The word “worldview” may seem academic and irrelevant, but you’ve got one whether or not you acknowledge it. Everyone has a worldview and it significantly impacts your expectations of the world and your life and shapes where you direct your life energies. There are numerous worldviews out there and they often conflict with one another. And, if we’re not cognoscente of it, the worldview we have can be subtly co-opted.
What I want to present here is a basic biblical worldview that, in my opinion, ought to be adopted by every Christian. Throughout this blog I will make an attempt at demonstrating its practicality.
A basic biblical worldview takes the “shape” of: Creation - Fall - Redemption - Restoration
God created the material world and pronounced it good. The culmination of his creation were human beings whom he made uniquely in his image and likeness. Because he’s a perfect God, everything he made was perfect (“exceedingly good”). In creation God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and to develop the material world through ingenuity and innovation.
Adam and Eve, and every human being since, sinned against God. Created things became and have become more important than the Creator - which is idolatry. Sin has marred our nature. We no longer resemble the likeness of God like we once did. The consequences for this are brokenness, illness, and death.
Now let me pause here for moment and point out a couple of implications of this worldview. First, every human being reflects both creation and fall. There will be moments when “Joe” demonstrates attributes faithful to his original design as the image of God. However, there will be moments when “Joe” demonstrates characteristics of a fallen, sinful human being. Every human being is a mixed bag.
When another human being disappoints you due to their lack of Christlike behavior, you ought not be surprised. They are fallen and sinful. When another human being blesses you, you ought to rejoice that the image of God is on display.
The same can be said of every human society. Every society possesses aspects of its original, created design of goodness. Celebrate when you see it. Simultaneously, every society contains corruption due to sin. Grieve over it.
The “Creation” and “Fall” dimensions to our biblical worldview make our world a mixed bag. So our stance towards every human culture ought to be one of critical enjoyment and appropriate wariness.
Even though human beings are idolaters and through their idolatry have corrupted not only their own natures, but creation itself, God did not wash his hands of us. He made a way for us to be reconciled to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus redeems us from slaves to sin, he not only saves us, but life-transformation begins. Redemption is the beginning of the restoration of the image of God in humankind.
There are a couple of practical points to make. First, there is hope for fallen human beings, fallen societies, and fallen cultures. Don’t give up when you see moral decay in a society. God didn’t. Second, if you want to see people, societies, and cultures changed, give them Jesus. There is no redemption without Jesus. If you’re longing for change in the systemic structures of injustice in our world, the gospel is the ONLY thing that can make that happen.
I want to pause here and work through a thought-experiment. Let’s start at the level of municipal ordinance creation. Let’s say there’s a municipal ordinance on the books in the town of “Skol” that prohibits girls from playing on the playground at a local park. Boys can, but girls can’t. How did the ordinance get there? Who wrote it? Who voted for it? Who opposed it? There are a whole series of questions that could be asked, but perhaps the best question is: how does it get changed? What would cause someone to want to change it? Clearly, we need “creational” and “redemption” attributes of our worldview to take over. Girls ought not be discriminated against in this way for they are every bit the image bearers boys are. But what if the city council has been so corrupted due to their fallen nature, they reject this starting point? What then? We can plead with them to tap into whatever shred of the image of God still resides within them, but with their fallen nature, we ought not be surprised if that’s rejected. What they need is redemption which they can get only through Jesus.
If you follow this line of thought step by step, you’ll realize that if entire societies and cultures are to experience radical change, it starts by change within the individual heart. Oh sure, maybe you can win a few elections and reverse Skol’s ordinance, but politics is cyclical. Eventually, you’ll have to contend with this sort of thing all over again. Individual heart change is the only route to lasting change. This happens only through the gospel.
While redemption offers hope that human beings, societies, and cultures are within God’s reach to transform, the fact that sin still resides within the heart of the believer, tells us we will still be a mixed bag. What bears further witness to this mixed bag is the notion of a future that mirrors how it all began. Jesus is coming back to judge the world and restore things to the way they were intended to be. Perfect paradise awaits us. So what are the implications of this?
First, it tempers my expectations for life in this world. My best life is not this one. My best life is yet to come. Expect trials, some of them severe. Second, it gives me hope that allows me to endure through hardship.
Imagine you’re homeless living under a bridge. One day a limousine pulls up and out pops a man in a fancy suite who hands you an envelope. Inside is a note informing you you have a long lost uncle who died left you a massive inheritance. It’ll arrive in the mail in three days. Suddenly, your hardships don’t seem so daunting. A fortune is coming. This is the hope of our future restoration. What you believe about your future radically shapes how to live today.