I've recently reviewed the whole controversy over the TNIV (Today's NIV) 'gender correct' translation of the Bible. I remember a bit of what happened with the NIVI (NIV Inclusive), and I'm reminded that 'nothing is forever'.

I think back to social studies in school, and I remember the Catholic church and how it started, and what it became. I remember the stories of the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian empires, and I think 'nothing is forever' even though it might have seemed that way to the people who existed during the glory of those empires.

I finish off with the story of the Tower of Babel whose builders thought that they could build a tower to reach the heavens to last all of time. But the story goes: it didn't last.

This is a work in progress as I try to transcribe my thoughts into something that might be useful to someone else. I intend it to be a script of sorts, but it may turn out differently.

 "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." (Isa 40:6-8)

They say that a diamond is forever. That's in the ads only: in school, they tell us that diamond crystals are thermodynamically unstable and that one day they'll turn into ordinary chunks of graphite. A diamond isn't forever. Wealth doesn't last forever.

Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids. They're old and impressive, but like the sphinx, they're slowly weathering away. The pyramids aren't forever. Monuments and memory don't last forever.

The Romans built the greatest empire in the Mediterranean area. They had roads that went all the way to England and ruled everything in between. And the Roman empire, although it was large and powerful was eventually brought down. It didn't even last very long by historical standards - and it certainly wasn't forever. Power isn't forever.

People horde wealth because it brings security. For long periods of time, it seemed that the wealthy were better off - even generation to generation - and people envied them. But then came events like the great depression, or even wars. Money doesn't last forever. Fortune and security aren't forever.

What about celebrities, presidents, leaders, heroes, and VIPs? People of renown and notice? Ask a non-historian the names of the second or third in command of the ancient nations. What will they tell you? Celebrity and notoriety aren't forever. Fame isn't forever.

Worthy causes deserve to last forever. The Red Cross, Mother Teresa's or Billy Graham's organizations, perhaps Gandhi or Martin Luther King's ideals: they deserve to last forever. And maybe you've heard of clubs like the Masons or the ancient Chinese dynasties: those have certainly lasted a long time. But ideals and organizations become corrupted or disbanded. Ideologies and organizations are not forever.

You might think that your country will last forever. Or your city. You only have to ask people in Russia if that's the case - or Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Political organizations aren't forever.

And you should know better than to ask someone if a job or occupation will always be there tomorrow. They are obviously not forever.

People live as though the Earth would last forever. They might listen to the scientists who tell us that the Sun has a couple billion years to go before it engulfs the Earth, or they might read from the Bible that God would come back one day and destroy all of the current creation. In either case, whether it be billions of years or an unknown tomorrow, the Earth is not forever.

Religions all over the world and throughout history claim that they can tell you the secret of forever. Some will tell you of eternal bliss, and some of oblivion. But religion is a human institution, and at forever, those who put their faith in religion will be shown the futility of everything that is apart from faith through Christ alone.

And you say, "Aha!" to yourself, "Churches can last forever!" The Catholic church grew in power, but eventually it declined into corruption. Local churches rise and fall. Although it is true that the Church as ordained by Christ will last forever, even Christian denominations will not last forever.

And so, the only thing left at the end will be God, his word fulfilled, and the spirits and souls that he has created. Some will stand with him, and some will stand away from him. That, at the end, will be forever. Where will you be standing then?

Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. (Psa 119:89)