So I think it’s high time to wrap up this series on neo pseudo gnosticism by examining one final problem that crops up with the belief that this world doesn’t matter, that it’s only a proving ground for eternity. It has to do with why we live the way we live.
One of the ideas that I encounter from time to time is that this world is something of an arena, that the only reason why we’re born into this world is to show if we’re worthy of heaven. Our lives are a series of tests that we either pass or fail, showing if we’re really Christian.
There’s a lot wrong with this idea (not the least of which is the fact that it smacks of works righteousness, which clearly isn’t the way that things work). But let’s say that this view is true, that this world is nothing but a proving ground. Then the question naturally arises, why do we do what’s right?
Well, because it’s good for us. If we do the wrong thing, it will send us to a not-so-nice place. If we do things right, we’ll go to an ethereal heaven. In other words, the motivation for doing the right thing is inherently selfish. We do what’s right because it benefits us in the long run.
And that bothers me. Essentially, we would have to weigh our deeds based on whether or not they’ll help us. People will only have worth based on our opinion of them. And I believe that’s counter to the way God wants us to live.
After all, everyone has been created in the image of God. Every person we’ve ever met was and is still deeply loved by Him. That is what motivates us to live out our Christian faith: it isn’t because we’re living in a proving ground and have to show our faith by our deeds or else God will keep us out of heaven. Instead, we show Christ’s love to everyone because they are loved by Christ. We treat them as valuable people because they have value to God.
And that is the why. That’s why why we live in more than a proving ground. We live as people made in the image of God, and we treat other people as those who bear the same image.