Constructing a Christian Worldview: Redemption

This is a follow-up from the previous two posts.  It will make more sense if you’ve read the first two before this one.

When last we left off, the world was in a horrible predicament: fallen.  Thats no good way to be.  All constructed worldviews must have at least these three phases: creation, fall, redemtion.  Every worldview has a theory of origins, a beginning to the world and ourselves, the world’s inhabitants.  For the naturalist, this is merely a cosmic coincidence, an accident somewhere in space-time; and for the darwinist, we humans accidentally evolved.  Every worldview is then conflicted in some way.  It is met with a problem that has messed up something.  Just look around, the world is not all that we wish it were.  There are people starving, people killing each other, people sick and dying.  There are problems.  For the naturalist, these problems are merely the root of having not evolved and developed quite enough yet.

Then there is redemption.  What is going on now?  How should we struggle against this problem?  What is the proper course to righting these wrongs?  Again, for the naturalist, believing that there is no God, the problems are right in front of us – poverty, hunger, disease, war, etc.  And if we band together we can eradicate the world of these problems.  We can end hunger and starvation one bowl of soup at a time.  Meanwhile, science holds the answer to all of our medical delimmas.  The glaring problem with thinking this is that death comes.  It comes to all.  Last I checked, nobody gets out of here alive.  And even with all our scientific advancement and humanitarianism, death will still be the last great undefeatable catastrophe.  Death is coming.

But the Christian Worldview is far different than the naturalist worldview.  It is based on a God who is all powerful and all loving.  And especially One who has revealed to us His worldview.  So what does this worldview say about our present state?  It says in big letters:  REDEMPTION.

I must admit that it is a monumental task to even take on speaking of redemption.  It is such an all-encompassing, all-reforming idea, that I will not do it justice.  But what I want to do, is make you think about it.  I want to give you something to ponder, something to focus on and set every part of your life toward.  As Christ set his face toward a cross, we must set ours toward redemption.  And Christ is redemption.

Remember way back at the beginning, in the created order which God called “very good.”  He gave mankind a job, one known as the Cultural Mandate – that is to fill the earth with civilization and God-honoring cultures.  Thanks to the fall, we initially failed miserably.  But because Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross, all is being redeemed.  Remember, God subjected creation to futility in hope.  In hope of what?  “That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

Thats where we’re headed.  Thats where the Christian Worldview points.  It points to freedom from the effects of the fall.  It points to ultimate redemption.  We are to set about at the task of the Cultural Mandate.  We are to be a part of redeeming everything to the glory of God.

It is not enough to have our sins forgiven and our hearts redeemed.  Every part of our lives must be saturated with the redeeming grace that has freed us from death to life.  That is a part of discipleship.  And it is not an easy part. But when our minds are turned to the mind of Christ, our lives are transformed.  As Christians, we must not be conformed to the worldly ways of doing things and separate our spiritual lives from our public lives, from our relationships, from our work, from our thinking.  We must make Christ supreme over every part of our lives.  We must be a part of this Redemption.

Pearcy describes it this way:

A young woman working as a technical writer once told me that her job was merely a way of establishing a financial base to do the things she really wanted… but she was mistaken in regarding her earthly vocation as merely a temporary expedient.  In our work we not only participate in God’s providential activity today, we also foreshadow the tasks we will take up in cultivating a new earth at the end of time.  God’s command to Adam and Eve to partner with Him in developing the beauty and goodness of creation revealed His purpose for all of human life.  And after He has dealt with sin once for all, we will joyfully take up that task once again, as redeemed people in a renewed world.

This comprehensive vision of Creation, Fall, Redemption allows no room for a secular/sacred split.  All of creation was orginally good; it cannot be divided into a good part and a bad part.  Likewise, all of creation was affected by the Fall, and when time ends, all creation will be redeemed.

This is so exciting.  Everything is being redeemed.  We are part of God’s plan to redeem all creation.  The proper Christian Worldview has answers to questions that we never even think to ask.  Everything, even death, is being redeemed.  It is not longer wrath and punishment, but grace, that we may say with Paul, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain… My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

Now lets take one more minute here and roll back to another worldview and look at its idea of redemption.  With creation and fall, I dealt with Kant’s worldview of communism, in which it was private land ownership and competition which ruined everything and brought about the fall.  What would he then say of redemption.  Give all land and property to the state.  Let men work for the state and let us all aim for the good of the state and humanity with our work.  If private ownership is the problem, then state ownership is the solution.  Only problem is, just as with naturalism, death is coming.  Giving everything to the state doesn’t fend off or redeem death.  Its still the end, the very end, the last great opponent that we, ourselves, cannot overcome.  But that simply highlights the goodness of Christ and the Redemption He brings – True Redemption, Ultimate Redemption, where even death is a grace.

