Yes — I know (according to the Left Behind movie) all Christians are going to suddenly disappear (pilotless planes crashing, cars careening into opposing lanes for head-on collisions, churchgoers all over missing, very few politicians gone 😉 ) and the world will be left in the hands of non-believers…
But there’s a competing view amongst some Christians — almost the polar opposite of the Left Behind groupies. In this scenario, all the Christians stay here on Earth and gradually (by the Divine Hand of God) they take over the world; every government, every nation, every tribe, and every people will be governed by conservative “Christians” under “biblical law” — and then Jesus will Return to the surface of the Earth to receive His Kingdom from the hands of His faithful people. (Which is at least as fantastic as the escapist, Left Behind delusion.)
People usually call this second alternative “Dominionism” (or “Christian Reconstructionism”). For now, let’s forget all about airliners crashing to the ground as Jesus “Raptures away” tens of thousands of people and think instead about this “Dominion” business.
There a fundamental problem with the Dominionist fantasy: human beings (even after becoming faithful church-goers) are still human beings! The only way Dominionism could work is if the human beings in charge were perfectly like Jesus Christ Himself. That is, if everything works the way Dominionists expect them to happen, the success of this kind of government would rest on human beings no longer being arrogant, self-seeking, impatient, unkind, jealous, rude, easily provoked, fearful, unforgiving, delighting in others’ failures and mistakes and (above all) arrogant.
But to even begin to think any of us human beings are going to somehow cease our wicked natures and actions is incredibly arrogant (no matter how seriously people attend church…)
Take a look at the major “Christian leaders” recently in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world — then try to count on one hand those who have truly earned the respect for the lives they’ve actually lived. Let’s see: there’s Billy Graham, Mother Teresa… uh… Jimmy Carter???
It’s not just the Big Name Christian Leaders who are caught with their hand in the cookie jar (or up skirts, in pants, running Ponzi schemes, etc.) If someone objects, insisting that most public, church leaders “aren’t like that”, all that can honestly be said is that every, public Christian figure is still merely a human being. And no human being is perfect and none can be trusted further than they can be thrown. After all, the Bible itself says, “Do not trust in famous people or any mortal man, for in them you’ll never find any help.” [Psa. 146.3]
Back to the Dominionist fantasy: Let’s say “Christians” gradually lead and control everything under “biblical law”… then what happens after the secular state withers away and leaves all control in the hands of “Christians”?
IMAO, I have to suggest that, in the long run, (1) that can never happen, and (2) if it did, everything would still be as corrupt — just a hell of a lot more religious. And no one needs that.
Is the truth that there’s no hope for the world? That human beings are corrupt and filled with evil and things will never get better? After all, there are some people who believe that the world is “getting better” with every passing generation… but these people tend to be the world’s elite — the richest, most comfortable people in the world who never, ever see the rest of the world.
Who are the world’s “rich elite”? Everybody living in Europe, North America, Japan, some of Britain’s old colonies — and that’s about it. The great majority of people in the world are living in unbelievable poverty and are suffering under demonic governments in which no one has any rights but the right to suffer and die.
Throughout most of the world’s population, women are considered less than human, treated as slaves, beaten or murdered by their husbands without remedy from the law; women are stoned to death for committing adultery (and oddly enough, the men involved are often not punished) and starving people who steal bread or fruit from street vendors who (when caught) have one or both limbs cut off for their petty thievery. And children are just “little adults” to be used and abused as cheap labor or sold into slavery (sexual and otherwise), and hundreds of little girls are “circumcised” so that they can never enjoy sexual union for that would be “sin”. Hundreds of thousands of people in Africa die from AIDS, and hundreds of thousands of children die because they have no food or no protection from the wicked. Ignorance and intolerance are like twins — when one is found, the other is near at hand.
The Good News is that a Day is approaching, a Day which the world as it is doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to understand. The world in which we live today does not want to hear that one Day this world will End. In order to live one’s life fully today, one must understand and accept that even as they pursue the “good life”, every person is already a Dead Man Walking. These people just haven’t stopped breathing yet.
This world — overflowing with sadness and corruption — will one day end. It will be ended by God in order to make a new world. The Bible says that when that Time comes, this world of corruption and death will be “dissolved, as by a great fire”, and God will re-create the heavens and earth anew — and the world and we ourselves will be immortal.
When God created this world, His ultimate Plan was not a world held in bondage under the tyranny of darkness, trouble and wickedness. But in order to bring His children into full maturity, He gave us this world (such as it is now), as preparation for His Perfect World: a world in which the darkness of human nature will be only Light; a world in which the mortality of human flesh will become immortality; a world in which the cycle of life and death (and life and death and life and death…) will become a world of Life, and only Life.
God’s Kingdom — with its immortality, its Light, its joy, peace and love — can not occur within the confines of this present world (dominated as it is by darkness and death.) But when these heavens and this earth are “dissolved as by fire”, that which God re-creates (new heavens and a new earth) will be His final act of Creation…
It is that earth upon which He will establish His Kingdom, and all those who have lived within the framework of this world and have trusted God for His deliverance from the darkness and death of this world, will also be re-created into an Everlasting Life — immortal, imperishable — without sickness and without death.
I thank God that the Dominionists’ fantasy will never come to pass — that God will never try and establish His eternal Kingdom within this world of darkness and death, but will make a new world in which death will never more be known!