Foundations of a Christian Worldview

Abstract

This essay explores sources that inform and support a Christian Worldview, including sources in the biblical, historical and contemporary resources. Using literature on Christian worldview from writers like Orr, Kuyper, and Naugle and evidence from Biblical scripture, this essay finds that Christian worldview is based on the idea that Christianity is an entire system in itself on the knowledge about the universe. Furthermore, those who ascribe to the Christian worldview are able to make meaning and sense out of their world and the events around them based on the Christian worldview which is informed by the Bible and theosophy.

Introduction

The term ‘worldview’ was first introduced in the writings of Immanuel Kant and sought to explain the set of beliefs around which human thought and actions are centred. The concept of ‘worldview’ has been considered as one of the most important aspects about a person because it is the philosophy of the person and the way he sees reality around him that has practical ramifications for that person and others around him. Echoing this argument, Naugle writes that there cannot be anything more fundamental than the set of presuppositions and assumptions that a person has about the universe and theory of the cosmos. Proceeding in agreement with this argument that the most important aspect about a person is their worldview, this essay explores the biblical, historical and contemporary sources that inform and support a Christian Worldview. There is an idea that Christianity is the interpretation of the universe, which would mean that Christianity offers the knowledge of the universe and helps Christians make meaning of the deep mysteries of the universe. Therefore, this essay uses Christian sources, Biblical and theosophical, to explain what informs and supports a Christian Worldview.

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Worldview in Christianity: Historical context

The first issue to consider is how the idea that there is a Christian worldview, which can be differentiated from other worldviews came to be noted in Christian literature. The Protestant Evangelical writings of Abraham Kuyper and James Orr contained the early discourse on Christian worldview tradition. The concept of worldview itself was a part of the wider


  1. James W. Sire, "Worldview Definitions: From Dilthey to Naugle," Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a concept (IVP Academic, 2015).
  2. G. K. Chesterton, Heretics, in The Complete Works of G. K. Chesterton, ed. David Dooley, vol. 1, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986).
  3. David Naugle, "Worldview: History, theology, implications," Worldview: History, Theology, Implications (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Universidad de Cornerstoneseptiembre, 2004).
  4. Dorothy L. Sayers, 1937-1944: From Novelist to Playwright, vol. 2, in The Letters of Dorothy Sayers, ed. Barbara Reynolds (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998).
  5. intellectual work in Europe at the time, but Kuyper and Orr linked this idea to Christian thought. Orr argued for the development of a Christian definition of reality so as to protect Christianity from attacks. Importantly, Orr argued that the belief in Jesus Christ and incarnation meant that there was a necessary belief in other convictions including the view of God, man, sin, redemption, and human destiny as understood in Christianity. In other words, the belief in Jesus Christ demands nothing less than a belief in the reality of the universe that is anchored in how Christ was the Son of God and how he could be reincarnated and how humans gain redemption from their sins by their belief in Jesus Christ.

    Similar arguments about the Christian worldview were made by Abraham Kuyper who argued that Christian worldview must be articulated as a comprehensive vision of reality which is based on the belief that if one submits to the will of God in all things, then one can attain redemption. Based on this idea, Kuyper argued that Christian worldview is based on the Biblical thought and informs our ideas about every aspect of life and world including religion, politics, science, and art.

    Christian Worldview and the Biblical scripture

    Proceeding from the above section, the next issue that arises is whether the idea of a Christian worldview is supported by Biblical evidence. It has been noted in the scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, that the heart is the centre of human existence. If this is linked to the idea of a worldview, based on the premise that the worldview is central to every individual and proceeds from his beliefs and ideas of reality, then, it can be seen that the Old and New Testaments both support the idea of the development of the Christian worldview.

    The Proverbs 4: 23 states that “from the heart flow the springs of life.” Furthermore, the Proverb and 27: 19 states that “the heart of man reflects man.” These Proverbs support the idea that the worldview or philosophy of man is the reflection of the reality that the man sees. In Matthew 6: 21, Jesus Christ has stated that a person values the heart the most as one’s treasure in life. St. Paul also prayed for the enlightenment of “the eyes of the heart” so that believers might understand the importance of their callings in Christ (Eph. 1: 18). These statements are evidence of the significance of the heart in reaching God or becoming one with God. In other words, in Christian worldview, it would not be possible to attain redemption and oneness with God unless one has accepted wholeheartedly the submission to the will of the God, which is seen in the reality of the universe and cosmos. Or in other


  6. Naugle, "Worldview: History, theology, implications."
  7. James Orr, The Christian View of God and the World, foreword Vernon C. Grounds (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1989).
  8. Orr, The Christian View of God and the World.
  9. Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994).
  10. Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism.
  11. words, as Naugle notes “it is a vision of God, the universe, our world and ourselves — rooted and grounded in the human heart.” It may be said that the heart’s knowledge of the world and the reality of the universe is in an a priori sense so that the heart already knows or presupposes the truth that we have to reach.

    The Christian worldview is centred in the idea that the God is the creator of the universe and that God being the creator only he can answer the questions about the universe or that it is in the submission to the will of the God, can be find the answers to these questions. As stated: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1–3). Therefore, it is important to understand that for those who have the Christian worldview, the answers to all questions are in the Bible and the scripture.

