What is your base reality?
Earlier this year, in response to a question at a coding conference, serial innovator and entrepreneur Elon Musk stated that there was “a one in billions chance that this [that is the world in which we live] is base reality.” Which is to say, not a simulation, a fabrication of computer code in which we are all existing as though real. Anyone who remembers the movie The Matrix has a picture of this. If you’re interested, you can hear his argument here and read a counter-argument here.
I think that Mr. Musk’s number is too high. The chance that this is base reality is less than one in billions. It’s zero.
As I read Hebrews 11 and Romans 8, I become more and more convinced that base reality, that reality that is the most real is the resurrection for which Christians hope. It is a hope that we have in hand. It is real already for us in the resurrection of Jesus, even as we await its coming for ourselves, all people and the whole created cosmos.
Every Sunday morning at the Chapel of the Resurrection, we speak together a centuries-old statement of faith that declares those things that the community that is meeting together holds to be most true. Among those things that are true are: “the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
Now certainly, as the whole assembly is speaking those words, there’s a variety of images at play in a variety of imaginations, and my guess is that some, if we’re thinking intentionally about what we’re saying at all, are inclined to regard any resurrection talk as somehow metaphorical.
Nevertheless, it seems clear that the writers of the New Testament, people like Paul and the author of the letter to the Hebrews, imagined that they were writing about actual physical resurrection into an actual physical created world — a kind of a reboot, to borrow from the language of computing. They rooted this hope in the observable phenomenon of the physical resurrection of Jesus.
While some may dismiss this hope as pie-in-the-sky, I’m becoming more and more convinced of this hope as essential to the conduct of daily life — the living out of one’s calling. What does it mean to live today’s day in the hope of tomorrow’s resurrection? What does it mean to care for today’s earth in view of its full restoration?
Having written chapters and chapters on the power of this hope, the writer to the Hebrews concludes by calling his first readers to lives of celebration, empathy and contentment. Life, not death, has the last word and is certain. My encouragement to you who live, work, and study in this community that is so interested in questions of calling is to include in your consideration what it might mean to answer your vocation with a view toward your resurrection and the redemption of the whole world in which we live.
Blessings to you on your way.
Aug. 31, 2016
Rev. James A. Wetzstein serves as one of our university pastors at Valpo and takes turns writing weekly reflections.
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A Point of Privilege
- A season of anticipation
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- Better Together
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Carrying the COVID Cross
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Don’t miss this moment
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting ahead with Jesus
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- I almost slipped
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Killing off our future selves
- Lessons in fire building
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Lilies and leaves and whatever else is beautiful
- Living in the Present
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Art of Holy Week
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- This can’t be done alone
- To be known
- You will be in our prayers this summer of 2020
- Ventures of which we cannot see the ending
- We had hoped
- What do you do with your anger?
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When joy and sadness live together
- When the promise of resurrection is hard to believe
- When you offer up your broken cup
- Where God will be found
- Where is the good shepherd carrying you?
- Wilderness Journeys
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future