Blog # 358 The words 'world' / 'creation' in Scripture
We have heard Jesus speaking of 'the world' as of an enemy. "Have confidence", He said, "I have overcome the world." ( Jn. 16: 33). Again in John 18: 36 He says: "My Kingdom is not of this world". Even more strongly He states: "The world hates me because I bear witness concerning it, that its works are evil." (Jn. 7: 7). And as we read in the first Chapter of John, verse ten, Christ "was in the world and the world knew Him not."
We must always avoid the danger of substituting the notion of 'creation' for 'world' in these and similar Bible texts that speak negatively of the 'world'. All of creation is the 'work' of God and is good. (Gen. 1: 21). "God looked at everything he had made and he found it very good." The world, capable of reflecting the presence, love, wisdom, and goodness of God can also be a source of temptation and sin when it is mistreated abused and given power and responses that are rightly given to God alone.
The 'spirit of the world' is a spirit that is opposed to the spirit of Jesus. The spirit of the world is one without faith, a spirit of selfishness and self-centeredness. The spirit of Jesus is one of faith, thanksgiving, generosity, and love.
Yet the spirit of the world tries to sell itself off as something that it good for us. As food is good for us when it nourishes us, so the world is good for us when it helps us to know and love God better. When it does not do this it is deceiving us, promising us happiness which it does not possess. The world can only promise pleasures that are temporary, destined to pass way. Our hearts were made for those which are eternal.
Only God can give us these! In a time of temptation a sincere prayer for wisdom will help us know the difference.