SUMMARY M080A2: Worldview: Ten Key Questions About Life
Submitted By: Dr. Frederick Jones
Summary: To begin a summary of the “Ten Questions About Life,” we will break down the lesson into its ten component parts and examine each of them individually. This study was specifically designed to assist Christians in developing a Biblical worldview in every aspect of their lives.
The first key question dealt with was “What is man?” From the Biblical perspective, man is made in the image of God and has inherent value and worth. Man is also made up of both body and spirit according to Scripture, which is at odds with the beliefs of secular humanists, evolutionists, and Eastern mystics.
The Biblical worldview of man is also in conflict with pagan mythology, Greek philosophy, and Gnosticism where good and evil are just different manifestations coming from the same source (dualism). In Manichaeism that which is material (the body) is identified as being bad (evil), and that which spiritual (the spirit) is understood to be good.
Scripturally, the Bible tells us that God looked upon His creation of man’s spiritual nature (his soul) and his material nature (his body) as being “very good.” Having said that, the Bible also teaches that man will die both physically and spiritually because sin has had an effect on the whole man, body and soul. While physical death is a consequence of Adam’s sin that has passed to all his posterity, every person experiences physical death because every man personally sins. Just as sin involves the whole man, both body and soul, salvation also involves the whole man, both body and soul.
The second key question in our summary of this lesson is “What is the meaning of life?” This portion of the lesson focused on the only two real options open to man: one point of view is a theistic or Biblical worldview, while the other is an atheistic or humanistic worldview.
A Biblical worldview holds that there is a God, man has a duty to obey God, there are absolute standards of truth and right or wrong, man has a spirit (soul), man has meaning and purpose in his life, there is life after physical death, and then there is judgment.
An atheistic or humanistic worldview purports that there is no God, there are no absolute truths, there are no ultimate standards of right or wrong. Man is just a physical being, there is no ultimate meaning and purpose in this life, and after physical death there is nothingness.
A third key question in the summary of this lesson asked, “How are we to make moral choices?” Without the eternal and universal standards of ethics and morality found in God’s Word, everything else is nothing more than man’s ever-changing speculations, wants, and desires that shift with the whims of culture and societal mutation.
The Bible states that there is a right and wrong, while a humanistic worldview states that morality is situational and autonomous. This means that individuals, not God, determine what is right or wrong depending on the situation. Man, not God, is the final arbiter of what is right or wrong, ethical and moral, what someone should do (ethics) and what they actually do (morals).
Regardless of which position one holds, all men are obligated to do exactly as God has commanded and they will be held responsible for their actions. Only by knowing God and His Word and obeying all of God’s commands can men lead moral and ethical lives.
A fourth key question that is asked in this lesson, “Is it possible to know the truth about ourselves and the universe?”, can be summarized by stating that without God and His revealed Word man cannot know anything relevant about himself or the universe. Without God and His Word, everything else is just man’s speculation about himself and the universe around him. All of man’s speculations are the product of a rebellious and finite mind.
This portion of the lesson continued with an examination of the Bible’s claim of being inspired and inerrant (that is, without error, mistake, contradiction, or falsehood). The Bible teaches that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and cannot lie. If this is true, then every word of God is true, and if the Bible is God’s Word, then the Bible is true. The Bible distinctly teaches that it alone is inspired and inerrant.
In addition, this lesson dealt with the problem of “Reason alone vs. the Bible.” To summarize this aspect of the lesson, it is necessary to examine the philosophical construct of “rationalism.” Rationalism, human reason alone apart from any supernatural revelation from God, is a conscious human effort to eliminate God and His revelation from the world today. This reason-alone system is actually a faith that is anti-God.
Rationalists claim that all knowledge must by necessity be restricted to only what the human senses can perceive. They have an immediate presupposition that is anti-supernatural and anti-God. Though no human being was able to perceive the origin of the universe, they still maintain philosophical presuppositions concerning the origin of the universe and all life. They hold that (1) everything came from nothing, (2) order came from chaos, (3) harmony came from discord, (4) life came from non-life, (5) reason came from irrationality, (6) personality came from non-personality, and (7) morality came from amorality. This worldview is totally at odds with a Biblical worldview and is nothing more than unsubstantiated dogma masking as science. It is possible to know the truth about the universe and ourselves and we find this truth by reading and believing God’s inspired, special revelation, the Bible.
