Foundations for a Christian Worldview: God (1)
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” Deuteronomy 6.4
Constructing a Christian worldview
In his essay, “Christian World Views and Some Lessons of History,” Mark A. Noll wrote, “To construct Christian world views and to act for Christ in daily existence on the basis of those world views is a high calling. History shows two things about such a calling: that by God’s grace it can be done, but also that it is never an easy task.”
Constructing a Christian worldview requires full access to the revelation of God in Scripture, starting with the books of Moses (Genesis-Deuteronomy). The worldview that begins to emerge in these books is Christ-focused, spiritual, covenantal, redemptive, comprehensive, life-giving, religious, and attainable. We may begin to construct that worldview within a framework of three facets, in which all the facets are connected to one another and equally essential for the integrity of the whole.
In the next several installments in our series Foundations for a Christian Worldview, we will concentrate on the first facet – the left leg of this worldview triangle – as the Law of God yields material for constructing the various aspects of this leg. This facet outlines the vision that gives meaning, vitality, direction, and shape to all other aspects of our worldview.
It is important to emphasize again that the worldview of God’s Law is first of all a spiritual worldview. All worldviews are religious, in that they share a desire to achieve the good life and follow – by faith – certain rituals or protocols designed to bind them to that vision of the good life. The Christian worldview is both religious and spiritual. It makes no sense and has no lasting power apart from continuous awareness of, focus on, and engagement with the unseen world within which everything exists. Without a clear and compelling spiritual vision as the first leg of our worldview triangle, nothing else claiming to represent a Christian worldview will realize the full potential of that glorious economy.
We do not apologize for this, and we do not intend by it that the Christian worldview is concerned merely with spiritual matters. It is a worldview that speaks to all of life, with reference to God and His good and perfect will as the top point of our vision. As we work to flesh out the details of our Christian worldview, to “construct” our worldview and to “act for Christ in daily existence” on the basis of that worldview, we insist that we must remain vitally connected to ultimate spiritual realities and truths, in particular, to God.
The center of our worldview
What we begin to discover in God’s Law, is God Himself. The worldview revealed in God’s Law begins in God, and is defined, sustained, and fulfilled by God. We cannot understand the worldview of God’s Law, much less expect to gain any real benefit from it, unless we focus on God as the defining feature and Presence of that worldview, and submit ourselves, soul and body, to what we know of Him. At the top of the left leg of our worldview triangle, therefore, we place God, Who gives meaning and purpose to everything else.
This is what Solomon means in the book of Ecclesiastes by living “under the heavens” rather than “under the sun.” The fact of God is the decisive difference between the Christian worldview and all other worldviews.
We observe, as God declared through Moses, that God is One. God is One, and the one God is the focal point and driving force of everything else in our Christian worldview.
The Christian worldview is founded on the conviction that there is only one God, the God of Scripture. No other gods exist; all other items – real and tangible or merely supposed to exist – that take the place of God in defining the good and true life are false deities and cannot deliver the hoped-for worldview boon. Thus, it is futile and dangerous to have or to serve any other gods besides this God, or to divert our ultimate affections and best energies to any other being or creature, spiritual or material, real or imaginary, living or dead.
God is One, and within Himself He is one in purpose, will, power, being, attributes, and action. There is no division or disruption in God; He does not change, does not deceive, and cannot die. His will cannot be opposed, and it is only dangerously denied or ignored. One God only defines the nature of all truth and prescribes the way people should live who would know full and abundant life.
The God Who is One promulgates and sustains a worldview expressive of His character and will. Thus we should expect that worldview to be, like God Himself, knowable, reliable, durable, good, and characterized by integrity throughout. The more we improve our focus on and relationship with the one God – the better we know Him (Jn. 17.3) – the better we will understand, the more we will appreciate, and the more eagerly we will live according to the worldview first outlined in His Law.
Seek the Lord
The first requirement of the worldview outlined in God’s Law is, therefore, that we should seek the Lord, to fear, obey, love, and serve Him in all things, and to keep His Law with all our soul and strength, so that all the goodness God has promised in His covenant may come to us in His way and time (Deut. 10.12, 13). God commands us to love Him with all our heart, and He warns us against not sustaining hearts committed to knowing and obeying Him (Deut. 6.4; 5.29). He alone is God, and there is no other. He alone defines what is good and true and therefore what we should most aspire to in this life.
Nothing else that we might take as our ultimate focus and aspiration, nothing that we might desire besides the one God as our highest good, can ever satisfy the longing in our souls for a life of goodness, beauty, and truth. Thus, only full and complete devotion to the one God must be the apogee of our vision of that life, so we are always desiring and living toward God in everything we do.
The Law of God, where we begin constructing our Christian worldviews, reveals above all else that God is One. He has promulgated one worldview and one way to know Him and to enjoy all the fullness of blessing He intends. So we need to explore more fully the greatness and grandeur of this one God, as He is revealed in the Law of Moses.
1. Why do we say that the Christian worldview is both religious and spiritual? What do we mean by “spiritual”?
2. Why do we say that God is the highest point and the defining component of our Christian worldview?
3. What does it mean to love the Lord our God with all our heart? What role does the heart play in the Christian worldview?
Next steps – Transformation: Loving God with all our heart is our highest calling. But what does this mean? How can we know whether we are loving God with all our heart? Talk with a Christian friend about these questions.
The Christian worldview focuses on Jesus. Do you know Him? Our book, To Know Him, can help you answer that question confidently, and equip you to tell others about Jesus as well. Order your copy by clicking here. For a handy compendium of the laws, statutes, and precepts contained in the Law of God, grouped according to the Ten Commandments, order our book, The Law of God, by clicking here.
At The Ailbe Seminary, all our courses are designed to help you grow in your Christian worldview. Watch this brief video (click here) to get an overview of our curriculum, and to see again the place of Jesus in the Christian worldview.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.