“The future is quite fixed, but the past changes day by day.” Does this statement seem odd to you? I read this in an article which prompted a good measure of thought. How can this be true when we believe the past is static—what’s done is done—while the future changes depending on the actions we take today?
The author of the article was quoting an old Soviet Union saying while making an application to America’s changing opinions of the past. For example, fifty years ago when I was in high school, I learned American history. We studied the Civil War in which the war was interpreted as two honorable factions in sincere disagreement over state’s rights. The leaders of the Confederacy, although wrong on slavery, were considered respectable men who were much nobler than our modern politicians.
Today, the view of the same men has vastly changed. Now they are considered bigots, hate mongers, racists, and villains. The past has not changed but the viewpoint of it certainly has. Confederate monuments are torn down and anyone sporting a Confederate flag should have his fingernails extracted. Time will only tell if George Washington, the slave owner, or Thomas Jefferson who did likewise, will be stricken from public consciousness. Our founding fathers will not be revered as defenders of freedom, but agents of oppression. The perspective depends not on history, but on the one who teaches it.
Another example is abortion. Seventy-five years ago, abortion was a secret no one would tell. Is it murder? Is it obscene? Only the worst reprobate would defend it. Abortion was moral outrage. Has the past changed? No, the perception has. The morality is outdated, as recently a Netflix TV host held a festive Fourth of July type celebration with a marching band and balloons, celebrating how good it is to kill a baby. The host said an abortion should be as easy to obtain as ordering from MacDonald’s dollar menu. I wonder how soon the Netflix sign at corporate in Los Gatos will be pulled down by angry mobs?
The frightening reality is this observation by the article: “On a sobering note, do recall that the new undergraduates entering colleges this coming Fall were born in 2000, and they don’t recall a world without smartphones and social media. For them, the US has always been at perpetual war in at least one Muslim nation. For them, same sex marriage has always been the law of the land; Confederate flags have always been the symbol of hard core racist lunatics; and transgender issues have always been at the forefront of civil rights. Churches that fail at least to acknowledge and debate these fundamental realities – if not to agree with them on every point – just do not speak their language.”
This fairly underscores the difficulty of reaching people who have a fundamentally different value system. However, for Christians, the past does not change and neither does the future. Sins of the past were against God and the same committed today and tomorrow are sins against God. The consequences for them past, present, and future do not change. The coming future judgment of God will not change. What God spoke in His word regarding the future Great White Throne Judgment will not change and the criteria for the judgment set when God created the world in the distant past will not change. There has always been an unchanging moral law written on the heart if not written on stone or with pen and ink.
We are to look to the one static proclamation of truth—the Holy Scriptures. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We must know this or suffer in the future for the offenses of the past. Be aware, the only change is this statement: “In the beginning God.”It shall become, “In the end God.”
Pastor V. Mark Smith