The most plausible worldview

When asked why I believe in Christianity and follow the Bible, among other reasons, I tell people that I can’t find an alternative worldview that corresponds with reality as comprehensively as what I find in the true account of Christianity.

This doesn’t mean that I find everything easy to understand or explain because of Christianity. Life is painfully complicated and even parts of the Bible (on which Christianity is based) are difficult to explain. Some biblical passages are written in cryptic prose; others are hard to absorb on an emotional level.

The Bible was written in a context of divine concession (Genesis 8:20-21) to people living in ancient near eastern cultures. This means that God deals with people where they are not always where He wants them to be. Other parts of Scripture are simply beyond the reach of finite minds. Yet none of this necessarily calls into question the truthfulness and extensive relevancy of the text.

While there are painful and complicated issues that are beyond my full comprehension, I come back to one compelling question: “What way of seeing things corresponds most with reality and does not contradict what I clearly know to be true?” Asked differently, “What seems to be the most plausible way of seeing things in light of what we 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.

Even more, it speaks in deeply satisfying ways to shared human intuitions about meaningful and hopeful existence. It specifically addresses universal human needs regarding matters like love, forgiveness and peace.

I realize that some people struggle with the Bible because of the strange things they find in it. Yet 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 beings on the planet) a status of uniqueness and equality. The Creator deliberated and 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 any hierarchy of material beings (beyond superiority in survival). Honest scientists know that it is outside the scope of science to establish matters like ultimate origins, transcendent meaning and ordered morality.

What we encounter in the world (and what the Declaration of Independence declared “self-evident”) is that, “all men are created equal.” No other account of human origins could logically lead to this declaration. If you’re unconvinced about uniqueness of humans, what would you think if you were visiting a zoo and saw humans in a cage for spectators to view? Why would such a thought be repulsive to us?

But wait! We put many humans behind bars — in prisons! Yes, and this verifies that human dignity is not our whole story — which is another main theme of Christian Scripture. Humans have fallen from their original greatness and glory as made in the image of God.

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 very bad turn. We know with large amounts of empirical evidence 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.

Steve Cornell

See alsoConfusing faith and science

This entry was posted in Christian worldview, Christianity, Worldview. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The most plausible worldview

  1. Pingback: Two versions of reality | WisdomForLife

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