Cosmology; An Introduction

I remember trying on my first pair of contact lenses when I was a college student. Up to that time I was wearing an old, scratched up pair of glasses. I was vaguely aware that my sight was not 100%, but for the most part, I got along and thought that I saw things just fine, or at least well enough. It was my sister, I believe, that convinced me to try contacts. When I put them on, it was as if I was looking at the world in a whole new way. How exciting it was to see all the detail that I had been missing for years! The high definition of the leaves on the trees struck me most immediately.

I have come to believe that each one of us has been given a pair of glasses by the culture we live in, and that in spite of our relationship with the Lord, sometimes dramatic conversions, and intense study of the Bible, we simply do not see that we are looking through eye glasses that are deeply tinged by our secular culture. Like me with my old glasses, we might be vaguely aware that our sight is not 100%, but for the most part, we get along and think that we see just fine, or at least well enough.

I read a great book last winter by Peter Gay titled “The Enlightenment, An Interpretation: The Rise of Modern Paganism.” It helped me to put words and definition to things that have been rattling around in my mind for a long while. In short, we live by a cosmology, or a way of looking at the world, that is not biblical at all, but is foundationally pagan. It was built a long time ago by the ancient Greco-Roman philosophers. The Church rejected it in the 6th century by closing down the academy in Athens, but this pagan cosmology re-emerged in the 18th Century Enlightenment, and now is so much a part our lives that we take for granted that it is true. There are six lenses of this world view which we all, as modern or “post modern” people, see the world. They are 1) critical thinking, 2) practical thinking, 3) autonomy, 4) tolerance, 5) eclecticism, and 6) relativism. Each one of us is deeply influenced by these 6 lenses, and it takes an intentional act on our part to take them off and get a new pair of contacts biblically manufactured.

We may not think that cosmology, or the way we see and process the world around us, as all that critical. However, it is of deep moral and spiritual importance. We cannot avoid this issue and be right before God. We therefore devote the next posts on each of these cosmological lenses.

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