The other day, Neil deGrasse Tyson posted this to his Twitter: “In five-billion years, as the Sun begins to die, its outer layers of glowing plasma will expand stupendously, engulfing the orbits of Mercury, then Venus, as the charred ember that was once the oasis of life called Earth vaporizes into the vacuum of space. Have a nice day!”
Herein lies the end of the atheistic outlook. Hopelessness. Even if this is indeed an indication of what is to come, does that mean we have nothing to hope for beyond a futile life of human struggle, ending in death (futility)? What is quite interesting is that this “end” of the atheistic outlook can be compared to the biblical prophecies of a future judgment of the earth by fire. Take a look at this passage of Scripture:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:10-13, NIV)
A quick and lackadaisical look at that passage may leave one feeling rather depressed. However, notice the emphasis in this last sentence, “in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13). Thankfully, Christianity offers far more than a dismal end that would have us question the meaningfulness of “doing good for one’s neighbor” that even many atheists would admittedly strive to exceed at in this life. It is by the grace of God that, though the worldview of atheism doesn’t offer any good explanation for an objective grounding in the morality that its advocates often hold to, we are all able, to some degree, to sense and experience the moral landscape and desire that which seems transcendentally Good and worth striving for, regardless of our belief system. This is one of the many ways that God calls out to humanity, through an imprint of goodness in our human ideals, conscience, and experience that is undeniable, even among the wickedness of mankind; a call to repentance and redemption. Therefore, the promise of God for His people is a new residence, with a new community, and new nature, amidst true righteousness, of which can only be perfectly manifested in the presence of God, who will dwell with redeemed men and women for eternity.
Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is, in contrast to the cynical “Have a nice day!” presented to us by Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, we actually can “Have a nice day!” in light of the reality that God has given us a true hope. Hope for a new Heaven and Earth. Hope for a meaningful life. Hope for the preservation of righteousness & that which is Good. Hope for a transition from temporal to eternal. Hope that all will be made well in the end. A hope made possible through the love of God on display at the cross of Jesus Christ.