Friday, August 26, 2016

Briefly explaining the essentials of a Christian worldview

Jude 1:3 "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."

Yesterday we considered what is entailed in a Christian worldview. We noted first that any worldview addresses the so-called "big questions":

1. Where did I come from (hence the origins question)? 
Doctrine of God & Doctrine of Creation

2. Why am I here (hence the meaning question)?
Doctrine of God & Doctrine of Creation

3. What kind of world is the world (hence, the nature of reality question)?
Doctrine of Creation & Doctrine of God

4. What explains the problems I see around me, and is there a solution (hence, the problem of suffering)?
Doctrine of sin & Doctrine of Christ

5. Is their a point to life? Where are we heading? (hence, the ultimate purpose of life question)
Doctrine of last things

A Christian worldview aims to offer answers to the same questions. The reader may had noticed the "green" headings I placed along with the five "big questions". Those various headings comprise what are usually referred to as the "essentials" of a Christian worldview:

1. Doctrine of God
2. Doctrine of Creation
3. Doctrine of Sin 
4. Doctrine of Christ
5. Doctrine of last things 

Today's post aims to briefly explain each of these essentials, so that readers can better understand why they are essential to our overall understanding of a Christian worldview. 

1. Doctrine of God
Who is God? What is God like? How can we know what God intends, says and wills? Such questions are answered by Christians as they assert God as the proper starting place in the Christian worldview. God is One God, revealed in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God has made known or "revealed" His presence and power by way of general revelation in creation and the conscience. He has revealed His identity and will in the special revelation of the Bible and the fullness of revelation in Jesus Christ. God by nature is all-powerful, all-knowing, every-where present and all-good. God is Sovereign and achieves His plans by various means - including free-will actions of his creatures, historic events and so-called natural laws. 

2. Doctrine of the Creation
The doctrine of creation asserts that the universe is finite - that is to say - the universe had a beginning. The cause of the universe lies outside of it and before it. Roughly 60 Bible passages speak about God's creation of the universe. The idea of a "creation" includes the notions of there being a "purpose", "meaning" and "value" to life as we know it. The created order is distinct and separate from God while ever being acted upon and within by God. Its movements and development are regulated by God's Providence. The created order is both physical and non-physical, material and immaterial. There are minds and bodies, men and angels, the second heaven populated by stars and planets and the third heaven populated by the heavenly host. God is far and above the heavens and the earth while ever pervading all the cosmos with His infinite power, presence and knowledge.

3. Doctrine of Sin
Man by nature is a sinner - fallen short of the glory of God. Originally, mankind was not created that way. Man was originally created with the ability to not sin. Man could choose whether to sin or remain ever in the right with God. God gave every means of grace necessary for man to remain originally righteous. Mankind rejected God and chose to embrace his own reason and opinion informed by Satan. Communion with God turned to running away from God. The Bible uses various terms and ideas to describe sin: trespassing, falling short, darkness, deadness, alienation, morally corrupt. Mankind cannot save Himself. Salvation is an act of God to man. Lest man by grace alone through faith alone receive Christ - there is no salvation. 

4. Doctrine of Christ
God as the Person of the Son had agreed with the Father and the Spirit as a matter of unified Divine Will and purpose to come to earth to assume true and total humanity. In His incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth, the Eternal Son chose to express His existence in a second way - a humanity that entailed all the limitations of any man, except that of sin. The Son would be virgin born, would live, be crucified, raised from the dead, ascended into heaven and exalted. His soon return will mark the culmination of this age and the beginning of the age to come. 

5. Doctrine of Last Things
The doctrine of "last things" touches not only upon "how it will all end", but often times includes the topics of "life after death", "final judgment", "heaven', "hell" and "eternity". The first four essentials all lead to this final part of the Christian worldview. God's glory is the centerpiece, creation finds it completion and renewal (details not withstanding), Christ will rule and reign and then hand the Kingdom over to the Father and then "all things" will be completed. The Christian worldview sees a two-fold goal: God's glory and the completion of God's redemptive purposes. In the mane, the Christian worldview rejects the notion of everyone being finally and fully redeemed. Only those who by grace truly love God and who have responded to His overtures of grace in saving faith per His legitimate offer of the Gospel will be saved. Those who tragically, freely and truly choose to reject God's legitimate offer of salvation will experience God in His justice and wrath. Heaven and Hell, Mercy and Judgment are all included in such a discussion.

Closing thoughts:
The five above headings and their brief descriptions give the reader a "wide-angle" lens by which to view the Christian worldview. Such a worldview can be used to interact across disciplines (such as science, philosophy, literature, education) and deal with the major issues of life (the problem of pain, finding hope, grounding of objective morality). It is hoped that these last two posts have given people an introduction to what we mean when we say "Christian worldview".   

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