And Now This Asynchronous Thing…
I keep saying it, and I’ll say it again, I’m no scholar, these are just my own ideas, but we’re now at the heart of what is, to me, one of the most mind-boggling possibilities of what being a Christian entails. But first, a disclaimer. For ease of discussion and to make it so I don’t have to continually pad, justify and support my terminology, I’m just going to call this tremendous transformation “being saved”, or some variant thereof.
In the second part of this series I mentioned several things that define a Christian. One of those was, “Believes that imperfect Man can’t get to perfect God on their own, and that Jesus allowed Himself to be killed on a cross as a sacrifice to balance the scales, to make it right between God and Man.”
That’s accurate to a point, but the truth of the matter is, when a person accepts Christ as their Savior, Christ doesn’t fix us. He doesn’t repair a broken thing. He completely remakes us, spiritually! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
That point is absolutely pivotal. We don’t get repaired. Our old, unsaved self is gone, the state of fallenness is eradicated, we become completely new creatures. This is huge, and it’s a fact I think a lot of people miss.
Obviously, the physical body doesn’t change. We may retain bad habits. We certainly aren’t perfect, at least in this world, at this time. So what is this new creature? It can only be the non-material part of us, that which is eternal. Without the regeneration that comes through salvation, that eternal part (commonly referred to as the soul, with no argument from me) is eternally dead. What exactly “eternally dead” means falls outside the scope of this article but suffice it to say that if you remain unsaved, your soul is, at least, an unimaginable potential that will never be realized.
When we do accept Christ as Savior, He works a transformation in us that we really have no way of fully understanding. Our day-to-day awareness is in this day-to-day world, where the physical doesn’t necessarily change when salvation takes place. The state of our soul, however, is altered unimaginably.
Here’s one way I like to look at this. Consider your soul as a seed planted in the ground. If it is never touched by life, if it never germinates, it will stay a seed, and be considered dead. The real point of a seed, its raison d’être, is to stop being a seed and to become a plant. Essentially, it must die, it must transform into a totally different thing. When the plant is fully grown, the seed is no longer there. So it is with salvation. When your soul is touched by the eternal life that is in Christ Jesus, it is transformed into something totally different, something brand new. 2 Corinithians 5:17 states it simply: the old is totally gone, and a new, wonderful thing has taken its place.
Continuing with the seed analogy, here’s a mind-blower. Consider how vastly different the plant is from the seed it started out as. Think of an apple seed, that hard, little thing. Then think of the apple tree, 20 feet high, full, green with lovely pink and white blossoms that smell so sweet, laden with delicious, big red apples. That tree comes from the little seed, but it is nothing like the seed. Again, so it is with salvation. Your unregenerate soul is the seed. When brought to life by Christ, it becomes something much more, richer, vaster. And the fact of the matter is, if you are saved, this has already happened to you!
That right there is exciting beyond words to me as a Christian. The eternal part of me has been changed into something truly amazing and some day, when my awareness and existence is no longer chained to this physical body, I’ll actually understand and appreciate the transformation that took place.
Wrapping up this new creation, new life, issue before moving on, John 3:36 tells us something truly awesome, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” The italics are mine. If you believe in Christ as the Son of God, you have eternal life right now. If you reject Christ, you will never even see real life. Think about that. I’m thrilled to be truly alive, with eternal life. If you’re saved, you have reason to be thrilled, too! If you aren’t saved, you can be, and you should consider it very carefully.
So, when you are saved, you immediately become a new creation. That new thing is not a physical thing, it is spiritual, the non-physical part of us. The non-physical is not necessarily related to time the same way that the physical is. Ephesians 2:4-6 makes a statement I think indicates that at least some part of a Christian (the greater part, I believe) is outside the flow of time that we consciously are aware of, “here and now”, in our physical bodies.
Ephesians 2:4-6 , “4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
That passage is jammed full with points of discussion, but I want you to look at that last verse, “…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”
“seated us with him in the heavenly places”. That is a very intriguing statement. It says this action is not something that will come in the future, it has happened. When did, or does it happen? When we are made alive in Christ, that is, when we are saved. So this tells me that when a person accepts Christ as their Savior, and God makes that person alive spiritually (you might say the seed of the soul has germinated), that person is placed “in the heavenly places”, with God. The spiritual seed has burst into life, and that new creation, that new thing that we can’t even imagine we have become, starts its existence “in the heavenly places”, with God, right now. Since, as I’ve covered previously, God is outside of the time and space of our “normal” existence, this implies that part of us, at least, is also outside of time and space!
That leads us finally to the concept of asynchronous existence. We have an existence here, in this world, in this body. Yet at the same time, the Christian has an existence with God, outside of this world and this body. There are two parts of us. The earthly part of us is, for the most part, unaware of the spiritual part. I don’t know how aware of the earthly part the spiritual part is. That’s one of many mysteries that intrigues me. Since the spiritual part is outside of space/time, it seems to me its existence must be less encumbered, which I assume would allow a greater level of awareness.
Time for another analogy, and a kind of weird one at that. Imagine your left shoe as all of space and time, and your left foot is you. You live your life in that shoe, passing through the years, just being you, unaware that there is this entire potential body that could be brought to life through the act of being saved. One day that foot does get saved (really, I’m not trying to be sacrilegious, but I know, this sounds so weird) and instantly that whole, wonderful body is added to the foot, but it is, thankfully, all outside of the shoe. That foot has very little awareness of the rest of the body, but let’s say that the foot does accept that the rest of that body is there.
At this point, you’re much more than just a foot in a shoe, you’re an entire person, with a mind, and awareness. For the sake of this illustration, let’s just say that the mind, and awareness, exists in the brain of this new person (or at least, not in the foot). Your foot is still “you”, but it isn’t all of you. The full you has a much greater awareness and understanding than the “foot” you. Also, the full you is outside of that space/time shoe that the foot you is stuck in. The foot has some awareness of the full you, but the full you has complete awareness of the foot you. Two “yous”, fully existent in their own right, but in separate space/time flows, one with a very limited, and one with very great, awareness and existence.
That’s kind of how I can envision this asynchronous existence Christians might be in. The me I know is in the shoe, but because I have been saved, because Christ has created this new creature part of me, I at least know that there is much, much more to me than I’m aware of.
This, to me, is a truly amazing aspect of being a Christian. It helps me have some perspective, and it gives me great hope. If the vast majority of me is outside of this space and time, it means the issues and trials of this life must not be as all-encompassing and devastating as they can often seem. I’m not downplaying problems we face, the juggernauts of suffering and tragedy that can run over us. They can engulf us here, if we are not careful. Knowing that there is a much greater reality outside of this one, and knowing that somehow I’m already there, is a great source of strength and comfort.
That all being said, what about the unsaved? They have not gone through the “all things are made new” process. They have not been “seated with Him in the heavenly places”. The unsaved person is as different from a Christian as an apple seed is from an apple tree. We can’t see that difference while we’re all stuck in this old shoe, but that doesn’t make it any less of a fact. The unsaved soul is that seed in the ground. If it is never touched by the eternal life that is in Christ, it will die as a seed, its true potential and fruition never realized.
This here and now may be only a blip of space/time, but it’s the existence we are aware of, and where we have to make the decision to believe in, and accept, Christ’s salvation. Our little consciousnesses, in this little box of reality, get to make the decision that will lead to us being re-created as totally new creatures, will allow the seed to be touched with infinite, eternal life, and will, I believe, set the stage for mysteries, wonders and adventures we can’t even begin to imagine.
- Asynchronous existence – life out of time (part 3)
- Comments on Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address