Sometimes I am asked why I believe in Christianity and follow the Bible. Although I am well-aware of arguments against both, I cannot find an alternative worldview that corresponds with reality as comprehensively as Christianity.
This doesn’t mean I find everything easy to understand and explain. Life is complicated (painfully so, at times) and parts of the Bible are difficult to comprehend. Some passages are written in cryptic prose; other parts are hard to emotionally absorb. Some of what is written is just beyond the reach of finite minds. But none of this necessarily calls into question the truthfulness of a text.
I am comfortable acknowledging truths that are beyond my intellectual reach as long as they do not contradict what I know to be true. This is not an excuse for anything but a necessary admission people must make no matter their worldview.
But I feel compelled to ask, “What way of seeing things corresponds most with reality and does not contradict what I clearly know to be true?” Or, asked differently, “What seems most plausible in light of what we see and know about humanity, the observable world and its history?
I believe a Christian worldview offers the most logically consistent and plausibly realistic understanding of life and the world. It simply does the best job explaining the world we encounter each day. And it offers the best explanatory frame for the most extensive range of evidence in the world and in the human spirit.
It speaks in deeply satisfying ways to shared human intuitions about meaningful and hopeful existence. It also specifically addresses universal human needs regarding matters like forgiveness and peace.
I realize that some people struggle with the Bible because of the strange things they find in it. But while there are some strange parts, it overwhelmingly corresponds with the reality of the world. The first chapter begins in a way that fits well with reality as we read of a Creator who is said to be responsible for all the things that we see around us. Since something cannot come from nothing, it makes sense that an intelligent Creator is behind everything.
This Creator is said to be responsible for things like light, day and night, waters, sky, land, vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees, stars, fish, birds, creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals. All of these correspond fittingly with reality for all people in all places at all times. Arguments over a particular age for the earth are extraneous to the biblical text and are too often used as unnecessary diversions from the narrative.
I find the account of human beginnings in the book of Genesis most plausible for how we attribute to them (among the beings on the planet) a status of uniqueness and equality. The Creator deliberated within himself when he said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule…” And, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
The narrative of biological evolution (for all it offers scientifically) cannot logically lead us to a hierarchy of material beings (unless we reduce it to a matter of superiority in the context of survival). It’s also outside the scope of science to postulate about ultimate origins, meaning and morality. But what we encounter in the world (and what the Declaration of Independence echoed as a “self-evident” truth) is that “all men are created equal.” No other account of human origins could logically lead to this declaration. If you are unconvinced about special uniqueness for humans, try putting a person in a cage at the Zoo for spectators to observe. Why is such a thought repulsive to us?
But, one might protest, “We put many humans behind bars in prisons!” Yes, and this verifies that human dignity is not our whole story — another main theme of Christian Scripture. Humans fell from their original greatness. According to the biblical narrative, the Creator intended a “very good” world for us (Genesis 1:31). But his original provision was corrupted. Something good took a bad turn. We know with empirical certainty that the world is not the way it’s supposed to be. Dignity is tainted with depravity. But we need a narrative that provides for both dignity and depravity.
Human heroism and benevolence are repeatedly off set by a darker side to the human spirit. If the morning paper isn’t sufficient for verifying this duality, a study of history will easily make the case. Someone suggested that peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone stops to reload. The biblical account speaks with clarity about this reality.
The term “fallen” applied by theologians to describe humanity is fitting because it clearly captures what we know about the world and ourselves. We were meant for more (and we know it) but “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The original glory of being made in the image of God has been corrupted in profound ways. The main story of the Bible is God’s redemptive love in seeking his fallen creation to forgive them and restore them to his image.
For these and many other reasons, I accept a biblical worldview. There is simply no other way of understanding the world that corresponds with reality as comprehensively as Christianity.
Millersville Bible Church
58 West Frederick Street
Millersville, PA. 17551