Friday, July 31, 2009

A robust worldview (part 3)

The number of worldviews that exist today runs the gamut from A (Atheism) to Z (Zoroastrianism). According to Kenneth Samples, a worldview is defied as, "a general context for life, providing a vision of what one considers authentically real." A worldview would encompass what one really holds true in life. A person's worldview would then be displayed in how one lives and approaches life on a daily basis.

If anyone claimed to be of a particular worldview, but lived a different lifestyle, then it is reasonable to conclude they do not adhere to the view in which they are claiming. A person's lifestyle reflects what they really believe to be true. Actions always follow what an individual believes at the core of their heart.

Christianity, through the person of Jesus, makes the claim that it is the only worldview that is true. Jesus, in fact, claims that salvation can only be found in him (John 14:6). With the myriad of worldviews out there, all of them can't be correct according to the Law of the Excluded Middle. It is possible for one to be correct as Jesus stated for the Christian worldview.

In order to evaluate a worldview, one must examine each worldview to determine if it is logical, consistent, and if it corresponds to reality. Reality is what we know to be true. The Christian worldview invites testing (I Thessalonians 5:21). When reaching a conclusion, the only worldview that can be accepted is the one that fully corresponds to reality. Some worldviews may have aspects of truth, but only one can be fully true; for truth by its very nature is exclusive. It is possible that all worldviews could be false, but only one can be true.

Christianity has withstood the test of time for some 2000 years and has met every challenge. Other worldviews have flaws, in that they do not match with reality on one level or another. Only Christianity can meet all the worldview tests. A robust worldview is one that can withstand the thorough tests and still be standing based on its corresponding to reality. Perhaps Christianity has withstood for so many years, because it does represent the one view that is exclusively true?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A robust worldview (part 2)

What is a worldview? According to, a worldview can be defined in two ways:
  1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
  2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.
Those who say they are Christians, according to the second definition would believe that Jesus is the most important person to have lived. In John 14:6, Jesus states, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The Christian would therefore conclude that salvation is exclusively found in Jesus and only Jesus is worth living for.

I just returned from a Christian camp this past week and was challenged to think about the Church in America and those who call themselves Christian. I've been thinking a lot about the Church in the States and its commitment to Christ. It seems that many times we want to say we hold to a Christian worldview when in reality we become comfortable in playing church and not giving all that we have to Jesus. It is quiet simple to say that you are a Christian, anyone can do that. It is quiet simple to meet with the local church. Again, anyone can do that, even the atheist. What Jesus wants however is a person that puts him first in everything they do, say, and think. He wants nothing less than habitual surrender.

A recent Newsweek article stated that the Christian worldview is on the decline in America. The fault does not lie with the President, a particular political party, the media, hippies, or anything else. The blame lies squarely on the Christians in America. I'm afraid we are comfortable claiming the Christian worldview, but in reality our lives are no different than the various secular views of our culture.

It is easy to believe the Christian worldview, even The Devil believes in God (James 2:19). The problem is that many Christians don't allow their Christian worldview to shape their lives. In Matthew (Matt. 7:21-23) , Jesus said that there will come a day when individuals will claim that they had done many mighty things for him, but Jesus said: "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Why would Jesus deny those who had worked for him? The answer I believe is that they never put their trust in the person of Jesus in the first place. It is so easy to claim to be a follower of Jesus (proclaiming a Christian worldview). However, where the rubber meets the road in verifying the Christian claim depends on how a person lives their life (Romans 12:2). Are you a secret agent Christian or do you really believe in the person of Jesus? A person who holds to a consistent Christian worldview will live in opposition to the world and exclusively for Jesus.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A robust worldview (Part 1)

In I Thessalonians 5:21, Paul states, "Test everything. Hold on to the good." Paul invites testing and we should too. Peter said, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (I Peter 3:15)." Peter and Paul are both talking to Christians. If you are a Christian, can you give a defense for the Christian worldview? I've heard Christians say countless times, "the Bible is too hard to understand." When I reply back, "Do you read your Bible?," the response is usually no.

How can you defend that which you do not know? How can you test, if you are not familiar with truth? In today's society we have too many people who say they are Christians, but don't even know why they are Christians. Peter and Paul are telling us that we need to know why. Maybe if you are not concerned about knowing why, you really are not concerned about Jesus? Jesus emphatically stated to his followers in Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

General Young Earth Creationist views

Here is a list of general view from a young earth perspective:

Religion- Theism
Prominent believers - Henry Morris, Ken Ham, John Mark Reynolds
Miracles - Many throughout history.
Evolution - Variations within limit, might be willing to accept microevolutionary views, but certainly not macro.
Age - Universe and earth usually thousands of years old. Upper limit would be 50,000 years, while most would hold a 10,000 or less scenario.
Human evolution - Adam and Eve are the literal first humans. Agreement with old earth perspective here.
Genesis account - Take it as literal as possible. Six, 24-hour days of creation. Creation days are the same as our days.
Science/Theology - Theology trumps science. Some would say that we always need to be wary of science.

