David Wells on Meaninglessness

Seen within a theological framework, the question of contemporary meaninglessness is one, I would argue, that has two sides to it, sociological and soteriological. Biblically speaking, meaninglessness is primarily soteriological in nature and only secondarily sociological; as it is experienced by people, its soteriological nature is often not comprehended. If anything is comprehended at all, it is only what is sociological, and that might well be misconstrued.

Today, postmodern culture inclines people to see the world as if it had been stripped of its structures of meaning, of its morality, of any viable worldview that is universal, and it collapses all of reality into the self. It eats away at every vestige of meaning for which people grasp. In these ways, it is one of the forms in which the biblical understanding of “the world” takes shape in the West. It therefore adds weight, or gives further reality, to what is soteriological, to that emptiness of human experience which is the outcome of alienation from God and which is the present consequence of his wrath. It is the consequence of being relationally severed from him.

David Wells, “The Supremacy of Christ” in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World, ed. John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway: 2007) p. 42

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One response to “David Wells on Meaninglessness

  1. If you find him interesting you may also like Reinhold Niebuhr whose criticism of liberal coreligionists is similar in many ways.

    Also, thanks for this. It helps a lot with an upcoming post!

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