2009-05-28

A Better World to Come

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." - The Book of Revelation
 
The vision of a new earth is one that should embolden us. We can believe in the better world to come -- not a world falling down out of the sky, from someone else, as in the Book of Revelation, but a world that we, who believe in it, should build.
 
I am not talking about merely a more technologically advanced world, or a world slightly more enlightened than ours. I am talking about the full realization of the paradise we have envisioned throughout history, attaining all the things that people think are impossible and which they thus resign to religion or superstition.
 
Human beings have advanced throughout history, even though we are nowhere near yet to the paradise we have dreamed of. Why is it so strange to think that we will eventually arrive? Humans will continue to advance in wisdom, knowledge, compassion, mutual understanding, harmony, power, and health, until finally the human condition itself gives way to the divine and paradise will be realized on earth (and in space).
 
It is by believing this is possible, and in the working toward it, that we know this better world will come about. Effort and hope feed faith.
 
How can we possibly advance that far? By trusting what we know, and learning what we do not know, and by not fooling ourselves or expecting supernatural assistance.
 
It is by this sort of faith that we can know, as Julian of Norwich said, that, ultimately, "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."