I read this first chapter of Plantinga’s book at just the right time. I think being in college and being away from family and friends has really made me feel the longing that Plantinga is talking about. Even if you went up to the happiest person in the world I think he or she would say that there is something or someone that they wish they had. Plantinga does a really good job of explaining why we all feel this longing and how we are supposed to feel this way because it can’t be fulfilled until we meet God.
I really liked how Plantinga quoted Augustine, he said “you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” I don’t think that Plantinga is trying to tell his readers that they should not feel happy, because of course God wants his people to be happy. But I do think that he is saying that it’s okay to feel that longing because in time it will be filled with Christ.
In class the concept of nostalgia was also mentioned. I would think the idea of longing for something in the past is the kind of longing that most college students probably struggle with. I know that from personal experience when you are at school part of you wants to be at home and when you are at home you miss all of your friends from school. It really is a viscous cycle, there’s no way to be perfectly happy. It was also mentioned in class that you can’t yearn for what’s already happened. I think sometimes this is a really hard thing to do because we remember all the good times in our lives and who wouldn’t want to go back to those times? Sometimes we forget to look forward to the potential that the future holds and to be optimistic about that future.
Another part of this reading that I really liked was when Plantinga talked about the idea of Shalom. I thought that Shalom simply meant peace, but after the reading and discussion I discovered that it is more than just the word it is a whole concept. Shalom is inner and outer peace and doesn’t revolve solely around one’s own peace, but the peace of the entire creation. Often people will strive to reach a personal level of peace and they forget to try and obtain a more universal peace. It’s important that we think about everyone and everything around us that we affect and that affect us.