Is the World Just Beginning?

Is the World Just Beginning?

There are many perspectives that believers have on the timing of things that God does with the Earth.  

In terms of when the world started, believers who take the creation story at face value (literal creationists) believe the world was created just six thousand years ago, so it is young.  But believers who take a theistic evolutionary approach think the world is four billion years old.  That’s quite a difference.

In terms of when the world will finish, dispensational believers and many premillennial Christians think the world will be over any day, so it has a short future.  But amillennialists and partial-preterists are open to a longer time frame, some of them up to millions of years into the future before Christ appears.  I will soon write a blog on the scripture that can back the idea of a long future.  

So with those four perspectives, the two variations on the timing of the beginning, and the variations on the timing of the future, you end up with four rough timelines like this.

The Four Views:

  1. TED: Theistic Evolutionary Dispensationalists.
  2. TEP: Theistic Evolutionary Partial-Preterists
  3. LCD: Literal Creation Dispensationalists
  4. LCP: Literal Creation Partial-Preterists.

The first view is those with a long view of history, but a short view of the future.  For them, they have a perspective where for millions (even billions) of years, sin and death have ruled and reigned, and Christ comes basically to change that and finish things up.  The atonement comes as a last gasp right and the end of history as the timeline shows.  Under this viewpoint, what advantage is there for God to wait so long before coming?  And then why is God returning so quickly to wrap things up when billions of people are not aware of him.  

The second view is of those who hold to both a long future and a long history.  For them, the atoning work of Christ comes right in the middle of human history as the timeline shows.  One would ask if this perspective is true, why would God place his work right in the middle, other than perhaps for symbolic reasons?  

The third view is of those who take creation literally, so the Earth has only been around for six thousand years.  They also hold to a short future, which can end as soon as today.  The timeline looks as below.  We would ask, why does an eternal God wait until so late percentage-wise (about 66% of human history) to come?  And why does he return back so soon with billions of people still unaware of who He is, and having no chance of salvation?

The fourth and final view is those who also believe in a literal creation, but consider the idea that Christ has much yet to do, so there will probably still be a long future.  For them Christ has stepped into history immediately at the atonement, and is giving people time to grow and change and find him.  He is as much concerned about individual salvation as he is about nations, and wants to redeem the world and restore it.  So he is concerned about both eternal things, and temporal things.  

Having read the scriptures, and studied it my entire life I am convinced that God is patient and kind, and his heart is the save all who will respond.  For me there is also no reason to doubt the literal creation account.  While some have claimed the early chapters of Genesis to be metaphor, there isn’t evidence for that.  Moses who wrote it came from the only ancient culture that did write regularly in prose and narrative, because it was a straight telling of what happened.  Science also seems to raise more and more doubts about evolution as an idea, and as time advances, the Bible seems to be becoming more and more trustworthy in the minds of academics such as biologists, physicists, archaeologists, linguists and more.  

Believing as I do in a young earth with a long future, I marvel at the genius of God.  As soon as the problem of sin happened he was at work.  His son came at just the right time to bring salvation.  And the grace of God is at work in the world and will continue for as long as it is needed, even if that be for millions of years to come.