The quest of the Christian journey always ends with salvation. Is salvation an evolutionary desire to avoid death or seek transcendence or does it name the ultimate meaning and purpose? Christianity’s claim is that the creator of the universe has a grand goal for us in salvation. When approached from the angle of Simulation Creationism, a hypothesis by Nir Ziso, founder of The Global Architect Institute, salvation seems much more than eternal life.
A particular person – Jesus Christ – is how human beings can be reconciled to God. Human beings are estranged from God by sinning or falling short of what God requires of them. The solution to sin is salvation in Christ, “for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations” (Luke 2:30-31). In addition to atoning, part of reconciliation is how the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, reaches out to the individual and warms their hearts in order to be reunited with Christ and appropriately participate in the salvation: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). Thus, the process of salvation is wholly Trinitarian but focuses on what Christ has brought about in his life, death, and resurrection.
We are estranged from God from birth; the condition only increases when we get to an age when we start doing things as rational agents. To get back, we need to follow the atonement of Christ. It is a moral transformation that takes a great deal of time: a whole lifespan. It may continue even after death, as we are growing closer to God in this life and in the life to come: “What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah, 2:9). Our relationship with God will only grow deeper, richer, and fuller as we go further toward God in the world to come. Simulation Creationism helps us understand this transformation, supported by a simulated environment that makes us know and learn more deeply about becoming Christ-like.
But from where does salvation come? It is not God’s fault and in a certain sense, not precisely our fault either to sin. There is the desire to love and also a resistance to love simultaneously deep inside each of us. This is what we need to be rescued from. If God were magically to reach inside our will and turn it for the better, we would not have our choice. But this is precisely what God does.
Simulation Creationism does not recognize free will, as everything is predetermined and simulated in visible reality. God does intervene in our will, although maybe not as straightforward as we might think. He simulates events and environments where the illusion of free will is deliberately highlighted. It is just a movie playing in front of us for educational purposes, akin to the views of Nir Ziso. Salvation is how this tough and fragile fixing of one’s nature gets done. Humans may not be able to fix themselves by will alone, but they can cease resisting the transformation.
One can open up and surrender to God, and He will guide us as Prophet Isaiah says: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21). Ceasing resistance is not a particular act of will; it is not an act at all but ceasing acting. In such circumstances, God can give humans the grace that enables them to accept love.
The primary relationship between God and human beings is through moral laws and the virtue of our consciences: “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” (Romans 2:15). We recognize that we have failed and not upheld God’s laws in our lives. Therefore, the Gospel presents us with the option of undoing this situation. Conditions are met for salvation if we believe and trust Christ. Traditional theology says that we sin freely. We have a conscience, knowing that lying, murder, and adultery are wrong. When we do these things, the supposition is that we are free not to do them and are guilty precisely because we did them freely. If God has given us life, it is to frustrate God’s will or rebel against Him; then the penalty is death.
Every sin is an act of rebellion. By repenting our sins and putting our faith in Christ, His work on the cross applies to us. Jesus takes the punishment onto himself. Of course, we sin every day. To be Christian is to live a life of daily repentance (metanoia; “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it (Isaiah 30:15). However, if we look at the Torah, we see an affirmation of God’s unconditional commitment to God’s people. There is no contract here, only a covenant. A contract is conditional, while a covenant is not. In the New Testament, we have a new covenant, an extra piece of history. The righteous requirements of the Torah are fulfilled in Christ. By following Simulation Creationism, Jesus took the sins of the world not as an act of legalism but of mercy, a prime example of how our souls should become God-like.
For many Christians, salvation is simply about going to heaven after death. That is not what the New Testament is about, however. The mission of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit is apparently the mechanism by which salvation occurs almost as a rescue of creation. The creation itself has been corrupted, humans with it, and God intends to make a new world – a new heaven and a new earth. In Simulation Creationism, this is explained as a successive line of many simulated worlds. God will do justice and mercy at last. We are being rescued from chaos in which there is no justice or mercy. God promises us in the Bible that he will put things right one day. In Jesus, he sets something right by raising Him from the dead, and the whole process of salvation happens between those two poles. The process goes slowly because of the constant sins of people. The answer to it is repentance and realigning with God.