Source of Authority

The stone the builders rejected

As already mentioned, the foundation of a house or structure is the most critical aspect of any building. One of the absolute necessities of building a solid foundation is ensuring the foundation is square. The term square in construction is used to communicate the need for the lengths of the foundation walls to be exactly equal and parallel. When they are equal, the distances of each corner is exactly the same, thus forming a square. Another construction website provides an explanation on the importance of squaring, and says,

Why Your Foundation is THE Most Important Part of Your House [sic]. It may seem like a simple part of the overall construction process, but your foundation is the most important part of your entire project. The biggest reason for this is that any mistakes you make in the foundation will only get worse as you go up. It’s known as compounding defects and it means that mistakes grow.

In other words, if the foundation is not square, anything built on that foundation will also not be square. In fact, the higher the structure is built, the more problematic the situation becomes, and worsens as the building grows. This illustration is applicable to the most basic of human thinking. If the foundational views of a person’s life is not square (here I mean, true), anything built upon that foundation will be skewed. The problems associated with this is significant indeed. In order for the foundation of thinking to be square, as it were, there must be a correct perspective of reality.

Allow me a bit of leeway to explain. Take, for example, the question of belief in a creator. If a person believes no creator exists (if in fact a creator exists), his perspective would be far out of square. On that single premise alone, the subsequent opinions and conclusions that person makes would be numerous and fallacious (if in fact a creator exists). That individual’s thinking, based upon that single premise, would be so vastly different from someone who believes in a creator, that the disparity between the two would be significant. And if the thinking is different, ultimately, the life is different. If a creator did exist, the foundation of the one who rejected belief in a creator would be far out of square.

A cornerstone is needed

Both of the persons in our hypothetical example has laid a cornerstone to build the structure of the foundation of their lives. The one who rejects a creator has set his unbelief as the cornerstone and built the foundation of his life around that premise. The one who believes in a creator has set his belief as the cornerstone of his life and built his foundation around that premise. But what is a cornerstone?

In ancient cultures cornerstones were used to square building foundations. Wikipedia provides some insight into this practice.

The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

Over time a cornerstone became a ceremonial masonry stone, or replica, set in a prominent location on the outside of a building, with an inscription on the stone indicating the construction dates of the building and the names of architect, builder, and other significant individuals. The rite of laying a cornerstone is an important cultural component of eastern architecture and metaphorically in sacred architecture generally.

How does this illustrate the importance of choosing a worldview and source of authority to understand life?

Well, the source of authority each individual chooses becomes, in effect, the cornerstone in the foundation of his or her life. All the other building additions in understanding and perspective will be influenced by that single stone. The stone a person chooses becomes the guiding rock on which to build the very shape of his or her life, the blueprint to build, and the foundation which shapes his or her thinking. If a person’s cornerstone is incorrect, the building (thinking and understanding) additions will not be square, as it were, and all will be skewed to one degree or another.

Here is the point I wish to stress—everyone must choose a stone (source of authority and worldview) which acts as the cornerstone upon which the entirety of the house (life) must be built around.The significance and consequence of this selection is of such importance that it cannot be overstated.

Let’s end this section with a story as recorded in the gospel of Luke. The story is about Jesus telling a parable (illustrative story) to make a point to those he was speaking to.

And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, “What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.” But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, “This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.” And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?" Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him (Luke 20:9-18 ESV emphasis added).

Why is this parable and story applicable to our discussion? For this simple reason: Christ is biblically and metaphorically termed, the Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Zechariah 10:4; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-7). Belief in and submission to him is the cornerstone to building a sound foundation in life. If anyone rejects belief in Christ, he rejects the very cornerstone that is necessary to lay a right foundation. Without that cornerstone the foundation on which a person builds his or her life is out of square, as it were, and what is built upon that foundation is, in the end, susceptible to the threats that accompany poor building practices.

Now on to our final discussion in this section where we will examine what and why we believe what we believe.

To next section    Homepage