Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Theistic Worldview: Why Do I Believe in God?

Who are you?  We can communicate our worldview in a way society understands with a simple phrase such as, “I am a Christian” without going into a lot of detail to describe our identity and people basically understand.  “The question of identity is the key issue at the center of most of the important issues of Western culture” (Phillips, Brown, Stonestreet).  How we view the world and how we process what happens to us is dependant on our worldview.  Some people may classify this process as a religion but to me it is faith.  As described in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, faith is defined as a “belief and trust in and loyalty to God” and it is further explained as a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”.  The Theistic worldview is based on having faith in an intelligent being we cannot see but have full trust in.  The faith I have in God is to help me discern His truth in The Bible as well as how I handle worldly concerns.  My identity and worldview as a Christian-Theistic individual is dependant on my faith in God as not just a God but also the one and only true God.

As previously stated I have a Theistic worldview and more specifically a Christian-Theistic worldview.  As a Christian I draw strength from God and use The Bible as a guide to learn and discern the commands of God.  The Bible is a true source from God.  While other books compliment the word of God The Bible describes how to live life in every situation.  It is the only word from God that will never change.  This is a reflection of His everlasting love and goodness for His people.

I believe The Bible to be the truth and the only truth that was inspired by God and penned by man.  C.S. Lewis said it best as he described how Christianity has transformed his life, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”.  Further, as a Christ follower I believe both the Old Testament and the New Testament are important with my walk in life.  These Testaments are covenants God has made with His children.  Even though the Old Testament was a covenant God made with a previous people it serves as an example of who God is.  God is not just His name it describes who He is, Holy and Sovereign.  These promises He made were the first promises in revealing His awesome authority.

Furthermore, The New Testament is also imperative to current and future believers to show His love for His children.  It also gives hope to the lost and weary.  The entire Bible is full of emotional terms to help us to relate and interpret what is written.  One of the closest human relationships we have is a parent and child relationship.  God sent Himself in the form of His son to show relationship and unconditional love for His people.  What is more loving than sending your perfect and unblemished son to die for mans sins?  “The Bible is not a book of abstract, technical information.  It is a book about relationships, primary relationships between God and people” (Duvall, Hays, 2005).  While some people may feel certain parts of The Bible are harsh these terms strike the heart in a deep and profound way.  It is no mistake on God’s part that people have a sharp reaction.  It was meant to shock and restart the deadened heart similar to the process of defibrillation.

The Bible is also true because God tells us so in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (New International Version).  Not only do I know this to be true in my heart but also I believe it makes sense how creationism is explained.  In the words of a book by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist”.  If I did not believe in God I would be forced to adopt the natural selection theory that life just appeared without a rhyme or reason.  How can life exist without an intelligent being as the creator?  We may be able to assume how things survive and evolve (as in micro-evolution) but first we must look at how we were created.  As Geisler points out even the Wright brothers needed some form of intelligence to create the first airplane.  Airplanes did not just appear without two things:  1.)  A Creator and 2.)  Intelligence.  “If intelligent scientists cannot break genetic barriers, why should we expect nonintelligent natural selection to do so” (Geisler, Turek)?

When we look at the validity of The Bible it is important to look at what evidence society has as well as what evidence we do not have to prove a certain issue.  A large majority of The Bible is prophecy and history has proven some of the predictions of what was written by authors cited in The Bible.  “The Bible contains nearly three hundred predictions concerning Christ.  Even critics agree that the latest of these come from some two hundred years before His time; many come hundreds of years earlier” (Geisler).  One large point that separates Christianity from any other Theistic belief is that prophecy foretold that Jesus would perform miracles.  Jesus performed miracles that are apart of historical evidence, which was both predicted and proven.  No other religion can say that about the one who rescues them.  Also, in regards to the writings testifying to Jesus the prophets are making themselves a target speaking about Jesus and the meaning of true salvation.  Some critics of The Bible claim these prophets lied but my question is how would they profit from lying about issues they could be jailed and killed for?  It is my belief that they would be the last people to lie about Jesus’ title as The Messiah.  People like the Apostle Paul would not be willing to die for something they did not know to be true.

In order to practice what The Bible teaches is good and righteous I look to Galatians 5: Life by the Spirit.  I can choose to either live to glorify God as The Bible states in Galatians 5:22-23, “…the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control”.  Or I can choose to not follow God’s commands and live in the flesh or sinful nature as Galatians 5:19-21 states, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like”.  I know for a fact that sinful nature results in feeling empty, lost, and without purpose so I choose to live in the Spirit.

In addition, I can also scrutinize discourses throughout the Bible in order to learn from it.  By using logical arguments such as deductive reasoning I am able to learn about what I am observing.  We do not have all the answers about God and His beautiful creations but He provides us with intelligence to seek the answers to our questions.  God also helps us discern the text especially when we connect with Him through prayer.  By reading and re-reading His word He can reveal more information to us that helps us to apply His word to our life.  That is the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Along with stories in The Bible there is also a communication between God and the reader, which shows how compassionate and loving God is for His children.  Specifically, Psalm 139:13-16 states, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”,” My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”.
My identity and my worldview is of a Christian-Theistic view and my faith in God as the one and only true God.  “Worldview in a Christian perspective implies the objective existence of the Trinitarian God whose essential character establishes the moral order of the universe and whose word, wisdom, and law define and govern all aspects of created existence” (Sire).  God speaks to His elect through The Bible and has used others to teach us what is good and what is disobedience.  Physical evidence has proven in a very specific way that the word of God is not merely written by man but inspired by God.  Apostle Paul is an excellent example of how God can use people to teach and encourage others.  It was a supernatural event that happened when Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit and is further proof of the transformation that God can do.  Matthew 6:25-34 talks about His specific love for us to take care of us.  God takes care of the birds and the flowers and trees He loves us much more so how much more will He care for us if He provides for these small creatures.  These small creatures and plants do not worry about storing food for tomorrow so certainly we do not need to worry.  Through God’s tone in the scripture He emphasizes what breaks His heart.  There are no mistakes in His word and He often will repeat words and stories to get our attention.  God is our intelligent creator and loves us like a parent loves a child.  That is why He is called our Heavenly Father. 

Duvall, J. S., Hays, J.D.  Grasping God’s Word
Geisler, N.  Systematic Theology.  
Geisler, N., Turek, F.  I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.  
Lewis, C.S.  Weight of Glory.  
Phillips, W., Brown, W., & Stonestreet, J. Making sense of your world: A biblical worldview 
Sire, James, W.  Naming the Elephant.  

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