Focus. Picture a box. Imagine what the box will look like. It’s simple and open at the top. Now picture yourself climbing into the box. Sit down. Run your fingers along the surface. Maybe you have to hug your knees to your chest in order to fit inside. Now enlarge the box to a size that will allow you mobility. Imagine that from the day you were born until this very day…that all that you know is inside that box. Now enlarge that box even further, making its dimensions indefinite. Picture a community of people to live in it with you – consisting of family, friends, and strangers. This box and the surrounding 4 walls are all that your subjective awareness holds.
Here comes the tricky curveball:
Continue to imagine yourself inside this indefinite box. Really transfer your mind and soul into imagining the reality of this “box” scenario. My question is – Can you imagine anything outside of the box that is not presently inside the box? That is, would your brain be able to create a single story that goes beyond what you have experienced your entire life within those 4 walls?
The answer is that it is impossible to do so. If you were somehow able to imagine anything outside the box then what you created was a fairytale or myth, with respect to the foundational elements that already exist in your box. Therefore, by creating a story outside the box, all you have done is subconsciously grab hold of some form of truth from within the inside and transcend it outward. This explains why, ever since the beginning of time, we have been able to create stories of a spiritual world. Myths and fairytales exist to satisfy primordial (i.e. original) human desires. Myths are not lies, they convey the essential truth and primal reality of life itself. Anything pictured outside the box MUST be innately created. Craaazzy huh? Let see if it can get a tiny bit clearer…
This box represents the laws of materialism. Taking superiority in our society, materialism states that “physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical experience.” Materialism imprisons us in a world of matter and physical facts; void of any divine god. They’ve basically convinced us that this is all there is. Materialism is one of the fruits of “The Age of The Enlightenment”. We studied this for only about 1.5 days in the 9th grade, ha (remember Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferon, etc..). The Enlightenment started in the 18th century and boomed in popularity. They believed that human reason could overcome superstition, tyranny, and the troubles in their world at the time. Many really great things came out of The Enlightenment that we benefit from today. However, one of their main targets was the Church. The Enlightenment brought in ideas of individualism and identity of self; and coupled with a new rebellious nature, against authority, that said, “No one is the boss of me”. So now we have some massive problems. The key being that it turned man’s eyes further away from God and deeper onto himself in every aspect of life and culture. We were already sinners, but now The Enlightenment exalts the “self” beyond what was normal and made it worse.
But lets bring it back to our simple box. If this earthly box is all there is, how are we able to picture and imagine things outside the walls. How can we create stories, spanning thousands of years, of a true loving God that created the universe if he does not exist? Stories of the supernatural. This boils downward to the everyday Disney movies, Justin Beiber songs, and the current craziness over the NBA Playoffs. Is it not ironic that Disney Movies always seem to portray an unlikely hero that comes along to save a people. These are all shadows of something bigger. Myths are a beautiful video that allows us a fleeting, but powerful glimpse of what is truly outside. They allow us to escape the 4-walls of materialism to see the truer beauty that lies above.
My favorite chick-flick is Serendipity. I watch it about 25 times a year, at least. It is a story about chance and fate. About not quitting until you find that mythical “soul-mate” (It’s cheesy but it’s totally awesome!!!). You see, the screenwriter did not pull this fairytale of fate and everlasting love out of fictional thin air. As J.R.R. Tolkein once put it,
“We make things by the law in which we are made. We create because we were created. Creativity and imagination is God’s image-ness in us. We tell stories because God is a storyteller. We use words. He uses history.”
Serendipity’s plot of fate was taken from our innate sense of the prophecies and promises of Jesus coming as our Savior. Serendipity’s yearning for true-love was taken from our innate desire for the unfailing love of Christ.
Christianity is the archetype of all stories. It is the story in which all other stories have their source.
- Greek Mythology, as fake/counterfeit as it is, still dips its authorial hands into Christianity for its wonderful stories.
- Video games such as Halo and Call of Duty sell big because the gamers get a high from the feeling of glory each time the achieve a killing spree. (FYI, playing Halo was the best years of my life)
- We flock to watch Game of Thrones, Iron Man 3 and Superman because the glory depicted in the films makes us feel great.
This glory should be experienced in the worship of Christ and living out his exciting call on us. This can go on into music, politics, culture, and other domains of society.
C.S. Lewis nailed it by saying, “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.” Luckily, for believers we know that ‘In the beginning was God.’
Picture a box. Picture yourself climbing into that box. Now picture Jesus in walking towards you and the box suddenly disappearing.