From Fossils to Christ — Evangelism at the Contextual Ends of the Earth

For my entry in a recent public photography project, I wrote a little text to make it an example of the kind of evangelism described in an earlier post. The idea is to get away from Christian culture and engage people where they are, in ways that lead to Christ. A model for this is Paul on Mars Hill. There, although the rampant idolatry in Athens troubled his spirit (Acts 17:16), he actually used elements of pagan poetry to present Jesus (Acts 17:26-31). In my case, I attempted to sidestep the barriers between science and faith in order to develop a reflection of what fossils can tell us about eternity. The result uses the science of paleontology, presented for the “Mortality” panorama photography project, to actually point to Christ.

Fossils and the End of Mortality

Fossils remind us that mortality has been around for as long as life itself, yet fossils also illustrate immortality. In a sense, these animals continue to exist, almost as humans persist as statues. But there is a big difference: fossils are not just representations of animals — they are the animals themselves, only now with slower and simpler chemistry. For what has really changed about them? Is there any real difference between chemical reactions that are fast and complex, and those that are slow and simple? Is there any real difference between life and death?

Of course! There is far more to life than fancy chemistry, and even more to humanity than natural life. This truth is the beginning of the end of mortality, for mortality itself has an end. The spark that makes us uniquely human exists beyond mortality, although flickering because of this world’s darkness. But what we physically sense is not all of reality, and with open eyes we can see a path beyond. There is one who defeated death, and because of that he is a door onto this path of light, and is himself a pure light into eternity. Christ is the end of mortality.

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