Like much of the world recently, I was deeply saddened to see the great Notre Dame Cathedral burning. It is sad to see destruction of anything historical or culturally and religiously significant, especially something that has stood as a symbol for Centuries.
Some thoughts, or rather questions, came to me while seeing these reports. Could God have prevented this fire? Could God rebuild this great building? Then followed the greater question: Would God rebuild this building? Not the question of His ability, but Why? What would be the purpose?
Destruction of Human Creations
I have read this week, the words of our Savior about the Temple in Jerusalem being destroyed and raised again the 3rd day. (See John 2:18-21; Matthew 26:61, 27:40; Mark 14:58) We of course, know that he was not talking about the physical temple, but His own physical temple, His body.
Those who heard him however, expressed disbelief that such as magnificent structure that had taken so long to build could so easily be destroyed. We have heard other similar reactions to prophesy about destruction of great cities. History has shown us that, yes the great Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed after all.
The reality is that anything man creates out of the elements of this temporal world is impermanent and can be destroyed. As much as we, with scientific knowledge and technical skill, try to create buildings to be able to withstand earthquakes, floods, fire and wind, some still are destroyed.
The building of physical buildings and creating material objects is the work of humans. At times God has commanded His people to build Temples and other structures. Whether He could create them Himself is not the point – after all He created the mountains which served as temples. The purpose and function of a building is more important than design or beauty. Part of that purpose being the obedience and sacrifice and offerings from us mortals to create something in His name.
While living His mortal life, Jesus the carpenter built things with His hands just like we do. Jesus didn’t use His power to create material things. Instead, His mortal work dealt with individuals. He healed bodies and ministered to souls. People were the subjects of His great power, glory and love. That should be a testimony to us that we, His children, are His priority.
That morning when Jesus rose from the tomb, gives perspective to our mortal experience – to creation and destruction, to life and death.
Through His resurrection bodies and spirits can be reunited and resurrected to a perfect immortal form. Through Him broken hearts are rebuilt and damaged souls healed. Through Him we can be restored to a sinless, pure, innocent state, able to live in His presence.
Ultimately, as significant as magnificent human creations may be to us, we are more important than buildings or objects to Him – the Creator of all things.