The Interwoven Web of God’s Divine Design
Sometime between 460-357 BC famed Greek physician Hippocrates (Hippocratic oath ring a bell) first documented what we know today as asthma. The word asthma actually comes from the Greek word azein meaning “breath hard.” As time has progressed, asthma has been studied from Greece to China. Alleged “cures” have ranged from crocodile dung, in Egypt, to alcohol and cocaine in the 19th century. It was not until 1972 that the first corticosteroid inhaler hit the market. Now, all of this information may seem trivial and unwarranted in consideration of the title, however, if you are one of the approximate 25 million people in the United States alone with asthma, this information may have been of interest considering that the advance of asthmatic understanding has directly affected your life. From this perspective, we begin to see the first inkling of the concept of the interwoven web of God’s divine design. Your life has been affected by hundreds, if not thousands, of people throughout the eons of time; it is the complexity of the interrelatedness of individuals throughout time to your life that forms the web of God’s divine design.
Reiterating the point, in the above example of asthma we discovered that due to the advance of medical understanding in the past, lives are directly impacted today. If it were not for men then, lives today would not be the same. God has orchestrated the lives of men throughout history to advance all areas of science, medicine, and technology to directly impact us today.
In order to better understand this point, let's look at it from a different angle. Scripture states numerous times throughout its entirety that God is outside of time, and that God does not change:
“He has made everything appropriate in its time He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:11
"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.”
– Isaiah 44:6
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”
– Isaiah 46:10
"Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.”
– Isaiah 48:12
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
– Hebrews 13:8
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
– Revelation 22:13
These Scriptures are just a few of the plethora that teach us time and time again that God is not confined to time. In fact, if we believe the Creation story, and that God created everything, then we quickly come to the conclusion that God created time itself, and is therefore outside of time. One of my favorite quotes on the concept of time, from our finite perspective, is by Soren Kierkegaard, he says, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” However, from the perspective of God, he views both our past and our future in the same moment.
Take a second to think of a timeline of War World II. In a single moment, you can see the beginning of the war and the end of the war. If you look closely at the details of the timeline, you can see all of the independent battles that took place and all of the individual lives that were impacted, but remember, this is all being accomplished in a single moment of examining the timeline. The way you view a timeline from the past is the way God views time in the past, the present, and the future. Your birth and your death are both in the panorama of God’s timeline. This is a profound revelation to grasp in our personal lives. Take, for example, a personal struggle or hard time in your life. When we take a step back and view the situation from God’s perspective, we find that God sees both the beginning of the situation and its ending. So God had already seen the end of your situation before it even began.
Going even deeper with the idea, let's tie it back into our original thesis statement that over the eons of time God has divinely staged particular individuals to impact your life today. If you have a sickness, we could conclude that God orchestrated the lives of individuals in the past to impact you today. We could all quickly come to a single pertinent point, there is no worse sickness found in humanity than sin. God, in his infinite wisdom, knows this, and in his greatest act of grace and mercy organized a plot to save you from yourself. The life of Jesus is the perfect epitome of the concept of God outside of time and a single moment arranged in the past to impact you in the present. We could even suggest the idea of just how personalized salvation is, due to the fact that at the moment of a sinner repenting God can see both sinner and Jesus paying the price at Calvary.
So, if lives today have been impacted by individuals in the past, then we could make the suggestion, who today is making an attempt to affect the lives of those in the future? Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The gift of the Holy Ghost is an indwelling that empowers you to be a witness to those around you. The question then arises, who are you impacting? How are you impacting them? What is your live representing? In which way are you witnessing? It is questions like this that allow us to make a cognitive effort of doing the most that we can today to propagate the Gospel and impact the eternal lives of those around us.