Some of the so-called "great" and "classic" literature as pronounced by the world depicts a nihilistic despair of meaningless amorality or immorality. Absolute truths to which all must answer do not exist in the world painted by many of those authors who may be able to skillfully define certain realities about the human experience, but who reject the great reality of all things. "He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11).
In high school, a journalism teacher took me under her wing and introduced me to classic literature. I enjoyed and benefited from some of the material. However, I found much of it led me down the path to an oblivion where truth exists only in the minds of each individual, and in countless varied forms. I was not a believer in the Lord Jesus yet, but I nevertheless reacted strongly against the meaninglessness and relativism. Somehow I knew that Truth does exist in a purity and transcendence that stands outside of ourselves, and to which we all must answer. Even more, I sensed from childhood that despite my self-centeredness, the world had to revolve around something or someone bigger than myself and/or other human beings.
It does. "The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1). To miss the centrality of God's working in the world is to miss the very heart of our existence. "In Him we live and move and have our being" declared Paul to the philosophers of Athens, adding that "life and breath and all things" are the direct gift of God to every human being (Acts 17:25-28). The line of life is verticle in the sense that the involvement of Heaven is the most powerful and prevalent reality in the world. Conversely, the world's philosophy declares life to be horizontal. Human to human relationships are considered to be the heart of our existence. We hear it often: "family and friends are the most important things in my life." Those who express this are thought to be noble and well-centered, and certainly devotion to relationship with people is a good and even Biblical emphasis. However, the horizontal line of people to people cannot be viewed as primary in an existence wherein we live and move and have our being in God, and wherein He gives to us our very lifebreath.
"To live is Christ" declared the Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:21). Nothing else is, or can be. The primary line of life is vertical. We must "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1). Furthermore, we must see the line from Heaven to earth intersecting all things in our lives (interestingly, forming a cross as it does). This is the truth and reality that leads to meaning, hope, and the proper experience of horizontal relationship with other people. And this is the message of the most "classic" and "great" literature that exists...
"Thy Word is very pure; therefore Thy servant loveth it" (Psalm 119:140).