Last Friday’s post opened us up to a question: “Do we believe that when all is said and done in terms of this life that the sum of its value will be based on the amount of pleasure we each were able to collect, or is there more to our individual worth than shallow, worldly pursuits?” The answer to this question somewhat depends on worldview and attitude. As for worldview, this is obvious: Belief in an afterlife or not has a large impact upon how we value life in general. But, then again, it is not all that simple. Attitude certainly has a lot of impact.
When it comes to life, Christians, who share a worldview, should be on the same page. However, with a simple informal study, we can see a vast array of opinions even within certain worldviews, so that a clear line is not always easy to draw or predict. Take for example our views upon the environment here in America: Removing politics aside, we should all be able to readily admit that our health is in direct relation to the health of the natural world around us, call it what you will (“The Creation” or “The Environment”). It would also be nice to assume that we could easily predict, based on worldview, who would care more.
I am about to do some very broad stereotyping, but it is to make a point: Secularist philosophy often leads to a type of individual who is prone to have a view of life that is more “practical,” and would lead away from sentimental claims of the “sanctity” of life. On the other hand, Christian theology has lead to a type of person who is prone to have a more “theological” view of life and leads to arguments for the “right” to life. So, when we consider the environment as a collective political community, as a Christian, I would hope to see a definite line in which the sanctity of life would lead to a deep and lasting concern for the environment around us, and I would likewise expect the secularist to have less care sense there is no real right to life.
Again, I apologize for the generality, and I know this is not how the world really is, which is my point. Christians in America, who often are more conservative, historically speaking, seem to value life in the womb, but as soon as that little one makes it out into the real world, well, then he or she is on his own. Who cares about the environment? On the other hand, the secularists seem to suggest the opposite. As long as you are in the womb, who gives a rip? But, you make it out; well then, we got to take care of you.
As for the secularists who have a bottom up epistemology, which is to say that they think the only way we can figure out the world is through our own thoughts and studies, you would expect just as many and diverse thoughts as there are individuals, but it should not be this way for Christians who have a top down epistemology grounded in God’s revelation. Should we not all be on the same page? What does our worldview have to say about the question at hand, the question we are led to answer when we get down to the heart of the question we began with. Our ultimate question for this discussion is this: “Does investment in physical health have any value in light of eternity?”
First of all, as Christians, we should be persons who side on the right to “life.” Death is an enemy of God, and the very thing Christ came to defeat. But, someone might object: “We still all must die.” It almost seems that if we are to physically die and come to life with some sort of new existence, then why bother taking care of ourselves here. This would be a tempting idea to consider if we did not have access to see how a Christ-like life will make such a transition from this life unto the next.
We have access to one story, one illustration, because, as of yet, there is only one who has died and been resurrected (remember those who are in paradise now still await the resurrection of all God’s people). That life is Christ’s. Would we wish to argue that the life Christ lived before death, the ministry God gave Him, no longer matters since He passed from this life and into the resurrection. God forbid! Therefore, we can expect that if we Christians are imitators of Christ’s ministry and we in fact “will do greater things” than He (John 14:12), then this life matters.
Christ’s life was transformed, but it was connected to the life He lived here. Just something to think about: Christians have one source, one story, to consider when asking the question: “Does our life here have any importance in light of the one to come,” and that story is Christ’s, therefore, we should share a mutual respect for life together.