There’s a story about a young couple who decided to take a long hike through the countryside. It was a remote area and after several hours they were completely lost. Stumbling upon a farm, they knocked on the door in the hope they might get some directions. A farmer answered. Learning where they were heading, he stood back and scratched his beard. “Well, if that’s where you want to go, I wouldn’t start from here!”
Where we come from has an impact on where we’re going. It also affects how we’re going to get there. In life, most people want to see the world move in the right direction – to become a better place. Who wouldn’t want to see less crime, more justice, greater compassion and people living at peace with one another. The trouble is reconciling this with where we came from.
Popular science writes a good headline every time it speculates about finding the seeds of life on a comet flying through space, or balancing the incredible improbability of this universe by placing it within the realms of an infinite multiverse. Yet the bottom line is this world still just popped-into existence from nothing, and we sparked into life for no reason. On this view each of us is still an evolved bacterium driven by selfish genes, and we only survived by eradicating everything that stood in our way. When people say they want to live in a world where there’s hope for the future, we ought to stand back and scratch – beard or no beard: “If that’s where you want to go, I wouldn’t start from here!”
However, consider another way to start the story - of human history. An all-powerful and all-good God created the world. We have reason to believe there is a way things ought to be. He chose to make people in his image. We have reason to believe every human being is stamped with absolute value. He has a plan for our lives. We have reason to believe there is meaning to our existence. He has an eternal purpose for all of creation. We have reason to believe there is hope for the future. In terms of where we want to go, this is a good place to start.
If someone is looking at life and looking for answers the Bible gives us a wonderful sense of perspective, and the more every creature falls into line with the creator the better this world will be.
1 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. 2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. 3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— 4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? 5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— 7 the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, 8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. 9 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
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