Sermon Illustrations

“The fallacy of misplaced concreteness” is a concept developed by Alfred North Whitehead, a philosopher who specialized in mathematics. And an example of what this says is that in a 2-dimensional world, giving the x and y axis location of a point is sufficient to precisely locate that point. But in a 3 dimensional world, then just giving the x and y axis location of a point is not enough, you also need to give it the z axis location.

The college professor was less interested in applying this concept to math as he was to applying it to life. And the point he was making was that in people’s thinking, they often make the same mistake - they mistake a particular object for the final reality, when in fact it is not the final reality - it is a partial reality.

The Samaritan woman had thought true worship was shown by worshiping on Mt. Gerizim as the Samaritans thought, and not in Jerusalem, as the Jews thought. But Jesus said neither was right. Worship God is worshiping him in spirit and in truth. The Samaritan woman had a case of misplaced concreteness. She ritualistically made one place the only place you can worship and neglected true worship that involved her spirit.

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