What do you think God means by this?
"For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind." - Isaiah 65:17
Should we take this scripture literally?
Though mind-numbingly sweeping in its scope, I do believe the first half of that verse, is quite literal. Of course, it does compress an impossible-to-imagine feat of creation into but a few words.
However, I'm asking a rhetorical question about the last half. After all is said and done, are we to then become amnesiacs?
Other, similar scriptures, seem to say the same thing.
Could This Have Been Taken Too Literally?
Photo courtesy of Ben White and http://unsplash.com
I suspect that some Christians may have taken this scripture a bit too literally.
Consider a comparison Jesus once made.
He was trying to comfort his followers about his imminent departure. He called to mind a very common human experience, childbirth.
"When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world." - John 16:21
Some of my readers may be mothers. Is it literally true that you don't remember the pain of childbirth? No, of course not.
I think Jesus is saying this: The joy of holding that precious baby in your arms far outweighs the pain of the past few hours. The memory of that pain is no longer a memory you dwell on.
Jesus has used ordinary language to bring out the radical contrast between a time of pain and a subsequent time of joy.
The Joy That Follows Birth
Photo courtesy of Sanjasy and http://pixabay.com
Isn't this the way we all use language?
Today, I would like to attempt a similar comparison and contrast. I would like you to understand why I believe we will remember our present lives and stories throughout eternity.
Have you ever been on a backpacking trip?
Contemplate with me the following scenario...
Soaked by a Sudden Downpour
Photo courtesy of Hans Braxmeier and http://pixabay.com
Imagine a cozy living room.
You're sitting in a comfortable, overstuffed recliner, enjoying the crackling fireplace nearby. You are warm and dry, snuggled in a soft robe. A steeming mug of your favorite hot beverage rests on the table beside you. You are reading a book that has turned out to be far better than expected. Taking a sip of your delicious drink, you look up.
There on the wall before you hangs a large, framed photo of a past adventure. In the photo, you, along with a few good friends, were "enjoying" a backpacking trip. After hiking most of the day to reach your campsite, a thunderstorm had come upon you suddenly. The torrential rain had soaked you to the skin. You recall that in the moment, you were bone-weary, footsore, cold and wet, hungry, and desperately wishing you had never agreed to this crazy adventure.
But, even as these memories come to mind,
you are presently seated in the lap of luxury, rested, well fed, warm, utterly comfortable, and at peace. While you can recall your extremely uncomfortable camping trip in more than adequate detail, the pain of it no longer weighs on your mind, and you smile. It was a worthwhile experience, after all.
An Amazing Future Awaits Us
Photo courtesy of Thomas Budach and http://pixabay.com
Were we to forget our lives in this evil age, were we to totally blank out on the pain that we've been through, how could we then be properly grateful for what the LORD Jesus has done for us? How would we know what we've been rescued from?
I believe we will (in a literal sense) remember what has happened here. However, it will no longer be a painful memory, but one that will result in rejoicing and giving thanks to God. We will, forever more to come, be able to tell one another the thrilling stories of how Jesus helped us though this valley of tears.
I look forward to that amazing future, by God's kindness.
Won't you join me?
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