By Faith We Understand… (Part 2)

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God…” (Hebrews 11:3)

Understanding is an essential for coming to terms with the world about us and its purpose and meaning.  The material world is not just some set of molecules comprising mass in different forms.  Rather, behind the world exists the living God, the Creator of all that exists.  A worldview gives shape to our understanding of all existence, and a variety of world views exist.  However, in essence, all world views can be reduced to two: 1) one by which the Creator gives rise, and 2) one that humanity envisions and shapes in the imagination.

The second of these comes in many forms, but these forms arise from a different source – humanity.  Humanity shapes as many world views as there are individuals and communities imagining them, nuanced into the claim “Your truth may not be my truth.”  This claim gives birth to each person creating what is right in his or her own eyes.  Who is to question a person’s understanding if the god in their imagination gives rise to it?  In essence, a worldview from this perspective is like rolling dice.  Whatever comes up is that person’s slant on life, and there is no one truth that dictates that slant except the one with the dice.  If a person does not like the numbers that appear the first time, she rolls them again until she sees the numbers she likes.  Such activity is random like one who continues to search for a slice on life appealing to the person.  Once found, it satisfies for a season until another roll of the dice serves up something better.  Chance is the name of the game for reaching an understanding of the real world.  That is, that individual assigns meaning and understanding to the dice roll or passively accepts the dice roll from another such as with a cult.  There is no divine fiat.  Rather, if any deity created the worlds, such a deity is much like the Deists who wounds up creation and then steps back and watches what His living creatures will do with it: cultivate it or blow it up.

Then there is the understanding of science fiction.  The deities of these world views arise from the imagination and also include a claim of no deity at all or the individual as divine.  From the world views beginning with humanity arise the understanding that the source ranges from some sort of deity creating to evolution.  Science fiction also brings with it aliens arriving from another planet and populating the earth.  Consequently, whatever individuals can imagine springs forth a worldview.  This worldview spawns aliens and war of the worlds, beings intent on destroying everyone else’s worldview and imposing their own, much like what happens in the real world.  Therefore, a tension exists between two major world views within this scenario.  That tension is between war and utopia.  In both cases, the outcome appears to be the same: the imposition of a dominate worldview onto the masses much like the “War of the Worlds” and Thomas Moore’s “Utopia” in which all things are regulated.  One expresses treachery while the other seems benevolent.  However, the results are the same: the control of others through the imposition of the controller’s worldview.  They rest on fiction divorced from reality.  Humanism spawns all of these understandings.

The first cited worldview arises from the Creator who is distinct and separate from creation.  One might ask, “Is the Christian and biblically based God not any different from any other deity (or non-deity) described above?”  One major difference exists that makes God distinct and different from all others.  As noted above, He is distinct from creation and thereby separate from the imaginations of those in the created order who imagine all sorts of gods, even themselves as divine.  He is not the creation of imagination or physical or material in nature.  He is the Creator of all that exists.

Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote,

Christianity brings the world a distinctive understanding of time, history, and the meaning of life. The Christian worldview contributes an understanding of the universe and all it contains that points us far beyond mere materialism and frees us from the intellectual imprisonment of naturalism. Christians understand that the world—including the material world—is dignified by the very fact that God has created it”  (Mohler, Albert, “Intellectual Discipleship: Following Christ with Minds, Bible Study Tools.com, http://bit.ly/1pElrQt.)

In other words, the material world constrains our understanding, because it does not have the guide of true biblical faith – the faith that sets focus on the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1-2).  Genuine faith does not set its sights on the material world but on the unseen reality of God who is separate and distinct from the created order.  He is not a benevolent dictator, a deity that leaves His creation alone, or a monster who oppresses people.  Rather, He is a God of love who faithfully commits Himself to our care and not as Mohler states of rulers alienated from Him,

Christians come to understand that idolatry and self-aggrandizement are the temptations that come to any regime” (Mohler, Intellectual Discipleship).

Since God created us, He knows us intimately and is aware of our alienation from Him and the limitations of our created state.  Consequently, He shared His love with us through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross to reconcile us from this alienation, not only with Him but with others and the world in which we live.  This alienation brought factions and war as well as the destructive activity toward our environment.  By faith, we understand His loving care and the claim He has on our lives, a claim to set us right with Him and ultimately to bring a halt to self-destruction.

Copyright (c) 2014, Action Faith Books Press.  All rights reserved.  Not to be used without expressed written permission.

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