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A Mind for Eternity

In the movie, The Grey, several men survive a plane crash in a remote part of Alaska. The story charts their attempt to escape a pack of ravenous wolves through inhospitable land. In one scene the men talk of what keeps them going, what motivates them. All that they said was good enough--family, love, another chance at life--but all of it was this world focused.

In The Christian Mind by Harry Blamires, Blamires reminds Christians that an essential difference between the secular mind and the Christian mind is that the Christian sees life in eternal and spiritual terms. Our frame of reference is not merely this worldly. It is not that the Christian doesn't think of this world; it is only that this world is set in an eternal context. That, for Blamires, is a distinctly Christian way to view the world. It is also under threat. Blamires writes that Christians are often brought to a certain amount of compromise with the secular mind.

How odd it would sound if one of the characters began to talk with an eternal perspective. How it would jar with the claustrophobic atmosphere of the film for a character to say that God had seen fit to put us in the forest and he had a plan (even if that plan included our own death), that death is to be feared because it is part of God's judgement on sinful human beings; but death is not the end and, for the Christian, death means the turning of faith to sight as we behold our savior face to face.

On occasion we see the secular person look to heaven, we think, "ah, now he will understand, now he will see." Liam Neeson's character in the movie once looks to the sky and cries out for help from God. He doesn't wait for an answer, but instead says that he will go on alone, he will do it himself. This too is the mark of the secular: The occasional look to heaven without conviction. And the subsequent return to this world. To continue to look to heaven would require the relinquishment of his autonomy, the laying aside of his own (assumed) kingship, the denial that he could do anything on his own, let alone escape from the wolves.