This is Part 1 in a series on “Real Life, Theology, and Biblical World View” by Lance Nelson. He’ll be discussing how scripture shapes our understanding of God and the World.
Part 1: How Do you See the World? (Real Life)
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.John 1:4–5, 9
How do you see the world? As you open your eyes, light illuminates the world and you begin to interact with it. This began at birth and continues until now. As time passes, your worldview is shaped. Worldview development has been described as values, ideas, and thought patterns by which reality is judged and the world is interpreted. There are foundational principles that you live by, whether conscious of it or not.
First, you believe that you exist. I highly doubt you sit around and wonder if you are actually a person. Next, you most likely accept that the world is real. There have been a few people in the past who have stared at their belly button and thought “maybe the world is just an illusion,” But most of us assume that we are real and the world we live in is real. We could spend much time talking about other presuppositions we live by, but for now, let’s just agree that you are alive, the world is real, and you intuitively tend towards order and sense, rather than chaos and nonsense.
Yet, many principles in life are not so intuitive. For instance, what is the right way to live? Why do we desire to have purpose rather than not? Why are we troubled by evil? What is happiness and why do we want to be happy? Why is COVID-19, or any disease, a bad thing, and not good? When we come across a dilemma that doesn’t immediately make sense, how do we make sense of it? People have given their entire lives to study sociology, psychology, and even philosophy, but have made little progress in answering the dilemmas we face. When questions seem unanswerable, it is either accepted as such, or some alternate explanation is fabricated.
I once saw a news segment about a young man who was blind and had taught himself how to see the world around him using a technique called echolocation. Through a clicking noise of the mouth, at varied frequencies, his ear was trained to locate the objects around him as the clicking noises bounced back into his ear canal. He would walk down the street and, mid-click, correctly conclude, “there is a wall on my left.” He couldn’t see the wall but created a form of it in his mind through sound. Like him, some attempt to develop an “alternate sense mechanism” to understand life and the world. The world is unpredictable and even dangerous, so they produce ideas and fashion self-identities to carve out safe pathways to navigate life.
In other words, their own mind becomes the instrument of truth and understanding, they live in the shadows of their imaginations, and settle for not seeing the world as it truly is in all of its substance and detail.
This is what John is getting at when he presents Jesus as the “Word”; the life and light that “shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it.” Mankind is grasping in the dark, trying to figure out the meaning of life, while their ability to think at all is a gift from the Author of life. Augustine notes that “from this very life are men illuminated. Cattle are not illuminated, because cattle have not rational minds capable of seeing wisdom. But mankind was made in the image of God, and has a rational mind, by which he can perceive wisdom.”
How does mankind universally possess wisdom and all other aspects of living consciousness, but at the same time, remain blind to the reality of Christ who is “the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” Follow up blog posts (parts 2 and 3) will discuss the reason for this divide and will show the relationship between theology and a biblical worldview. Until then ask yourself… “how do I see the world?” and is what I see the real thing or just an imagination?
Photo by Caleb Woods