Reaching Out

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

One of the most famous and compelling allegories (parables) in the history of philosophy is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Plato was a Greek philosopher who lived in the 4th century BC, at the height of the golden age of Greece. Plato describes a cave that contains prisoners who have lived their entire lives chained inside it. Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners are people carrying puppets or other objects that cast shadows on the opposite wall. The prisoners watch these shadows, believing this to be their reality as they’ve known nothing else.

One prisoner gets free of his shackles, and discovers a path to the outside where he encounters a whole new world – the sun and natural beauty he had never even imagined. When he realizes that the shadows in the cave are fake, he desires to return to the cave to tell his friends about his amazing discovery, that they too may become free and experience this new reality that is true, not just shadows on a wall.
When he returns, he is blinded because his eyes are not accustomed to actual sunlight. The chained prisoners see this blindness and believe they will be harmed if they try to leave the cave. So they refuse to leave, embracing the world they know, rather than accepting as true his claims that were so extraordinary they were obviously false.
There is a parallel with our life in Christ. Many people devote much of their lives to shadows on the wall of their own cave, known as television, movies, computer screens, i-pads, and smart phones. What they are watching is not real, but shadows of something real.

We can take it one step further. Born into the Kingdom of Man, we live in three-dimensional space and time on the earth (our own cave). Many people (atheists) believe that that is all there is, and then when we die, it’s all over. But there is another world – the Kingdom of God, that is just as real, but exists in a different dimension, beyond our three-dimensional world of space and time.

When we receive Christ (the Son of God who sheds spiritual light on earth), we become citizens of this Kingdom of God. And when we come out of the cave of the world, the flesh, and the devil (the Kingdom of Man) into the Kingdom of God, we discover that the material universe is like shadows on the wall because it is not the ultimate reality.
Furthermore, when we pass through the veil of death and step into eternity, we will discover that heaven is even more beautiful, and that the love we experience from saints that have gone before us, from angels, and from the sovereign, living God of the universe is more extraordinary than we could ever have imagined.
You and I know people who are in the cave (the Kingdom of Man) and will perish for eternity unless they receive the Son – Jesus Christ. They may even be Christians (see Revelation 3 – the Laodiceans who are perfectly comfortable in the world and its ways, and see no reason to change, no passion for God).

So let us go into the cave, reach out to them, and show them the way out of the cave – the narrow path that leads to heaven. Otherwise they will perish in the cave and fall into the Lake of Fire. That is why we are here. It is our mission – the Great Commission. So let us go forth with the love and truth of the Christ, for time is short, eternity is forever, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” I Peter 2:9

To God be the glory