Which is the correct view of the future: endless cycles
of creation and destruction (the view of Hinduism and other Far Eastern
worldviews) or one ultimate, universal change (the view of Christianity)?
As brought out in the second section of this book (under Cycles,
Ages and the Ultimate State of the Universe), classical Hinduism
maintains that the universe is destined to pass through repetitive cycles of
creation and destruction, manifestation and non-manifestation…ad
infinitum. (See Kaushitaki Upanishad 3,3.) Astrology also
teaches a cyclical view of the future, foretelling the unfolding of a number
of astrological ages that repeat themselves endlessly. Jainism, Sikhism and
other religions of Far Eastern origin also view the future cyclically. In
all of these cases, there is no lasting conclusion and no hope for any
final, victorious outcome.
Some advocates of this cyclical view contend that once a
soul is liberated from samsara (the cycle of rebirths) it will never
be subjected to this process again. Others maintain that all spiritual
entities (including gods) will face the inevitable and be ‘pulled under’
by this spiritual ‘undertow,’ again and again, eternally. At the end of
each "day of Brahma," when this Creator god causes the creation to
pass into an Unmanifest state (after an era of Manifestation lasting
4,320,000,000 years) all beings—even gods and demigods—will also, in a
sense, be ‘dissolved’ into an Unmanifest state. They will then begin samsara
afresh (the cycle of rebirths) with the beginning of the next period of
Manifestation. Again and again, they will be forced to ascend step-by-step
up the evolutionary ladder. Whichever view is held, there is still no
ultimate state of stability promised for the universe as a whole.
One of the basic doctrines of Buddhism is the
impermanence of all things (anicca). Primarily this speaks that
nothing has a lasting condition of existence. The universe is in a constant
state of flux. Creation will never reach any place of unchanging,
Christianity and its root source, Judaism, offer a
different view altogether. Both teach a final dissolution of all things that
will result in a New Creation, containing a New Heaven and a New Earth. Once
God’s people are resurrected and glorified they will live forevermore in
absolute, unchanging perfection. Ultimately their dwelling place will be New
Jerusalem, the permanent capital city of the permanent New Creation. God has
promised concerning this eternal state, "Behold I make all things new."
(Revelation 21:4–5) Of all the opposing religious scenarios for the
future mentioned in this book, this is undoubtedly the most glorious.