Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shutting up Shop

Why are Christians so keen for Jesus to return soon? Why are Christians so keen for God to shut up shop on the earth.

The population of the world is currently about 6 billion. I presume the total number of people that have ever lived on earth must be about 10 billion. Taking a generous the total number of Christians including those who have already died would not be more than about 3 billion. That means that God’s team is currently losing the game by 10 points to 3.

What kind of team wants to give up the game when it is losing 10-3. Any decent team wants to keep playing, because they believe can turn the score around. Only a team of losers want to end the game when they are losing. What does that make us?

True, the Western team is on a bit of a losing streak. But why not leave time for a different team to have a go. Maybe the church in Africa or Asia will do the job that we have not been able to do. But, no. We have this attitude that if we cant do it, no one can, so we might as well call the game off now, before we fall further behind.
The attitude among Christian’s seems to be, “I am in. Let’s shut up shop now so that we can get on with the party in heaven. Too bad about those who have not got in yet?” That seems to be a fairly selfish attitude. A bit different from God too. He is patient, not wanting anyone to miss out (2 Pet 3:89).

Should God be satisfied with 3 billion people in heaven? I suppose that he might be, but I doubt it. According to Revelation 5:11, heaven has angels “numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand” and that does not include the third that fell from grace. What is the optimal human/angel ratio? How much room is there in the heavenly realms? Plenty I would guess. God promised Abraham that the number of people blessed through him would be as many as the stars in the sky and the sands on the sea (Gen 22:17). That is a good deal more than 3 billion.

I get the impression that we serve a big number God. He does not seem to do things by half. So why should we just assume that 3 billion is enough for him. I believe that he is much more gracious and patient than that.

What if he wants a billion billion people in heaven. Could he not let this earth roll on for a lot longer, so that the full number that he wants could come in. With multiplication that number could be reached quite quickly. If with arithmetic growth, it would take longer, but why not.

The “Shut up shop now” attitude seems to assume that he is more miserly.

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