A fifth key question asked in this lesson, “What is love and where can it be found?”, takes us immediately to the Bible. Numerous Scripture references reveal that God’s special and distinctive love for us (agape love) is great, infinite, eternal, and dependable. It seeks to give rather than get, and it is aimed directly at the one (mankind) who is in desperate need of this love.
Further, numerous Scriptures command man to “love the Lord your God. . .,” to “love one another,” and “to love thy neighbor.” Love, therefore, is not only the essence of the law, without it there would be no fulfilling of the law nor faithfulness, justice, or mercy. This does not mean that love and law are mutually exclusive as some philosophies would have us believe. Rather, they are complementary and consistent within a Biblical worldview. While our love is a response to God’s love, His love does not exclude mankind from His wrath or justice. Just as love and the law are mutually complementary from a Biblical worldview, so too are His love, wrath, and requirements of justice found in this Biblical worldview. When God executes His divine wrath and punishment upon rebellious mankind, it is only in a judicial sense that He does so.
Justice, according to Scripture, demands that men be either vindicated or punished, and receive either a blessing or a curs
e. The author summarized this portion of the lesson by stating that “without reward and punishment there is no justice. Without justice, there is no judgment. Without judgment, there is no law. Without law, there is no lawgiver.”
By denying God’s wrath, justice, and punishment of rebellious mankind and giving only assent to a loving God, you can rid yourself of the Biblical concept of a God or wrath who consigns people to an eternity in Hell. The Bible teaches that punishment is the reward of unrighteousness.
This segment of the lesson concluded with an examination of how man is saved by grace through faith. God’s love was extended to man through Jesus Christ. We learn through Scripture of the great love God has for man by sending His only begotten Son to live a perfect life, to be the propitiation for our sins, and to die for us. We can only love God because He first loved us.
A sixth major question, “Why is there suffering and how can we live with it?”, was noted by the author as probably the most difficult to deal with because there is both a “theoretical” and a “practical” side to this problem.
Theologically and philosophically this is called the “Problem of Theodicy.” Theodicy is a response to the problem of evil in the world that attempts to logically, relevantly, and consistently defend God as simultaneously omnipotent, omniscient, and all-loving in spite of the reality of evil in the world. How then it is possible for all the suffering and death to occur in this world if it is under the control of an omni-benevolent God?
In attempting to answer this question, the author examined four erroneous conclusions concerning the “Problem of Theodicy” and of evil and suffering in this world. The four erroneous conclusions include (1) “There is no God,” (2) “God is not all-powerful,” (3) “God is not all-good,” and (4) “God Himself is the cause of evil.” The author answers all four erroneous conclusions by examining the faulty logic found in the proposed syllogisms and philosophical beliefs.
The lesson emphasized that not only is it man, not God, who is responsible for evil, man is responsible for both the moral and physical evil we see and experience in the world today. The introduction of sin into the world by Adam and Eve is the direct cause of the moral and physical evils we see in the world. Sin is so terribly devastating that it has impacted every facet of life. If God is going to remain Holy, Righteous, and Just, He cannot let sin, the violation of His law, go unpunished. Even natural disasters originate ultimately from the presence of sin and moral evil in the world.
The seventh major question asked in this lesson, “What is death and how are we to face it?,” takes us through an examination of biology, medicine, ethics, theology, and Scripture in a discussion of a topic most people avoid.
The author began this lesson by examining the concept that modern medicine defines death today as primarily a biological event. This view holds that the presence or absence of life can only be viewed and measured by its physical and physiological manifestations. The medical profession essentially ignores the spiritual or transcendent nature of man.
The Bible, on the other hand, views death as a spiritual event with biological consequences. Death, according to Scripture, occurs when the spirit leaves the body. These two differing views are in stark contrast to one another and this has brought our society to one of the greatest ethical and moral dilemmas facing our nation. This dilemma is the definition and therefore the determination of death.
The Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) which has been adopted by all fifty states reads as follows: “An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.”
The problem with this definition is that individuals have undoubtedly been killed, sometimes their organs have been removed for harvesting, when they have actually been incorrectly diagnosed as brain dead. The author cited several examples in this short lesson of individuals who had been incorrectly diagnosed as dead who were truly alive.
The question of “Neomorts,” (the newly dead), the possibility of developing “Neomortoria” (units where Neomorts are sustained on life support systems) where the harvesting of organs for transplantation are housed are chilling problems awaiting us in the near future. Humanistic pragmatism and utilitarianism can be seen readily today in that we are apparently willing to kill those who have been declared “brain dead,” and harvest their vital organs to aid those who are the truly living.
