The Final Frontier
If you have watched television for an appreciable amount of time (or if your surf your TV channels for series reruns in syndication), you will remember Star Trek, TOS (The Original Series). The series was produced from September 1966 to December 1967 by Norway Productions and Desilu Productions, and by Paramount Television from January 1968 to June 1969. Star Trek aired on NBC from September 8, 1966 to June 3, 1969 and was actually seen first on September 6, 1966, on Canada’s CTV network, going on for three seasons and a total of 79 episodes.
Who can forget the opening of each episode: a panorama of outer space, with lead actor William Shatner voicing the initial words… “Space: the final frontier…”.
People do think of space as the final frontier. Although we do not completely understand them to this very day, the ‘final frontiers’ that humans discovered on the earth (the earth was not flat, the discovery and exploration of lands other than those commonly thought to be in existence, the seas, flight, etc.), all once thought to be so daunting as to challenge the capabilities of humans beyond their limits have, under the forces of time and knowledge, fallen to routine status. If we don’t know everything there is to know about something, no matter how daunting it is, we will eventually get to understand everything about it: even space, regarded as the final frontier, will eventually fall into routine status.
I submit that this is false. There are 2 additional frontiers that together are the final frontier, and we have to look no further for them than in our chests and between our ears, with not even 12 inches to separate them.
Our hearts and our minds.
Consider that the heart does much more than its physical duty of pumping blood, and that the mind does much more than its physical duties of ordered thought and spontaneous inspiration; they are intimately interwoven and thoroughly intimate partners with each other; together, they determine where we as a species are going, and where we as a species are going to end up.
To anyone who cannot, by observing the manner in which the heart and mind inter-operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, appreciate that these parts of us (as well as all the remaining parts of us) are the products of an intelligent designer rather than a chance result of an evolution from primordial sludge, there is nothing that can be said other than they lack critical thinking and analysis skills. That is a harsh statement; in actuality, they truly do not lack these skills so much as they have deliberately chosen, by means of pride, to set those skills aside.
I don’t believe in evolutions from primordial sludge. Even if some fantastical evolution from such primordial sludge, involving billions of trillions of chemical interactions ALL OF THEM occurring in the EXACTLY CORRECT INTRA-RELATED AND INTER-RELATED SEQUENCES, was possible, and resulted in where humanity is at this point in time… where did the primordial sludge come from? Even the most stoic scientist, soaked through and through with empirical methods, when faced with this question, must admit that such an evolution as above described is impossible, and that there must be…
A pre-existent intelligent designer.
Holy Scripture defines this pre-existent intelligent designer:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)
The last sentence says it all.
Holy Scripture records the creation of all that we see in Holy Scripture, in the book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verses 1-31. Creation was accomplished in 6 days, with God resting on the 7th day beholding all that He had created. Largely, the Creation account offends the academic sensibilities of the scientific community, but I look upon that offense as an injury to its pride: after all, why believe in a Biblical account of Creation (thereby giving all of the glory to God) when a scientific account of Creation can be suggested, no matter how patently improbable (thereby giving all of the glory to men)? I also suggest to the scientific community that, because of the manner in which God views time:
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8)
it is eminently plausible that Creation was accomplished over the course of multiple (and certainly parallel) dimensions of time, some or many of which humans are not aware of.
The God of the Bible has the 3 attributes necessary to be a pre-existent intelligent designer:
-He is Omnipresent… He is present in every moment of time, across every dimension of time, from eternity past through the present time to eternity future, all at the same time.
-He is Omniscient… He possesses all knowledge, past present and future.
-He is Omnipotent… He possesses all power as unlimited power, expressed by any channel at His disposal, be it force of will, voice, touch or any other.
The Creation account states, at multiple points throughout the creation process, that God saw that what He had done was ‘good’. Perfect goodness is only one of the signature hallmarks of God; He is good, and He can only do good; Holy Scripture attests to this:
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. (Psalms 18:30)
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (Mark 10:18)
God is surely good, and can surely only do good, but man… the crowning achievement of His Creation… was given a free will, that he might choose to freely believe in and freely love his Creator, but he chose instead to follow his own path, thinking that he had a better way than God had. The fall of man is recorded in the book of Genesis, Chapter 3, verses 1-13. Humanity had 1 commandment to observe… not to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden… and humanity deliberately disobeyed that 1 commandment when tempted by Satan. Humanity inherited a sin nature, what had once been a paradise was turned into a nightmare, and ever since humanity’s fall from God’s grace and God’s bountiful provision, we have struggled with the result of our sin (which is rebellion against the commandments and the will of God): a broken world that to all appearances could never be remedied. The penalty that loomed was that humanity would live in a fallen state from which it could never be redeemed.
