It is intoxicating, the idea of diving into a steaming jungle, tripping over ancient granite blocks, uncovering an ancient civilization, finding elaborate traps, astounding treasures, and possibly advanced technology, still in perfect working condition.
It is a well-known fact that in fiction, the Former Days were better than these. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth features a world crumbling into ruin, having lost so much over the millennia. Great civilizations, with advanced technology and magic, had collapsed, with only remnants surviving. The beautiful, perfect original creation had been corrupted by evil almost beyond recognition.
The Uncharted video game series depicts many ruins of ancient civilizations, as the protagonists mine them for treasure and encounter traps so technologically advanced they boggle the mind. I was once fascinated by the idea of ancient advanced technology, and of civilizations that thrived on the ancient earth. I wrote whole manuscripts about them, and enjoyed movies like Stargate and Disney’s Atlantis.
Is there a gospel parallel? In Christian circles, God’s original creation, or his mandates for his original creation design, are often held up to be the ideal for Christian life and practice. Since then, sin has ruined the world and the perfect plan was broken.
In real life, the Former Days were not better than these. Ancient civilizations did create some impressive machines and structures, but nothing like the machines we have today. Life was dirty, dangerous, and difficult for most of the population.
Additionally, God’s original creation was not supposed to be the end of the plan. God always intended to take on human flesh, die, and rise again. Without these, there is no gospel. Jesus was always the plan. This doesn’t mean that the original creation wasn’t important, but it does mean that it was only the beginning of the gospel story.
It is true, Jesus was born, died, and rose again in the past. But his coming is still in the future, as is the liberation of creation and our bodies by him. Jesus lives today, and he will live forever, as will we.
But shouldn’t we look back to God’s original creation and put some focus on that?
Yes, with the understanding that things never were the way they were supposed to be. But they will be. The plan is almost complete, and that should be our focus.
Have any more examples of fiction looking backwards? Any thoughts about framing our faith through creation vs resurrection? Let me know in the comments section!