UTX met on Sunday evening at St John’s and had a lot of fun painting, eating popcorn and playing games. Really good fun for all involved.
And then we came to the end of the world.
In our 30 minute God slot I tried to answer one very difficult question which the teenagers had put in the ‘God Box’: ‘What happens if humans completely screw up, the world is trashed and we cannot live here any more?‘
Its a difficult question. But we looked at the Bible: Matthew 24:1-14 (see below) and then asked ourselves the question how do we reconcile the fact that science has a different narrative to what is going to happen to the world to theology? How do we come to terms with the difference of what we expect from science – increasing carbon dioxide, heating oceans etc and what the Bible says – that Jesus Christ will return and all will be renewed?
So I explained that the key to this is to think (courtesy of theologian Richard Baukham) of what is science’s prediction of what happens to the dead Jesus when he is put in the tomb. Science predicts that he will rot. But he didn’t – he was resurrected. And the Bible tells us that the world (and all of us) will be resurrected. We can be confident that that is true, because this is what happened to Jesus. He was the first fruits of the resurrection which God will bring about of the world and all people. So science predicts what will happen if the resurrection does not happen. But because Jesus died and was resurrected we can (despite the predictions of science) be certain that nonetheless the world will be renewed.
Some very intelligent questions from some rather amazing youth……
24 As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 Then he asked them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” 3 When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8 all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs 9 “Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10 Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.