Overtones of Naturalism

“It just seems like a stretch.” That’s what a good friend of mine said to me last night about my saying the rock was Christ in my blog. (For the record, and this friend knows who he is as no one else said this, I think you rock dude! Keep up the great work for Christ!) Now he liked my blog pretty much as is but he told me we only have one verse on this.

My response was that in all honesty, one verse is enough. The rock was Christ was not a doctrine Paul thought he needed to emphasize often but at this point, he did think that that was necessary. However, while that was the reason given, I was diagnosing another reason why it seemed like a stretch.

My friend and I and most likely you as well all suffer from the same calamity. We all still live with overtones of naturalism. This was something C.S. Lewis spoke of in saying that we are under the spell of naturalism and if we know our fairy tales, enchantments can only be broken with stronger enchantments and it will take a strong one to undo the spell of naturalism. I believe only Christ’s truth can break that spell.

In naturalism, there are no final causes. Nothing is made for something beyond itself. All of the universe simply is. There is nothing beyond it. There is no higher power. Each thing that you see is the end itself. There are no metaphors in the universe. You might draw analogies to events in your own life, but there is no intention behind any such. As Richard Dawkins says, “DNA neither knows nor cares, and we dance to its music.”

We have lived so long with that being the worldview of society now that it has caused us all to see things that way. We cannot see anything as a symbol easily any more. The idea is so unusual to us. This could be the reason so many of us can have a hard time with poetry and why so many of us are losing interest in reading and instead prefer TV.

Seeing a symbol requires deep thinking and we’re just not prepared to think deep like that. We look at a tree and we so rarely look at it and see anything but a tree. Many of you are probably wondering what could there be of spiritual significance in a tree. Never mind that Paul pointed to the growth of nature when preaching to the people in Lystra about the God who is there.

This worldview also makes us look to ourselves more often. In our world, we are the measure of all things. Maybe this is why we as Christians can often seem to put feelings on such a high rung. We reach the point where we think our feelings are even divine commands and can tell us truth about the external world. Our emotions override our reason.

Of course, if there is no supernatural revelation of truth, then why can’t we be the measure of all things? Why can’t we follow the doctrine of Protagoras and say that man is the measure of all things? We have no reason not to. Either truth exists outside of us in the mind of God or we are the creators of the truth.

Instead, we should be looking at the world expecting to find the supernatural. It is a shame that we so often seem to ask “Where are you God?” instead of asking “Where are you not?” When tragedy strikes Job, he does not doubt that his creator is there. When tragedy strikes us, we do. What makes the difference? The worldview we live under.

If we believe our faith, we should believe God is omnipresent and is all around us. Instead, we make it seem that we have to strain to find him. Could it be because we think that to find the scientific explanation of something takes away the wonder of it? Science can explain the parting of the Red Sea. Big deal. The miracle is when it happened.

An explanation of something should not decrease our wonder of it. Because we know how lightning strikes and the ancients didn’t, it doesn’t mean we should be less amazed. The same goes with knowing what something is. Because we know that the sun is a large mix of substances burning at a high temperature doesn’t mean we should hold it in less amazement. As Peter Kreeft says, it is a shame we are not even tempted any more to worship the sun and the stars. What he means is that we no longer have wonder. It is the same as when he says he pities the man who is not tempted to lust. Lust is wrong but if you are not even tempted to lust, it means the beauty of the lady has lost desire.

This could be why we are also so prone to forget the supernatural. I’ll go on and confess this. I am not a prayer warrior. I find prayer incredibly difficult. My mind is constantly moving in a thousand directions and this is also because of so many overtones from pop Christianity I think that teaches us to listen for the voice of God, a concept I don’t believe in, so much that we no longer know how to really pray.

We need to learn how to live as Christians and that starts with the big belief that there is a God who is there and could intrude on us at any minute. However, we should welcome such an intrusion. We would be amazed if the president was to knock on our door one morning. Should we not be just as amazed with the thought that God could burst in on our lives?

Yes. We do need a spell. We need the spell of the truth cast on us and realize that we do live in a world of wonder. To reach Narnia, one doesn’t have to open the closet of the wardrobe. One merely has to open their front door.

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