Berkeley

Ever since I first heard about him, I have been intrigued by George Berkeley.  He was a bishop of the Anglican Church and died in 1753.  Besides being a priest and perhaps because he was a priest, he believed a theory called immaterialism.  At first, I was just fascinated that anyone would deny the existence of the chair I’m sitting on.  Then I got into it a bit more and did some reading.  

Being a priest he was a proponent of creation by the Creator.  Stay with me.  The “indisputable” science of his day was that the universe was infinite.  The “indisputable” science today is that the universe had a distinct starting point.  It is funny how scientific speculation changes over time.  Science has followed the evidence to a position that more closely agrees with the Bible in so far as the universe had a distinct starting point (Genesis 1).  Being a priest, Berkeley had a vested interest in exploring a theory that undermined the inaccurate science of his day because that science undermined the truth about creation.  

Finally, my interest peeked as I reflected on Berkeley when it occurred to me that his belief in immaterialism was a statement of unusual faith.   Rather than believing the table I set my breakfast meal on is real, he believed that God created every experience he lived moment by moment in what I would call a spiritual reality.  You will be relieved to know that I think he was wrong about immaterialism; but I cannot help but admire that faith.  

I believe the floor beneath my feet is real and I believe that Genesis chapters one and two tell the story of God creating matter and then joining what is spiritual to it.  He breathed spiritual life as well as physical life into the first human being.  But I also aspire to believe that God wants to be creatively and intimately involved in all my life experience; and that this is how I should orient myself to my surroundings.  

Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17 CSB

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  Colossians 3:1-2

Stephen Williams 

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