My good buddy from seminary, Phil DeVaul, took on a challenge last year. He decided to write a story about the end of the world. Yes, Phil is kind of a weird-o, but the story he wrote is not like the “Left Behind” series. It’s a look backwards in order to understand God’s future.
Phil takes where the world is now and where we are in our relationship to God and one another, and starts the story in Genesis 11 (The Tower of Babel). In some sense, Phil is right. Right now, humanity is divided, we speak different languages, and we think that we can attain God by our own power.
So here’s where the story gets quirky: Phil writes backwards, starting from Genesis 11, back to Genesis 1. Because, that’s our hope, isn’t it? So the Tower of Babel is deconstructed, God shows a rainbow and then a flood occurs, and finally people are dying until it is just Adam, Eve, and God left in the garden. Of course, Adam dies in God’s arms under the tree of life. How perfectly beautiful.
What strikes me is the circular nature of biblical literature. At the beginning of all things there is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In this story, humanity seeks that knowledge and loses sight of God. This image is reversed in Revelation – for there the tree of life is offered to all nations for their healing.
This is the same for our Christian life. At the end, when we die, we will find ourselves in life.
How delightfully backwards…