The world

The “world” can be taken in more than one sense. It can mean the sort of thing that promotes “worldliness”: things like career, politics and life in a consumer society. In that sense, “the world” refers to human things to the extent they ignore God:

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

(1 John 2:15-16.) Worldliness can, of course, extend to the natural sciences, liberal arts and various noble-sounding ideals.

“The world” can also be taken in another sense, as the present scene of our activity. In that sense it’s silly to look down on it: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” John 3:16. It has been a problem in current organized religious life, though, that many people have pushed for accommodation to the world in the first sense in the name of coming to grips with the world in the second sense.