Thinking Biblically

The Biblical answer about why we have lost our center is rather straightforward. The center has not been lost. What has been lost is our ability to see it, to recognize it, to bow before it, to reorder our lives in light of it, to do what we should do as people who live in the presence of this center, this Other, this triune, holy-loving God of the Bible. For we start our life’s journey on the alternative premise that he is not there, or that he has not spoken, or that he does not care. We do not reckon on his providential and moral presence. We begin as if life were empty and without a center and as if we were empowered by our choices to make of life what we will. And so we create our own center, we create our own rules, and we make our own meaning. All of this springs from an alternative center in the universe. It is ourselves.

Paul’s statement is that, since the fall, we have “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). We will not reckon with our internal sense that God does exist. WE also try to ignore our own sense of the moral fabric of life (Rom. 1:18-20; 2:14-15). And we have also made some substitutions. We have replaced the actual center of life with one of our own making, substituting our interests for God’s, our perspective for his, our norms for his, our meaning for his, and our privatized truths for his absolute truth. All of this is the essence of sin. And the result, Paul says, is that our minds are now “futile” and our hearts are now “darkened” (Rom. 1:21). This is the unvarying perspective, the insistent proclamation, of the Bible.

Is it a great surpise, then, that we now see our world as empty? We have wrenched ourselves free from the hand of God. We are in flight from him. We reject reality as he has defined it. We redefine our world and ourselves to accomodate our rebellion. That is why life has lost any center other than ourselves.

               -David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, pp. 99-100.

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2 responses to “Thinking Biblically

  1. Painfully true. And some would say that God is not merciful or not ‘slow to anger’. Praise be to Him for His mercy and redemption through Christ.

  2. A very good observation. It’s not that we have “lost” our center. God eternally has been and will be the center of all existence, human or otherwise. Instead it’s that we, as Wells says, have turned away from His as our center. And the whole rest of reality is affected radically.

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