Remember those timelines we used to have to make back in school? In order to make better sense of the Christian faith it's important to get the "big picture" of eternity. Timelines can help us do just that. The following panels show the spiritual flow of eternity from the past to the future. In these illustrations the past is to the left and the future is to the right. Scroll down from panel to panel and get the "big picture"!
At a point in time before the creation of the earth and universe, God created angels. Angels are varied beings that were simply created to serve God.
At another point in time before the creation of the earth and the universe, a rebellion against God occurred by some of the angels. This multitude was led by a chief angel named Lucifer. Subsequently, Lucifer and the rebellious angels were cast from God's presence. Today, they reside on our planet and are known as Satan and the demons.
In six literal days, God created the universe, the earth and Adam and Eve. (This occurred merely thousands of years ago, not millions or billions of years ago.)
Tempted by Satan, Adam and Eve also rebelled against God: the beginning of sin on our planet. This "fall" brought chaos, disease and death to humanity and to all of God's creation. (Prior to sin, death did not exist in our race or on our planet.)
Our sin brought God's fiery eternal wrath upon us! It separated us from God, but because God loves us, He chose to give us a second chance! Even though God had decided to offer forgiveness to humanity, His wrath still had to be satisfied. To illustrate this, God instituted the sacrifice, showing that a "life" was the required cost of sin. As an expression of God's wrath, He sent a great flood upon the earth. This flood ravaged our planet and caused its present form and appearance today. In further rebellion, humanity attempted to govern themselves (The Tower of Babel). God dispersed humanity and as a result, we have our various cultures. God called the people of Israel into existence to serve Him in His goal of bringing all people back to Him. Sadly, they failed in this mission. Finally, God Himself came to earth and took on the form of man: Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human.
God Himself, as Jesus Christ, bore the wrath for all sin upon Himself while upon the cross. His real time suffering and death upon the cross equaled the total sum of God's wrath towards all of our sins and sinfulness. In short, He took our rap!
Our inherited sinfulness and personal sins separate us from a holy God. Being born sinful, we naturally try to make amends with God by our own efforts. All of our human efforts have one thing in common: an attempt to reach godhood or God. (No human beliefs, attitudes, good works or sacrifices can penetrate or cure our sins.) Christianity is the reality of God Himself reaching down to us! We can only receive God's forgiveness and a new life when we accept Him by faith. F.A.I.T.H. = Forsaking All, I Trust (accept) Him!
Jesus is the only way to be reunited with God; all other ways are Satan's lies. Only those who obediently accept Jesus Christ will inherit eternal life in the new heaven and earth. Those who ignore or reject God's love in Jesus Christ will be lost eternally in hell. (Hell was never intended for humans; it was originally created for Satan and the demons.)
Our decision to accept or reject Jesus Christ in this life determines where we will spend our next life for all eternity. Once we pass from this planet, our eternal destination is sealed. While the saved of this earth continue on with God in the new heaven and earth, the lost occupants of hell are cast into the "Lake of Fire"; tormented, without hope, away from the presence of God and man for all eternity. (In a manner of speaking, God doesn't send people to hell, people opt to go there by rejecting and/or ignoring God's love and gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.)
Our choice for eternity:
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." -
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." -
"That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." -
"You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'" -
Before the creation of the earth and the universe, God existed. God always existed; He had no beginning. God transcends time and the universe. He always was triune in nature: the Father, the Son and the Spirit.