Sunday, October 26, 2008

Worldview Class – Part 8 –Christian Theology

This is a continuation of highlighted topics discussed in a worldview class I am teaching on Sunday morning. The main text for the study is The Battle for Truth by David Noebel. A good deal of this class is also based on personal research.

Theology is defined as “the study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions”. Every worldview takes a stand on God, whether it is to believe in one Creator of all, or to say that no God exists. A critical understanding of each worldview pivots around the position taken regarding the existence of God.

To this point, we have reviewed the approach of three different worldviews to the subject of theology – Secular Humanist, Marxist, and Cosmic Humanist (New Age). The first two subscribe to the concept of atheism, while the last tends in the opposite direction – toward pantheism, where everything and everyone is god. The Christian worldview embraces theism – the concept that there is one God, who created everything and has existed for all time.

The Christian worldview rests on two foundations – general revelation, and special revelation. General revelation tells us that God is revealed through nature and the complexity, beauty, and intricacy of the world around us. By studying the “irreducible complexity” of biology, astronomy and any number of other observable systems in our universe, it becomes clear that random chance is far less believable than simply accepting that all things were created by God. William Paley gave an excellent analogy for this belief in his book Natural Theology, where he poses the idea that a man finding a watch while in the wilderness would never conclude that the watch simply existed due to a fortunate series of random events. Rather, the man would be forced to conclude that the watch was made by someone, and likely had a purpose for its creation. How much more true is this conclusion when measuring the vast complexity of the universe around us! When looking at the facts in a rational manner, it seems impossible to conclude anything other than that we were made by someone far more powerful than we are. A true scientific approach, unhindered by humanistic bias, would draw the conclusion that there is a Creator. Romans 1:20 tells us that “since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

While this general revelation points us in the direction of God, it does not answer specific questions that we might have, such as “What happens in eternity?”, “How can I be saved?”, or “Will there be a judgment?” This is where the second foundation enters, that of special revelation. Unlike other worldviews, Christian theology claims a divinely inspired Bible, which is thousands of years old and is corroborated to be accurate by countless archaeological discoveries. And while the Bible was authored by many men over large periods of time, it is amazingly consistent in its approach to morality, history, and theme. Christians also point to these consistencies as further proof that the Bible is divinely inspired by God Himself, as a directive for us to follow and teach. The claim that these words come from God is a critical underpinning of the Christian faith. For the Christian, this is also considered a significant advantage over other viewpoints. Revealed truth is better than the constant floundering and rediscovering of truth that is evident in the other worldviews.

The combination of these two foundations tells us a great deal about God and His nature. Special revelation through the Bible and the life of God’s Son, Jesus, tells us that God is personal and that He desires to be known and have a relationship with us. That is no small thing. God could have decided to “wind up the universe” and let it play out to its own ends. Instead, He chose to reveal Himself, not only in nature around us, but in words and history that tell us who He is and what His ultimate plan for us will be. On balance, the Christian worldview is a far more hopeful and meaningful approach when compared to the other competing humanist worldviews. This hope and the fact that God wants a relationship with us should be enough to turn the head of anyone who is truly seeking the meaning of life.

To Worldview - Part 9 - Secular Humanist Ethics

Or go back to the main index for all twelve Parts.

If you are interested in portions, or all of this twelve part series taught in an engaging, educational fashion, please contact Alan at Banyan Concepts.

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