In the Biblical worldview, God has prescribed certain values so that certain things may be appreciated as ends in themselves (contingent upon God). Though, just as “all Scripture is God breathed” so that there can be paradox without an underlying chord of truth, so too values are intrinsically in harmony; and cannot be disjointed. When two or more values seem to contradict, one should not arbitrarily cast aside, or lower the rank of, one value because of another. Rather, one should seek to find the limitations of both values and see where they meet.
A couple examples include: choice, life, and eternity; and rocks, plants, animals, man, and God.
On the topic of abortion, one side seeks to uphold the sacredness of choice, while the other side seeks to uphold the sacredness of life. Each of them runs the risk (one usually more than the other) of castigating the others’ sacred value.
On the topic of suffering and evil in the world, one party of Christians seeks to bring Heaven on earth. Yet, at the same time, they run the risk of losing the value of eternity. We are to follow Jesus’s example of feeding the poor, bring peace, and so on; but only to show Heavenly things. The only reason Christians do this is because they have faith that they will live after dying in this world.
- Choice is sacred; but only in-so-much as it doesn’t remove the sacredness of life.
- Life is sacred; but only in-so-much as it doesn’t remove the sacredness of eternity.
On the topics of materialism, environmentalism, and humanism, different Christian groups also lose perspective of other values. Matter is sacred only in-so-much that biological life isn’t removed. Life is sacred only in-so-much that man is not removed. Man is sacred only in-so-much that God is not removed.
Many of these values we take for granted, picking and choosing what we believe is more important. Yet (even from birth) we also know in our hearts that each of these values are important, even if we lose appreciation for one or another.
Making man in the Image of Himself, God has placed these values in the hearts of man, yet man doesn’t know what God has done from beginning to end. It is in these seemingly contradictory values that God has set the paradox of eternity in limitations. That is why the Psalmist says, “To all perfection I see a limit, but His commands are boundless.”
Each value is a miracle, an ends, and “footprints” of God’s Being.
*One culturally relevant example would be the values of beauty and pleasure. These two values are commonly recognized (when assessing others’ choices) as sacred in-so-far as they don’t interfere with almost all other values.