The Bible states categorically that man is made up of a combination of both physical and spiritual elements. It is apparent that modern medicine does not take into account the spiritual aspect of man, and that the “brain dead” criteria of the UDDA is not consistent with Biblical teaching.
But, what happens after death? To summarize this portion of the lesson, the Scriptures are once again examined. The key to this aspect of the lesson was the author focusing upon an intermediate, non-earthly, ethereal place of the dead. By intermediate, the author meant a place of existence between the physical life and the resurrection. This place is called “Sheol” in the Old Testament and “Hades” in the New Testament. This place is not to be confused with heaven or hell, and it is not the “purgatory” of Roman Catholic teachings. This is a two-compartment place where the spirit goes to stay after physical death and before the resurrection. According to Scripture a disembodied spirit at this point is experiencing either comfort or torment in this place. There is a great gulf fixed between those that are in comfort and those that are in torment, which prevents those in one compartment from moving to the other.
The last portion of this lesson dealt with the “Second Coming and the Resurrection.” This is the day when the Lord will return to judge the living and the dead. At this point Christians will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ for vindication, while the non-Christians will stand at the Great White Throne Judgment and be condemned to an eternity in Hell separated from God.
Thusly, when we truly understand that when the Bible speaks of death in connection with mankind, whether it is physical, spiritual, or eternal, it is always speaking of separation; physical death separates man’s spirit from his body and spiritual death separates him from God because of his sin. And eternal death takes place when one is separated from God eternally in Hell.
The eighth major question asked in this lesson, “What hope is there for the human race?”, can best be summarized by examining the two diverse and conflicting worldviews of atheism, illustrated by secular humanism and the Biblical worldview.
If one holds to a truly atheistic worldview, then they must come face to face with the ultimate reality that there is no hope for them or the human race. If man is nothing more than an accidental collection of atoms, that he has no immortal soul, that there is no mind apart from his brain, and that he has nothing to look forward to except his own extinction or annihilation at death, then mankind has no hope or reason for living.
Even in a pantheistic worldview, as represented by philosophical Hinduism, it is difficult to understand how anyone can be excited or hopeful of getting off the wheel of transmigration. If they do become one with the universe and lose their individual consciousness, they have become nothing. This nothingness which the Hindu seeks is called nirvana. There is nothing inherent in a pantheistic worldview that can make an individual the least bit hopeful about any type of future (physical, spiritual, or eternal).
Contrast the preceding two worldviews with a Biblical worldview and you find the difference between hopeless despair and a reason and hope for living. A Biblical worldview provides us with the living hope of spending eternity with God, gives us a reason for living, and provides a reason for our existence. The non-Biblical worldview according to the author collapses on the issue of personal meaning and purpose.
The Christian knows that one day all will be set right because God has promised it would be so. There is a final solution to man’s current predicament in this world today, and he will spend eternity with God beyond the grave.
The ninth major question of the lesson, “What is real?”, can be summarized first by understanding the presuppositions of a Biblical worldview contrasted with those of a materialistic or atheistic worldview and a Pantheistic worldview.
The Bible teaches that there is both a physical realm and a spiritual realm. Both the physical and spiritual realms are very real and encompass all of reality. Without a true understanding of God’s Word, man cannot really know what is real.
In contrast, the materialistic or atheistic worldview offers nothing beyond this physical world. On the other hand, according to a pantheistic worldview the material world is in reality not real. They believe that everything is a spirit and that matter is simply an illusion.
The Biblical worldview of both a spiritual and physical realm includes four levels of existence: (1) the Godhead, made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; (2) angels and demons, the latter have a leader called Satan; (3) the spirits of believing and unbelieving physically dead human beings in Hades; and (4) living human beings both believers and non-believers.
The materialistic or atheistic worldview does not acknowledge levels one, two, or three because they cannot exist according to their presuppositions. They, on the other hand, believe the following several presuppositions: (1) everything came from nothing; (2) order came from chaos; (3) harmony came from discord; (4) life came from non-life; (5) reason came from irrationality; (6) personality came from non-personality; and (7) morality came from amorality.
All of these presuppositions have an anti-supernatural bias, which not only is anti-God but anti-intellectual as well. This construct is not only antithetical to what the Scripture teaches, it is irrational because it denies half the existence of reality (the spiritual realm).
The lesson continued with an examination of the two major divisions of reality that are derived from the previous four levels of reality articulated in Scripture. The first major division, the Kingdom of God, consists of God, angels, spirits of the dead in Christ, and living believers in Christ. The second major division, the kingdom of darkness, consists of Satan, demons, spirits of the unbelieving dead, and living people who are non-believers and in rebellion against God.
