Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous -- Matthew 13:47-49
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
What the Net Dragged In
This little parable follows after the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares and its explanation. It is related, for, as the weeds are separated out at harvest and burned, so the undesirable fish are cast away. They are not thrown back. Those aren’t the fish the fisherman wants reproducing.
I was reading Herman Ridderbos’ comments in his book The Coming of the Kingdom. He discusses the question of why the tares could not be separated before the wheat was harvested. When you think about it a little, this is the question that troubles a multitude of those in the valley of decision, as Joel says. Why do we have to wait for the wicked to be removed from among us? Why does God work only at the end of history? The atheist’s answer is that, obviously, there is no God, and we are living in a delusion.
The promoters of evolution ought to understand this better than anyone -- except for the fact that they reject the idea of the cosmos and existence having any meaning at all. What we believe is that nature is very much part of the language of God and part of His revelation. As we know from observing nature, if a predator is removed from the environment, the ecosystem is thrown out of balance. There is overpopulation of the prey species and food sources are depleted to the point, in some cases, of irreversible destruction.
If that is part of God’s revelation then we can see, as Jesus is teaching in these parables, that there is a balance to be maintained in the development of the kingdom. There will come a point when the kingdom is perfected, when it is matured to a degree that allows us to move into an entirely new realm of existence. This is depicted in the parables as the time of harvest, of the drawing in of the net. When that Omega point is reached, the balance that has been part of our maturation process will no longer be necessary, and those influences will be removed while the righteous are brought in to their ultimate purpose and destiny.
The answer that we give to the problem of evil will never be good enough for some of those who pose the question. There are times, when I am battered and down, that it sounds pretty hollow to me. I understand. The elk need the wolves as much as the wolves need the elk, yet it doesn’t make the kill any less painful or gruesome for the creature caught by the fangs. I don’t know if elk have some sort of animal understanding of the interplay between themselves and their adversaries. Perhaps they have something that gives them peace when it is their time to go down.
I do know that we have access to the wisdom of God. A person may choose to live an animalistic, materialistic life. He doesn’t have to. The truth is all around us. No one has to be a weed or a bottom-feeding scavenger, but even they, blindly, serve the ends of the kingdom.