I saw today a description of a novel which said in capital letters:
A LOVE STRONGER THAN DEATH
A MYSTERY OLDER THAN TIME
This dramatic description did strike me, but not for the reason that I was particularly attracted to the book itself (which is too bad for the publishers!); it was because it perfectly describes, quite literally, the story of God; the salvation history and the love of Christ Jesus.
A love stronger than death: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), and so death and suffering (both physical and spiritual) came into the world and continues to do so through our sins, but for our sake Christ himself "bore our sins in his body on the tree" (I Peter 2:24), so that, "whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16-17). Through Christ, who endured the greatest torture, suffering and humiliation in His passion and the cross, through absorbing our sins into Himself and hence being separated from the love of the Father – through going through hell on earth – He has defeated death and reopened the gate of Heaven which is life eternal. This spiritual life will find its fulfillment when our bodies are raised up, in its glorified form, and are reunited with our souls.
A mystery older than time: As the creator of space-time itself, God is a mystery, as is the salvation history of Christ. A "mystery", in a theological context, means not that things that are unknowable or contrary to reason, but that they’re revelations unending in its exploration both in time and in thought. In this way, a mystery transcends time, as it transcends human reason. It is the Church’s task, pleasure and privilege, and therefore also of lay people like myself, "to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things" (Ephesians 3:9).
No wonder it is said to be "the greatest story ever told".