Most of us want to put 2020 behind us as soon as possible. I understand the sentiment, but why are we so quick to look forward? It seems our desire to put the year behind us is based on the assumption that 2021 will be better. We call that desire hope. How can this be when current secular thought is dominated by either naturalism or dystopian fears? The prevailing philosophy of our day is naturalism, the belief that humanity sprang up from mindless, unguided, natural causes. If that is true, why would we ever cognitively have hope that the future is going to be better? Why indeed would we ever be future oriented to begin with? Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga in his review of The God Delusion writes, “The naturalism that (Richard) Dawkins embraces, furthermore, in addition to its intrinsic unloveliness and its dispiriting conclusions about human beings and their place in the universe, is in deep self-referential trouble.” Naturalism is self-referencing, self-focused and concerned with survival and replication, not something as philosophical as hope. If naturalism is correct, it could never provide us with something metaphysical like hope.
Others are living desperate lives without hope fearing we are headed to a dystopian existence like that in Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World. The book is a description of a nightmarish world where free-will has been subjugated through social engineering, endless distractions, and the availability of the drug Soma. Global stability in Huxley’s world is assured through the common religion called Fordism which encourages, “…consumerism, sexual promiscuity, and the avoidance of unhappiness.” Written in 1931, the book is eerily precient. It is easy to see why some despair of its Nostradamus-like predictions and assume there is no going back.
Thankfully, Christianity has an answer! We can look back (and should!), for there we see God’s faithfulness. I would argue that it is only in looking back that we see the faithful hand of God sovereignly guiding us. From that vantage we can and should anticipate God being faithful in the future for that is his nature. God’s faithfulness provides us with the opportunity for hope which is something a naturalistic worldview never can. God’s faithfulness also frees us from dystopian fears. Current events often grab our attention, cloud our vision, and dominate us emotionally. Those at the foot of Jesus’s cross could in no way see hope beyond the crucifixion.
Yet, it was only through the crucifixion that humanity can have any hope.
“If God can bring blessing from the broken body of Jesus and glory from something that’s as obscene as the cross, He can bring blessing from my problems and my pain and my unanswered prayer. I just have to trust Him.” - Anne Graham Lotz
For some of you, 2020 was an incredibly difficult year apart from Covid19. Everyone has had to struggle through the havoc this virus has caused. But, we can and should look to 2021 with hope because our God has been faithful in the past, he has promised to sustain us in the present by his Holy Spirit’s indwelling, and he has declared that nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from him. Amen! May the Lord fill you with hope!