God does not view us as depraved creatures. We are God’s children, and he views us as any good parent would their children. God’s desire is not to punish us for sin, but to heal the wounds our sin causes.
We are not merely individuals. Humanity stands or falls together as a whole. By becoming human, Jesus entered into solidarity with the whole human race. With his death, all of humanity died, and with his resurrection, all of humanity gained new life.
God has never needed to be reconciled to us. It is we who have turned away from him, and God’s desire is to reconcile all of creation to himself and to each other. He has done, is doing, and will continue to do everything possible to bring about our reconciliation.
God’s grace is not coercive or manipulative, and it does not override our free will. It is, however, constantly poured out in full measure on all of creation. Though every individual receives God’s grace, some choose to resist, placing themselves at odds with the intended state of humanity.
Salvation is neither an irreversible decision nor a status that can be lost. Rather, salvation is a process with some steps taken forward and some taken backward. In as much as we simply submit to God’s love, we are continually transformed into his image.
TWO decades ago palaeontologists were astonished to discover impressions
of feathers in rock around the petrified bones of dinosaurs that had
clearly, from the anatomy those bones displayed, been unable to fly when
they were alive. Astonishment turned to delight with the subsequent
discovery of exquisitely preserved examples of these feathers in the
petrified tree resin known as amber. Now, a team led by Xing Lida at the
China University of Geosciences, in Beijing, and Ryan McKellar at the
Royal Saskatchewan Museum, in Regina, has uncovered something even more
impressive. As they report in Current Biology, they have found, again preserved in amber, part of a dinosaur’s feathered tail.
Their fossil comes from the Hukawng valley amber mines in northern Myanmar, already famous for many spectacular specimens of life dating from 99m years ago, during the mid-Cretaceous period. The tail in question was once attached to a carnivorous dinosaur from a group known as the coelurosaurs, the most famous member of which is Tyrannosaurus. The coelurosaur here, though, was no tyrannical giant. Its tail bones are only two millimetres wide, suggesting it was not much larger than a modern sparrow. Whether it was fully grown or still a juvenile remains unknown.