A Russian novelist; Feodor Dostoevsky whose most famous work was a novel Crime and Punishment, gave the world the most beautiful interpretation of man’s struggle with sin. Dostoevsky’s thoughts are summarised in Philip Yancey’s novel Soul Survivor.
Dostoevsky after a life of imprisonment and struggle came to realise that:
“No one lives up to the ideal. No one can perfectly love his neighbour as himself.
No one can fulfil the law of Christ.
God can not ask so much and be satisfied with so little.
We are made for that which is too big for us.”
Dostoevsky thus reasoned that there must be an afterlife.
Now that is a most wonderful line of thinking. It answers a question that I think every Christian has. All probably recognise that Jesus sets a high bar of perfection – a reading of the Sermon on the Mount is probably enough to conclude that. It is a level of perfection that is perhaps unachievable to all but a few cloistered monks. And yet, Dostoevsky is recognising that we simply cannot achieve what is intended of us in this lifetime. What cannot be achieved in flesh can ultimately be achieved in Spirit.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made (see Psalm 139:14) – a composite of flesh, soul and spirit. Of all of creation we are the creature most able to recognise God and worship him. We should take great delight that our Heavenly Father has provided for us to achieve his ideal in an afterlife. And, it is an afterlife in a most wonderful place (see 1 Cor 2:9). We are so loved that we all get a second chance.
Note: all links good as at 22 June 2017
Note: I recalled this quote after responding to a Facebook thread where somebody had questioned whether it was normal to doubt the Gospel account. Specifically the question was: "Have you ever wondered to yourself - what if it's all not true? What if the Bible's just made up? What if Jesus didn't die and rise? What about all my doubt?". Dostoevsky settles me into thinking of how God has made mankind for more than just this world. We most definitely need to have an eye for the seen and unseen. We most definitely need to recognise the fullness of life that we have in the Spirit.