In ancient Rome Epicureans and Hedonists abounded. Both channeled their energy into the same purpose, though they used different methods to attain it; pleasure as the purpose of life. In this sense, they both seemed to be the source from which all things beatnik have flowed. If Jack Kerouac is to be believed all we need to do is to burn as brightly and as fiercely as we can for a single prolonged moment before being snuffed out eternally and irredeemably. In Kerouac’s case that meant a painful end as a result of an obscene amount of alcohol. It is in essence a fairly hopeless and horrific existence.
Those of us who live in the 21st century find that we are not very far removed from the Romans. In many ways, the mob still rules, truth as an absolute does not exist, and pursuing pleasure as the sole purpose in life is impossibly waking. And yet there has not been a generation that has been quicker to commit suicide, more plagued with depression and anxiety, or more trigger happy on a whim.
For all our postmodern trappings we are a generation that is unhappy, conflicted, dissatisfied, and violent. But in a world that is inundated with so many opposing worldviews, there is one that offers hope and redemption. There is one that offers purpose beyond pleasure and the opportunity to burn brightly with meaning and hope.
The Bible begins with the words In the beginning God...as though those four simple words offer hope and meaning and answers to the most significant questions the human mind can pose. And they do. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, He created man and woman in His image.
In the beginning, God was on hand to warn the man and woman He created about the nature of sin and its dire consequences. In the beginning, God was present when the first man and woman He so lovingly crafted chose to sin in spite of all the love He had shown them and the warnings He had given them.
In the beginning, God was there to pick up the broken pieces of a terrible choice that Adam and Eve made. To explain to them the consequences of that single choice, that would not only haunt them but would affect the trajectory of the entire human race that they would parent. In the beginning, God also shared with these broken and foolish humans the beauty of His plans for their redemption.
In the beginning, God shared hope where there was brokenness. In the beginning, God was on hand to take the consequences of our sins upon Himself and to offer grace and hope where there was only brokenness and shame.
In the beginning, God revealed in all that He did that life is not about the pursuit of pleasure but the manifestation of pure, undiluted self-effacing love. In the beginning, God showed us that the difference between light and darkness is the difference between living purely for our own selfish pleasure and living for the blessing and benefit of others.
In the beginning God...
This episode is a narrative of creation, the fall, redemption, and the flood. It is a story of the purpose of God in the creation of man and how man chose to discard that purpose and the dire consequences that resulted in that choice. It is also a narrative of how that choice played itself out over the course of a handful of generations resulting in the utter destruction of the world by a flood.
As you listen to this episode remember these five points:
Whatever else you take away from this episode remember this one thing; God is in the business of second chances. No matter how far you have strayed, how far you have fallen, you can be sure that He is waiting for you to come home, He is reaching for you to draw you up. He is rooting for you, He is on your side. He is in the business of second chances. All you need to do is choose to reach out and take His hand.