Background Passage: Ephesians 1:18-19
As the story goes, Cambridge University hosted a debate between a learned science professor, a self-declared atheist, and a Christian pastor. The professor offered his reasoning for asserting God “existed” only as a figment of human imagination. Grounded in rationale thought and scientific understanding, the professor offered that no rationale human being could look at the universe and believe in a Creator God, much less one active in the world.
The Christian pastor countered with a quick argument. Getting the professor to acknowledge that there is still much in the world that science and rationale thought cannot explain, the pastor suggested that it might be possible that God exists within that body of knowledge yet unknown. That someday man might discover through rationale thought and scientific understanding that God does indeed exist. The Christian pastor claimed victory when the scientist agreed to that possibility.
It makes a good story, I suppose, but a God that can be explained by some unknown data set, seems somehow less…Almighty or Sovereign. To prove God’s existence using some aspect of human understanding seems to me to thwart the purpose and power of faith.
Noted theologian C. S. Lewis, sadly no relation, offered a statement in his work entitled, Is Theology Poetry? that hit the nail on the head. He wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Lewis embraced faith over fact because his belief transformed the way he saw the world. Faith internalized and deeply held allows us to see the world around us, and the people within it, through God’s eyes. And that, I feel, is a significantly different world view that seen by those who live without a personal faith in Christ.
Given the chaotic and confused condition of life in the 21st century, we need our faith, our Christianity, our ability to see the world through the eyes of God, to make sense of things. How is a child of God to react when the world around us chooses to confront rather than console? To argue rather than understand? To divide rather than embrace? To hate rather than love?
If we see the world and all within it are, through the lens of the true faith, we accept that we carry an incredible responsibility to live as Christ lived. Instead of taking part in the divisive dialogue, we should encourage one, through our witness and walk, to console. To understand. To embrace. To love as Christ loved us.
The sun’s light illuminates all that we see. Because it does, we know it is real. The Son’s light reveals the world to us in its splendor and its ugliness. We can share its splendor, unleashing its beauty so it can shine in the face of ugliness. If we choose to live in him, we can see the world as he does—using the extraordinary vision with which he blessed us to bridge the distance between the Lord who loves and lost and lonely among us.
I have to admit the world I see today is a shadowy place, filled with uncertainty and chaos. Though I try to see through my Father’s eyes, I have a hard time wrapping my head around hatefulness. Lewis said it is his faith in Christ that opens his eyes. Paul took it a step further when he prayed for the believers in Ephesus.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19.
Without God’s corrective vision, I look at the world and feel…hopeless. Paul tells me it can be different if I let God adjust or enlighten the eyes of my heart. When I can see the world through his eyes, I find hope and purpose.
Scotty Smith, pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN, writes a blog for The Gospel Coalition. He summed it up better than I ever could in this prayer to God.
“…this text makes a ton of sense to me. Apart from the work of your Spirit and the corrective lens of the gospel, it will be impossible for me to see what you intend for me to see with awe-producing clarity. So, indeed, Lord, open the eyes of my heart. Heal my shortsightedness, my far sightedness and the astigmatism of my soul. I want to see all things from your perspective, including the hope to which you have called us. To see with the eyes of hope means that I will be able to discern your heart and hand at work everywhere.”
I particularly like that last sentence. When we see through the eyes of our Christian faith, the eyes of hope, we can see God at work in all things. We see with awe-producing clarity our place in his redemptive work. Understanding that, I no longer see this world as an ugly place. It is a field ripe for the harvest.