  • Bowman, Robert, Scripture: Outline studies in Authority, Cannon, and Criticism, p. 45

General Old Earth evolutionary views

Below are the general views of a Progressive Creationist:

Religion - Theism
Prominent believers - Robert Newman, Hugh Ross, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland
Miracles - many
Evolution - Microevolution, but not macroevolution.
Age - Universe about 14 billion years old and the earth about 4.6 billion years old. Agreement with current scientific understanding of the age question.
Human evolution - Humans are a special creation of God, no Darwinian evolution on this view.
Adam and Eve - Specially created as the first literal humans.
Genesis account - Historical narrative with some symbolic language.
Science/Theology - Both are equally valid as a source as to how we can obtain knowledge.

  • Bowman, Robert, Scripture: Outline studies in Authority, Cannon, and Criticism, p. 45

Thursday, July 16, 2009

General Theistic evolutionary views

Below is a list of general views as expressed by those who take a Theistic Evolutionary view:

Religion - Deism or Theism.
Prominent believers - C.S. Lewis, Howard Van Till
Miracles - Few, such as: creation, life, and soul.
Evolution - Macroevolution that is guided.
Age - Universe is billions of years old.
Human evolution - Darwinian human evolution, where the soul is a special creation of God.
First humans - Maybe no Adam and Eve.
Genesis account - Gives us spiritual truth, somewhat mythical.
Science/Theology - Science deals with physical reality, while theology deals with spiritual reality.

  • Bowman, Robert, Scripture: Outline studies in Authority, Cannon, and Criticism, p. 45

General Darwinian evolutionary views

Below is a list of some general characteristics of a typical Darwinian view:

Religious view- Atheism(no God exists) or Pantheism (everything is god).
Prominent believers - Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Richard Dawkins.
Miracles - Zero (Miracles are non-existent).
Evolution - Panevolution (All has evolved by purely mechanist/naturalistic means).
Age - Universe is billions of years old (some would say it is eternal and others might say there are multiple universes in existence).
Human Evolution - Certainly by Darwin's mechanistic process (organic humans came from inorganic material).
First Humans - Who knows?, no Adam and Eve.
Genesis account - A myth without merit.
Science/Theology - Science tells us the truth (reality), whereas theology is only belief without the ability to give us truthful knowledge.

* Bowman, Robert, Scripture: Outline studies in Authority, Cannon, and Criticism, p. 45

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Old Earth - Young Earth common ground?

In my discussions with those who hold a young earth view, I have experienced little if any common ground. It seems to me that the young earth perspective leaves little room for dialogue, because of their belief that any other interpretation is contradictory to Scripture. I am willing to admit that parts of the old earth view are somewhat difficult, but believe that a proper interpretation of Scripture and Science leads right to an old earth view. So how can reconciliation take place between the two views.

First and foremost, all who are debating this subject must understand that this is not a salvation issue. We don't come to Christ having to express on which side of the earth's age we fall in order to be saved.

I have some suggestions on how we need to dialogue. First, we should listen and consider what the other side is saying. Second, when defending your position don't get into a name calling game, but instead articulate why you believe what you believe or point out the flaws in you opponents arguments in a loving way. Third, answer your opponents charges first before going on the offensive. This means you better be prepared on how to defend your own views. Ask questions concerning your opponents views, before attacking a general belief that you believe they hold. Remember, above all, you are in dialogue with a fellow brother or sister in Christ.

Sometimes there is too much entrenchment for any progress to take place. I have experienced this in many discussions. It's OK if you get nowhere as long as you can dialogue and both parties are willing to continue to listen and talk in a respectful manner. What you want to avoid at all cost is any type of degradation of others. I have experience this as well, as I was told by a fellow Christian that I worshiped a different God than he did simply for asking questions of his view. Good dialogue is possible with an attitude of respect and a willingness to consider views different from your own.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Age of the Earth (Part 5)

The final approach to be considered on the Earth's age is the Non-Literal Approach. The one view that typifies this approach is called the Figurative Day approach. This view was supported by early church leaders such as Origen and Augustine. This view simply states that the six creation days are figurative. The days of creation were conveying spiritual truths of God's creation and are not meant to be taken as literal days.

