>“He will again have compassion upon us; He will suppress our iniquities. And Thou will cast all their sins in the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)
If Jesus had no sin then this would explain why the sea did not swallow him up – the swallowing image is a common one referring to how weighty our transgressions are. So he can walk on water simply based on the fact that he is not weighed down by his sins. Eventually, after his resurrection he could even fly!
What does this say about our future bodies? It almost sounds like science fiction, but the idea that we can live at a much higher level is one that is explored by many writers, most of which are not writing in terms of the Christian apocalypse.
One of my favorite contemporary sci-fi writers is Rudy Rucker. I was first introduced to his work when reading a non-fiction book of his on higher dimensions. It is a mathematical exploration of higher dimensions.
Since then he has gone on to write novels which deal with the Singularity. This is a concept which comes from the halls of Artificial Intelligence, and since then has been adopted by science fiction writers. The term itself was coined by another of my favorite writers, Vernor Vinge, in the early Nineties.
Since then it has been adopted by a variety of authors, the most notable of which is Ray Kurzweil.
As Kurzweil understands it “The Singularity is an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly non biological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today – the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity.”
The other day I was talking with someone about illness and the breakdown of our bodies. Among many nuggets of information this person described the experience they had taking a new form of anesthetic which is not based on the traditional opiates. This anesthetic leaves you wide-awake during surgery, which has many beneficial uses.
But most interesting to me were the post-op side effects. Apparently this drug heightens your sense of pleasure. Not being a doctor or a chemist I cannot quite understand how the drug works, but I figure that it must suppress the pain areas of the brain (thus making it an anesthetic). but because it does not knock you out, it leaves you with the nearly-unbearable feeling of pleasure at almost everything you do.
The person described how they were given some crackers and a glass of orange juice after the surgery, and that when they tasted it those were the most delicious things they had ever eaten! Just plain hospital-grade crackers. Yet they tasted like manna from heaven, or perhaps one should say ambrosia. At any rate – with the pain mechanism removed it appears that the pleasure mechanism went on overdrive.
We then wondered whether this is just a glimpse of what our resurrected bodies will be like. The removal of the “stain” of Original Sin would leave us able to levels of pleasure which we can only dream about now. A state of living where seeing a flower, or drinking a glass of water would be immensely pleasurable. A state of such joy and freedom (think for a moment of existence without a bad back, or even the possibility of a bad back!) which brings the thoughts of “they neither marry nor are given in marriage” a whole new level of possibility.
For a moment I imagine worship in a church in 2045 (this date is given by Kurzweil as the probable date of the Singularity). Our existence is at this point transformed into the weightlessness of purity. Certainly for anyone looking in from the early 21st century it would seem to have entered a church populated with angels. Pure joy emanating from the congregation – palpable and even visual perhaps. There would be no pews, I believe – who wants to sit down anyway (and there is no bad back or bad knees to worry about)? When I think of exciting sporting events, in my case many images of World Cup soccer come to mind, I do not think sitting was one of the actions: there was much pacing, much shouting (of course) and much celebration which is always done standing up, high-fiving, hugs and kisses all around.
It is very likely that in such a state we would be intimately united, knowing each other’s hearts. Again from this end of the 21st century this is a threatening idea! But then it is the norm. There would be much praising, and much deep unitive silence, especially during the Eucharist. The elements would be transformed into Body and Blood because the congregation would not be seeing it with eyes of flesh, but rather with open eyes of the spirit.
I think there would be much music. Perhaps even something which might look like the church in Acts – perhaps speaking in tongues? Certainly a palpable WHOOSH of energy going through all participants.
This is probably the worship going on in Heaven right now. Constant singing of Hallelujah! Constant praise.
Of course, for those encumbered by their selfishness, by their sin, by their unacceptable of the Good News, then all this hootin’ and hollerin’ is not “heavenly” at all! It is rather punishment – like being permanently condemned to live in an apartment with very noisy neighbors to both sides and above you!
How else will our worship be changed in 2045? And how much of it will be a wiser return to our origins? I say wiser return, because I see our progress, where there is any, as part of spiral (not circular) – thus at every loop and lap we go over the same points, same historical patterns, same social-economic challenges, but with a newer appreciation for these issues gained by experience, tempered by wisdom.
This leads me to another view of the 2045 church – the role of the elders. From the beginning the local church was to be wisely and charitably overseen by elders – in fact the words presbyter and bishop, are synonyms for elders. We will, by 2045, regain this understanding of wisdom and will also return to Biblical patterns which will prove to be far from outmoded. In fact they will be seen as prophetic!
Once more, when people enter a church, they will be astounded at how much we love each other, how deep is our communion, and how believers are empowered by peace to go and server their Lord in their local communities.