One of the psychological results of man’s rebellion is fear. Fear can come in many guises, but generally it comes in three areas:
the fear of the impersonal; the fear of nonbeing; and the fear of death.
We can think of other types of fear, but many fears will fit under these headings. Fear can be small, or it can be the horror of great despair. Many modern men who have come to a philosophy of despair have gone through such horror of great darkness. Many psychologists, for example, Carl Gustav Jung, will meet this fear simply by telling the patient to act as if God were there. In his last interview, about eight days before his death, Jung defined God as ‘whatever cuts across my will outside of myself, or whatever wells up from the collective unconscious within myself.’ And his advice was, just call it ‘God,’ and give it to ‘him.’ In other words – it is acting as if.
In the unity of the biblical teaching, God really is there. He is not just the father-image projected, but the Christian system begins with the comprehension and declaration of his objective existence. Consequently, there need never be a fear of the impersonal. But if men do not have this God, they are eventually faced with only a stream of energy particles. Or, if they shut themselves up and put on blinders to this conclusion, they are shut up to a faceless humanity. And the more they become aware of humanity the more they realize its facelessness. Out of this springs a real fear of the impersonal, and they are right to be afraid.
But the solution for the Christian is that there need never be a fear of the impersonal, because the personal-infinite God is really there. This is not just a piece of theater. If we live in the light of the doctrine that we say we believe, this very basic form of fear dissolves away. This is what the Christian parent says to the little child who is afraid to be left alone when the mother goes out of the room. There is nothing complex about it. It is as simple and profound as God’s existence. The little child is afraid to be left alone in the dark with the impersonal situation, and we may stand there and comfort him, but eventually the Christian parent has to say, “but you do not have to be afraid, because God is here.’ This is a profound truth, not just for children. Indeed, it is the glory of the Christian faith that the little things are profound and the profound things are overwhelmingly simple.
So when the mother teaches the little child that God is there with him, and as the child grows and comes to know for himself that there are good and sufficient reasons to know that God is there, this has meaning in a profound sense that will prove sufficient all his life, through all his philosophic wanderings, as well as in the darkness of the night. On the basis of the existence of the biblical God, and who he is in the total structure of the Christian faith, it is not meaningless for the little child in the dark and it is not meaningless for the most diligent student in philosophy who has ever walked through the darkness of philosophical speculation. There need be no fear of the impersonal because the personal-infinite-creator God is really there. The most important basic premise of existence and reason and purpose for existence is that God is really there ‘and’ He wants us to have a personal knowledge of Him and a relationship with Him. And this reality is truly wonderful. (tomorrow the fear of nonbeing)
Thoughts developed or used directly from the work of Schaeffer, Francis. True Spirituality . Tyndale House Publishers, Inc