In closing I would just like to hit on the topic of Consumation.  Some will argue that the worldview has a fourth part and that is the final consumation of the redemption that has been initiated.  And I would say yes.  There is a coming consumation.  It will be the completion of this redemption that we currently experience.  And giving it its own category is a worthy idea.  I mean, look around, redemption is not complete.  We still have hunger and sickness.  But I would answer that Consumation is that final completion of the redemption that is now ongoing.  We must keep in mind that we are the redeemed and all creation is going toward a point where everything is redeemed.  That day is not yet come.  But let us hold on to the hope that it is coming.  If we should put it in its own category, that is OK with me.  But if we should see it as the completion of that which we now experience that is OK with me too.  For me it is easier to think about the Big Three – each separated by a turning point:

Creation.   Fall.   Redemption.

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Constructing a Christian Worldview: Created

Whats in a worldview?  Everything.  Abraham Kuyper wrote:

Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’

For Kuyper, everything was under the domain of his Biblical Worldview.  For Kuyper, every single “square inch” of his life was brought under the supremacy of Christ.  That is a biblical worldview.

But how does one go about understanding life in this way.  It is not easy.  We live in a world where everything around us does not scream “Christ is everything!”  We live in a world where the religious aspect of life is relegated to the private and personal realm.  Religion becomes a collection of values.  And values are true only for the individual who upholds them.  They can’t be applied in the public realm.  Doing so would certainly offend someone.  Values are important, we are told, just not important enough to influence our lives in public.

Recently at school, a medical doctor spoke to the class about birth defects and abnormalities.  This particular doctor helps screen for such things.  And if defects are found, the pregnancy is commonly terminated.  The decision to terminate, he insisted, must not be influenced by our “values.”  Our “values” should not enter the conversation.  We should leave those at home.

I find it interesting that this is a part of his value system which he believes is OK to bring to work.  He is a post-modernist.  He doesn’t believe that there exists an objective truth or a right and wrong.  Right for one person may differ drastically than right for another person.  That’s his worldview.  And he brings it in to work everyday.  But he tells me I cannot bring mine.

Well, pardon me, but in the first place that is absurd.   No one makes an important decision after first eliminating everything they believe about life, about morality, about clean-cut issues such as murder.  No one.  And secondly, its impossible – as if any of us could really forget everything we believe, walk away to a completely neutral standpoint (as if that standpoint even exists) and make a decision from a fresh perspective.

What he told us to do was both absurd and impossible.  On top of that, he doesn’t do it.

We are faced with worldview questions everyday.  So the big question is: how do we construct this worldview.

As you may have noticed, the catchphrase of my blog (see above) is “Created, Fallen and Redeemed.”  That is a good place to start.  It applies to every person in a slightly different way.  I mean, a plumber is not really affected by the way a doctor views his life.  But at the same time, the Biblical answer to the big questions affects, on its own, every single person’s life.  So it may apply differently across the board, but it certainly doesn’t ever not apply.  (Pardon my grammar, or lack thereof.)

Created:  The place to begin is creation.  Now I don’t necessarily mean “creation” in the biblical context.  I just mean that every worldview must account for the origin of everything.  How did it all get here?  What were things orginially like before they were disordered?  Even the communist worldview answers these questions.  Communism says that once upon a time there was no land-ownership and no competition.  Everywhere there was a peaceful communal life where people thrived.

The Biblical Worldview is a little bit different.  The Bible holds that God created the world and put man in it.  Man was without sin and without problems, living in community with God.  There wasn’t sin in the original created order.  There weren’t natural disasters.  There wasn’t disease or crime or poverty.  “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).  Indeed.  It was.

God made man in his own image.  We had (and have) an innate dignity.  There is an importance, a value, a worth to us, just because we are “us.”  Just because we are made in the image of God.  This is huge.  People are important because God made us that way and told us we are important.

Then God gave man a job.  (And when I say “man,” I just mean people.  Come on.)  Man was to fill the earth and subdue it.  We were supposed to reign over the earth.  Under God, we were supposed to reign supreme.  And we were supposed to fill the earth.  We were supposed to fill it with Image Bearers.  We were supposed to build civilizations and develop cultures, all to give glory to God.

This is what Creation means.  This is what it is all about.  God made it and he proclaimed it to be very good.  This is the basis for the Christian Worldview.  This is the foundation.  The Worldview doesn’t end here.  But it cannot start anywhere else.

Coming soon:  Constructing a Christian Worldview:  Fallen.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 12:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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