NOTE: This post was originally published at https://thedailypattern.org.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new … It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment …” (Revelation 21:5-6).
My husband and I recently watched Station Eleven, a post-apocalyptic television series based on the 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel. In the show, most of humankind is wiped out from a deadly flu virus. The few survivors must find ways to cope in a world without technology, governing systems, or modern conveniences.
I know what you’re thinking: Why would anyone want to watch a show about a fictional pandemic when we’ve literally been living through the real thing?
For us and many others, the appeal of Station Eleven is that it’s ultimately a story of hope. The pollution-free landscapes are lush, the waters clear, the night skies crowded with stars. Lonely characters find community. Aimless characters find meaning.
In an article for YES! Media, Leigh Finke argues that part of our culture’s long-held fascination with apocalyptic stories is that, even amid death and destruction, they often offer hope for a reimagined future. Literature scholar Wes Burdine, quoted in Finke’s article, puts it this way: “End-of-the-world narratives allow us to imagine large scale rebirth and play into our utopian desires.”
In other words, the popularity of apocalyptic stories reveals an important truth about humanity: We yearn to see the world reborn into a better version of itself.
Christians know that our innate desire for utopia exists because God’s design for the world was utopic. In the beginning, the world was perfect, untainted by sin. The landscapes were lush, the waters clear, the skies crowded with stars. Humans lived in harmony with each other and with God.
Then, of course, sin entered the world and brought with it disease, corruption, destruction, and death. But God made a promise—through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus, the world would one day be restored to perfection.
Scripture makes it clear that we cannot know when the world will end. But we do know that it won’t be anything like in the movies, where our only hope for restoration lays with feeble, fallible humans. As Christians, we rest in the assurance that when Christ comes again to make all things new, it will be more wonderful than even the most creative human minds can comprehend: “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
Prayer: Almighty Father, the Alpha and the Omega, forgive me when I place my hope for renewal in the things of this world instead of in you. During these especially strange and trying times, help me to surrender my anxieties to you and to trust in your perfect promises. Amen.