Sacred World; Sacred History
Materialists like to portray Christians as living in an unreal, make believe world. It’s a small step from there to paint Christians as ignorant simpletons. Uneducated rubes.
Another (related) slur is that Christians are anti-science because they do not value the world of matter. They are so “heavenly minded” they are of no worldly good.
Of course these slurs are just that. They betray a profound ignorance of that which materialists presume to criticise.
True Christianity maintains a profound respect for the created world–in both its material and immaterial aspects. The reason is that we believe it to be God‘s creation. What God has created let no creature despise. God is so transcendent, He is immanent in all things He has made. Matter does not have an eternal existence, but a beginning point–and that at the command of God.
David Bentley Hart explains:
For the more educated and philosophically inclined, the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, by God’s free action, raised the principle of divine transcendence to an altogether vertiginous height. It produced a vision of this world as the gratuitous gift of divine love, good in itself: not merely the defective reflection of a higher, truer world, not a necessary emanation of the divine nature or a sacrificial economy upon which the divine in some sense feeds, but an internally coherent reality that by its very autonomy gives eloquent witness to the beauty and power of the God who made it.
And history now acquired not only meaning but an absolute significance, as it was within time that the entire drama of fall, incarnation, and salvation had been and was being worked out. The absolute partition between temporal and eternal truth had been not only breached but annihilated. [David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), p.199f.]
It’s not only the material world which Christians revere, it’s also human history and the course of mankind on the earth down through the centuries. For these are swept up in the divine drama of redemption by Christ Himself, the eternal God Who has taken on a perfect and complete human nature. All men and all nations now belong to Him. In the end, even the crass materialists will acknowledge it.