By Nick Judd
What is a worldview? I think Greg Bahnsen provides us with an apt definition:
“Everybody has what can be called a “worldview,” a perspective in terms of which they see everything and understand their perceptions and feelings. A worldview is a network of related presuppositions in terms of which every aspect of man’s knowledge and awareness is interpreted. This worldview, as explained above, is not completely derived from human experience, nor can it be verified or refuted by the procedures of natural science. Not everybody reflects explicitly upon the content of his worldview or is consistent in maintaining it, but everybody has one nonetheless. A person’s worldview clues him as to the nature, structure and origin of reality. It tells him what are the limits of possibility. It involves a view of the nature, sources and limits of human knowledge. It includes fundamental convictions about right and wrong. One’s worldview says something about who man is, his place in the universe, and the meaning of life, etc. Worldviews determine our acceptance and understanding of events in human experience, and thus they play the crucial role in our interpreting of evidence or in disputes over conflicting fundamental beliefs.”
Said another way, our worldview is the lens through which we interpret all of life. Every time you say that something is good, bad, just, unjust, true, false, logical, illogical etc., you’re speaking from underlying assumptions or presuppositions that make up your worldview. We hold that the Christian Worldview is not just a set of values or positions on moral issues, but that it is actually the very foundation of knowledge itself. That may be a bold claim, but when you consider that God is God and that this is His universe, it is the claim that necessarily follows.
Let’s break this idea of worldview down and then we’ll show what the Christian Worldview is using this framework.
- A worldview is the network of underlying presuppositions by which we interpret everything else.
- Everyone has a worldview whether they know it or not, and whether it’s consistent or not.
There are certain key questions that every worldview must answer, including:
- Origin – where did I come from?
- Destiny – where am I going?
- Purpose – why am I here?
- Morality – based on the above, how shall I live?
- Truth – how do we know what we know?
We believe that God created everything. Since the Christian Worldview sees the world as the creation of this grounds our ideas about man’s worth, dignity and responsibility.
We believe that all of creation is on a determined course that ends in a restoration of all things to perfection. If we understand our current situation as a temporary part of a progressive plan of God then we can more easily put less trust in things that would otherwise hold more value. From this we can account for the universal view of generosity and self-sacrifice as “good.” We also know that all injustice will be judged and justice will be satisfied. The “where is God?” question asked in light of the evil in the world is answered here as well. The answer is, “He is both here and still coming, and when He comes this will be put right.”
We believe that, as God’s creation, all things exist for the purpose for which they were created. Specifically, that purpose is for God’s glory. Humanity in particular, being created in God’s image, holds the special purpose of being His representation to creation. Man also has the purpose of being a creature in personal relationship with the Creator. This is one place in our worldview that addresses the dignity of human life and the responsibility to protect it. The question of “why are we any more important than the animals?” is answered here by the fact of being image bearers of God.
We believe that God has revealed morality to us internally and externally. Internally, through conscience as image bearers and externally through His Word. We can ground morality in God. Likewise here we have an answer to the “problem of evil” – without objective morality there is no such thing as evil. And without evil the question is irrelevant. Our answer to this is that, while God is not the author of evil, He has a good purpose for it.
We believe that absolute truth exists. There is truth that is true regardless of any external factors. The statement “I am typing” is true regardless of anyone’s belief. We believe that truth can be known by means of revelation, natural and special. Special, being God’s word. We ground the concept of truth in the unchanging nature of God. We all live as if absolute truth exists, the Christian worldview comports to this reality because God is true, the Giver of truth and this is His universe. Therefore, according to our worldview, it makes perfect logical sense that we would innately live this way.
An illustration: Imagine you and I are both looking at the moon through separate telescopes. Perhaps your lens has been freshly polished and mine is smudged and scratched. You may say “can you believe that there are those 5 small craters in a star pattern above the that big one?” and I reply, “you’re mistaken, there are 3 and they make the shape of a triangle”. We could argue for hours and get nowhere while looking through our respective telescopes. We’ve all had arguments that fit this illustration, you just can’t make the other person see even though the evidence is right there. The ironic thing in many of those arguments is that you’re both looking at the same evidence. The evidence, or lack thereof, is not the issue. The inadequate telescope is the issue. This is why it’s so important for us to understand our own worldview, one which is grounded in the Word of God, and the worldviews around us.
Everyone has a worldview. We all see the world through a lens. The Christian worldview can account for all of the questions regarding human experience. In fact, the concepts of love, truth, logic, beauty, morality, and justice only make sense in the Christian worldview. Another bold claim, but God is God and this is His universe, and so we should expect nothing else.