Thursday, February 29, 2024

Beyond the Physical (Genesis 1)

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).

Once a child learns to speak clearly and thoughtfully, he begins to ask the question “why?” He does not simply want to know how something functions, he wants to know why it exists, why it functions according to certain rules and principles. Once you ask the question “why?” about something, you go beyond the physical into what we call the metaphysical realm. This is the study of that which lies above and beyond the scope of the physical. Many people in our day believe there is no reality beyond that which can be scientifically proven. Those who are governed by this kind of worldview will automatically discount anything that involves metaphysics. Such people deny that there is any ultimate reality, and if there is one, we cannot know it. Therefore, their lives are governed by themselves and the laws of the physical universe, not by an all-knowing, ever-present God.

But those who affirm the existence of metaphysical reality look beyond the physical for answers. They want to know more than what things do according to physical evidence; they want to know what a thing is. Once you delve into the mysteries of being, or existence, you are in the realm of ontology, or the study of being. Ontology answers what a thing is, not what it does. We see this concept fleshed out in the ontological argument for the existence of God. If we exist, there must be something that has always existed. This is because something cannot come out of nothing (not caused). Your worldview about existence and ultimate reality will have direct bearing on how you think about God, yourself, and your fellow creatures. As a Christian, you know that you have not always existed, but God has; that you were created by God, and that, as a creature, you are subject to His authority; that you are not simply a cosmic accident, but that you were created with a purpose.

The study of purposes and goals is called teleology. Those who do not believe in God try to find their purpose for existence in themselves or in man-made myths. The Christian knows that his purpose is in God Himself, that his existence is for God’s glory. Because we know what our purpose is, we have meaning in our lives and stability amid a world that denies the existence of the One who gives meaning and purpose to our existence.

Can you think of any books, movies, or plays that you have read or seen in which the main character is on a quest? What were they searching for? Was what they sought sufficient to give meaning to life? Why or why not? If someone asked you why they exist, what would you tell them? Make sure your answer is biblical.