How we understand the world to work and how we operate within it is rooted in our worldview. If we think about it at all, we think about our worldview in terms of philosophy. If. Most of us don’t think about it at all. We assume its existence, but we don’t often consider what is driving and influencing it. Despite this, we should pay attention it—to know what is influencing or determining our thoughts and actions. Why? Because our worldview is shaped by and extends from our theology, which is shaped by the Scriptures.1
So what truths shape how the Christian worldview? Here are three that help lay our foundation:
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God…”
Genesis 1:1 is a powerful starting point as we consider the Christian worldview: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In this verse, we immediately learn there is a God. And before anything else was, God existed. And this God created, well, everything. All that we see and hear and touch and taste and smell and measure and hypothesize… All of it was created by this God. And because this God is the one who created it, this God has authority over it.
This fact is why there is so much debate about the creation account in Genesis. We are desperate to debunk the story of how the world came into being, not because they find the notion of the world being created in six days ludicrous (after all, how are some of the alternatives less ludicrous?), but because it tells us we are not autonomous beings. If there is a Creator then we as created beings are necessarily under this Creator’s authority. And we don’t like that.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That is richly and profoundly theological.
John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word…”
In the opening of his Gospel, John builds upon the theological truth of Genesis 1, and then pulls back the veil. In John 1:1-3, he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.”
In the beginning, he said, was not merely God, but the Word. But who is the Word? John describes the Word as One who was with God. If he stopped there, we might be able to say, “Well, clearly the Word is the first created being.” But John doesn’t allow for that because he immediately says the Word who was with God was God. And then as if to counter the idea that the Word was perhaps simply another name for God, he says again that the Word was with God in the beginning.
John brings forward a mystery: that of the nature of God himself. The God who created all things is one—but more than one at the same time. Not gods plural but God singular who simultaneously exists as more than one person. A God who is completely self-existent. Who needs for nothing. He doesn’t need relationship because he has it. He doesn’t need stuff because all of it is his anyway. Which is great news for us, because a god that needs anything isn’t really a god worth worshipping.
But back to the Word. Of the Word’s relationship with creation, John writes that “all things” were created through the Word. And because he wants us to be confident that the word “all” here means “all”, he follows it up by saying “apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.”
So here’s the layer that John adds to our understanding of the world: The God who created everything was not alone. The Word was also present with God. And the Word was also this same God, and is the one through whom all things are created. So the Word also has the same authority over the world as God. And as we see later in John’s prologue, this Word came into the world and dwelt among his people, going by another name: Jesus.
Here again, we see why people want to demystify Jesus, or cast doubt on his existence. If Jesus were merely a good teacher whose disciples later gave him the trappings of divinity, he’s ignorable. If he were a sincere man who believed he was God, but was sincerely wrong, he’s ignorable. If he were a madman or didn’t exist at all, same deal. But if Jesus is, in fact, God as the Bible describes him, he is unignorable. Jesus It also makes our authority issues even worse, because it means that not under the authority of a God who may or may not engage with us, but one who is personally invested in his creation.
Romans 1:19-20: “…what can be known about God is evident among them…”
And then, we get to what might be the most mind-bending twist yet. The most radically theological statement of all in Romans 1. There, Paul writes, “…what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made.”
Not only is the world created by a God who exists outside of it, a God who is more than one person, yet mysteriously still one God, who is in authority over all things… every single person knows that this God exists. And how do they know? He made it plain to them through what he has made.
All of creation bears witness to God’s existence. Everything that is created screams the truth at us. But we deny it. We exchange the truth about God for a lie. And every moment we are living in light of these two realities—either in such a way that acknowledges the one who created us, or denies him.
This is challenging stuff, friends. But this is only a cursory overview. One could (and should) go much deeper. But the deeper you go, the more it becomes clear that how we understand the world is radically theological. If what we read in the Bible is remotely true, it can’t be anything but.
- Note this post is adapted from one point I made in a brief lecture I taught on how theology changes people. ↵