Finding God in the World

Much has been said over the generations about our battle with the world. As Christians we are supposed to live in the world but not be of the world. We are expected to die to the world so we can live with Christ. Is the world totally void of value?

As my Old Testament professor used to say, it all goes back to Genesis. God created the entire universe to help us find Him. The story of our salvation begins in Genesis and creation. The ‘Fall’ of Adam and Eve was not the beginning of the story. The beginning of the story was long before Adam and Eve were created.

Our ancestors were placed in the Garden to share in God’s creation. The Garden was filled with wonder and beauty. Our ancestors walked with God in the Garden in harmony with His Creation. Here is the point of my post today. From the very beginning of creation God allowed danger to exist.

If the world is a wretched place now, after ‘The Fall’ that would imply that is was a safe place before. It was safe, but it was not without danger. So long as our ancestors kept walking with God, even the serpent couldn’t harm them.

Fast forward to today. It has been thousands of years, by any reckoning, since ‘The Fall’ of Adam and Eve. God still uses His Creation to help us find Him. There are still dangers that lurk around every corner. So long as we keep walking with Him, these dangers cannot do us any real harm. In fact the dangers of the world help us find God.

Today is the anniversary of the terrorist attack of September 11. It is a day we Americans remember that evil really is lurking around every corner. It is a day we remember the lives of those lost, and those who survived but were affected forever. It is a day we found God.

Churches were filled to capacity in the days that followed September 11. Our pain and loss helped us find time for God in our lives. We were, for a while again, walking with God. Unfortunately, once again our lives have strayed away from God. We have once again stopped walking with God. We have stopped filling His Churches. Worse, we have stopped watching for evil around every corner.

The world is still a place where we can choose to walk with God and use the dangers of the world to help us find Him. He has been willing to walk with our ancestors throughout time. He has protected the Church across generations. He didn’t keep the serpent out of the Garden and He doesn’t keep evil out of the world today.

He keeps us safe by allowing us to choose to walk with Him. In Orthodoxy we call that, being in communion with God. We are untied to Him, and that unity can keep us safe from evil. None of it would be possible without the world.

There is a difference between living in the world but not being of the world. We walk in the world while our attention is on heaven. As Christian we use God’s beauty in creation, as well as the dangers of creation, to help us be close to God.

If you think the world has no value, look again. The value isn’t in its resources, its people, or even its beauty. The value is in our ability to find God in the world. Anything that helps us find God has value.

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