What Is My Worldview? (Part 2) – Rich Cloud, PPCF Chairman
Abstract & Introduction
The focus of this current article (Part 2) will evaluate a series of questions that are intended to help the reader examine the basis of their personal Christian faith. It is anticipated that the outcome from one’s response to these questions will address how they do or probably should reflect upon their professed faith. Because of the number of questions to be discussed and the length of discussion provided for each, the questions which are numbered 1 to 3 are included in Part 2. Questions which are numbered 4 to 6 will be included in a follow-up article (Part 3).
The goal of this examination, via this question and discussion format, is to emphasize the need for an honest self-examination of what the reader (and likely believer) truly accepts and believes about the concept of Origins. The desire would be to seek a fuller understanding from God’s Word about this key concept and then to consider how one’s faith applies to their personal understanding of it. The result from this should help define one’s belief about Origins, and secondly, provide the basis for correctly viewing the truthfulness of God’s Word.
These questions are designed to offer a means to evaluate and adjust, as needed, one’s viewpoint to best mirror the underlying concepts of a Christian Worldview. Each question will also query, directly or indirectly, the four described worldview concepts included in the prior Part 1 article on Worldview1. While a brief outline is given in this current article for these same four worldview perspectives, I would recommend an additional review of the fuller details for each perspective contained in the Part 1 article.
Defining the Concept of Origins
A key aspect for this series of articles is the underlying need for the believer to recognize and embrace the foundational concept of Origins within their Christian worldview. Because of this, it is also important to provide a fuller definition and description of this concept. For the purpose of our discussion, Origins relates to the what, the how, the when and the why as applied to the formation of the universe.
Within this fundamental understanding of the universe, this concept would include all that the universe contains plus the entirety of all life processes, all of which each person can both observe and study. This would obviously include the creation of mankind in God’s image, as this is described within the first chapters of Genesis. From this imprinted image of God, as expressed within the soul and consciousness of mankind, would be the need to know and inquire about the “big questions” of our existence. We will see that how one understands their worldview position in this area will become the basis for seeking out the correct answers to those questions.
Thus, everything which we encounter in our life experience would initially be comprehended within our individual understanding of Origins. This would include answers to: 1) how all things began; 2) how they have continued; and 3) the process of how they were developed or came to be, with each one needing an understanding that makes sense of our respective life experience.
This would include both the natural aspects of all that exists plus the supernatural aspects of the same, when applied within one’s worldview perspective. When considering this “supernatural aspect”, we recognize that this is most specific to and inherent within those who hold to a Christian faith worldview. This view is accepted as being a truthful and self-evident concept within Biblical Christianity, and by which the source of this supernatural aspect is the Creator God of Scripture.
Outline Summary of Four Key Worldviews related to the Subject of Origins
The four Worldviews, provided in greater detail in Part 1, are briefly summarized below. Each view will be referred to within the remainder of the article by the abbreviated acronym descriptor.
Secular (Science) Worldview about Origins [SSW] – For Origins, this view holds to only naturalistic processes and solely empirical approaches in order to determine final knowledge and truth about the universe and life. No supernatural considerations for origins are accepted or allowed.
Christian Worldview [CW] – God’s Word is the plumbline for this worldview position. This Word needs to inform how we fully apply our every thought, everything we encounter and every action we take so as to better understand our life experiences. God’s Word is considered to be the foundation, the starting point and the ultimate basis of truth. It also remains the ongoing measure in our day-to-day life.
“Deep Time” Creationist-Christian Worldviews(s) [DTCW] – Professes an acceptance of the Word of God as the basis for one’s Christian faith (CW). For Origins, multiple views and approaches exist within this category. All of these multiple views include a “deep time” perspective. While variations within these views do exist, all of these views accept both a past history and time line which is essentially consistent with the consensus secular view of history and deep time. All of these variations within this category of belief can be grouped and summarized as OEC (Old Earth Creation).