Didn’t I say earlier that God is good, and can only do good?
Holy Scripture gives evidence of this in the book of Genesis in Chapter 3, verses 14-15:
So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)
There would be war between God and Satan. This the first prophecy recorded in Holy Scripture. Though it would be far in the future, God promised with this first prophecy that what Satan had introduced to the world… sin… would be dealt with.
God was faithful to His promise, as is recorded in the book of Galatians, Chapter 4, verses 4-7, thousands of years after the transgression of our first parents in the Garden of Eden:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)
Holy Scripture is in no way false; approximately 1/3 of its content is prophecy, with somewhat more than half of specifically stated prophecies (approximately 2,000 in all) fulfilled without a single miss. If you are a betting person, the prophecies recorded in Holy Scripture can be ‘taken to the bank’.
Expanding upon His initial promise after humanity fell in the Garden of Eden to Satan’s temptations, since God already knew from before the world even was that His Son Jesus Christ would be the perfect sacrifice for all sin, more than 360 separate prophecies, over a period of several thousand years, would be recorded in the Old Testament prophesying the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah… who would die to deliver not only the Jews (God’s chosen people), but also the Gentiles who were initially outside of His grace, mercy and compassion, from the penalty of eternal separation from Him as the punishment for sin. Every one of the prophecies concerning Jesus Christ as the Messiah were fulfilled exactly as written, hundreds if not thousands of years before Jesus Christ was born, against mathematical odds so astronomical that there isn’t a number named that is indicative of the scope of the probability of all of them being fulfilled.
The best evidence that God is good, and can only do good, is shown through a verse of Holy Scripture that is… unarguably… the best-known verse, known even by those who are unbelievers, spoken by the One whose coming as the Messiah was foretold:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
What… you may say… does all this have to do with the heart and the mind determining where we as humanity are headed?
First, Holy Scripture attests to how the heart is:
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
Second, Holy Scripture attests to what the mind does:
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:13-15)
Because of our fall from God’s grace, we are disposed to sin (the heart is deceitful) and we commit sin (the mind concurs with the heart)… the result is death:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Since we as a humanity are: 1) disposed to sin, and 2) commit sin… how then can we be rescued from that deathly circumstance? Is there any way out?
The way out does exist… and it is called Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ died once, to atone by His blood sacrifice for ALL of the sin in the world, past, present and future. This sacrifice was made by Him on behalf of all, but one’s heart and mind must agree that His sacrifice is all-sufficient, and accept it as a free gift for the full payment of one’s sin debt to a just, pure, holy and righteous God.
No one deserves salvation on the basis of one’s own righteousness, and salvation cannot be earned as Jesus Christ has accomplished it on His own merits as the sinless sacrifice that addressed God the Father’s requirement for the punishment that sin must have. Holy Scripture shows the way that the heart and mind must work in concert to achieve the free gift of salvation:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
Despite all evidence, there are those that resist the love of God the Father, and the sacrifice of God the Son. Please understand that Jesus did what He did for humanity because there was no other way. That makes Jesus’ sacrifice of such monumental proportion that the book of Hebrews speaks with compelling and sobering words regarding what Jesus has accomplished, and why what He has accomplished cannot be ignored without peril:
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’”
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:1-31)
God in His mercy and compassion, because of the righteousness of His Son, has made ONE WAY for humanity to be redeemed. While salvation is a free gift for all who will come to Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life, it was not free for Jesus Christ: He had to pay with His blood. Holy Scripture says that we were bought at a price:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
One believes with the heart, and the mind, following the heart, causes the mouth to profess saving faith.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
The time is short before the return of the LORD Jesus Christ. I pray that I have made the case that your heart and your mind, working together, will indeed determine where you are headed; the choices are 2: an eternity in the presence of God in the Kingdom of heaven, or an eternity in the lake of fire. I pray that you will choose wisely.