Waterfalls Can Flow Backwards An Evangelical Theology of Hope -- By: Eugene Heacock

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 41:0 (NA 2009)
Article: Waterfalls Can Flow Backwards An Evangelical Theology of Hope
Author: Eugene Heacock

Waterfalls Can Flow Backwards An Evangelical Theology of Hope

Eugene Heacock*


This paper addresses the topic of hope and the need to develop an evangelical theology of hope. It includes the author’s personal journey, pastoral perspective, and evangelical lament. It explains the connection between the intangible element called hope and historical revival also known as awakening. It addresses the following questions:

  1. What is an “intangible” and why are intangibles important?
  2. Why is hope considered an intangible?
  3. What is Biblical hope?
  4. What is a theology of hope?
  5. What is the connection between hope and revival, a massive spiritual awakening?

The Kingdom’s Presence: Moving Toward an Evangelical Theology of Hope

The speaker looked unsteady on his feet. He was a man well along in his seventies. His gray beard showed signs of wisdom as well as wear. He seemed a bit tired to begin his lecture. This writer was not sure what to think. Would this be a long hour? Did he invite the right guest speaker? This writer would soon be delighted and convicted as well. The man began his talk with a simple question: “How many people here believe that waterfalls can run backwards?” It sounded simple. It is either a stupid question or a trick question. He “knew” waterfalls did not run backwards. The answer of course is “no.” Waterfalls do not run backwards.

He knew his lecturer well. He had taken several of his seminary courses, and read his books. He knew the speaker would not ask such a blatantly simple question and expect a simple answer, so he blurted out (more loudly than he wanted to), “Yes, the answer is yes,” but he wondered how? How does a waterfall run backwards? Where is that waterfall? Why hadn’t he been exposed to backwards waterfalls before?

The speaker that day was Richard Lovelace, speaking on the subject, “When God Colors Outside of the Lines.”1 Lovelace explained that on one of his trips to the Bay of Fundy he saw a waterfall run backwards. It is a phenomenon that occurs in a region whose topography and extreme tidal fluctuations actually cause a waterfall to run backwards. The tide changes and the ocean overwhelm a freshwater stream. The waterfall is actually pushed backwards.

Lovelace asks the question, “Do waterfalls run backwards?”, to probe our thinking. Is it possible to see nature reversed in such a profound way that normal laws of gravity are reversed? Is it possible that exceptions from the “norm” actually happen? Is there a natural reality that points to a greate...

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