As a reader of my Changing Lives blog, you know that I often discuss what I call 8 ultimate life questions. Perhaps you have wondered:
“Why don’t you call them 8 ultimate life answers”?
Michael Horton, in his fine work, The Gospel-Driven Life, notes that:
“… we typically introduce the Bible as the ‘answer to life’s questions.’ This is where the Bible becomes relevant to people ‘where they are’ in their experience. Accordingly, it is often said that we must apply the Scriptures to daily living. But this is to invoke the Bible too late, as if we already knew what ‘life’ or ‘daily living’ meant. The problem is not merely that we lack the right answers, but that we don’t even have the right questions until God introduces us to His interpretation of reality.”
So…let’s compare the world’s 8 ultimate life questions to the Bible’s 8 ultimate life questions—and see that the world doesn’t even get the questions right!
Ultimate Life Question # 1
The World’s Question: “What is truth?”
The Word’s Question: “Where do we find wisdom for life in a broken world?”
Do you see how rich and robust the Word’s question is? And how real, raw, and relevant the Word’s question is? The world asks about truth in the abstract—philosophical truth. The Word asks about and provides the ultimate source of wisdom for living—how broken people live wisely in a broken world.
Ultimate Life Question # 2
The World’s Question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?”
The Word’s Question: “Who Is God?” “What comes into our mind when we think about God?” “Whose view of God will we believe—Satan’s or Christ’s?”
When Shirley and I recently visited the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, we read displays that constantly pondered why there was something instead of nothing. They not only failed to provide an answer, they were asking a shallow, even foolish, question.
See again the richness of the Word’s question: “Whose view of God will we believe—Satan’s or Christ’s?” We all have a view of God. We are all worshipping beings. And we all follow someone’s portrait of God—either an evil portrait painted by Satan or the beautiful portrait painted by Christ—in His blood.
Ultimate Life Question # 3
The World’s Question: “Who am I?”
The Word’s Question:” “Whose are we?” “In what story do we find ourselves?”
Wow! Just add those two letters—s and e—and what a world of difference we find between the world’s question and the Word’s question.
“Who am I” is such a tiny, puny, self-centered question. It is a question that pictures the world revolving around me. “Who am I?” is a question that can only be answered by self-sufficiency and self-reference—I am who I see and make myself to be.
“Whose are we?” is such a gigantic, even infinite, question. It is a question that pictures the universe revolving around God. “Whose am I?” is a question that can only be answered in-reference-to our Creator—coram Deo. The story of our lives is not an auto-biography. The story of our lives is a God-biography—we are each epic poems (Ephesians 2:10) written by God as pages in chapters in God’s book of eternal life.
Paul answers this ultimate life question in Romans 1:7: “Beloved by the Father and called to be saints.” We are loved sons/daughters and cleansed saints—that’s who we are because of Whose we are!
Ultimate Life Question # 4
The World’s Question: “Why do we do the things we do?”
The Word’s Question: “What went wrong?” “What’s the root source of our problem?”
The world answers its wrong question with a wrong answer. “I do the things I do because of others—it’s my spouse’s fault, my boss’ fault, my parent’s fault.” Or, “I do the things I do because of my feelings—they are out of control, beyond my control.” Or, “I do the things I do because of my body—I need better medication because my physical brain is the ultimate source of my soulful problems.”
The Word gets to the heart of our heart problem. Yes, our life situation is an influence. Yes, our emotions are tricky and complex. Yes, our bodies are frail and fallen jars of clay. However, the root source of our problem is spiritual—it is a worship disorder. It is a loss-of-awe disorder. We are all spiritual adulterers and heart idolaters—that’s the root source of our problem. Recognition of that root source compels us to cry out in God-sufficiency for an Answer—a Person—who has paid the price for adultery and idolatry.
The Rest of the Story
Stay tuned for my next post when we probe ultimate life questions 5-8 and compare and contrast the Word’s shallow questions with the Word’s rich questions.
Join the Conversation
Is it a new thought for you that the world not only has foolish answers, the world also has shallow questions? If so, what impact might this realization have on your life and ministry?
How are you biblically answering life’s first four ultimate questions?
- “Where do we find wisdom for life in a broken world?”
- Who Is God?” “What comes into our mind when we think about God?” “Whose view of God will we believe—Satan’s or Christ’s?”
- “Whose are we?” “In what story do we find ourselves?”
- “What went wrong?” “What’s the root source of our problem?”
To offer wise & loving biblical counsel, we must ask & answer gospel-centered biblical questions.