The inspirational thinker Francis Schaeffer writes:

When we talk about the possibility of men beginning from themselves to understand the meaning of life and the universe, we must be careful to define clearly what we mean.  There are two concepts or ideas of knowing which must be kept separate.  The first is the rationalistic or humanistic concept — namely, that man, beginning totally independently and autonomously, can build a bridge towards ultimate truth — as if attempting to build a cantilever bridge out from himself across an infinite gorge.  This is not possible, because man is finite and, as such, he has nothing toward which he can point with certainty.  He has no way, beginning from himself, to set up sufficient universals.  Sartre saw this very clearly when, as a result of finding no infinite reference point, he came to the conclusion that everything must be absurd.

The second concept is the Christian one.  That is, as man has been created in God’s image, he can begin with himself — not as infinite but as personal; plus the important fact (as we shall see below) that God has given to fallen man contentful knowledge which he desperately needs.

Schaeffer’s words remind me of the Horzon line used in Art… without it, we cannot draw in proper perspective.  If the artist begin to draw from his own point of position without a horizon line, the image quickly becomes skewed.  If the artist begin to draw with a clearly defined horizon line, the image takes understandable shape and is beautiful.

Similarly, If the only horizon line we have is “self,” then our perspective on life is quickly distorted and disconnected from the people around us. If, however, God is our shared horizon line, then the picture of self and of others become understandable and beautiful.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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