    Christian worldview as an answer to all of world’s questions

    The Christian worldview is based on the Bible which offers explanations for all the deeper questions about the universe. The Bible tells us that the metaphysical something that we see in the world today is created by God because the opening words of the Bible are: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1.1, NASB). The Bible thus teaches us that the very fact of the existence of the universe is known from the Biblical knowledge that God created the universe out of nothing. It is not possible to ascribe to a Christian worldview without accepting this basic idea of the universe’s creation. Because God created the universe and all of the universe’s components are God’s creations, the foundation for the complete unity of the universe rests with the creator God and there is therefore no compartmentalisation of life (Is. 45:18).

    It may be noted that there has been some conflict between those who propound the Christian worldview and those who speak about a secular worldview. Indeed, the dichotomy between the Christian and secular worldview may be seen in the everyday lives of individuals who may at times have to live double lives as religious persons and as employees, students in the secular world. However, there is also some evidence to suggest that religious systems complement secular based worldviews and not necessarily supplant the latter. Therefore, the argument that being a person with a Christian worldview would come in the way of finding


  12. Naugle, "Worldview: History, theology, implications," p. 6.
  13. Philip Graham Ryken, Christian worldview: A student's guide (Crossway, 2013).
  14. David Kim, David McCalman, and Dan Fisher, "The sacred/secular divide and the Christian worldview," Journal of Business Ethics 109, no. 2 (2012): 203-208.
  15. Kim, McCalman, and Fisher, "The sacred/secular divide and the Christian worldview."
  16. Joseph Watts, Sam Passmore, Joshua Conrad Jackson, Christoph Rzymski, and Robin IM Dunbar, "Text analysis shows conceptual overlap as well as domain-specific differences in Christian and secular worldviews," Cognition 201 (2020): 104290.

explanations to natural and supernatural phenomena of the universe. It can be argued that the Christian worldview provides answers to questions that secular education has so far failed to provide, therefore the counterargument that the Christian worldview is not compatible with secular education does not hold true. Once it is understood that the Christian worldview proceeds from the heart, it can then be argued that there is a need to align the heart (or faith) with learning; this calls for integration between faith and learning.

Reflection

My Christian Worldview is influenced by the Christian Pentecostal worldview, as I am from Ghana where this Worldview is predominant and is fostered by Church as well as by our pastors and preachers. Ghana is a predominantly Christian nation with approximately 70 percent Christian population. As such, I was born and raised within a Christian family with Christian values. The Christian Pentecostal worldview is based on scripture and the Bible so that the world and the events in the world around us are sought to be understood and made sense of on the basis of the Bible. In other words, the Christian Pentecostal worldview is driven by the belief in the indwelling Holy Spirit of God and the world is seen through the Christian and Biblical only. My own Worldview was informed by a number of factors in my life and upbringing.

To a great extent, this worldview was fostered by my own family, particularly my grandmother, who was a major influence in my life as I lived with her. My grandmother was considered a hero of faith in my present church denomination and as such she also instilled the same values in me as informed her own worldview. As I studied in Christian primary, secondary and high schools, the values that I learnt at home, from my grandmother, and at my church, were further cemented. Therefore, growing up, I was constantly aware of the Holy Spirit of God in everything and every action and event. Indeed, it can be said that I learnt to make meanings of these actions and events based on the Bible and Christian values. Furthermore, my extended family’s influence in strengthening my worldview needs to be acknowledged as many of them have or serve the church in ministerial and pastoral roles. I would say that the influence of my extended family members has meant that I strive to live like they did or do and keep the godly legacy like Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5).

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I am striving to do so by serving in the Pastoral ministry and pastoring Churches. I believe that this will continue to strengthen my worldview and impact that of others in my family and community.

Conclusion

To conclude, Christian worldview is informed by biblical and historical sources and is supported by some contemporary sources that suggest that there is a complementing effect of Christian worldview in how people with this worldview see reality of the universe. Christian


  • Octavio Javier Esqueda, "Biblical worldview: The Christian higher education foundation for learning," Christian Higher Education 13, no. 2 (2014): 91-100.
  • worldview is informed by scriptures that talk about the supremacy of God the Creator of this universe and is supported by theosophical and philosophical writings that argued for the importance of developing a Christian worldview as a way to developing knowledge about the world which is already shown in the Bible.

    Bibliography

    Chesterton, G. K. Heretics, in The Complete Works of G. K. Chesterton. Edited by David Dooley. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986.

    Esqueda, Octavio Javier. "Biblical worldview: The Christian higher education foundation for learning." Christian Higher Education 13, no. 2 (2014): 91-100.

    Kim, David, David McCalman, and Dan Fisher, "The sacred/secular divide and the Christian worldview." Journal of Business Ethics 109, no. 2 (2012): 203-208.

    Kuyper, Abraham. Lectures on Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994.

    Naugle, David. "Worldview: History, theology, implications." Worldview: History, Theology, Implications. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Universidad de Cornerstoneseptiembre de, 2004.

    Orr, James. The Christian View of God and the World. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1989. Ryken, Philip Graham. Christian worldview: A student's guide. Crossway, 2013.

    Sayers, Dorothy L. 1937-1944: From Novelist to Playwright, vol. 2, in The Letters of Dorothy Sayers. Edited by Barbara Reynolds. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.

    Sire, James W. "Worldview Definitions: From Dilthey to Naugle." Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a concept. IVP Academic, 2015.

    Watts, Joseph, Sam Passmore, Joshua Conrad Jackson, Christoph Rzymski, and Robin IM Dunbar. "Text analysis shows conceptual overlap as well as domain-specific differences in Christian and secular worldviews." Cognition 201 (2020): 104290.

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