A second view within the Non-Literal approach is called the Framework Hypothesis. This view holds that the orderly creation days are accurate and the six days are only figurative. This view is held by Charles Hummel and Meridith G. Kline. The last view to be considered is the Cosmological View. Karl Barth is one who supported this view. This view states that the six days are religious and theological statements about creation, in order to rival pagan myths.

* * Bowman, Robert, Scripture: Outline studies in Authority, Cannon, and Criticism, P. 59

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Age of the Earth (Part 4)

A second approach that is used to account for an old earth is the long-day approach. This is the approach that I favor, because I believe it does the best job of reconciling science with Scripture. I will not say with 100% certainty that this is in fact the only approach that can be considered. For me, it best synchronizes my studies of science and Scripture. In this approach the word day (Yom in Hebrew) is to be understood as a long time period where God works by way of special creation.

There are two views of the Long-Day approach. The first is the Millennial-Day view. This view has each day lasting a thousand years. it is believed by some that the early Church fathers Ireaeus and Justin Martyr held this view. The second view is the Day-Age view. This is held by Gleason Archer and Hugh Ross. This is also the view I believe makes the most sense. Each day represents an unspecified length of time whereby God specially created everything. These two views do not hold to Darwinian evolution and should not be considered part of Theistic evolution. I will talk more in later blogs why I hold this view, but will also talk of some of the problems that exist with all these views.

* Bowman, Robert, Scripture: Outline studies in Authority, Cannon, and Criticism, P. 59

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Age of the Earth (Part 3)

Looking at Genesis one, the Partial- Creation approach has six literal days where gaps of time exist to make for a old earth view (progressive creationism). The Gap theory, supported by Thomas Chalmers and C.I. Scofield, has the original creation existing in verse one. The Devil disrupts God's creation in verse two and the literal six days of creation begin on verse three. Genesis 1:1 would account for a long period of time before the six literal days of creation. The Hesitation theory has a long period of time in Genesis 1:1 again, followed by a literal six days of creation. This view is supported by William Stokes and Gorman Gray. The Intermittent view, supported by J. Barton Payne and Robert C. Newman. The intermittent view has six literal 24 hour days of creation with long gaps of time in between the creation days.

I do not lean toward any of these views, but if I had to chose the one I believe best matches Scripture and what we know scientifically, I would have to go with the Intermittent view. I personally hold to a Long-Day approach to creation which will be discussed on the next post.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Age of the Earth (Part 2)

The age of the earth is composed of various views as to how Genesis one should be interpreted. The young earth approach has basically only one view called the Plain-Day view. The six days of creation are believed to be a literal 24 hour time period for each day. Based on the six 24 hour days and the genealogical record, the age of the earth must therefore be 6 to 10,000 (some will go up to 50,000) years old. The Plain-Day view is held by Martin Luther, Henry Morris and Ken Ham.

The old earth(progressive creationism) interpretation has a myriad of of views as to how Genesis one is to be viewed. There are three approaches taken on this view: Partial Creation approach, Long-Day approach and the Non-Literal approach. The next blog will consider the various approaches of the Progressive Creationism view.*

* Bowman, Robert, Outline Studies in Authority, Cannon, and Criticism, P. 59

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Age of the Earth (Part 1)

One of the great divides in the Christian world today revolves around the age of the earth. There are two groups represented here, those who hold to an age that is relatively young, geologically speaking, where the earth would be between 6 to 10,000 years old (young earth view) and those who say the earth is 4.6 billion years old (old earth view or progressive creationism). Some in the young earth camp may say that the earth is up to 50,000 years old, but most would adhere to an earth no older than 10,000 years old.

The divide is complex, but revolves around two key points. Point one is how the Bible is to be interpreted and the second point is how do we interpret science. It should be pointed out that both groups are referred to as Christians. Also, it is important to note that the age of the earth is not an essential Christian doctrine or even a point that salvation is contingent upon. This, however, does not diminish the friction that exists within the Christian community.

Two of the primary concerns of the young earth creationist deals with how the days of creation are to be interpreted and the problem of Darwinian evolution. From the young earth interpretation, the days of creation are a literal 24 hours. On this view, interpreting the days as long time periods or slipping a long gap of time in creation might lend support to a Darwinian viewpoint. Because of this, young earth creationist see any Christian who does hold to an old earth view as being unbiblical and leaving room for Darwinian evolution.

I believe there is room for both views, though I hold to a progressive view. What can't take place is for one side to label the other. The labeling I am referring to involves calling one side a non-Christian just because they don't see your view as you see it. It should be noted that the Bible makes no statement concerning the age of the earth. Also, those who hold to a progressive view (who are not theistic evolutionists) do not accept Darwin's view of evolution.