What is a "Biblical worldview" you might ask? Perhaps you have heard the phrase thrown around nonchalantly in the past. Or maybe, you just haven't had the opportunity to care about what it means yet.
Before we define it and explain what it implicates, we must first back up and define what a "worldview" is in general. We are about to get a little bit philosophical, so get ready to dive in.
According to Chad Ragsdale, a professor at Ozark Christian College, a worldview is, "a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being."
Phew! That is a lot of words. Let's put it into layman's terms.
A worldview is the set of lenses that you view and experience life through. You can think of it like a pair of glasses, or contact lenses. A worldview is how you make sense of the world around you, how you interact in relationships, how you interpret conversations, and how you develop a basis for values and priorities.
According to Chad, your worldview is essentially the set of answers you have for the following questions: "Who am I? Do I have a purpose? What is broken with this world? What is the solution? Where am I going?"
Even from this basic definition, it is clear that your worldview permeates every single area of your life. Your worldview affects your thoughts, your friendships, your decision-making, your beliefs -- the list could go on and on. It affects everything. In some sense, your worldview plays a central role in defining who "you" are. (As an aside, sometimes we are not aware of our worldview(s) until we get hurt by them or hurt someone else by them -- like a speck of dust behind your contact lens.)
There are a wide variety of worldviews that are openly (and not-so-openly) expressed in our society today. Here's a short list with definitions, just for your reference:
There are many others, but these are some of the most commonly expressed. If you ask any one person what their worldview is, he or she may very well express a mix of two or three of those listed. If you take a moment to think about each of the listed worldviews, a number of implications can be discovered as to how each one may affect one's life and relationships. (Remember the 5 questions from earlier.) For example, a Nihilist may come off as pessimistic or even depressed to his or her close friends.
So, what is a Biblical worldview, then?
Fitting underneath the larger umbrella of "Theism," a Biblical worldview is more specified. It can be defined by the following:
These are the very basics of a Biblical worldview. More could (and probably should) be said; such as the fact that God reveals Himself to humanity through scripture (the Bible), that death is merely a gateway, that God intentionally endowed the world with rich and diverse beauty, etc. But, hopefully, the three bullet points above are a good outline for you.
Adopting this Biblical worldview changes your life forever, and dramatically transforms the way you treat other people. The model of Creation, Fall, Redemption has serious implications. To close this blog post, I want to outline the most important of these implications with scripture.
Scriptural Implications of a Biblical worldview:
Let's briefly return to the 5 questions from Chad that a worldview tries to answer. A Biblical worldview answers them in this way: Who am I? I am a beloved child of God the Creator. Do I have a purpose? My purpose is to know God and help others know God through the means of love. What is broken in this world? Everything and all of us because of sin. What is the solution? Jesus Christ is the solution. Where am I going? I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus and I am preparing for the full realization of God's Kingdom to come.
I pray that as you consider these things you may be encouraged in your faith journey. One word of caution, though: don't slip into the worldview of "Apatheism." Christians are notorious for sometimes allowing ourselves to just "skip" the transformative, difficult questions about our existence and how we are to live our lives. But, simply not caring (apathy) is not an option for Jesus-followers. So, friends, dig deep and truly reflect on what kind of lenses you see the world through.
Do you have a Biblical worldview? Why or why not? Which of the other worldviews do you find yourself leaning towards? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director at IDES