Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why did God delay?

An email correspondent asked this:
Would I be correct in assuming your answer is in essence that you haven't a clue, guess, thought, speculation, or hypothesis concerning why God postponed telling man anything significant about the Trinity, Heaven and Hell until two-thirds of the generations of man were dead?

I had earlier answered a less-developed question, but he has pressed, desiring a fuller explanation. I thought my answer would be worth sharing here (but I could have been wrong to think that):

No, it's not that I don't have a clue, it's just that God almost certainly hasn't revealed all His reasons.
So I'll take another stab at it.
1st, He may have waited until 2/3 of generations of man were dead, but certainly not until 2/3 of all humans that will ever live have died. Also, we have no idea how many generations of man WILL pass by before the end comes. This earth could well go on so long that God's delay in fuller self-revelation would leave an inconsequential segment of humanity unrevealed-to in the past, if you will, compared to how many will have lived since.
2nd, getting to what He has explicitly said, like I said, He waited until the time was full. The only "why" I can give is that God ordains all that comes to pass, so He planned that Christ would come when He did. It's all according to His plan.
3rd, God desired to glorify Himself and provide evidence to humanity of His existence, goodness, and provision by giving prophecies thru His prophets and Scripture beforehand and then carry out and fulfill said prophecies.
4th, related to #3, God apparently enjoys foreshadowing the future and preparing types of the still-to-come antitypes/fulfillments. An example is Adam (type/foreshadowing) and Jesus Christ (2nd Adam, as fulfillment, antitype) (see Romans 4-5).
5th, God is glorified thru His people exercising faith in His goodness and provision based on what He has done before and His promises. The books of Hebrews (chapter 11) and 1 Peter discuss how the holy men and women who came before us were recipients of promises, but in most cases, they did not receive the promised-for things b/c they were for the benefit of future generations. They were mostly to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

And I reiterate that the OT has a doctrine of afterlife, Hell and Heaven both are foreshadowed in significant ways.
The Triune nature of God is foreshadowed in, among other ways, multiple OT references to the Holy Spirit and angelophanies of the "angel of the LORD", who is clearly divine and whose identity is, in fact, very probably the preincarnate Christ, and the oft-stated axiom that "to see God is to die". Yet people saw God. How, if not by a Triune God?

3 comments:

Lucian said...

Yes, 2/3 ... but NOT 4,000/6,000 as You may think, BUT 5,500/7,500.

The Jews are now in their 5,700s; BUT we spell the 7,500. :-) This is due to the difference in Genesis-chronologies between the Septuagint and the Massoretic Text.

For instance: the Massoretic Text has Adam living until he was 130 yrs old, and then begetting a son, and living 800 yrs afterwards; whereas the Septuagint, on the other hand, has him living up to 230 yrs of age, then begetting Set, then living 700 more yrs thereafter.

Now, in both cases, the total number of life-yrs assigned to each Patriarch remains the same, ... BUT the main difference lies in the ever-more-increasing number of yrs dating from Creation.

Now, this addition of 100 yrs-per-Patriarch would finally add up to a total of about 2,000 yrs in chronology [since there are about 20 Patriachs from Adam to Abraham], thereby putting Christ's time around 5,500 -- NOT 3,800.

Now, taking into consideration the words of 2 Peter 3:8, and applying them typologically to the first Adam, -as Alan has already anticipated through his type-antitype reasoning from his 4th point-, we get that since Adam was created in the 6th Day of Creation, Christ -"the New Adam"- would come in the 6th millennium from Creation.

So, Your whole question would ammount to: "why was man created last?". And the answer to this would obviously be: because God wanted to create a suitable environment for him first (in the preceding Creational days). Having this in mind, parallel it with the Biblical expression "the fullfilment of time", that's being used in numerous places from Scripture to describe the time of the coming of Christ.

Hope this helps.

Lucian said...

And in case You wonder whether I really mean it, or if I've just made this up just in order to ease You, here's a spoiler for You: :p

Many people wonder about the meaning of God's warning to Adam: "for in the day you'll eat of that fruit, thou shalt surely die" -- and ask themselves: >well ... why didn't he?<

The same people also wonder because of the old ages which the life of the Patriarchs reached. "How did they live for so long?"

But the answer to these questions is really simple: have You ever wondered why NONE of the ancients lived up to 1,000 yrs, but fell asleep just shortly theretofore? (Adam, Noah and Methusalem to name but three).

The reason is God's innitial warning to Adam, coupled with the aforesaid verse from Second Peter. They all died in the self-same >day< that they were born!

-----
And here's yet another one: the flood of Noah's days occurs in 2242-43, therefore in the third millennium from Creation. This parallels the third day of Creation, in which God let the face of the earth rise from below the waters. Just compare Genesis 1:9-10 with the entire eighth chapter of the Book of Genesis, in which we see a gradually drying and lowering of the waters of the Flood, and a simultaneously and slowly uncovering of the face of the earth.

Rhology said...

Haha, some of that is interesting, I never thought of it.

And the "you shall surely die" thing happened just as sure as you commented here. Adam and Eve died, alright, died spiritually when they ate that fruit.

Happy Reformation Day!