The ascension of Jesus into heaven teaches us that heaven can be thought of as God’s timeless presence rather than a distant place that is entirely separate from the story of the universe. This helps us to rise above our own place and time to cooperate with the divine logos.
Throughout the 14-billion-year-old story of the universe, the divine logos was present becoming increasingly evident in the unfolding order, growing interdependence and evolving rhythms of nature. On earth, a tree of life grew in harmony with the natural world forming the millions of life forms that have existed and exist now on earth.
As humans emerged and developed, we acquired the ability to perceive reflections of God’s beauty, truth and goodness in the world around us. Divine revelation confirms that we are linked to all creation by the love that grounds all being.
For me, the ascension of Jesus whispers of the ascension of the divine logos throughout the history of life on earth. There is a sacred dimension to life that can be encountered in the transformative processes and evolutionary pathways that have arisen throughout the history of life on our planet. From the beginning, the light of transformation shines brightly amidst the darkness of struggle begging us to contemplate God’s redemptive love.
We can think about the order of the periodic table, the formation of basic cellular life, the development of complex life forms and the emergence of modern humans as a mirror of the incarnation, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. In this six-minute video clip narrated by David Attenborough, we see the Tree of Life growing throughout evolutionary history.
When we interpret the truths revealed through the study of Biology, it is worth contemplating the opening lines of John’s Gospel, which tells the deeper story of the comingling of heaven and earth.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Nature was brought into existence through the divine logos, which prompts us to respond to the ultimate truths embodied in Jesus Christ, the Christ who transforms creation.