Reality’s Latitude and Longitude
Magnificent, stark, and a beautiful sight at any season, Mt. Katahdin has not moved from the same geographic spot for millennia. There it may be admired, climbed, written about, or photographed. Whether or not it can be seen, it will always be found at latitude: 45.9044, longitude: -68.9213 111 N 45 54’16”, E 68 55’17”. It may be the home of Indian legends, but it is a physical reality.
We are creatures shaped by heredity, personality, learned values, education, experiences, and environment. As relational and emotional people, we hold varying values and opinions. However, our perceptions do not change the nature of an object or circumstances or absolute principles. The world may be silent because I am deaf, but that doesn’t mean that the birds don’t sing. The Cardinal flower growing by the stream may be missed because of my color blindness, but it is still red and there. The stove is hot even if I have a neuropathy and don’t feel it. The sky may look dark and dreary because of cataracts, but it is really blue and beautiful. Obviously, personal limitations or misconceptions may distort an actual situation and lead to misinterpretations or misunderstandings, but “my truth” simply identifies personal beliefs or ideas that may vary from someone else’s. However, Truth is independent of personal choices or thoughts. It, like Katahdin, doesn’t move from its coordinates just because it is more convenient for us to find it somewhere else.
Some philosophic viewpoints exclude God and deny or desensitize us to the reality existing beyond ourselves and the material universe. They are nihllistic houses of cards with no answer for the human spirit. Evolutionary theories may help us understand that we live in an ordered existence, but Moses wrote about that thousands of years before Darwin arrived on the scene. Pandemics confirm scientific “facts” to be fluid and in flux. And despite man’s good intentions, humanity’s innate goodness has proven to be poppycock! History screams that to us. We continually fail to fix our broken natures and are as conflicted, hypocritical, and corrupt as our remotest ancestors. The cries of hurting people heard on the daily news make us realize we are incurable. If we are to be redeemed, redemption will have to come from outside ourselves! That is a reality, but so is redemption.
As spiritual beings we seek meaningful affirmation; we search for justification and moral improvement and for meaning in a multitude of ways: through love, intimacy, meditation, mysticism, religion, artistic expressions, and morality. However, there is bedrock on which to stand, on which to base a meaningful life, while we spin around our allotted time. As with all beliefs relating to the origins and purposes and ultimate destiny of humanity, a “step of faith” is involved. The material facts and beauty of our mysteriously miraculous universe show us the nature of God. The powerful revelations of God throughout history as seen through Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ reveal God’s wisdom to us. Christ boldly told his disciples that he was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that nobody could come to God except through him. (John 14:6) If Christ is a person of integrity, then that astounding statement has to be true.
If humanity’s brokenness and and inability to redeem itself are a spiritual reality, Christ’s life and testimony give credence to a Creator whose love and mercy and grace are the only possible redemptive remedy for us. Because our efforts to be righteous are just another teardrop in the ocean of dismal failures, the reality of God and His salvation are well worth exploration and will be found at the latitude and longitude of Christ’s cross where divine love, grace , and mercy intersect and lift humanity’s unholy burden and open the possibility of restoration.. (John 3:16)