Manger. Seen.

There is an assumption in our modern, tech-centered society that all of us have tacitly accepted whether we are openly “religious” or not. It is an assumption born in the Enlightenment and nurtured through a few hundred years of modern philosophy, medical breakthroughs, and technological innovation. The assumption is this: The physical world is all that really exists. The logical follow-on to that assumption is that science — and only science — will eventually solve all our problems and provide us answers to our most profound questions. This, as I have discussed many times, is the foundation of the Naturalistic/Materialistic worldview. Though many of us claim not to accept this view, and though we may even vehemently argue against it, it is a difficult assumption to overcome because it is built into the fabric of our culture.

When we hear of an inexplicable healing, or an answered prayer, or an eerie “coincidence,” our initial reaction is to seek a scientific explanation. Though we study and do our best to honor and defend a high view of Scripture, we secretly wonder if the walls of Jericho really just fell down; if the Red Sea really parted, or (though we would be loathe to admit it) if Jesus really rose from the dead. “Miracles, really? Come on, man.” We are hard-wired to be skeptical of that kind of thing. “Test everything. Hold on to the good,” the apostle Paul told us, and we are happy to take him up on it.

There is nothing wrong with that tendency. In fact the Bible, unlike any other holy book, repeatedly encourages it. But when we look out at the world to analyze it we see not just its physical makeup, but the unmistakable aspects of our existence that we cannot see, taste, hear, touch, or smell. The world we live in is not limited to material things. Numbers, and concepts, and meaning, and values, and morals are not physical, but every one of them is real. That’s because ultimate reality is not physical — it is spiritual. The Christian worldview encompasses both the physical and the non-physical. We have a body and a soul. They are not separated; they are integrated.

So while the various types of Monists insist that the world is either composed of nothing but physical stuff, or that physical stuff is an “illusion” that separates us from an all-encompassing divine mind, we can look out and see that both of them are wrong. Whatever explains the ultimate reality of our existence, it must account for both.

And so we celebrate Christmas …

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