I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a dose of hope. I’m ready for a full-blown, high-octane injection of belief that there is some semblance of good that will eventually emerge out of our cultural concoction of chaos.
Every time I look at the news, I see increased levels of detestation, division, and discord. Indeed, we live within a nation of polarization. We are reaping the sown seeds of a worldview where feelings are the ultimate guide, happiness is the ultimate goal, judging is the ultimate sin, and God is the ultimate guess (Crain, Faithfully Different, 52).
In 1948 C. S. Lewis penned a brief essay, “On Living in an Atomic Age,” when the possibility of a nuclear war loomed. He wrote, “If Nature is all that exists—that is, if there is no God and no life of some quite different sort somewhere outside Nature,” then all of human civilization will eventually die with the death of the sun, and so humanity will turn out to have been “an accidental flicker . . . infinitesimally short in relation to the oceans of dead time which precede and follow it . . . and there will be no one even to remember it” (quoted in Keller, Hope in Times of Fear, 204).
If this material world is all that exists, ultimately all our loves, persons, and accomplishments will come to nothing. Our feelings and quest for personal happiness will overshadow any hint of absolute truth that emerges from the God who loves us and calls us to Himself. With no transcendent order permeating our imminent reality, we are left to our basest desires to fill the void, which leaves us empty and wanting.
In the same essay, Lewis wrote, “You can’t go on getting any very serious pleasure from music if you know and remember that its air of significance is a pure illusion, that you like it only because your nervous system is irrationally conditioned to like it. You may still, in the lowest sense, have a `good time’. . . but you will be forced to feel the hopeless disharmony between your emotions and the universe in which you really live” (ibid., 205).
Lewis is arguing that, at the practical level, no one can live consistently with the belief that we are only matter and that our ultimate end is oblivion. So, we have no hope.
“Unless there is a God who has promised to guide history not to an end but to a new beginning, to a world in which finally death and evil are completely destroyed and justice and peace reign supreme, the sign of which is the resurrection” (ibid., 206).
And so herein lies our dose of hope, our full-blown, high-octane injection of belief that there is more to the meaning of life than what meets the eye. Regardless of how hopeless our circumstances may appear, Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. . . On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
“In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, NIV).