The Christian worldview is an over-arching story that binds together all the various facets of life and knowledge. I am realizing that I have not done justice to isolate an aspect of this worldview without reference to the context of the full story. To do so is like analyzing a piece of a puzzle without the box top to guide where it fits into the whole.
To quote Saul Bellow’s 1976 Noble Laureate lecture, “The intelligent public is waiting to hear from art what it does not hear from theology, philosophy, and social theory and what it cannot hear from pure science: a broader, fuller, more coherent, more comprehensive account of what we human beings are, who we are, and what this life is for. If writers do not come into the center, it will not be because the center is pre-empted; it is not.”
Bellow invokes the need for artisans and writers to paint the picture of the story that all these things fit into to provide the more coherent, comprehensive picture of who we are and what this life is all about.
For too long we have kept our knowledge separated from the grand story thereby keeping it secular and distinct from anything religious in nature. However, knowledge was never intended to be learned in a vacuum. It is to be gained to tell us more about the story we are living in and not just to fodder our minds with more interesting facts. At the same time, it has been problematic for the Church to siphon off theology and ‘religious knowledge’ and hold it separate from the whole picture as if it is irrelevant to the world’s systems. There needs to be a reemergence of knowledge that interconnects to tell the story that gives meaning to all the systems of this world.
The picture I would like to paint for you is one that starts with the eternally good and relational God who out of His love and glory created the universe and all that is in it with great splendor. He created a habitat for man on earth that is finely tuned for life. He created man in His image and likeness and gave him dominion over the world to cultivate the earth without the sweat of the brow. Man was to live in peace and harmony with the animals caring for them as well as tending the earth. But something happened to interrupt this paradise when man, who had it all, was allured by Satan to have knowledge that was outside the good and he chose to taste that knowledge and took into himself the poison of sin which corrupted not only the line of men, but the nature he was designed to cultivate in the goodness and glory of God.
Man and nature now knew pain, decay, death, darkness, etc. The world became something different from what God created, but God was not without a plan to bring its grand restoration. We still see the glory in the nature, we see it in a sunrise over the ocean or the mountains, we see it in the rainbow, we see it in the stars, and we see it in the birth of a baby or the wings of a butterfly. But we see also the corruption and death and decay and pain in this world. We know intuitively that pain, death, sickness, decay, tragedy are not good things and we desire peace on this earth, and to heal pain and stop decay. We strive at this in our medicine and in our science. We go after these good things because were designed to live in such a world where we are free from all these distresses and vices. We strive for that world through natural means because it is in us to want the restoration of this world.
God also wants the restoration of this world and of humanity and He has put a plan into place that involves our interaction with Him through relationship with Him made possible by Jesus. We can now work with God as He works through us to work out the redemption already made complete with the work of Christ through his death and resurrection. When an event happens there is a change, but that change takes time to become manifest. Transition is that process that works out the change to its fulfillment. When a person gets married they are married upon saying “I do,” but a transition process begins to occur in order to actualize that singleness is being transformed to a marriage relationship. It is something walked out in time.
This is what has been happening in this world. Jesus brought a change into individuals who are collectively the Church who are working out their redemption in life and as a community upon this earth to reveal the glory of God in all spheres of life. Jesus said that he did not come to condemn the world, but to give it life. He came to bring life and restoration to end the perishing of people due to their sin. He came to free us from the bonds of sin and death as well as giving us the power to redeem the world around us to its intended glory.
The miracles of God are there to bring life and restoration and not to tamper with nature for the fun of it. A traditional doctor repairs a broken body to restore it to health, not to play around with the natural makeup of man. God is the Great Physician who is in the restoration business and He along with those who have found life in Him uses supernatural means to mend nature and infuse it with its natural glory. He brings out the life that was lying dormant and unveils it without its corruption to the watching world. He does this in people and He does it in creation and in anything that is submitted to Him to be made whole.
A day will come when this process is complete and the old corruption of the earth will be no more and the earth will be as new; fully redeemed and shining in its full glory with a humanity that is also fully redeemed and fully righteous and holy.
The story of God and His relationship to man cannot be fully revealed by only arguing for His existence. It is a whole picture that includes mans place in the story and our relationship to the Redeemer, Jesus. It is a worldview that is a grand story of which we are very much a part. It is this story that causes my desire to share the reality of God and to point to the way of our entering into the reality of His love.
As I’ve said, it’s not about mere intellectual assent to a set of beliefs. It’s about a real life encounter with the essence and being of truth. It’s a truth that heals hearts and restores what is lost or damaged to its full health and glory. It’s a story you can find your place in that also has chapters yet to be written by your contribution by entering it as a royal child of God through Jesus.