There is no middle or neutral ground between these two kingdoms. We are either citizens of one kingdom or the other. We learn from Scripture that there are only two ways: God’s way or all others. People are either saved or lost, heaven bound or hell bound for all eternity. There is no other valid argument. It is either belief in the infinite God that comes to man from His special revelation, the Bible, or we believe the myriad of endless philosophies and speculations that come from the minds of finite, fallible, rebellious human beings.
The Bible teaches us of a reality that is beyond the mere physical limits of man’s five senses. God has providentially provided for all His creation, for the just and unjust alike. Just because man cannot physically see the spiritual realm that God has created, that does not mean that it is not real.
The tenth major question examined in this lesson, “Can evil be defeated?”, is a continuation of the sixth major question, “Why is there suffering and how can we live with it?” The key point asked in question six, (If God is all-god and all-powerful and the Bible says He is, then one day evil is going to be totally defeated) and this is exactly what the Bible teaches. While there is an on-going confrontation between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness, the Bible teaches that one day there will be a day of reckoning and justice for all. However, before that day, Christians will have to fight spiritual battles utilizing the whole armor of God if we are to be successful.
The author describes the Christians spiritual armor by using Paul’s analogy of a Roman soldier’s armor of that time. In this panoply, Ephesians 6:10-18, we find the seven keys to our spiritual panoply can be summarized in this way:
First, (v.14) “having girded your waist with truth.” The Word of God is truth.
Second, (v. 14) “having on the breastplate of righteousness.” Righteousness not only in the ethical sense but righteous living as part of our obedience before a holy God.
Third, (v. 15) “having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” While the lesson described the Roman soldier’s footwear as being both a defensive and offensive tool, we too are reminded that we are to be able to given an answer that asks a reason for the hope that is within us. This is a clear presentation of the gospel to others telling of the Prince of Peace, and the hope that we find in Him.
Fourth, (v. 16) “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one.” While Paul is using the analogy of the Roman shield, if a person sets out onto the spiritual battlefield without the faith in God, the author stated he is “committing spiritual suicide.” If they have failed to take up the shield of faith and are attempting to battle using their own strength, when they fail it is their own fault not God’s.
Sixth, (v. 17) “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Just as swor
d practice is crucial for the success of a Roman soldier before he goes into battle, so too is the skillful practice of studying God’s Word for the Christian soldier. In order to defeat the enemy and share God’s Word with others, you must first know it!
Seventh, (v.18) “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” This is the communications aspect of spiritual warfare Paul was discussing. Just as communications are important with leadership in a physical battle, it is of greater importance for the Christian to maintain spiritual communication with prayer and supplication to God during a spiritual battle.
Critique Of This Module
The author of this lesson presented a challenge to all Christians to not only develop a Christian worldview that impacts every aspect of our lives, but to truly develop a mind-set that does not conform to this world’s philosophies and dogmas. He challenged us to not just go through the motions of “playing church” or of getting “your fire insurance,” but of truly manifesting the power of God that is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Due to the length of this lesson, I will examine the strengths chapter by chapter and evaluate all the topics under discussion.
The first chapter entitled “What is Man?” exhibited a key strength of this lesson by answering this question posed by the Psalmist (Psalms 8:4). Man is both body and spirit, made in the image of God. The contrast between the Biblical worldview and the various false views of man by other philosophical viewpoints was another major strength of this chapter. An examination of the sin issue was an additional major component of strength in this chapter.
The key strength in Chapter two “What is the Meaning of Life?” was the continual use of compare and contrast when examining the difference between two predominant mindsets or worldviews. The understanding that there is no middle or compromise ground in which these two diverse and mutually exclusive worldviews (the Biblical worldview vs. humanistic worldview) was of paramount importance. The Christian cannot straddle the fence by attempting to have one foot involved in each competing worldview. It is either God’s way or the other way.
The strengths of Chapter three which was entitled “How Are We to Make Moral Choices?” lies once again in comparing and contrasting the Biblical worldview to all others. Differentiating between a Biblical concept of ethics and morals which are timeless and unchanging to the humanistic worldview where morals and ethics may change due to the situation or the whims of culture or fads is another strength found in this chapter.
