Not the crushing of those idols
With its bitter void and smart
But the beaming of His beauty
The unveiling of His heart
~ Miss Ora Rowan
Jamal Jivanjee interviewed me about the message I delivered at the Momentum 2011 Conference. I’m publishing the interview here in three parts. This is Part III. The title of the post is fitting as you will see.
Jamal: One of the most stunning & breathtaking parts of this message was what you shared about how time and space relate to the person of Jesus Christ. I have never heard anything quite like this before. Here is a quote from the message that I would like for you to elaborate on a bit more:
“He is the Alpha & Omega already.”
Frank: There are two schools of thought among theologians regarding time and eternity. One school is represented by Augustine. The other by Newton.
Augustine believed that eternity is timelessness. It is non-linear, having no beginning nor end. Newton believed that eternity is marked by linear time that never ends in either direction. To Augustine, God is outside of time. To Newton (and people like Oscar Cullman who came after him), God is in time.
I believe that Augustine’s view, repeated and elaborated by people like Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, C.S. Lewis, T. Austin-Sparks, et. al is the one that better comports to the biblical perspective. Lewis articulates this view wonderfully in his classic Mere Christianity, and I quote him in the talk.
That particular part of the message is drawn from a chapter I’m writing for a future book. The chapter explores every occurrence in the New Testament where the phrase “before the foundation of the world” . . . “before the world began” . . . “eternal” and “eternity” are used. When I traced those terms throughout the New Testament, I was riveted by what I discovered.
It’s been reported that a student once asked Martin Luther, “What was God doing before he created the world?” Luther’s response was, “He went into the woods and cut rods with which to punish good-for-nothing questioners!” Calvin’s response to the same question was similar: “God was not idle, but was creating hell for curious questioners!”
While I respect Luther and Calvin, I don’t agree with their sentiments toward this question. To my mind, what happened “before the foundation of the world” is of critical importance. And it is for this reason that the Scriptures are not silent on the matter.
Tracing this subject in the New Testament caused me to apprehend the vast immensity of Jesus Christ in profound new ways as well as the enormity of His purpose where it concerns us mortals. Statements like “Before Abraham was I AM” . . . “I am the Alpha and Omega” . . . and “all things were created in Him” took on fresh application. The boundless love of God acquired new dimensions and the security it brought to my heart was overwhelming.
As I’ve stated in From Eternity to Here, in Jesus, eternity and time meet. In Jesus, the divine sphere and the human sphere intersect. In Jesus, the material of the heavenlies and the material of the earthlies overlap.
Time and eternity are fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is the Temple of God and the Garden of Eden in living-breathing-walking-and-talking form. He is the embodiment of “on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s the back-story of what was behind that part of the talk. I’m glad you were touched by it.
Jamal: Lastly, how can people hear the message and order the new e-book?
Frank: They can freely hear the message in various forms at http://frankviola.org/epicjesus
The eBook is also available on that page in Kindle, Nook, and PDF versions.
There’s also a FAQ page on my blog where I’m available to answer questions about my writings and spoken messages: http://www.frankviola.org/faq
Thanks again for your interest in these things and your dedication to the Lord, Jamal.
Love you, brother.
Yours in the costly but glorious quest,