Do you live in a world without windows?
What happens to us when we try to close the windows to anything beyond the visible, tangible universe?
Is the physical, material universe all there is, was, or ever will be? Is reality limited to the world of the five senses?
There are many sophisticated titles for this way of seeing things: physicalism, philosophical naturalism, scientism, or secularism.
In this kind of a world, the ceiling is secured; the windows are shut and the blinds pulled.
Those who try to live with this viewpoint are confined to a world without transcendence, mystery, and especially, a world without God.
We’ve been told by the intellectual guardians of this view that it is the only way of thinking that has the backing of science.
So (we’re told with a patronizing tone) if you want to believe in God, the soul, immaterial beings, transcendent values, intrinsic meaning, mystery, or some kind of teleological vision, you’re certainly free to believe in such ideas.
If you want to believe in the supernatural, the spiritual, the eternal and the unseen, you should at least know that you’re on your own with such beliefs. You won’t have science to back you.
The dominant view of public and much of private education is that the physical world is a self-contained system that works by impersonal, blind, unbroken natural laws.
Supported by an unscientific use of evolutionary biology, this kind of naturalistic philosophy declares that nothing beyond nature could have any possible relevance to what happens in nature.
One of the main problems with this view is that there is not a shred of scientific evidence to support it. Honest scientists (and there are still plenty of them) know that it’s simply outside the function of science to resolve such matters.
Only faith could allow you to insist that the physical world is a self-contained system that works by impersonal, blind, unbroken natural laws. Those who suggest that science leads to this conclusion are leaving the discipline of science and turning to philosophy. They are giving people the misleading impression that the legitimate science of evolution offers more than it can offer.
Science can describe in fascinating detail what is within the universe. Science can speak of purposes related to adaptability and survival in the physical world.
Only God can speak to purposes of eternal significance beyond the limitations of the physical world. God prescribes what is beyond the descriptions of scientific inquiry.
As science and technology assisted us in rationalizing, classifying, calculating, and controlling much of life, less and less of life was connected to anything outside of the physical world of the five senses.
God, religion and spiritual matters were marginalized, personalized and privatized. They became matters of personal taste and preference. God received visits at church services, weddings, funerals, baptisms, and times when life seemed beyond our control.
But most of life was lived with the windows shut, under our own management. The horizontal was all that really mattered and (we’ve been told) — all that is real.
We’re the managers here:
All of this leaves the beguiling impression that we can be our own managers and that we’re in control. But by sinning against the vertical (ignoring God), we’ve disoriented life on the horizontal. We’ve actually sabotaged ourselves.
We’ve turned the good gifts of our good Creator against ourselves by failing to honor Him. We think we can define our own reality and even our own morality.
Living with a delusional sense of self-sufficieny, we’ve foolishly believed we could be the captains of our fates and the masters of our souls.
This led us (albeit unknowingly for many people) to live life apart from any deep intrinsic purpose or any transcending standard to measure our lives.
As a result, we live each day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the world of the mundane—tending to everyday concerns in a world that has closed in on us—a narrow world without windows.
But when we ignore God or set ourselves up as God or try to define God on our own terms, we inevitably sabotage ourselves. We’ve lost our sense of reference and direction.
Look around at the mess we’ve made! Our homes are dysfunctional and broken, our police, judicial and prison systems are straining under unimaginable stress. Our economy is out of control.
Our social programs are barely holding up (if they can get beyond their own dysfunctions). Our educational system is surviving at best. I fear we’ve been imploding.
And here’s a cold fact: “Western culture has been surviving off of a borrowed capital of a Judeo-Christian worldview and the loan is past due” (J. P. Moreland, Kingdom Triangle, p. 38).
All of this has left us empty; beaten down—without direction and hope. But I am suggesting that there is a growing hunger for what is real, lasting, hopeful, eternal, spiritual—for a world with windows.
I realize that you won’t find much of it among the self-appointed intellectual custodians of the academy. But you will find it among their students. The students are tired of being stuffed into the culturally mandated, narrow, little world without windows!
I think that being forced into a “world without windows” has left a new generation hungry for something more, something bigger, something beyond—for mystery, transcendence—for the eternal.
An opportunity for the Church:
What an opportunity this is for the church. This is not a time for the church to get stuck in battles of the past or to trivialize over things that are not of primary importance.
It’s a call for the church to be truthful rather than trendy; faithful rather than fashionable. It’s a call to a fresh, bold, humble incarnate proclamation of the truth of the gospel!
When you come to our church, expect opened windows that invite you out of the narrow, little, closed-in, stuffy world that says the physical is all there is, was, or ever will be.
If you grew up in a home that taught the Bible, the cultural elites want to paint you as a narrow, bigoted, shortsighted fringe to mainstream society. Don’t buy it. You grew up with windows open. They live in the stuffy, narrow, little world without windows. Their ideology has produced this tsunami of personal, relational and societal ills.
A challenge we must acknowledge:
Opening the windows won’t solve all the problems. If we believe in the spiritual, eternal and transcendent, we must define what we mean.
We must explain how God relates to the physical material universe? Many who have gone before have offered twisted and harmful answers — even in the name of Christ.