Summary: Eternity in the heart is focused on eternal time and eternal meaning. After this we'll talk about an objection (Material adapted from Robert Roberts book, Spiritual Emotions, Chapter called "Something Eternal in the Self" pgs. 50- 61)
School days, school days; Dear old Golden Rule days; ‘reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic; Taught to the tune of the hick’ry stick; You were my queen in calico; I was your bashful, barefoot beau; And you wrote on my slate "I Love You, Joe"; When we were a couple o' kids
School has begun or is beginning in a few days.
Been discussing attachment theory in the God attachment series. Last week we said that God has placed within us a desire to reach out for others and ultimately for God himself. Solomon says the same thing from the Old Testament: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV.
What percentage of the world’s population believes there is no God: 20% 15%? 10%? A mere 2 percent of the world’s population calls themselves atheists- those who do not believe in God.
Some find it too great a leap of faith to say that creation came into being without God. True, but to come to death and believe “that’s all folks,” is too much for most to swallow. Notice in our theme verse that Solomon says that God has placed eternity in the heart, not in the mind.
Thesis: Eternity in the heart is focused on eternal time and eternal meaning. After this talk about an objection
As we grow and mature we become conscious of ourselves. We can imagine and consider life beyond ourselves. We, in a sense, can go outside of ourselves, we can think outside of our solitary life, outside of our box.
Humans are the only physical beings, as far as we know, that can be transported by a novel or a movie into another world. We can know, 10 years in advance, that the moon will be full on a given day, and 60 years or so, that we will be in our grave.
Only a human life can be shaped by an ideal, such as the life of Christ, or an ideology, such as Communism, or an obsession, like making money. Only a human being can see a red, white and blue piece of fabric flapping in the wind and understand that this stands for the United States of America. By imagination the richest woman in the world may put herself in the shoes of a beggar dying on the streets of Calcutta, India, and so be moved by compassion. A man dying in a prison cell like Paul can be happy, because he sees himself as suffering for a righteous cause, while another person, free, in the prime of life and surrounded by opportunities, may commit suicide because he feels that he is trapped in a hopeless future.
Think of this: while my grandfather was extremely sick, Alex and Andy were born. 2 weeks after they were born my grandfather died. After the funeral, I came home and I thought to myself, In 80 years (that was the age of my grandfather) my two children most likely will be weak and winkled and dying as well.
As I go to the nursing homes and see how dependent the residents are upon the staff and then as I go to the nursery and watch the babies who depended upon the nursery workers, I see how life begins and ends. To catch all of that in a moment, is to get a sense of the futility of it- if that is all there is to it. There is a kind of desperate emptiness about it, a cosmic sadness, and from this we see the need to reach out in longing for another world where it will never end.
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands for ever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.” 1 Peter 1:24, 25, NIV. This is mentioned twice in the Bible because Peter is quoting from Isaiah. Peter and Isaiah bring up a simple image that can never be far from the mind of a thinking adult. We are grass; our life is a blooming and a fading, a flourishing and a withering, a birthing and a dying. This thought, even though deeply buried, is always there.
This is brought to the forefront when we experience the sudden death of a friend, a close brush with accidental death, a pain that I interpret as the first symptom of a deadly disease. It is easy to survey the life of a blade of grass; it springs up fresh and green in the springtime and then withers with the winter freeze, and rots the following season. When we apply this personally to our life, the thought of withering brings chills to our soul.