There lies deep within each one of us an innate, unquenchable desire for significance, a yearning to immortalize ourselves. This desire to eternalize our existence is almost insatiable. Our nature recoils at the prospect of dying and sinking into obscurity; being forgotten and becoming lost into the blurry dust of antiquity. To mitigate this fear we strive to make an indelible impact on history, to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to share in our legacy. This is what usually drives us to achieve our highest potential in life. We cultivate immortality symbols such as altruistic projects, academic achievements, and ideologies which outlive us particularly when they are preserved in writing, or made manifest in architecture, etc. We attach labels to our names in relation to our accomplishments to distinguish us from the rest of the crowd. We long for our children to keep our memory alive to successive generations. This inherent aversion toward death, and the incessant craving for immortality attests to the fact that we were created for another world. “He has put eternity in our hearts,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We are princes and princesses in exile, as it were; constantly being haunted by rumors of our other world.
Death came into this world as an intruder, a consequence of sin, hence our deep revulsion and fear of it. Satan has diligently used this and other diabolical strategies to try and eclipse our significance and spiritual heritage. He has endeavored to emphasize the transience of our physiology so that we can be plunged into a death-terror neurosis. But Jesus has annulled Satan’s plans for mankind. In Him our longing for immortality has been secured. Jesus, not our achievements or accomplishments, becomes the source of our immortal identity and significance. We no longer have to flail about, grasping at the thin straws of worldly accolades to find our worth or significance. In Christ our original luster has been restored.
Of course, this is not say that we should be idle or that we should not desire to excel in our endeavors. After all, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) is the counsel from Scripture. Furthermore, in the Parable of the Talents, the individuals who doubled their talents were commended and abundantly rewarded. The point is that we do not draw our worth from what we do, but from who we are as children of God by creation and by redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. This is what gives us eternal significance.
The wonders of our natural world.
So, does nature influence how we think? According to recent research out of the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, connectedness with nature may influence cognitive styles. The research team, led by Carmen Lai Yin Leong, conducted two studies with Singaporean secondary students as participants. In the first study, Leong and her team examined how connectedness with nature correlated with innovative and holistic cognitive styles. The second study explored connectedness with nature and its potential to predict cognitive styles.
The first study consisted of 138 adolescents (46 percent female) with an average age of 15 years. Participants completed an online survey consisting of questionnaires that measured connectedness to nature, nature relatedness, analytic versus holistic thinking preference, and creative style (innovative or adaptive). The results showed statistically significant correlations between connectedness with nature and innovative and holistic thinking. Innovative thinkers are open-minded, whereas, adaptive thinkers, at the opposite end…
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