Biblical Creation Worldview about Origins [BCW] - Professes an acceptance of the Word of God as the basis for one’s Christian faith (CW). This view emphasizes the importance of the initial 11 chapters of Genesis as being foundational and the correct basis for understanding all previous history and time. Specifically, this view accepts that these chapters provide a clear, straight-forward and factual account of creation and other early events within this recorded history. In summary, this view holds to a recent time line and that these verses contain a historically factual account, when applied to fully understanding Origins. This view is termed YEC (Young Earth Creation).
Questions to Examine & Worldview Descriptions
Below are the Questions which will be considered and evaluated within this article. These questions will inherently address and directly apply to the foundational basis of one’s belief about the concept of Origins. Key to this will be how one views God’s Word as it addresses each question.
Many believers have struggled to purposefully examine this issue. This has often led to a position of “intentional ignorance” or even compartmentalized belief. If so, I hope that the challenge presented by answering these questions will result in a renewed re-examination of one’s faith, including the concept of Origins.
The 6 questions to be examined are given below with those in the current article highlighted in bold:
Which of these worldviews lack a Scriptural basis (i.e., which is biblically inconsistent)?
Does my worldview as a Christian need to be based on Scripture? Is basing my worldview on Scripture enough?
Is my worldview biblically consistent (i.e., based on God’s Word)? How can I assess whether my worldview is biblically consistent?
Does my Christian worldview need to be logical in all areas of my beliefs?
What happens when my worldview is not based on Scripture? Are there consequences to my faith?
Are those with an OEC view saved (i.e., are only YEC saved)?
Question 1 – Which of these four worldviews lack a Scriptural basis?
By simple definition, CW, DTCW and BCW would all be placed within the general category of containing a Scriptural, worldview perspective (CW). Each of these three views accepts Scripture as being the foundational basis of one’s Christian faith. Only SSW lacks any Scriptural basis for its worldview perspective. Thus, it would seem to follow that anyone who professes to holding an acceptance of the Christian faith should reject outright SSW on the basis of how its view expresses the acceptance of a purely naturalistic origin for the universe and life. Following this, the SSW view would also challenge any real sense of meaning for life, including its eternal value or outcome, as found within a biblical perspective.
However, and because of the overwhelming, educational prevalence of this SSW perspective, nearly everyone alive today has been both exposed to and influenced by this false perspective of how to view Origins. This is especially true as it applies to the questions related to the Origins debate. In most of our educational institutions, SSW is the only “allowed” viewpoint to be taught or even mentioned.
Thus, its influence and its teaching have subsequently made its way into most Christian churches at some level. For many professed believers, this SSW perspective has often been accepted as factual and is thus “incorporated” into their personal faith. One result of incorporating SSW into this understanding of Origins is to include some to most of SSW within all of the various DTCW perspectives along with the common outcome of this understanding.
We now need to ask the question: Does the basis of my worldview within the concept of Origins need to be based solely within a “face value” reading of Scripture, i.e., a view of Scripture, which holds to the view that “God’s Word says what it means & means what it says”. Counter to this view would be a significantly different view of Scripture, especially regarding the early chapters of Genesis. This different understanding of what Scripture actually intends to say is shown to demonstrate a “flexible” view for understanding this portion of Scripture. This approach allows for “incorporation” of one or several DTCW perspectives into this new “accepted” view of Scripture.
Question 2 – Does my worldview as a Christian need to be based on Scripture? Is basing my worldview on Scripture enough?
In one way, this question may actually be the most important one to ask as a believer. In essence, it comes down to a similar question asked by Pilate of Christ, “What is Truth?”. As a Christian believer, how you and I answer this question about the concept and the truth of Origins will clearly define where our worldview position truly rests.
For many believers in our churches today, the main focus and extent of their Christian faith is sometimes solely centered on the completed work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. It is clearly true that the Gospel message is obviously the most important truth we will encounter in our personal life. This universal need for the Gospel message will always remain the most important decision for each person to continue to both hear and respond to in the affirmative.
