A World Full of Problems
The world is a real mess. Even non-Christians recognize this sad fact. Evil men continue to grow “worse and worse” in their actions and attitudes. This should come as no surprise to all who have a relationship with God, for the Bible declares that in the last days, men will be characterized by increasing wickedness and apostasy. Yet God’s Word also tells us that this evil is clothed in deceit and even appears as a “form of godliness” at times (2 Timothy 3:5). Evil men are deceivers, yet they themselves are also deceived (2 Timothy 3:13). Therefore, they think they have the answers to the world’s problems. They believe that mankind has the inherent potential to solve his own problems without God. They have even begun to devise blueprints for a better world by which the global community must abide in order to solve our planet’s problems.
As believers, we need to understand that those who place such a high priority on the inherent goodness of mankind have come to such a false, destructive conclusion because they possess a completely different set of beliefs than we do as a result of either their rejection of divine revelation or their ignorance of it. Their worldview—a set of beliefs about one’s origin and purpose that governs one’s actions— is completely different than ours. We need to understand why people think the way they do so we can answer their deepest questions accurately from the Word of God and lead them to a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only answer to the world’s problems. Let us consider some of the difficult problems that exist in our world and arrive at a proper view of these issues—a biblical worldview.
Our Sin Problem
The Naturalistic Worldview: Because man is simply an organism in the long line of evolution (he is an advanced animal form), man does not answer to any Power higher than himself. As a result, good and evil are relative to the social situation in which he finds himself. Man is inherently good and must look within himself to achieve the greater common good for the culture and the society in which he lives.
The Religious Worldview: Man is inherently good and must emulate the exemplary life of Jesus Christ (a good man—but not God) and follow His works and teachings in order to overcome “evil,” defined as anything that can be harmful to another person.
The Biblical Worldview: Man is inherently sinful—he is a sinner by birth (his nature) and deed (his actions, Romans 5:6-12, 18-21). In order to possess a relationship with God, man must deal with this sin problem on God’s terms, for He is holy and righteous and cannot fellowship with darkness. He must trust in Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection in order to become a new creation and be reconciled to God. Only then can man overcome evil through the indwelling strength of the Holy Spirit.
The Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ is the only way through which man can overcome this sin problem that separates him from God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Jesus declared Himself to be the only means by which man can enjoy a relationship with God—a relationship that entails eternal life with the Lord and salvation from an eternity in the lake of fire. Indeed, we all are born sinners, “but God commendeth (demonstrated) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Our Peace Problem
The Naturalistic Worldview: Because man is naturally good, he can generate world peace through international dialogue, global disarmament, and the equal distribution of wealth. World peace can be obtained through human effort.
The Religious Worldview: Mankind can create peace on earth through the establishment of God’s kingdom. This “kingdom” will result from international political dialogue, disarmament, the unity of all religions, and meeting the physical needs of the poor and oppressed. Jesus Christ is an exemplary figure for mankind to follow. Mankind’s efforts—not God Himself—will eventually implement this world peace.
The Biblical Worldview:No worldwide peace will exist until Jesus comes to inaugurate His 1,000-year reign upon the earth. Today’s text prophesies of this glorious time when the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) will rule and reign. Concerning this peace, “there shall be no end” (Isaiah 9:7). Of course, as much as possible, believers are to live peaceably among all men, but mankind will never implement worldwide peace. Only God will do so when He returns to the earth in power and great glory with His saints to fulfill His covenant with Israel—“The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).
The Answer: Jesus Christ is the righteous Judge who one day will personally implement worldwide peace. He will physically rule the world in perfect righteousness and justice. Yet even today, He can bring peace to the heart of every man, woman, and child who believes in Him (Romans 5:1). He offers a peace that passes all understanding to those who trust in Him and place their confidence in His absolute promises.
Our Ecological Problem
The Naturalistic Worldview: Man is part of a web of life that began billions of years ago. He came from the earth (his Mother) and harms his own body when he pollutes the earth. He can save his planet through a drastic implementation of ecological awareness, education, and environmental programs designed to improve sustainability. No hierarchical distinction exists between man, animal, and plant since all came from the same Mother. The human species is equal with all other life forms.
The Religious Worldview: It is almost identical to the naturalistic worldview except it promotes the belief that the divine is present in nature, and as a result, man hurts God (or whatever deity is thought to engage nature) when he hurts the environment.
The Biblical Worldview:God independently created plants, animals, and man as separate “kinds.” Mankind is superior to plant and animal life because “God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27) and has given him the ability to discern between right and wrong, the ability to have a relationship with God, and the ability to live forever. God commanded man to have dominion over plant and animal life. Yet man also possesses a responsibility to be a good steward of that which God has entrusted to him. Plants and animals are to be used for food and clothing (Genesis 1:27-30; 2:9, 16; 9:1-6). Man is distinct from plant and animal life and is required to act accordingly.
The Answer: Jesus Christ will create new heavens and a new earth one day after destroying this earth in judgment (Revelation 21:1-7; 2 Peter 3:10-14). Man must be a good steward of earthly resources, but he is not able to save the planet through his own efforts.
Our Morality Problem
The Naturalistic Worldview: Because man is simply an evolved animal, he does not answer to a higher power. No transcendent moral standards exist. Right and wrong are not absolute but are relative to society, culture, environment, and the “common good.” Pragmatism is the philosophy of life. Hedonism is the norm. Therefore, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, fornication, pornography, adultery, or other forms of moral wickedness are considered by society to be “value judgments.”
The Religious Worldview: Man does answer to a higher power, but the higher power has left mankind with no absolute moral guidelines, and the “higher power” is often simply the spirit of man within himself. Therefore, morality is based on shared ethical principles. Anything is right as long as no one else is wounded in the process.
The Biblical Worldview:Man answers to a higher power who has manifested Himself to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Living Word. Man also has the Written Word, given through inspiration of God the Spirit, by which he is to govern his life (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The Bible is man’s guidebook of absolute truth in all matters of life—including ethics and morality. To deviate from it is to sin and break fellowship with the Creator.
The Answer: Jesus Christ shed His blood so we can live a life in perfect harmony with His will—a life characterized by goodness, truth, and righteousness. We discover how to live this life through the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). We can have power over sin only through new life and subsequent yieldedness to the Holy Spirit. To deviate from this standard results in corruption of the flesh and loss of fellowship with God.
— By Matt Costella