I feel like I'm stupid for asking this question

What’s the meaning of metanarrative and metaphysical. I heard a lot about these two terms from a lot of people, but I really don’t what it means. Can anyone explain and give me simple definitions of these terms so I can use it in the right context so I can understand what a person is saying when they use these words?


Nothing stupid about such questions, @ljhan40 - these aren’t words that most people use on a daily basis. Actually, you’re being wise to double check before using them!

In my circles, a metanarrative would be something like “the story behind the story”. We see what is happening in this world below - armies marching, plagues spreading, famines raging. But in the Revelation, we see that these are just shadows being cast down here by the real conflict going on in the unseen realm all around us - seals breaking, trumpets sounding, vials being poured out.

The unseen war between light and darkness becomes the metanarrative that explains the advance or retreat of evil going on in our world.

I don’t know if you’ve ever read any stories by Christian author Frank Peretti, but his tales show the close connection between the unseen metanarrative and the ripples it causes here where we live.

Metaphysics would be the realm of enquiry beyond physics, beyond the material creation - religious subjects - philosophies regarding things outside the realm of scientific enquiry.

The existence of angelic beings or what caused the Big Bang would be metaphysical questions.

I hope this will help you.


Hi @ljhan40

There’s nothing to be ashamed of making a question. Those who pretend to know without doing the right research are those who have to be ashamed!

“Meta-” is a prefix that comes from Greek and means “after”, “along with”, “beyond”, “among” or “behind". So what @jlyons explained was right.

Another example I would add is for “metanarrative”. It is used in political science to refer to some discourse behind the words of a political leader. For example in the case of Hitler, in the first years, in his ideas and speeches, we could find a metanarrative about a supreme German cast. He was talking about the greatness of Germany and something about revanche but what was behind that was superior ideology.

I hope this helps.


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Dear heart,
your question wasn’t stupid at all, but genuinely humble in spirit. Because you were courageous enough to ask it, I now understand the two words better, through the clear answers of our friends who’ve explained them so well!
May God bless you and continue to guide you, this is a safe place to ask questions and to learn! Thank you!
Angela WG


Meta means outside of but looking in on, with reference to - Eg meta narrative - metaphysics, meta analysis - But each has a nuanced meaning within its context