A friend recently told me that virtual reality is coming a lot sooner than I expected. In fact, she heard one leading researcher say he would be shocked if we were not already living in a virtual world.
Wait, like the Matrix? Each person living in a mesh of stimuli programmed by a game master? Going about their daily lives with no idea that there is so much more beyond the confines of their little routine of eating, shopping, harvesting, talking to other characters, picking up useful items, and going to sleep at night?
Wait…that sounds strangely familiar, like what the Bible says about our place in this world. When I was younger, I latched on to the idea in Hebrews 11:13 that we are strangers and pilgrims, maybe “aliens” in this world. I envisioned tin foil hats and Star-Trek space saucers. But now, this virtual reality idea sounds a lot closer to reality. God is outside of this world, and He programmed it to function to code. There were no bugs in the system (Genesis 1 – “it is good”). But then the primary characters chose to open a virus to infect every piece of the code and the game began to fall apart. Each person had one life, then it’s Game Over. The Game Master stayed involved instead of just sending the game to the trash folder. He eventually sent His only Son into the program to stop the virus from the inside. His Son had to die. But then He came back to life. And He made a way for every other character to follow Him to a new platform free of the virus.
And God mentions this in the Bible? Talk about breaking the forth wall! Over and over He tries to help us realize that there is more out there than our daily routines. This world is Pac-Man-pixelated compared to the world He has programmed for us.
But it is not easy to see life as a game. What proof is there when I’ve never been outside of it before?
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
“…13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
God, this virtual reality idea hits close to home. Please help me to see reality as You see it – not as a game, story, or fairy tale. Help me to see how You step into the world and make a difference, and how to help others see hope in the midst of a corrupted place. Thanks for cluing us in that there is more – help me to see it. And help me live this life helping others to see it, to Your glory, Amen.