(34) was crucified . . .

This is a perishing world, always threatened with destruction by the uncreated realm of nothingness. All light and existence would long since have disappeared if it had not been for the inexhaustible creative resources of God. All unity would have disintegrated ages ago if God had not held his world together, or if God had not cared. We men live every moment out of the riches and might and love of God.

The enemy of God’s world is in us men. How we labor under the destroyer! Life’s a continuous struggle against a downward drag. I get tired when doing good —or doing anything at all, for that matter. My enthusiasms wane, and my spirits droop, and I settle for the easy thing—the long coast downhill. I spend most of my time and energy in dealing with my own pressing problems. Other people become a burden and a threat to me. Something sullen and untamed in me rises up against anyone who bothers me, even God. Fine respectable men were relieved when Jesus was crucified. They had problems enough of their own without the ones he was raising. That’s what can happen to men who are meant to show forth the image of God’s holy love. Permeated through and through by God’s ancient enemy, we too become enemies of God’s Son and crucify him. The human race has been learning how to handle disease and starvation and how to avoid violence. But how do we deactivate the destroyer in the best of us? God help us! God help me!

In a way I’m like a seafarer adrift in a leaky old boat. The hull barely manages to keep the death dealing seawater away from me. But that saltwater keeps eating away at the boat and seeping into it. I never know when or where it will break in next to menace me. Day after day I spend in just plugging leaks. But the thing that scares me is that sometimes I suspect that the “seawater” madness has soaked into me too. I get so furious at the confounded old tub that someday I may not be able to keep from stomping my foot right through its decadent planking. The boat-—my God-given lot in life—is my life’s shield and resource, but sometimes I hate it, I hate it, I hate itl My prison and torturer! I could crucify it! The Creator’s ancient enemy is my enemy too. But the enemy is part of myself, part of my own creaturely, perishing nature. God in his heaven has eternal life. The destroyer cannot so much as scratch him. God is the wellspring of creativity. His reservoir cannot be drained dry. But the world which God made is not an eternal world. It is a perishing world. Though it often shines with glints of God’s glory, they quickly dim and die out. There is a cosmic thief who is always making off with God’s jewels. Moments of time filled with God’s holy love, moments of sacrifice for others, moments of truth and compassion, moments of faith and hope—these are God’s own jewels. For these the world was made. But the destroyer quickly drags them down to oblivion. How can God get back his own? He was able to regain his lost treasures by letting himself be dragged down to where they are. He was crucified, dead, buried, and descended to the realm of the dead.