I love culture. I enjoy being a part of the world in the sense that I enjoy things like technology, cafe culture, the arts, sports, city life, etc. To some extent, I believe that we’re wired that way. The Cultural Mandate found in Genesis 1:28 states the following:
And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’
We have within us a God-given desire to create, to be fruitful in what we are involved in and to subdue the world, overcoming problems in a creative fashion and to make life more enjoyable through God-given talent. That is not a bad thing. Yet John rightly warns us not to love the world or the things in the world. OK, what gives, is it wrong or right to love the world?
I think the answer to this question lies in the next verse: “For all this is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world.” [italics mine.] In other words, I think we must be careful not to fall into the trap of crossing the line of loving all that God has created and allowed us to take part in, including the world in which we live that He can bring redemption to through us, into being influenced by it, adopting it’s goals, values, and ways.
I believe we are called to impact the world for Christ by all means at our disposal, but there is a very real danger of the world impacting us, seducing us and drawing us away from the God we claim allegiance to.
John is clear that the world is passing away. Then he says that whoever does the will of God abides forever. I do not believe in separating myself from the world, swearing off those things that are neutral in and of themselves like technology, the arts, etc., but I had better be careful to make sure I know whether or not I control them or they control me.