom and find it impossible to steal a cookie from the cookie jar? I think that we can. God, after all cannot sin....He is defined by his character which is 100% perfect and it is impossible for Him to act outside of it and sin! Are we going to say that God is not free? In this New Life that God is going to give us it is not possible that He might also give us a similar character to His own....one which cannot sin and yet remains free to be as creative and spontaneous, except infinitely more so than we are now? I wonder........
Of course, I'm a simple, finite human being......to tell you the truth, I'm probably way of the mark. But we human beings like to have everything neatly pigeon holed don't we! Even if my argument isn't convincing, and I don't expect it is, why can't we just accept what God says on faith:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" (Revelation 21:1-4)
16th May 1999