Our present world seems to be a fulsome world. Bustling with activity. Well-furnished.
For this reason, death appears to be a deprivation. A negation. Putting all that behind us. And that’s one reason even Christians may feel reluctant to die.
At this same time, this impression is deceptive. Our present world seems to be so fulsome because that’s all we know. That’s our only frame of reference.
But viewed from the perspective of the past, our present world is a thin, deserted world. For the present pours itself into the past. Empties itself into ages past–live a river into the sea. All that ever was accumulates in the past. Days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia pile atop one another in the vast sprawling warehouse of the past.
The present only retains trace evidence of the past. Scattered, fortuitous remnants. But the past is dense. Complete to the nth degree. Every sunrise. Every sunset. Every falling leaf and budding flower. Every kiss. Every passing cloud. Every word. Every song. Every deed.
Every life, and every set of lives, intersecting with every other life. A cradle within a home, within a village, within a country, within a slice of time.
Yet the past pours itself into the future. Into the world to come. Lost Eden foreshadows New Eden. Solomonic Jerusalem foreshadows Jerusalem anew.
The world to come is thick, luxuriant. The fallen world is a shadowgram. Even Eden was but a shadow.
If you follow a shadow, it will lead you to the shadower. Compared to the shadower, the shadow is a flat, colorless, tenuous imitation. A projection of the shadower.
The shadow is an evanescent sign pointing to the shadower. A map marking the way back home.
Yet the unbeliever is a shadowist. The shadow is his adopted reality. He lives for the shadow. For the fleeting surface of a mortal life below, cast by the everlasting shadower behind.
But the believer lives for the shadower. A tireless wayfarer who follows the shadowy map over the last twilight hill–leaving shadowland behind for the shadowless land of the sun. Far from here, behind the huddled hills, awaits the shadower, like the stately tree of life at daybreak, and fleeing shadows all along the fiery rim portend the consummation of a thousand distant dawns.