Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Reading: The Big Picture: Building Blocks of a Christian World View #4

This week, after a one week break, I am continuing to read through The Big Picture: Building Blocks of a Christian World View, by Brian Harris. Chapters four and five begin a new section of the book which focuses on the “Big Building Block’s of the Christians Faith.”  Four is entitled, The Universe: Accidental or Intentional; Chapter 5 is Humanity Tragedy and Triumph. I will be posting some quotes on my Facebook page and you are welcome to discuss the posts there. (The numbers after the quotes are Kindle locations not page numbers).

In a biblical worldview, the universe is an intentional, purposeful creation of an intelligent personal God. We have purpose and meaning because it is conferred on the universe by its Creator. The Bible, thus, is focused mainly on the “why” of creation, rather than the “how.” In our modern scientific world we tend to focus on the “how,” but, in the main, the Bible does not focus on the scientific questions but on the deeper questions of purpose, meaning and responsibility, that give insight into how we should understand the reality around us. Harris gives an overview of the biblical narrative of the universe as a “beautifully bookended story. Paradise, paradise lost, paradise restored – but magnified.” (1544) In this story God is always the main character, and the purpose of the story is to reveal God (he mentions 12 qualities of God’s character revealed in the creation story), so that we can know Him better and thus be better able to function in His universe.
The Bible does not attempt to answer the ‘how’ question. Rather, it gives us insight into the motivation and purpose of the Creator. The stories of creation offer lenses through which we should understand reality. 1460-1462
A Christian world view points to a purposeful story in which I have a role to play. It is a story of paradise, paradise lost and paradise in the process of being reclaimed. As we wait for the reclaiming, there is work for us to do. That work is shaped by who we are called to be in the story. 1690-1692
For most of us we are tempted to feel as though we have no place, and very little voice in a world of political power and celebrities. But if we follow the God of Jesus and Spirit then out of darkness and death and discouragement will come new life, the only life that matters. 1737-1738
Other worldviews tend to view humanity as machines or animals, as only sexual or economic beings, pawns, or as completely independent beings who make their own world. The biblical worldview is that we are created beings, who are dependent on God for life, and created for relationship with him and other people. We are created to be eternal, physical image bearers of God representing him within the universe he created. However, real relationship requires choice, and humans chose, and regularly choose, to reject the relationship and their dependency on God, and thus have failed to become what God intended. This has tarnished and bent all humanity toward evil, with its self and universe destructive behavior. Jesus, in becoming human, in the cross resurrection and ascension, has brought us back into relationship with God, but we still have this tarnish of evil which will not be removed until the final kingdom. Now we must live as representatives of God, serving his universe and his people in the power of the Spirit.
Because our value has been conferred upon us by our Creator, our meaning lies outside of ourselves and in relationship with God. 1848-1849
The image refers to that in our make-up which enables us to fulfil our destiny. Our goal is to love and obey God, to live in harmonious community with others and to steward creation. 1925-1927
The stewardship of all of creation, rather than an anthropocentric absorption, is the first responsibility of image-bearers in a Christian world view. This will not be at the expense of human concerns, for in God’s good creation all things cohere together and the wellbeing of one is not at the expense of another. 1991-1993


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