In the Bible Christians are told to not love the world, but we’re also told to bear God’s image, and God describes himself as loving the world. This makes sense if we understand what St. Augustine meant by not loving anything or anyone out of order; in other words, loving what we should love in the right order: God first, our fellow image-bearers next, and his good creation third. So Christians should love the world, but not more than they love God.

But we must also understand that the Bible uses the word “world” in different ways. First, it is God’s good creation, and so should be loved and served and enjoyed (though, again, not more than God himself); but second, the “world” sometimes refers in the Bible to the world’s system which is controlled by and feeds on lust, power, greed, and pride, and this world system. The former should be encouraged and nurtured by all humans, but the latter must be rejected by Christians, who are called to fight in Jesus’ name against all idolatry.


Aaron Mueller
Chuck Rathert