by J. I. Packer
MEN and women today feel lost and astray in this world. A glance at our modern art, poetry or novels, or five minutes’ conversation with a sensitive unbeliever, will assure us of that. In an age that has won a higher degree of control over the forces of nature than any before, this may seem odd; but it is not really odd. It is God’s judgment, which we have brought down on ourselves by trying to feel too much at home in this world.
For that is what we have done. We have set our faces against the idea that one should live on the basis that there is something more than this world to live for. Even if we privately thought that the materialists were wrong in denying God and another world exist, we have not allowed our belief to stop us living on materialistic principles: treating this world as if it were the only home we should ever have, and concentrating exclusively on arranging it to our comfort. We thought we could build heaven on earth, and tried. And now God has judged us for our impiety. In less than half a century, we have had two “hot” world wars and one “cold” one, and now we find ourselves in the age of such horrors as nuclear warfare and brainwashing. In such a world, it is not possible to feel at home. It is a world which has disappointed us. We expected life to be friendly (why? — but we did); instead, however, it has mocked our hopes and left us disillusioned and baffled. We thought we knew what to make of life, but now we do not know whether anything can be made of it. We thought of ourselves as wise men, but now we find ourselves like benighted children, lost in the dark.