It's said that so much in life imitates Sport. What does the IGR and Dr Karl tell us about a future with Jesus? Certainly the Intergenerational Report has been referred to as political 'Sport'.
The Intergenerational Report, "Challenge of Change" was recently published by the Australian Government. It was controversially promoted by famous scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. It attempts to give a blueprint of where we, as a nation, are and the changes and challenges we face heading towards the year 2055. With the enthusiasm he has become famous for, Dr Karl outlines the challenges Australia faces. Specifically, an aging population putting more stress, for example, on the health systems.
Dr Karl, in his style, puts a positive slant on the report explaining we are an innovative nation that have planned in the past for change and seen success. And we, he urges, can plan again for the future and make this our finest hour!
Our biggest problem in 2055
I like the call to arms. I like the template of knowing where we are and planning for where we want to be. But it got me thinking: while there are some things that change and we must prepare for, there are some things that remain the same that we still need to address. Technology improves and makes tasks quicker, saves lives and improves quality of life. But we all still struggle with the same problem of how we do relationships.
Each generation sees world conflicts. We are reminded of World War I, the "war to end all wars" and the constant stream of conflicts that roll along. A generation ago it was the Cold War. Now it is a war on terrorism. Whilst we may curse world leaders that take nations into these conflicts, we can't escape the fact that each of us have our own wars: in our relationships with family, neighbours, workmates, and even people at church. It is as if broken relationships are in our nature. When you look through the history books or family trees we see these conflicts.
And as we move forward to 2055 nothing will change. Wars, conflicts and broken relationships will be part of our future, and while we try peace negotiations, United Nations resolutions, better education, family therapy etc. it doesn't remove the core of the problem.
The human heart, the Bible says, is the problem. Our hearts are hardened to relationships. Our relationship on a vertical level (i.e. with God) is broken because of our rejection of His rule of the world. We want to be the rulers of our own world. And our relationships on a horizontal level (i.e. with others) is broken because of our hard hearts. Each of us wants to push our own will onto others. Both of these broken relationships are seen in Genesis chapter 3.
Adam and Eve rebel against God and argue with each other. Their relationship is wrecked on these two levels. The result is separation from God, where there once was being in God's presence. And conflict between each other, where there once was trust and openness.
In fact, the whole Bible storyline fits around this concept of a restored relationship with God. We see this in the development of the Tabernacle and Template as a place people can go to meet with God. Once they could walk with God in the garden, but now, because of this broken relationship, they must offer sacrifice to atone for sins, before coming into His presence. And even then the curtain of the Temple separates them from His holy presence.
Also in the Bible, the constant battles, immorality and pain of the people are a reminder of the conflict between each other (try reading the Book of Judges for a depression example of brokenness).
People try and fix these broken relationships. They create religions to try and appease God or do "good" to win God's favour. They try and develop peace between nations and neighbours. But the cycle continues. As it will, past 2055.
Jesus is the answer
The answer is not something we must do but something we receive. God demanded obedience and righteousness. And while we fall short, what He demanded He also provided in Jesus. Jesus' perfect obedience to God and His atoning death offers the final sacrifice to restore relationships. This is why, the gospel accounts of Jesus' death on the cross explain the curtain of the temple torn by God.
This physical barrier between God and His people is removed showing we now have direct access into the Creator's presence. And with the gift of the Holy Spirit given to all followers of Jesus we see the call to love one another. Jesus restores our relationship to God and with others.
While we still sin and have conflict in our lives we have seen the first fruits of what Jesus promised when He returns: an inaugurated restored relationship with God and people.
Already done but yet to be completed
Planning for the future is important, both as a nation and as individuals. But our greatest challenge in the future is the same as it has always been: broken relationships. And this is something we can't fix. History proves this.
The answer is found in what Jesus has already done and will complete when He returns. This is the call to each nation and each individual: find a restored, vibrant and living relationship with the Creator God. And Jesus makes this possible. And He will bring about its completion when He returns.
Unlocking this, changes our future to 2055 and into eternity.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor.
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html