Where Are We? The World, the Universe Around Us
When I wake up in the morning, the world comes rushing at me, whether I am ready for it or not. One moment, I am off in dreamland – the next, I am back where I was before I fell asleep. Hurtling through space at 18.5 miles per second, we live together in a world perfectly suited for our needs, a world we did not make. We didn’t make it, but we can change it – in ways that deeply affect the people around us. We are real – the world around us is real – and the future is flying at us at 60 seconds a minute! If we don’t take a moment and get our heads on straight, we will have serious problems – precisely because we ARE real – everything we do matters. So let’s answer some questions. Remember last month, we said that we answer the meaningful questions of our lives – the worldview questions — with stories, not brute facts.
Where ARE we? What is the nature of the world around us? Some say everything we perceive, everything we know, is merely a dream or an illusion, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will stop fighting it and achieve total peace. Others say that everything we see and touch is the evil work of an evil god, a god some of us can escape through certain rituals or higher knowledge. Many people throughout history have believed that the world is a chaotic place swarming with spirits and demons, and that the only way to survive and thrive is to appease the strongest or most approachable of those beings. Some even say that everything that exists is part of god.
You see? All worldviews are NOT the same. Holy Scripture tells us a very different story. The Word of God says that we inhabit the earth, which is part of the good creation of the one, true God, YHWH. This God created everything perfect to fulfill his own purposes, for his own pleasure and glory. This includes tangible things – matter, air, plants, animals, the universe. It also includes the metaphysical world – the intangible world of love, virtue, beauty, spirituality, justice, rational thought, and meaningful work. All that is in the first few words of the Bible.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) The Bible, the story that shapes and defines the Christian worldview, begins with God and creation. Before there was something, there was Someone. However you imagine existence before creation, the Bible drives a stake into that awful nothingness and shows us something very different: a benevolent Creator. This God revealed in (but definitely not contained by) the Bible has always existed and will always exist. He spoke into being light, galaxies, planets. Out of all the billions of unique places, He focused his attention on one tiny planet – pouring out His love and creativity upon it – sun, moon, stars, oxygen, hippos, platypuses. So much beauty for just two eyes to see! (Boa and Turner, 52 Greatest Stories)
For at the pinnacle of the creation story: humanity! Perhaps He created us last to remind us of our unique dignity – or maybe it was so we wouldn’t try and boss Him around. Anyway, my challenge to you this month is to meditate on the stories of Creation in Genesis 1 and 2, John 1, and Colossians 1. See the holy narrative – and see the One who stands at its center, calling you to follow him! Thanks for reading, and may our God bless your reading of His Word!