There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings
When I watch the above scene in the Lord of the Rings movie or read from the book, Samwise Gamgee’s remark excites me. But it also makes me ponder. How can one still believe this world is worth fighting for? Isn’t it messed up already? What is the basis of such a hope?
The Christian worldview supports this optimism. We acknowledge that God created a world he delighted in. He formed humans who would reflect his beauty and character, not only in their nature, but also in the various activities they would engage in (Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:15; Ephesians 6:7). As they made art, engaged in business, or developed technology, they would glorify and enjoy God. God may be said to work through the different spheres that humanity functioned in.
Then the fall happened. Or to put it more correctly, humans rebelled. Our first parents, and their descendants ever since, rejected God’s rule and sought to become autonomous. They wanted, and still try, to live life on their own terms.
Yet, God still loves his world. He loved it so much that he gave his son to redeem it (John 3:16). And in redeeming his world, he renews the different spheres and areas within it. So while human rebellion taints everything in our world, we still see God at work everywhere (Psalm 104:24).
Consider the arts. We reflect upon reality through the medium of colour, line, and sound. Good music not only entertains us, but actually touches our soul and enriches us. A well-crafted painting or sculpture delights us as we gaze upon it and examine both the skill which has gone into it as well as what it tries to ‘say’ to us. Our lives are enhanced through beautiful stories acted as plays or produced as movies.
In business, we use God-given resources in meeting the needs of others by providing and distributing goods and services. As complex as it is today, business is essentially about that. While we may speak of production and marketing, innovation and capital, profit and loss, and an endless catalogue of terms, it is about providing value for others.
Politics is the art of organizing human society in a way that everyone flourishes. Elections are how several modern societies choose individuals who oversee these communities. We introduce laws and regulations to ensure that everyone lives peacefully and safely with others. Some aspects of what we do or how we live have been affected by sin. Nevertheless, the need to coordinate how we live together is part of God’s original design.
Science gives us knowledge about different aspects of creation. This includes the human body, outer space, the world of molecules and atoms, the endless variety of plant life, and other areas.
Aside from providing pure knowledge, God has also enabled us to apply the intricate details about nature to solve different problems. So we are able to deal with various kinds of physical and mental ailments in healthcare. Improved understanding of the physical universe has helped in devising how to communicate and transport ourselves faster. We have even learnt how to grow richer crops. Through technology, we also explore the universe in developing tools and devices which (hopefully) help us live and work smarter.
All these are essential to our wellbeing. They display God’s infinite wisdom. Yes, human pride and rebellion affects each one in some form or another. In spite of this, none has become worthless.
Music still cheers us while celebrating truth and beauty. The visual arts can still delight us as they invite us to contemplate transcendent truth. Business still helps us thrive as we spread goods and services around the globe. How about politics? Despite the endless variety in political setup, every society or community still appoints leaders or officials to maintain order within it so we all can flourish.
And God’s grace pervades each human craft. His glory still shines in all that’s fair.
Redemption is God’s work of restoring his grand purpose for creation; it is not a jettison of the universe. When John heard God in his vision saying, “Behold, I am making all things new,” (Revelations 21:5), God was announcing his renewal of all things (see Colossians 1:19-20). It was God announcing the new creation.
Knowing that God will renew the world actually drives us to pray and work in hope of its renewal (2 Peter 3:11-12). We know that the crimes which make headlines today will end. The heartaches and pains we experience now would be absent (Revelation 21:4). It will be righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). The world will not be cast away; our universe will not be thrashed. God plans to renew it (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). And in view of this, he encourages us to do everything as though we did it for Christ (Colossians 3:17, 23).
Why wouldn’t we fight for such a world?