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Perspective is a way of recognizing what something looks like from here. This is not the same thing as what something is. What something “is” is the truth about a thing. A perspective is not the truth per se but is rather a view, an assumption, an opinion.
Take as an example the observable event of the sun coming back into view each morning. We commonly call that event the sunrise. After all, from our perspective the sun appears to be rising. However that is not the absolute truth. The truth is the earth is turning and the sun isn’t rising at all.
Does that make calling it the sunrise a lie? Not at all. Perspectives are valid ways of expressing our observations of the world. The problem arises when we try to make that observation the truth and ignore the facts we already possess. “Sunrise” is a metaphor, not a reality. Metaphors help us understand things and explain things so long as we remember when we are talking about metaphors and when we are talking about truths.
“Perspectives aren’t the truth. Who knew?” click to tweet
One way that we get into trouble is when speaking about our perspective of God. We read the Psalmist’s words and sometimes we forget that he is speaking about God metaphorically. We forget that we know that God is not merely some superhuman. Yes, it is easier to view God that way. But it separates us from an accurate understanding of God. God is not simply loving – God is love. God is not only wise – God is omniscience. God is not merely powerful – God is omnipotence. When we give God a quality (from our perspective) rather than recognize that he “is” these qualities, we see a sunrise instead of the earth turning. It may not seem like an important difference, but imagine what we would lose if we did not grasp that the earth turns. We would have to turn our back on thousands of years of accumulated knowledge.
It is far more important when the topic is God. Never lose touch with the fact that we have a limited view. We anoint our personal perspectives with some kind of holy regard as if by virtual of their being ours these views are some kind of grand truth. No, perspective isn’t for that purpose. Perspective is a slant, a slice, an experience. We need to accumulate them to make any sense of things. Only after we have enough perspective do we get a glimpse of the truth.
Have you had an “ah ha” moment and realized that something in your life was merely a perspective? Tell us about it by commenting below.
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