And yet, we sometimes view this Gospel as simply starting in the New Testament, in Matthew 1:1. Because of this, we often remain unconcerned about what has occurred before. We may treat what has gone before as “unnecessary” for understanding our faith. In doing this we can minimize the meaning of these Scriptures, where the truths which reside there do not pertain to the offer of salvation or my personal Christian life experience. Further, one result of this limited perspective is that we actually lessen in our mind what has occurred in the Old Testament Scriptures and thus ignore its impact completely. Even more, many foundational topics contained in these portions of Scripture, such as the concept of Origins, now become what we call secondary issues.
As one reads through the entirety of God’s Word, one key element shows up throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The vast majority of Scripture provides both historical context and facts. Scripture clearly describes these facts as being truthful in their content, i.e., a record of factual reality. Each record of these historical facts is described as taking place at a specific time, in a specific location and happening to specific people. Whether these narrative accounts are of individual lives, details as to the reign of kings or of the ongoing events within the nation of Israel, the importance of the recorded text clearly teaches Spiritual truth. God’s Word takes history and the reality of it very seriously.
Even the prophetic accounts, while not given as narrative history, do indeed record truthful events for the future. Some of these events have already occurred and now exist as history. Others record future real events which are yet to take place. From each of these recorded accounts in Scripture, whether narrative or prophecy, we are provided with insight into our own faith experience. The eternal truths and promises of God’s Word are indeed based within the reality of these recorded life experiences found in Scripture.
In the New Testament we see similar narratives in the Gospels and in the spread of the church within the book of Acts. Likewise, the doctrinal books and teachings through the epistles are always based within many life experiences and where they are written to distinct people and/or churches. These teachings (doctrine) provide the correct and proper understanding of living out our faith and include the correct teaching and proper behavior for believers. These truths were both for those times when written and for us to utilize and incorporate into our lives today. We recognize that these truths are factual in content and must be based within a truly historical foundation in order to express reality and ultimate truth. So, this must also be true when we consider the concept of Origins. The Bible must either be fully correct or it is simply not correct. And if it is not correct in one part, are we justified in believing any part of it?
What we encounter within many to most of our churches is a common ignorance about the question of Origins. From this ignorance arises a multitude of beliefs or positions in which editing or adjusting or massaging the message of Scripture often occurs. This type of approach to Scripture is highly questionable, if not factually false and surely unbiblical. As a result, these views seldom include any mention of simple self-examination to ascertain their correctness. It would seem obvious as a believer in Christ that one’s view about the concept of Origins needs to originate with and rely upon the factual truth of God’s Word. This we will address in the next question.
Question 3 – Is my worldview biblically consistent (i.e., based on God’s Word)? How can I assess whether my worldview is biblically consistent?
Many of the thoughts expressed in Question 2 could also be included in this current question. I will not directly repeat previous comments, but I do want to both highlight and expand on one or two of my prior thoughts along with including a few additional ones.
Maybe the most important thing which we can do as a believer, so as to have an impact in God’s Kingdom work, is to know and understand God’s Word. We need to seek to understand what God is saying to us and to accept this as it is intended to be understood – having content which is factually truth and content which describes factual reality. I made this statement in the prior discussion of Question 2 and I will repeat it here. The statement is simple: “God says what He means and He means what He says”. God speaks with clarity and intention and He desires us to know and accept what He says.
This simple, yet profound, approach to His Word must and will directly apply to a believer’s view of Genesis 1 to 11. This understanding of His Word would also indicate that any view other than a “face value” one would ultimately lead to both a misunderstanding and a misrepresentation of what His Word says. This should be obvious, and yet many believers struggle when they are challenged by ideas that seem good and yet ultimately create doubt, as one is drawn into accepting them.
I would argue that this false understanding is true for all of the multiple DTCW views of Origins. Each of these views incorporates at varying levels, either some amount to significant amounts of the generally accepted secular views of history, time and the application of origin-based science. When this occurs, our Christian Worldview becomes less biblically based and more in keeping with the views of the world.
It is important that we as Christians seek to become more knowledgeable about the truth of God’s Word. Thus, as we live out our Christian Worldview (CW), we need to recognize that our ignorance about key subjects of our faith can also have a negative impact upon those to whom God would place within our path of outreach. We need to seek to recognize, for example, that the concept of Origins may be the deciding point for many as to whether they accept faith in Christ or ultimately become accommodating to the ways of the world. When some are faced with making this decision, they may simply reject the truth of the Christian faith on this issue of Origins alone. We who hold to the truth of Scripture need to not just do better, but to intentionally pursue what we say we believe to be true: God’s Word.
I believe we have an obligation today and in the 21st century to be prepared to respond in all areas of our faith walk to any challenge to our faith we encounter. The message Peter gives in his epistle to us is our clarion call, to share “the reason for the hope we have” (1 Peter 3:15). This requires each believer to fully examine their respective faith view.
As a believer, I suggest that we each ask ourselves the following series of questions:
Am I satisfied to simply focus on my own salvation experience?
Do I consider my trust in God’s Word limited to the promise of salvation and eternal life or does it go beyond this?
Does God not also desire that I would apply my faith expression and my calling to serve beyond simply my decision for salvation?
Do I not have a responsibility to God and my fellow man to speak and share my faith in a way that counters the ideas (worldviews) and teachings of supposed truth provided by the world? Do I not also need to recognize and counter the presence of false teaching and ideas, which could ultimately help lead many away from Christ and the truth of God’s Word?
Answering these questions from a truly biblical perspective should help the believer to better define their true worldview perspective and responsibility in living out their faith.
Final Thoughts – Part 2
The three questions, included in Part 2 of this article set, were designed to directly focus on the need to best seek out what is true about the concept of Origins. The discussion content provided for these questions indicated that our inquiries about this concept of our faith needs to be grounded and exegetically determined within a correct Scriptural basis. Thus, as we each understand and develop our understanding of a Christian Worldview, we need to recognize an approach that must place God’s Word as the first principle in not just our view of Origins, but also in every other area of our life experience.
This same conclusion should obviously follow from a simple academic perspective as applied to our Christian beliefs. Yet, this idea does not always reflect reality for many believers (or most academics) within our churches when they would consider the concept of Origins. The influences that we each experience from exposure to the teachings within society (Romans 12:2) are now commonly expressed and taught as being the “correct way” of considering what is factual truth in this area of belief.
When this eisegetical understanding and approach occurs, then secular science’s view of Origins often becomes the starting point for “truth” and thus what is considered as factual reality about the past. This viewpoint is shown to demonstrate, at best, only limited to even little regard for what God’s Word actually says. The result is that multiple viewpoints are expressed and accepted about the concept of Origins within a typical church. Instead of seeking to teach truth, we choose to debate the world’s view about what should now be accepted as truth.
The problem with this diversity of opinion about Origins, however, has led the church down a dangerous path of both questioning God’s Word and, ultimately for many, disbelief. It is a path that has created doubt within the hearts and minds of many. When some are faced with exposure to these conflicted ideas and teachings, as is normally taught within our secular institutions of education, the result of this has been a mass exodus of our youth and young people from our churches.
It is my prayer that the current article has challenged you in your faith walk as you consider the importance of having a worldview based foundationally on God’s Word. I truly believe that if we fail to recognize the importance of having a correct view of Origins, we will fail, not just ourselves individually, but the church at large. We must seek to honor God in all areas of our faith starting with our view of Origins. More on this subject in Part 3.
I purposely did not define the words exegetical and eisegetical. I would encourage you to look up their meanings. Understanding these two words should enlighten your understanding about the current concept of Origins. Intentionally applying the correct way to discover and determine the true way to understanding Scripture (exegetical) and rejecting the false idea of how to understand Scripture (eisegetical) would be the suitable first step in placing God’s Word first in your whole Christian life experience.
May God’s Name and His Word always be exalted (Psalm 138:2).
1 See What Is My Worldview? (Part 1) for Part 1 of this article.
Copyright © 2020 Pikes Peak Creation Fellowship
Return to Main Page