The reliance upon the very nature of God Himself was the major strength of Chapter four entitled “Is It Possible to Know the Truth About Ourselves and the Universe?” Again, the reliance wither upon a Holy, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Infinite God or the philosophical specualtions and meandering of finite man were compared and contrasted. This is readily apparent in the discussion of Jesus statements found in John 14:6. “I am the way, the truth and the life.” What this means is “that apart from the way, there is no going; apart from the truth, there is no knowing; and apart from the life, there is no spiritual living.”
Another major strength of this chapter was the discussion of the inerrancy, inspiration, and infallibility of God’s Word. The Bible is both completely true and trustworthy or it is not completely true and therefore untrustworthy. From a Biblical worldview perspective, the truth about the universe and ourselves can be found only through God’s special revelation to man, the Bible.
The strengths of Chapter five, entitled “What Is Love and Where Can It Be Found?” can first be seen in the examination of the “agape” kind of love which is the type of love that seeks to give and not take. Agape love seeks not to satisfy some need of the lover, but rather the need of the one who is loved.
Another major strength was the examination of love and the law and how our love is a response to the One who first loved us. This love for us does not exclude His wrath or requirement for justice of punishment. Ultimately, we see God’s love through His salvation by grace through faith. Again, we find the answer to the question “What is love and where can we find it?” in the Bible.
In Chapter six, “Why Is There Suffering and How Can We Live With It?”, we find several major strengths and an inherent weakness. Upon examining the “problem of theodicy,” the author utilized an examination of three types of syllogisms to show the flows of logic in each example. The author examined each quite successfully and showed where the ultimate problem of evil and suffering truly lies, and that is with sinful man. This includes both moral and physical evils.
The weakness of this chapter, from my perspective, is a lack of differentiation between the “problem of evil” and the “argument from evil.” Everyone, including Christians and non-Christians, believe that there is a problem of evil and suffering in the world today. We can readily see its impact and effect on us daily through both moral and physical (or natural) evils. However, this lesson did not differentiate between this “problem of evil” and the atheistic “argument from evil.” The argument from evil is that because there is moral and physical evil in the world today. God, therefore the God of the Bible, cannot exist. This is a position that is not acceptable to Bible-believing Christians. While the lesson discussed aspects of both the problem of evil and the argument of evil without describing it as such it did not successfully place them into two different and diverse categories.
In Chapter seven, “What Is Death and How Are We To Face It?” many strengths could be found to comment upon. The most enlightening and chilling aspect of this lesson was in the discussion of “neomorts”, the potential of “neomortoria,” and the question of life and true death when it comes to the harvesting of human organs to aid the truly living.
Another major strength was the examination of how traditional morality has been discarded and replaced with the utilitarian ethics and pragmatism of Humanism. The Biblical worldview once prevalent in this culture has been replaced by the secular worldview of Humanism. This has led to erosion of our liberties by these proponents who are pro-abortion, and may ultimately lead to widespread adoption and acceptance of euthanasia. The sanctity of life ethic has been replaced by the quality of life ethic, where the innocent and defenseless individuals of our society are deemed by approved governmental legislation to have little or no quality of life expectations and should be terminated for their own good.
This portion of the lesson had the greatest impact and was the major strength of this entire lesson. It served to remind Christians to stay active in pro-life causes, to confront the cult
ure from a Biblical worldview, and to always be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within us.
Chapter eight, “What Hope Is There for the Human Race?” major strength can be readily seen in the author’s comparing and contrasting a Biblical worldview of hope and purpose with a humanistic worldview filled with hopelessness and despair. As Christians, we can give the lost of this world hope where they see nothing but hopelessness, purpose where they see purposelessness, and true love from the Gospel of Christ where they see loneliness and alienation.
The major strength in Chapter nine entitled “What Is Real?” can be seen in the contrast between the Biblical worldview and the atheistic worldview concerning the concept of true reality. The Biblical worldview gives us the only complete examination of what is real, while the atheistic worldview is incomplete.
The major strength of the tenth chapter entitled “Can Evil Be Defeated?” can be seen in the repeated use of Biblical references to show unequivocally that evil is going to be totally defeated and God’s ultimate plan will come to fruition.
The in-depth use of the Apostle Paul’s analogy of spiritual warfare and of the Roman soldier’s armor found in Ephesians 6:10-18 strengthened the Biblical worldview’s position that we are actively involved in a spiritual war. Christians need to understand that the victory is ours, and that Satan and his evil minions will be vanquished for eternity.
This lesson blessed me by reinforcing my previous desire to gain further education in the discipline of Apologetics assisting in the development of a comprehensive Biblical worldview that encompasses every aspect of my life.