In response to Fall; Rise, I’ve been privileged to have many discussions with many people about their views on faith, life, and the afterlife. Some of the most interesting have been with atheists. In that connection, I believe it might be helpful to talk a bit about the resurrection, and its implications. As time allows my thoughts to gel, I’ll be posting more of the responses I’ve had in connection to this painting, which remains to date the most draining (especially spiritually and mentally) piece that I’ve completed to-date.
Richard Dawkins claims that Christians (who live in expectation of another life) lack a sense of urgency in this one. And He’s absolutely right, when it comes to half-Christians who no longer believe that our actions in this life have a bearing on the next. But if we follow Christ, we understand that God holds us accountable for all that we do, whether good or evil; and as such the life of a Christian has as much urgency as any.
In fact, I’m convinced that the Christian life actually has the most possible urgency. As Christians, we are given a higher calling than simply “living life to the full” – ours is a calling to glorify God. Cosmically, it’s not our own eternal life that is at stake here (or either our own selfish need to be comforted by the thought of a possible “second chance”) but the Glory of God, the Creator of the Universe, who is only giving us one earthly life in which to discover, acknowledge, and celebrate a glimpse of His majesty.
And a glimpse is all we get in this life. Our fallen nature takes care of that. (The reality of sin, by the way, holds true regardless of how old you believe the earth is, and even Dawkins still needs a solution for it). Part of what we can get a “glimpse” of is an understanding that in comparison to the scale of the universe, our own scale is almost infinitesmally small. But an even greater realisation, I believe, is the one that flows quite naturally out of the first: that the God who created this universe (whose paradoxical character is simultaneously locally detailed sensory-overload and complete global vastness, and whose glorification is the end and purpose of all things) is the same one who will ask each of us what we did with our talents.
But our talents are fallen. And we are to blame. And so I can only acquiesce in the reality that I am forgiven in Christ’s blood. Whatever I produce will be tainted, imperfect, scarred, and falling short even of “living life to the full”. I realise that a “full life” is impossible without God. And so I continue to depend… on Him.