Written by Victor Stanley Jr.
We hear many issues brought up when worldview is mentioned. There are all types of arguments to be had and debates to be fought. However, worldview, at its base, can be narrowed down to a few questions that get to the heart of the matter. These questions, when considered and answered, provide the basis for every other issue that comes out of the worldview debate. They are as follows:
- Who am I?
- What is my purpose?
- What is wrong with the world?
- How can what’s wrong be made right?
- What is my destiny and the fate of the universe?
Each of these questions has two answers, one given by the world, and one given by scripture. In these very different answers, we see two worldviews emerge, a man-centered one, and a God-centered one. The world’s answers are as follows:
- Who am I? A cosmic accident
- What is my purpose? To seek pleasure and enjoy. To consume and enjoy.
- What is wrong with the world? We are under-educated, under-governed, and under-medicated
- How can what is wrong be made right? More education, more government, more medication.
- What is my destiny and the fate of the world? To die and leave a legacy, nothing comes after. The world will eventually be consumed by the sun, or, who knows what.
These answers reveal a self-centered hedonistic world and life that holds no meaning beyond instant gratification and success. The Bible provides a different outlook seen in the following:
- Who am I? A child of God made in His image
- What is my purpose? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever
- What is wrong with the world? We have rejected God, denied Christ, and chased after our own lusts and desires.
- How can what’s wrong be made right? The Cross
- What is my destiny and the fate of the world? My destiny is either life or death. To either dwell in the House of the Lord forever or be condemned to eternal damnation, that is separation from God. This world will continue to waste away and eventually be destroyed, but God will create a new Heaven and Earth.
Over the next few months we will dive into what these answers really mean and the implications they have for our lives.
The first question is: Who am I? This question deals with the central issue that, when solved, works to remedy the concerns raised by the other four questions. If we do not know who we are then what we are supposed to do, our purpose, is a question that cannot even be asked. Something in us knows that things are off in the world, but if we are ignorant of our identity and purpose then how can we pinpoint those things that are awry within the world. This thread continues in that if we cannot pinpoint the problem we cannot fix it, and ultimately, if we do not know who we are, what our purpose is, what the problem is or how to fix it, then, our destiny and the fate of the world is inconsequential.
So who are we? Genesis 1 tells us a little of who we are.
*Read Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7
Several things stand out in these verses:
- God’s intent was to make mankind in His image, and He did
- God invests mankind with authority, He gives us dominion over all the earth.
- He says that man is good
- He forms man from the dust of the ground
- He breathes life directly into him
Let’s quickly take these one at a time. First God says let us make man in our own image. He then proceeds to do this. This means we look like our father, we think like our father, we behave like our father, we bear a striking resemblance to Him. It also means that just as we care for and nurture our offspring, God too cares for us deeply (Matt. 7:7-11; Matt. 6:25-34).
There are many theories on what the image of God is, but an immediate one that jumps off the page is found in the very next verse; He gives man authority to rule just as God himself rules the universe and all of creation. This is important because it ties into our purpose of glorifying God, and we see Jesus tie it into several of His parables. We are to be stewards who rule over the earth God has given us, in doing that we bring glory to God.
If I go and care for my parents’ house, keep it clean, do the landscaping, keep up with repairs, etc., people will come to the house and say to my parents, “Wow, you have such a beautiful and well-kempt house.” My parents receive the glory because they are the owners of the house whereas I am simply a steward entrusted with caring for those things they have given me authority over. And so it is with God and us (Luke 17:7-10).
Next God says that He saw all He created and said that it was good. This would include mankind. Now, this is not a statement of morality, but rather a remark on the quality of things, it is the Greek noun καλος, which means good or beautiful. Thus God is saying that Him creating man was a good thing, a beautiful thing, and that man Himself is a good and beautiful creation. This means that our existence, our being, is beautiful to God. This ties in with the fourth point, that we were formed from the dust of the ground. Everything else in creation was spoken into existence, yet God took the time to handcraft man. Psalm 139:13-16 details this well:
*Read Psalm 139:13-16
Up to this point I have used the terms “man” or “mankind” to represent the entire human race. But now let me specifically talk about women. Scripture has a lot to say about women, and some of the greatest heroes of the faith in Bible times and beyond have been women. There are two things that I want to call to attention: Genesis 2:18 and 1 Corinthians 11:7-12. In Genesis, we see that woman is created as man’s helper. We cannot think of this in terms of servitude, but rather it is an idea of completion. God takes a piece of man and fashions woman from it, thus man without woman is incomplete.
Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12. He also states, in the Corinthians passage, that woman is the glory of man, this is the Greek word δοχα, which carries several ideas in its meaning. It means an opinion held about a person, their reputation; it denotes honor which is gained; from this it gives way to the idea of radiance and light. Thus to say that woman is man’s glory is to say that she increases his reputation, his honor, his radiance; woman makes man better, she adds to him.
Woman is not defined by man, rather she is made for man. She is a gift, a provision given to man, but not in the sense of being an object, for she is the daughter of the Lord God Almighty, precious and valued by Him, a gift to be given not taken. Genesis says that a man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife. Gifts do not go out and pursue the people to whom they are to be given. No, the receiver of the gift must come and take hold of it, he must seek it out. Christ Himself was given as a gift to mankind, yet the shepherds and the wise men had to go to Him, they had to seek Him out. The disciples had to follow Him, the crowds “came” to Him, He calls out to the lost and they run after Him. And for anyone to receive Him he must humble himself.
Woman, in the same way, is a gift that is precious and priceless to her Father, and man is to come to her humbly in order to receive her. Just as Christ is given as a gift to humanity and adds to us life eternal where we were otherwise dead, so woman is given to man and adds to him a radiance and brilliance he otherwise lacked. Women, do not let secular feminism diminish your worth by making you equal with man, you are man’s glory; And do not let traditionalists or fundamentalist Christianity demean you by making you less than man, for you are the rare and precious daughter of the Most High God, Israel was His daughter, and He destroyed any nation that dared raise a hand to her or defile her.
Fifth, Genesis says that God breathed the breath of life into man’s nostrils. This is a very personal and intimate act. God handcrafts us, and then takes our face in His hands and inspires life into us. I use the archaic meaning of the word inspire, which means to literally breathe life into something. Handmade and our faces kissed by God we stand as the crowning achievement of His creation.
1 John 3:1-3 says this:
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
All people were created by God and made in His image, but as Christians we are called the beloved children of God, loved by Him. The Apostle John says that the world does not know us because it does not know Christ, yet the world is constantly trying to tell us who we are. The world tells me that I am…
- Defined by my skin color/ethnicity/nationality
- Defined by my past
- Defined by my gender/sexuality
- Defined by my abilities
- Defined by my socio-economic status
- Defined by my age
- Defined by my personality
- Defined by what I do
- Defined by my appearance
- Defined by how others feel towards me
- Defined by my own insecurities
So… Who Am I? The world says that I am a cosmic accident, a bag of biological material that came about by chance. Scripture tells me that I am made in the image and glory of the Eternal Father loved and cared for by Him. Who Are You?