Thus, Levin is surely right. The online age has encouraged an intense form of individualism. With it has come the loss of serendipitous learning and an ever-diminishing appreciation of the world. We stand affirmed, yet ignorant—cognizant of our perspective, unlikely to encounter new ones. And of course, the problem does not end with Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. The paradigms to which these platforms adhere are readily identifiable in everyday life. With consumerism as a willing catalyst, society has reengineered itself so as to sequester all unwanted knowledge from our purview. The more a business can affirm my preferences, convictions, and limited perspective, the more likely I am to give them my money. Why intrude on my safe space with an expression of wisdom I did not seek when you could tell me that “chai tea lattes are great; you should buy that again”?
So, toward what end is this decline leading us? Most immediately, we might point to the strain it places on meaningful communication. Discussion and debate are now harder than ever because neither party can conceive of a viewpoint that differs from their own. Deference and humility are in short supply in the Twitter-sphere. In turn, this affects the caliber of leadership we can anticipate moving forward. The well-informed, even-keeled statesman may soon become a relic of history (if he has not already), as the next generation of leaders heralds a myopic vision of what the world could be. But, perhaps the most far-reaching, all-encompassing consequence of serendipity’s death pertains to our sense of purpose. As our diet of learning aligns evermore with a mere review of our established choices, we steadily lose our way. The world becomes smaller, our sense of wonder evaporates, and we are left asking the question, What’s the point?
Sadly, the remedy for such a scenario is not easy to administer. Not only are the constructs of society being reconfigured to ensure that we have an ever-diminishing perspective of the world, but with each successive shortening of the horizon, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the individual to abdicate his throne. The endorphins of affirmation are more powerful than the fear of futility. If the disconcerting thought should arise that perhaps we have lost our way, it can be quickly silenced with another Facebook post informing the community of our most recent success. As the “likes” accumulate, we are persuaded afresh that nothing is wrong, and our limited bubble of existence is saturated with significance.
Thus, even the most persuasive appeal for open-mindedness is destined to fail. A genuine antidote will come by addressing not the issue of individual perspective but that of identity. If the question has arisen, “What am I doing?” to this a response must be given. And it is here that we find that God’s Word issues a triumphant response.
In the very first chapter of Scripture, we behold the majesty of God, who creates the heavens and the earth. With unmatched authority and corresponding ease, He speaks, it is, and goodness abounds. For twenty-five verses this majestic rhythm is maintained. “God said . . . and there was . . . and He saw that it was good.” The resultant tableau is an iridescent taxonomy of the sun, moon, stars, waters, earth, fish, mammals, and birds. Then, the metronome slows. The creation tempo meanders towards a gentler beat. Indicative of theological significance, this shift in narrative pace beckons us to look more intently on the pinnacle of God’s creative work—humankind.