Ontology 101: What is the Cosmos?
Where are we? This is an important question, especially if you have been dropped off in a place you don’t know. Or, you are visiting somewhere for the first time.
In truth, lostness is a part of life. When God created the world, he made it big, with large stretches of land and sea. Then, when he brought Noah and his family through the flood, he added mountains and valleys, languages and cultures. As a result, all humans have experienced the paralyzing effects of not knowing where they are and not knowing (for a short time or a long time) how to find our bearings.
Thinking about this, we realize that “finding ourselves” in this world requires more than a good GPS. While we may know our coordinates on the planet, we may be equally confused about how to think about the planet itself. That is to say, while we may have a map on our phones, if we are interpreting the world around us by the tools given to us by a secular and secularizing world, we may not have any idea that God dwells in heaven and we are on earth, in the place that we are (Acts 17:26), because he put us here and defined our boundaries. Moreover, without the right tools for interpretation, we may try to find ourselves in ways entirely at odds with our Creator. Such is the condition of postmodern humanity.
For all the technological know-how that we have acquired, we have lost something valuable in our world—namely, a right understanding of the cosmos. After all, what is the world? Is it something that we must accept as we find it? Or do we have permission to re-engineer the world around our own concepts of justice, goodness, and flourishing? And who decides?
Even for those who have grown up in church, the stories of God’s creation and flood must contend with Darwin and his disciples. The miracles of Jesus must overcome our modern commitment to natural causation. And our belief in Jesus’s virgin birth and third day resurrection must fight off attempts to make these historical events mere allegory or spiritual fictions. And those are a just a few of the ideas that contend for space in our secular.
Taking another step forward in our series, Ontology 101: The Business of Is-ness, this weeks sermon addressed the nature of cosmos. And from Psalm 104, I offered seven pillars for a biblical cosmology. These pillars are
- God Created the World to Reveal Himself
- God Built the World as a Three Story Temple
- God Preserves the World for Man to Enjoy
- God Tests Mankind by the World He Has Made
- God Permits Good and Evil to Grow in His World
- God Will Bring This World to an End
- God Will Bring His People Into a New World of Eternal Rest
Those seven pillars not everything that can be said about God’s cosmos, but they offer a good start. And they certainly counterbalance the godless materialism offered in public schools across our nation. Indeed, too many Christians are double-minded when it comes to understand the world. While they know the stories of Genesis, these historical events are often held hostage by the scientism that masquerades as legitimate science today.
In truth, we need to know what astronomy, biology, and chemistry reveal about God’s world. But just as important, we need to know how these studies in general revelation relate to the special revelation of Scripture. Wonderfully, God has made the world and everything in it, and we need to learn from Scripture what the meaning, purpose, and nature of the world is. Indeed, as we inhabit this space, we need to answer the question: Where are we? And the best place to begin is not found on a map, but in the pages of the Bible. To that end, I offer this sermon.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds