What Is My Worldview? (Part 3) – Rich Cloud, PPCF Chairman
Abstract & Introduction
The focus of this current article (Part 3) will continue with the outline of the Part 2 article by now examining questions 4 through 6, previously included in Part 2. These remaining questions are intended to challenge one’s thoughts and beliefs about the concept of Origins, as now directly applied within one’s personal life experience.
Since this current article is really a continuation of part 2, I do not plan to repeat a significant portion of the introductory material contained in this previous article. Thus, I have not included much in the way of introductory remarks, my discussion defining the concept of Origins nor repeating my summary of the Worldview concepts. I will, however, include the acronym abbreviations for the worldviews so that the reader will be able to identify each specific one. They are as follows:
SSW – Secular (Science) Worldview about Origins;
CW – Christian Worldview;
DTCW – “Deep Time” Creationist Worldview(s);
BCW – Biblical Creation Worldview.
Each worldview, when referenced, will be designated by the associated acronym.
It should be noted that much of the emphasis in this current article will primarily focus on these two Christian-based worldviews – DTCW and BCW. The secular worldview of SSW has already been addressed in the Part 2 article. It has been both discredited and rejected from a Christian Worldview perspective as being fully unsatisfactory when applied to our Christian faith. While this view (SSW) does attempt to provide answers to the concept of Origins, it clearly rejects any intent to include the actions of God or even the existence of God within the concept of Origins. Thus, we as Christian believers should reject both its premise and teaching in this area of application to our faith. When mentioned in this article, it will be from a contrast position only.
On the opposing side, the larger Christian Worldview of CW would incorporate the concept of Origins from a Biblical perspective. However, because of its larger overview and approach to one’s Christian faith, CW tends to focus more on the incorporation of the Gospel message into how this applies to the broad perspective of one’s life experience. Thus, when referring to the Christian perspective on Origins within this article, the presence of CW would be generally included within both the DTCW and BCW views. Thus, CW, when mentioned, will only be included as an extension of these DTCW and BCW perspectives.
Questions to Examine
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. I have repeated one key thought within this section from the previous article (Part 2).
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 remaining three questions will result in a renewed re-examination of one’s faith, including the concept of Origins.
These current questions, under discussion, are designed to present a directed view and thus “application” of one’s personal worldview to their Christian life experience concerning the concept of Origins. By doing this, each current question may appear to contain a “smaller idea” about one’s faith. And yet, each will address specific challenges to consider as we each evaluate the role of God’s Word within our day-to-day lives, especially as we consider our perspective on 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)?
A thought on the application of God’s Word to one’s Worldview of Origins
One of the main ideas included in this current article is the simple concept that God’s Word must always be the foundational basis and one’s primary ongoing source and resource for our Worldview perspective as a Christian. Thus, any view we hold must have as its “first principle” the need to seek our understanding of how we view all aspects of our life by basing it on the truth of God’s Word. This should be true for any subject within our faith walk, including the concept of Origins. Therefore, as the reader responds and answers the questions below, it is my hope that you, the reader, will seriously consider the need to place God’s Word as primary in the way you would encounter and seek out the truth in this area of your faith.
Question 4 – Does my Christian Worldview need to be logical in all areas of my beliefs?
At first glance, this might seem to be an odd question to ask, but allow me to share a few thoughts to try and bring this to a point of understanding. Consider this fundamental aspect for one’s Christian faith: when many believers ponder the ultimate understanding of their faith, they usually focus almost solely on their relationship with Christ. Holding this trust in Christ’s completed work on their behalf, in the offered gift of salvation and our promise of eternal life with Him, is obviously of first importance. But as a believer in this truth, have we also considered the foundational basis from where this offer and this trust has originated and what is the source of this knowledge?
This source is God’s Word. If I step back from this offer of salvation and my belief as a Christian, do I further recognize the larger picture and plan God has provided to us in His Word? This plan for mankind, with its revealed purpose, has continuously been expressed in Scripture. This Word to us originated from God and is provided by Him. While this complete plan was not fully revealed nor fully obvious from the very first words of Scripture, this plan was given and has been explained through time in His Word. Ultimately the fullness of this plan was revealed (progressive revelation) with the promises first stated in God’s Word and then fulfilled by Christ. For the reality of this plan to indeed occur to its completion, we need to recognize that the entirety of God’s Word must be faithful and truthful in all that it has revealed and stated and promised.
This plan for salvation and the remaining truths found in Scripture reveal a God who is both intentional and logical. The revelation from His Word to us has contained His plan, which is outlined within history and in the context of history. Thus, it is based on providing revealed truth and the reality of this truth from its beginning to its final word. This history reveals a God who is involved and desires a relationship with us. Relationships are built in trust and truthfulness and our knowledge of this comes from His Word to us. This trust clearly originates from an acceptance of what Scripture has revealed to us. Further, this reality is also based on trusting God, who has revealed it to us. The fact that He will indeed fulfill and complete this promise in the offered gift of salvation and the promise of eternal life as recorded in this Word can only be provided to us through Christ. Without the assurance that this will truly occur and become reality through Christ's work on our behalf, then this expressed gift to us would simply be an empty promise.
Scripture tells us that we have a reasonable and knowledgeable faith, which is based on a God who exists (Heb. 11:6). This faith is grounded on the historical truth that Christ came, died and rose again for us. The historical reality of Christ is the object of our faith. His historical actions and His completed work for mankind was required to fulfill the judgment of God, so as to pay for our personal sins by His death. All of this is based within a historical context of factual reality.
Now to the subject of Origins and our Worldview applied to it, for this is the main focus of this article. When we consider the formation and operation of the universe and all that it contains, we should be able to recognize a physical reality for our created universe. The universe exists and operates in a way that clearly demonstrates via His creative intelligence and a logical function from this intelligence. These functional aspects of the universe clearly show a plan and purpose, which is consistent with a logical God. We, as logical and created beings who have been made in God’s image, are capable of understanding this function and its demonstrated operation (laws of science). All of this reflects a logical God. It would then follow that what this logical God has revealed to us in His Word, and specifically within the content found in the early chapters of Genesis, should now lead us to accept its truth as being from the One who created, made and designed the function of the universe in which we live.
This now brings us to how we view Scripture, not just the parts of Scripture we like, but the parts that may challenge our views about other ideas – those ideas which originate outside of Scripture. When challenged by what Scripture says versus what we may have been told otherwise, how should you and I respond? I would challenge you with this thought: Scripture must be true, it must express reality, and it must be factual to be fully trusted in all areas of which it speaks.
But what if:
God has said something in one area of His Word which I perceive to be “wrong” or “false”? Does this view not raise a question of “then how do I respond”?
If God’s Word is wrong in one area of Scripture, how can I honestly believe what has been said in His Word in other passages, such as the promise of salvation and eternal life?
When I express disbelief about some parts of what Scripture has said about the past, i.e., Genesis 1 to 11, can I trust the promises yet to be fulfilled?
Questions like those mentioned in the previous paragraph may cause us to challenge our view and understanding of God Word. In the same way, it seems obvious to me that each one of the DTCW views accepts an understanding and outcome which also challenges and even expresses a discordant view of God’s Word when applied to Origins. Along with this false understanding of Scripture, DTCW also calls into question the character of a logical God. Further, it would seem that when this DTCW view evaluates the content of Genesis 1 to 11 in terms of the concept of Origins, DTCW seeks to adapt outside ideas into one of several “understandings” for the content expressed within these passages.
These various meanings, and the broader understanding which results from them, are completely contrary to the intent of the ultimate author – God. Instead of accepting the Word as written, this view seeks to incorporate some alternate view which is more compatible with the discredited SSW view. Because of this, I believe that this outcome should be completely rejected as false. By accepting one of the DTCW views about Origins, this would call into question both the character and the veracity of God plus the truthfulness of His Word.
Conversely to DTCW, the BCW view determines to accept the passages of Genesis 1 to 11 as expressing historical truth in all areas to which this passage speaks. Thus, the nature and character of God and His Word are upheld, honored and exalted.
Question 5 – What happens when my worldview is not based on Scripture? Are there consequences to my faith?
There are a number of key passages from God’s Word, outside of the Genesis 1-11 account, which apply to this question of Origins. How one chooses to understand them can have a direct impact upon their respective view of Origins and the time line of Creation. Thus, it would seem prudent to consider some of these passages to set a baseline and foundation for one’s approach toward understanding the concept of Origins and how this is addressed within Scripture.
To start, I want to focus our initial attention on an Old Testament passage included in the Ten Commandments and located in Exodus 20:11. This passage reads: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (ESV) The context of this passage is describing the worship of God on the Sabbath and that He patterned this planned worship for a 7-day week, with six days of work and one day of rest. In doing so, He was using the Creation week as the pattern for His decision in establishing our week of work and rest. While this passage does not provide a specific time line since creation, we can recognize from it that the creation week is to be understood as occurring in six 24-hour days and not in long ages of deep time. Choosing to apply deep time to both the Genesis account and this verse in Exodus will effectively remove any real meaning from the Exodus passage, a passage which God Himself wrote with His own “finger”. (Exodus 31:18)
We can also recognize a similar outcome when we examine the teaching of Christ about marriage as provided in passages from two of the Gospels, Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9. Both of these passages reference the creation of mankind and the origin of marriage from the “beginning”. Jesus refers to Genesis 1 and 2 in these passages as real events within the context of time. The Mark 10:6 verse specifically mentions the phrase “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’.” This phrase by itself confirms the supernatural origin of mankind from the “beginning of creation”. Most to all deep time views will commonly hold to an origin of mankind very late within the conventional time line of history, which is after many billions of years. This view, held within DTCW, is totally contradictory to the 6-day creation as recorded in Genesis 1 and with mankind being created on day 6.
A third example comes from Paul’s logical argument about the effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind, which is recorded in Romans 5:12-21. This argument provides a direct comparison between the role of Adam, in the origin of sin and death, versus the role of Christ – the completed work by His sacrifice to pay the penalty for sin, which includes the offered gift of salvation plus eternal life available through Him. This argument continues through multiple comparisons of their respective roles in this eternal conflict of death (Adam) and life (Christ). For this argument to express any sense of reality at all, this would require the physical existence of both Adam and Christ.
Yet if a deep time view is accepted, can we really be assured that Adam even existed, and secondly, if not, then would the origin of sin simply be just a story to be told and thus not based on historical reality? This same reasoning could also call into question the reality of Christ as a man or even the need for Christ to come and pay the penalty of sin, if indeed this is just a story. In effect, the outcome of this argument would then simply be an exercise without meaning, unless, of course, both men existed as Scripture says they did and their recorded actions truly did occur.
In 1 Corinthians 4:2 we find the following statement: “Nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” This passage speaks to the idea of not having the Word of God say something it does not intend to say. This passage speaks to the importance of accepting God’s Word as “setting forth the truth plainly”. All who seek to understand and apply God’s Word to their various life experiences, including Origin’s science, need to approach God’s Word in the intended way in order to determine and discern what it truly means to say.
The point here is that we need to take God at His Word. I have made this statement before in previous articles, but I will repeat it here. It is simply this: “God says what he means and means what He says.” God is all-knowing and can communicate clearly. God could easily have used language in the creation account to indicate deep time (long ages), if that truly was what He intended to say. But clearly, He did not intend to indicate “deep time” as is proposed by DTCW. I believe that the DTCW view has incorporated an incorrect eisegetical understanding into the concept of Origins as provided in God’s Word. Counter to this, I believe that the BCW view utilizes the correct exegetical understanding from Scripture in seeking to discover the truth of God’s Word about Origins.
Question 6 – Are those with an OEC view saved (i.e., are only YEC saved)?
There is both a short and a long answer to this question. I will start with the short answer first.
The Short Answer
It is quite clear from Scripture that salvation does NOT require what is termed a YEC (young earth creation) view to be saved. Any number of verses and passages from Scripture indicate that the basis of our Christian faith is grounded in the righteousness of Christ to remove the consequence of our sins, which we have individually committed against God. As a believer in the completed work of Christ on our personal behalf, the charge and penalty of God’s wrath for our own individual and personal sins is now fully placed on Christ. By this obedient act of Christ, He (Christ) has now reconciled us individually to God, for those who believe and accept this truth.
Thus, for any Christian believer, who holds to this objective truth of Christ’s work on their individual behalf, our sins are now placed upon and paid for by Christ. By this act we are now reconciled to God through our trust in Christ. Further, the promise from Scripture is that they are now saved through this work of Christ and we have the promise of eternal life with Christ assured. We see this truth to be recorded in various Scriptures (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10). Thus, one’s specific belief about Origins does not directly impact this truth nor its promises to us.
But is there an “indirect” impact? Yes, I believe there most assuredly is.
The Long Answer
The issue of salvation is not the only issue here in answering this question. The ultimate issue is the message we pass on when we express an inconsistent belief and thus call into question both the truthfulness and the authority of God’s Word. When we do this, we not only question God’s Word as revealed to us but we also call into question the nature and character of God Himself. From this action, we create doubt and we also begin to question other verses and passages of Scripture which address both the character of God and how we should respond to false ideas being added to God’s Word.
The first Scripture which I will highlight is from Psalm 138:2. Here the writer says this about God: “... He has exalted above all things His Name and His Word.” In summary, this verse expresses the idea that the most important thing to recognize about God is that He wants mankind to know that His Name (Character) and His Word (Scripture) are considered to be more important than anything else we encounter as a believer. If this is true, then each Christian believer should also honor and exalt God and His Word in the same way God Himself has and does.
Likewise, there are several verses in Proverbs and Psalms which speak to the “fear of the Lord” as “the beginning” of (knowledge, understanding, wisdom). One example is Proverbs 1:7, which includes the phrase “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge ...”. The idea of fear expressed here is to uphold God in our hearts and mind with a view of awe, respect, reverence and wonder and for this to be done as the first principle (“the beginning of”) of this view, as regarding “knowledge”. Thus, as one seeks to discover knowledge (or understanding or wisdom) about any subject, it must start with God and what He has said to us in His Word.
This should be true for all areas of our existence, regarding both our faith and our life experience. I would further argue that this is true for how we consider, examine and evaluate our understanding of Origins. Unfortunately, many of our churches and many believers who attend them do not accept what God has said in His Word as being the “first principle” in how we need to develop our understanding of Origins (and even some other teachings on occasion).
For the mature believer in Christ, or for the believer who is new to the faith and was led to belief through a crisis situation in their life, the concept of Origins may seem unimportant or a secondary issue for them. In their mind this may be unimportant for them. But honestly, the issue of Origins is really not about them. How one accepts the teachings from God’s Word is simply not about us or what we may think. Instead, it is about what His Word says is factually true and not what I think about its truth. I need to accept His Word as truthful and authoritative and not choose to edit out the parts I don’t like.
I hope that my responses to question 6 have challenged you to reconsider the importance of this concept of Origins and the need to find the correct understanding of it. I believe an honest evaluation would lead each person to accept the BCW perspective. If, however, you choose to accept or maintain a view consistent with one of the many DTCW views, my hope is that you will remain open to what God’s Word is saying on the topic of Origins. I know that I have taken a bit of a hammer to DTCW in this article, but I honestly do not see how it is consistent with God’s character nor what His Word contains. A truly open heart and mind is the beginning of truly knowing God (Romans 12:2).
The problem is not what a believer may or may not believe. Instead, the impact being witnessed to us by the DTCW view is an expressed compromise over the truth of Scripture in the area of Origins. Our youth who attend our churches clearly recognize the inconsistencies, the discrepancies, the logical disconnect and the even lack of courage that exists in this area of teaching and the acceptance of any form of DTCW. We need to reverse this failure and return to speaking truth within our churches on this subject so as to “stand firm in the faith” (1 Cor. 16:13).
Final Thoughts – Part 3
There is a fundamental problem which both the church-at-large and the church individually are struggling to answer. This problem confronts us as believers as we seek to minister to those whom God has placed before us, both in our church families and beyond. And yet, it is a problem that the church appears to be running from and even ignoring. This problem can be summarized as the exiting of our youth and young adults from our churches because of disbelief about what is true and what is not, especially concerning God’s Word. This disbelief impacts all generations, but especially our youth, who are questioning the meaning, the application and the truth of God’s Word for the 21st century.
For the most part we see that most churches are sitting on their hands and watching our youth exit out the back door with many never to be seen again. We see statistics1 which show that over 75% of our youth are leaving with many doing so because of the disconnect they see between what Scripture says in true and what “science so-called” is teaching in the classroom. We seem afraid to confront this issue because we say that “unity of the body” is at stake. If we continue to wait, there may be so few present in our churches to worry anymore about the unity of the few.
While I am from a much older generation, this is personal to me. Some 50+ years ago, I was one of these youth who, when graduating high school, also graduated from church. I left for several years over the issue of science and my career plans to pursue it. I viewed Christianity and science as essentially incompatible. Biblical Creation helped to bring me back to faith. For me, this is personal. Our churches have to do more.
I am honestly getting tired of mature believers telling me this is a secondary issue and we need to let it rest. They may honestly feel this way, but I would argue they are honestly wrong in their view about this. Are we really so blind to the false nature of incorporating non-biblical ideas into our faith (read DTCW) that we are willing to just continue as usual? Are we willing to give up on the generations to follow just so we can have “unity” and sacrifice them on the altar of “getting along” to maintain it? Do Old Testament teachings like Deuteronomy 6 and Psalm 78, which speak to the past acts of God (read creation), no longer apply in this case?
While this is mostly a generational problem for our younger people, this failure to counter the false teaching of science also weakens the faith of all who fail to challenge this teaching by simply being unprepared to respond to it (1 Peter 3:15). I do recognize that many believers with a strong and mature faith hold to some form of DTCW and they may truly believe this is right, at least for them. But I wonder, do they really believe that this is what God has revealed in His Word (Genesis 1 to 11)? Do they really believe God would do one thing and speak to something totally different? Do they really believe this meaning of “deep time” Origins is consistent with God’s character? Do they really?
Our Christian faith is neither blind nor should it be lacking in intelligent examination. Our faith is truly based on objective truth and logical reasoning (1 Peter 3:15), which is rooted in the factual nature and reality of Genesis 1-11. When we choose to de-emphasize this factual content or to mold it into something other than the truth it reveals and proclaims, we end up lessening the character and truth about our Creator and what He has said He has done.
My hope is that all who have read all three parts2,3 of this article series will be challenged by the thoughts I have expressed and would want to know more. If you are looking for information about what was discussed here, please go to the menu locations on our website which provide links to recommended Biblical Creationist organizations. If you live in the Pikes Peak Region of Colorado, we would invite you to attend one of our monthly meetings. Information for the content of these meetings is also available in the Meeting Schedule area of this site.
May God’s Name and His Word always be exalted (Psalm 138:2).
Rethinking Radiometric Dating, Vernon Cupps. ICR, Introduction
– Pg. 8.
Two specific references: 1) Data from the Southern Baptist
Conference indicates they are losing 70-88% of their young people after their
freshman year of college; 2) 70% of teenagers involved in church
youth groups stop attending church within two years of graduation. (Just
the tip of the iceberg)
2 See What Is My Worldview? (Part 1) for Part 1 of this article.
3 See What Is My Worldview? (Part 2) for Part 2 of this article.
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