This article is the second in a six-part series that looks at developing a coherent explanation of what it means to believe or adhere to a Christian or Biblical Worldview.
The Christian worldview is instantly recognizable by its willingness to limit the sources of its authority to God and His Word. Christians don’t care if that makes them look stupid, superstitious, or worse in the eyes of the world, but for a Christian, the authority of God is our only option because God is the only metaphysical game in town. In part one of this series, I chose absolute fidelity to the Scriptures as being the primary component to the Christian worldview, because without them, we would only have a natural knowledge of God (which is sufficient for God’s judgement by the way, cf. Romans 1). While it could be argued that today’s essay should have been the first in the series, these first two tenets are really two sides of the same coin. For while the Christian worldview begins with God, it is only through the Scriptures that specific knowledge of Him and how we can come to know and love Him is revealed.
In this age of radical human autonomy, it is imperative to reclaim and accept the absolute, monarchical, sovereign existence and rule of God if one dares to call himself a Christian and claims to hold to its worldview. Anything less is either atheism or paganism. Just as our acceptance of the Scriptures as God’s Word is a non-negotiable, so too is our understanding of the universal pecking order. God, in case you are unclear, is at the very top. Cockroaches or dung beetles are slightly above the demons, and Man is somewhere in-between. But the one place we absolutely are not is side-by-side with God on his throne, being able to claim authority for ourselves- that belongs solely to God.
How Well We Acknowledge that Sovereignty
However, as trite and obvious as all of this may sound, I’m not optimistic about how low a view or lack of understanding the average Westerner actually has of God (although Christian Smith’s research is a great place to start). They probably think that because they go to church on occasion, “believe in God”, and have a piece of jewelry that has a cross on it, they hold God in high esteem. With that appreciation noted, they move on to living the rest of their life on their own terms. It should hopefully be obvious though, that such minimal hat-tips to God do not safely put someone in the category of holding a Christian worldview.
Indeed, the carefree way we approach God’s existence and Law is often shameful. For example, the degree to which some Christians will go to the ends of the earth to convince an unbeliever of a some minute point of astronomy that will (hopefully) lead them to a grand designer, that will (hopefully) then lead to Genesis, that will (hopefully) then lead to a cross and resurrection smacks of desperation and capitulation, even if brilliantly expressed. Or the way that Christians tie themselves into knots trying to justify perversion, gender “transitions”, or abortion is repulsive to the person who adheres to a true Christian worldview. (Not that I am placing a sincere Christian apologist in the same category as a sexual deviant; rather I am saying that hoping for an unbeliever to meet you halfway and then connect the remaining dots is already a compromise.)
Far from questioning God’s existence and clearly stated Law, it is assumed and defended by the Christian. And yet, we have made God into more of a friend than a being to whom we owe all fidelity, loyalty, trust, and obedience. True, Jesus speaks of his friendship with us: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, ESV). But that is God showing His love towards us. That is pure grace. What friend, though, would take advantage of that offer of friendship by assuming that the offer itself was permission to think of God as only a friend and not, you know, God?
Another example of how we have lowered God to our level can be seen when the Bible says that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7, ESV) I have been taught my entire life that “fear” in that context doesn’t mean fear at all (yay!), but “honor” or “reverence.” In other words, we have nothing to “fear” from God (i.e. there is no longer any judgement because “God is love”) but we should show Him respect. But is that true? Or does the author of the Proverb (Solomon) actually mean it when he says we should fear the God who created us, will judge us, and can destroy us in the old-fashioned sense of fear? As in, there will be a dire consequence if I reject God. I mean, when you say it like that…
I would even argue that to frame the question of God’s existence in a way that places it in doubt is an affront to God and a betrayal of the Christian worldview. And yet, we treat debates about God’s existence as though they are a parlor game, a way to spend our spare time in a bourgeois life. Isaiah says it so well: “You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, ‘He did not make me’; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’?” (Isaiah 29:16, ESV) Either God exists or we have embraced total absurdity, for the atheist has no answer as to why anything at all exists (and no, evolution or “it’s turtles all the way down” are not sufficient explanations for existence). So, why exactly are we the ones on the defense?
Lastly, there is the embarrassment of God. “Oh, my god never would have harmed those innocent Canaanites!” Oh, you mean, the Canaanites who hated God and burned their own children alive as sacrifices to the demon Molech? Yes, actually, God was well within his rights to execute those Canaanites and He did. It is not an exaggerated or fictitious history that records those events, but the Word of God, the same Word I already said must be embraced by the true Christian. In fact, God would be well within His rights – and it is laughable that this even has to be said – to treat me as a Canaanite right now if I started acting like one. If you cannot admit that, then you already believe the lie that you are at a negotiating table with God and you actually have a say in how things are run or judged.
In the End, God’s Sovereignty Remains
God should be viewed as the rock that He is: unmovable, unbreakable, and undefeated. If the Christian has not come to the very firm conviction that God is God and we are not, that God possesses certain inherent rights for which he owes us no explanation, and that God’s incredible graciousness to us was not His way of saying, “Okay guys, it’s totally fine for you to ignore me now,” then they do not possess a Christian worldview.
In the Christian worldview, the most inviolable realities are God’s existence and God’s decrees. These are not negotiable and are only worthy of study to the extent we are talking about their application instead of their reality. If the Christian is not absolutely certain that God exists, that He is the only God, and that His Law is only to be questioned as to whether it still applies, then they do not possess a full Christian worldview. And when the Church engages in evangelism, it is to this God that I hope we are drawing men and women. Not a sentimental God only defined by “love” who may or may not exist. Anything less is a compromise.
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