The Bible constantly tells us there is ‘so much more’ to life than what we can experience only on a material level. It paints vivid pictures of this unseen reality, especially in the Prophets, using all kinds of imagery: pictures of dragons and angels (Rev 12), chariots of fire (2 Kings 2:11), bizarre creatures with four faces and four wings and moving wheels (Ezekiel 1)… all of which can seem challenging and frankly strange to us, but there is clearly so much more to life than we can see with our senses, and the Bible challenges us to discover God’s reality as the backdrop for our lives. In fact, it challenges us to see God’s reality as the ultimate reality. In 1 John 5:14 in the Message version of the Bible, we read ‘My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion.’ The purpose of the book of Proverbs is described as ‘a manual for living, for learning what’s right and just and fair; to teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality.’ (Prov 1:1-6) Eccl 7:18 says ‘A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it’ and that’s our challenge too, dealing with all of reality – the invisible, eternal, spiritual sides of reality as well as the visible, temporal and physical sides, dealing with all of it and not just a piece of it. So much of the Bible challenges our shallow view of reality, like Isaiah crying out to all those who worship idols instead of the true God: ‘Make them face God-reality!’ (Is 44:11) The Bible reveals to us God-reality, which is really just another way of saying that God is the ultimate authority on life, the master on reality because He created everything that we see (John 1:1-3).
If we want to know how to get somewhere, we consult a map.
We go to the experts on these things or read their advice because we know that we can’t manage to do those things on our own. In the same way, if we want to know how to live well, we have to consult God’s manual and we have to accept that the Maker’s take on reality is going to be wiser than our understanding. In our Bible studies on 1 Corinthians, we’ve been exploring the differences between God’s wisdom and human wisdom (see 1 Cor 1:18-31, 1 Cor 2), seeing that our whole way of thinking has to be transformed because God’s foolishness is wiser than man’s wisdom and His weakness is more powerful than our strength. God’s reality is way, way beyond ours: as Paul cries out to the Romans, ‘Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!’ (Rom 11:33)