A Biblical Worldview Part II

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A worldview often has fundamental impacts on one’s life and how people are treated.  It affects our decision and “provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.”[1]  Nevertheless, a worldview can be properly defined as our “underlying philosophy on life,”[2] which we “bring to decision making”[3] and how “one sees and interprets the world and all that it represents.”[4]  Understanding a worldview enables people to make sense of a situation and issues they encounter daily.[5]  Although worldviews help people make sense out of the world, whether or not they lack coherence is another matter altogether.  Even though “a worldview can be internally consistent or logical yet still be false, no worldview can be true if it contradicts itself.”[6]  Having a consistent worldview is what people need to strive for, otherwise their philosophy on life, ability to make good decisions, and how the world is interpreted through those lenses can have negative effects on oneself or others.

The Biblical worldview presupposes God.  Scripture opens with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” (Genesis 1:1, HCSB), asserting that God is the first cause of all life known.  Essentially, “God is said to have created ex nihilo, “out of nothing.”[7]  King David claimed that God created him in his mother’s womb,[8] and Jeremiah likens the desolation of Palestine to the formless void it was in the beginning.[9]  Humankind was made in the image of God,[10] and its identity is founded in Him.[11]  Human beings, unlike animals, were “created with special deliberation (“Let us make” rather than “Let there be”) and with special design.”[12]  In essence, “the image of God is seen as some capacity, ability, or characteristic that only humans possess.”[13]  Because mankind has been “put on earth to be the representative of God,”[14] it follows that the “gift of dominion and the effective exercise of power over nature was designed to enable man to enjoy his environment fully.”[15] Because humankind is seen as a creation unequivocally special,[16] certainly a “Biblical worldview influences how Christians live”[17] and interact with others.

That capacity to understand what is right and wrong is inherently sourced in God.  The apostle Paul said that apart from Israelites, who had the law, God’s precepts were seared into the conscience of Gentiles,[18] and regardless of ethnicity or status, a Biblical worldview’s ethical standards are “based upon the nature and character of God.”[19]  William Craig argues that morality “gives us a personal, necessarily existent being, who is not only perfectly good, but whose nature is the standard of goodness and whose commands constitute moral duties.”[20]  Paul asserts even further that not one person is righteous according to God’s moral standards,[21] in which humankind “is in need of redemption.”[22]  Craig concludes that “we cannot be truly good without God; but if we can in some measure to be good, then it follows that God exists.”[23]

When researching of other belief systems, a Biblical worldview can help a Christian “understand the framework of where the non-believer is coming from.”[24]  In turn, it can eventually lead to a discussion about individual eschatology, and the destiny of a person after they die.  Christians can better communicate that “humanity is inherently evil and sinful, separated from God, deserving condemnation,”[25] and Scripture details its condition in a world “without God, which leads to eternal punishment and hell.”[26]  Because our destiny is so important, the Christian is exhorted to proclaim God’s message of reconciliation until Christ comes again.[27]  Unlike any other religion, Judeo-Christianity has a good track record for prophetic fulfilment, and “nearly five hundred predictions listed in the Bible”[28] have been fulfilled.  This alone is cause enough to consider what Christianity says about the destiny of the individual.

A Biblical worldview influences our entire being.  It enables us to discern philosophical concepts, and likewise build a framework in which Christians can understand the human condition anthropologically.  It leverages one into a behavioral standard which is fundamentally sourced in self-sacrificial love.[29]  Just as Christians are to love everyone unconditionally as God does,[30] so too is the plight in which to preserve and conserve what He has created because of our love for Him.[31]  “The likeness of God extends to the whole excellence by which man’s nature towers over all kind of living creatures,”[32] and more specifically, mankind “represents God by exercising dominion over the earth”[33] as we are stewards of His creation.  Gutierrez and Weider close by saying, “Christians should be leading the charge as environmentalists and animal rights activists while at the same time appropriately reaping the benefits of the earth for its natural resources and animals for food.”[34]

Worldviews affect the way we live our lives and how we influence everything and everyone around us.  A Biblical worldview asserts God is the cause and source what is moral and just, who endowed humankind with the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, and to represent God as imagers in a broken world.  For a Christian to have knowledge of other worldviews enables oneself to be better equipped and respectfully share the Gospel alongside a lifestyle consistent with their faith.  As Christendom moves forward into the future, continuing to interact with paradigmatic philosophy and religion, there will be more opportunities for dialogue and growth.

Footnotes

[1] Lew Weider & Ben Gutierrez, Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World, (Nashville, B&H Academic, Publishing, 2014), 59.

[2] Ibid., 59.

[3] Ibid., 59.

[4] Ibid., 59.

[5] Ibid., 57.

[6] Doug Powell, Holman Quick Source Guide to Christian Apologetics; A Clear and Complete Overview, (Nashville, Holman Reference, 2006), 80.

[7] Lew Weider & Ben Gutierrez, Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World, (Nashville, B&H Academic, Publishing, 2014), 65.

[8] Psalm 139:13.

[9] Jeremiah 4:23; Genesis 1:2.

[10] Genesis 1:26-27.

[11] 1 Corinthians 6:17; 12:27; cf. Jeremiah 1:5.

[12] Daniel L. Akin, ed., A Theology For The Church, (Nashville, B&H Academic Publishing, 2014), 293.

[13] Ibid., 310.

[14] Ibid, 311.

[15] John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison, (Salem, Sheffield Publishing, 1975), 81.

[16] Lew Weider & Ben Gutierrez, Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World, (Nashville, B&H Academic, Publishing, 2014), 67.

[17] Ed Hindson, Everyday Biblical Worldview, ed. Gabriel B. Etzel, Ben Gutierrez, (Nashville, B&H Academic, 2016), 4.

[18] Romans 2:15; cf. Romans 1:20.

[19] Lew Weider & Ben Gutierrez, Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World, (Nashville, B&H Academic, Publishing, 2014), 72.

[20] William L. Craig, On Guard, (Colorado Springs, David C. Cook, 2010), 144.

[21] Romans 3:10

[22] Lew Weider & Ben Gutierrez, Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World, (Nashville, B&H Academic, Publishing, 2014), 72.

[23] William L. Craig, On Guard, (Colorado Springs, David C. Cook, 2010), 144.

[24] Lew Weider & Ben Gutierrez, Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World, (Nashville, B&H Academic, Publishing, 2014), 75.

[25] Ibid., 27.

[26] Ibid., 27.

[27] Matthew 24:14; 28:19; 1 Corinthians 5:19-21; 1 Timothy 4:13.

[28] Ed Hindson, Everyday Biblical Worldview, ed. Gabriel B. Etzel, Ben Gutierrez, (Nashville, B&H Academic, 2016), 28.

[29] Matthew 5:44; 19:19; 22:36-40; John 13:34-35; 15:12-17; cf. Galatians 5:13-14.

[30] John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:19.

[31] John 14:15.

[32] Daniel L. Akin, ed., A Theology For The Church, (Nashville, B&H Academic Publishing, 2014), 309.

[33] Ibid., 311.

[34] Lew Weider & Ben Gutierrez, Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World, (Nashville, B&H Academic, Publishing, 2014), 64.