Easter 2018- A Meditation
We have no choice about being born and no choice about dying. In-between these existential bookends our ‘life’s story’ emerges exhibiting meaning and purpose, a horrifying emptiness, a pathetic exercise in futility or some combination of these. How this story ends really depends on the world-view used to define and interpret the mystery of existence.
Secular social scientists, government authorities and, most of all, corporations see us through the lenses of naturalistic evolution concluding that our ‘life stories’ are random instances of blind, materialistic, accidental and purely ‘natural’ evolutionary processes ending in death. While alive we take our proper place in their grand scheme as consumers driven by consumerism, a commodity amongst commodities supporting a top down economic juggernaut that benefits the 1% by sacrificing the 99%. In other words, whatever ultimate meaning and value we have is extrinsic, not intrinsic; it comes from the outside, not something we possess in and of ourselves, it is imposed upon us.
But, let’s suppose there is a purpose ‘built in” to existence, that gives our own life’s story a context, that we are not just accidents of nature, but all have intrinsic value and that death is not an inevitable end to our story. And let’s suppose that this purpose, this design, can be discovered. If any of this is true, then it would explain why we seem driven to live as if there is a ‘higher order’ to seemingly random events, that we resist and resent being monetized and dare to think that life has such a beautiful and transcendent value that it should continue beyond death. So, if we at least entertain the possibility that life and death are not just natural phenomena but, at least to some degree, include supernatural elements it would give us a clue why despite a predominate naturalistic/materialistic evolutionary world view we still feel compelled to find intrinsic personal meaning when there shouldn’t be any to find.
And so, the two-major competing world-views come to light. On the one hand, we have secular culture and its commitment to naturalism and, on the other, supernaturalism which it turns out, does not reject the natural world but embraces it as part of a larger whole. The world-view of naturalism reduces us to material beings and nothing else, whereas supernaturalism affirms we are more than the sum of our material ‘parts’, that while we are natural beings in the natural world we are, at the same time, much more and thereby expanded into our true and proper existential condition.
From the supernatural side there are many versions that seek our attention. The most profound and life affirming belief system (and, most importantly, true) is Christianity. Christians believe all human beings are “image bearers” of God because God created them so. To be sure, this image has been severely distorted by sin, but nevertheless remains present in everyone. For this reason alone, all of us have intrinsic value because God thinks we are valuable, so much so that all of history, whether secular or sacred, is a display of God setting things right again after sin entered creation. From the creation of the earth to the creation of the new heavens and earth, from the garden of Eden to the eternal Eden wherein God dwells with His people forever, this meta narrative illuminates not only our individual lives, but the life and purpose of creation itself.
Today is Resurrection Sunday, 2018. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead shows in a most dramatic way the intrinsic value of life, that what is natural (like death) is “swallowed up” by life, that the ultimate meaning and purpose of our existence is found within the love that God has for us and His creation, that life is precious in and of itself, and, therefore, continues on forever.
But we all must choose between competing stories that seek to define us. Are we the products of blind, evolutionary forces and thus nothing more than consumers defined by an economic world-view or are we something else altogether? The life, death and resurrection of Jesus show us that we are worth something because God loves us. If we choose His story, we choose life. If not, the only story left is that there is no point to anything we do, no significance to who we are, and so we “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”. How pathetic is that?
So, here’s the point. All who end up thinking the supernaturalism embodied in His story is a religious fairy-tale and instead wholeheartedly commit to evolutionary naturalism as more ‘rational’ will discover that natural death is not the end after all, that their soul, which naturalism says doesn’t (and can’t) exist, will endure only to take on eternal death, forever separated from the Living God, the Source of all Life. Now, this is truly pathetic.