Worldview Question #4: What happens to a person at death?

To view all the worldview questions and find links to each discussion in this series, click here.

The Bible makes it very clear that there is an afterlife. (Find the reasons I base my worldview on the Bible. Click here, here, and here.) And we choose where we’ll spend it. My discussion of question number three included a paragraph that has bearing here. Allow me to quote from it:

“Right off the bat, men rebelled against the order God created. We now have a predisposition toward sin and continue to rebel. We live with the consequences every day, yet we still want to think and act apart from God and his authority. And as Creator, he is the Authority and Judge whether we like it or not. Since God cannot abide sin or allow it to go unpunished, we are separated from him and in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ filled that role. He lived a sinless life and died (the punishment for sin) in our place. Those who accept that substitution will be reunited with and live with God on a sinless, recreated Earth someday.”

There is a Heaven. There is a Hell. God says we will spend eternity in one or the other. God, as Creator, is the Supreme Authority and the Judge. He set the standard and the punishment. We’ve all failed. We all deserve Hell. But in his mercy, God provided a way to circumvent that punishment. Once again, a biblical worldview offers hope.

What do you believe happens at death? What do you base that on?

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Worldview Question #3: What is a human being?

To view all the worldview questions and find links to each discussion in this series, click here.

So, what is a human? Are we the product of eons of evolution? The freak chance of an unfeeling universe? An accident with no meaning or purpose? A brief light in the darkness of nothingness, to which we will return when the light blinks out?

I would like to offer a resounding NO!

The Bible, on which I base all the answers to my worldview questions (find my reasons here, here, and here), claims that man was formed in the image of God. This means we are intelligent, rational, able to communicate, able to create, able to reason. We are the very pinnacle of God’s handiwork, created for his glory. Because we are purposefully made, we are worthy of respect and honor. Which makes murder wrong. And abortion. And euthanasia.

Mankind was also given dominion over the rest of Creation. That means everything on earth is to be governed by man according to God’s teachings in the Bible. This includes not just ecology and ecosystems and other life forms but, well, everything. Economics, education, art, medicine, science, etc. But because mankind is fallen, we don’t do a very good job of it.

Right off the bat, men rebelled against the order God created. We now have a predisposition toward sin and continue to rebel. We live with the consequences every day, yet we still want to think and act apart from God and his authority. And as Creator, he is the Authority and Judge whether we like it or not. Since God cannot abide sin or allow it to go unpunished, we are separated from him and in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ filled that role. He lived a sinless life and died (the punishment for sin) in our place. Those who accept that substitution will be reunited with and live with God on a sinless, recreated Earth someday.

A Christian worldview gives mankind worth, purpose, and hope. Does yours? What exactly do you believe? What do you base it on? Why do you believe it?  And how do you “prove” it to yourself?

Categories: Worldviews | Leave a comment

The Silence of the Lambs

gods-peopleI’ll get back to my worldview questions soon. Promise. Today I want to bring some attention to the atrocities going on around the world to Christians at the hands of Muslims. I receive the Voice of the Martyrs newsletter every month. I’d strongly encourage each and every reader out there to sign up for a free subscription over at the VOM website. Better yet, make a donation while you’re there. They are a fabulous source of information that the mainstream media will never report on and a fabulous source of support for those who suffer for following Christ. And pray! That’s a reminder to myself, too. Do it. And do it often.

Now, instead of writing the rest of this post myself, I’m turning it over to the very capable hands of Bill Meuhlenberg. You’ll really want to read what he has to say about the silence of the church while the world is murdering and raping our brothers and sisters. Click the link below and you’ll be directed straight to his article on BarbWire.com. It’s truly an eye-opener.

Darkness Covers the Land but God’s People Say and Do Nothing

(Image credit: Countdown.org)

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abortion

Pictures speak a thousand words.

3653286463_aborted20baby_answer_3_xlarge

One million American children each year.
abortion_late_term

God still forgives.baby_bucket

Regrets? Need help? Silent no more.

2n6f4hw

Categories: Current Issues | Leave a comment

Wordview Question #2: What is the nature of material reality?

I’ve been very slow covering my series on worldviews. Today I’ll look at question number two. To view all the questions and find links to each, you can view the original post.

So what is the nature of material reality? What I mean is, what is the world like around us? Is it orderly or chaotic? Created or autonomous? Does it have a purpose, or is it random? Is there a spiritual element to it or is it merely physical? And how do we relate to it?

I’ve already established that I base my Christian worldview on the historicity of Jesus Christ, the reliability of the Bible, and the fulfillment of prophecy. With that starting point, I believe the world was created. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). I take that at face value, not only because it’s written in the Bible, but because there’s so much evidence to back it up. In the whole universe of billions of stars, we are aware of one planet that sustains life. One planet with an exact axis that spreads out heat and cold so both hemispheres can grow food. One planet with perfect revolution so no season is too long or too short and perfect rotation so day and night are not too long or two short. If either changed, our water would freeze or evaporate. One planet with a perfectly designed water cycle, nitrogen cycle, oxygen cycle. One planet with the perfect atmosphere to protect us from space radiation and debris. Chance? I don’t think so.

As a created world, it is also regulated by carefully designed natural laws that order our world and our lives. Laws such as those that govern physics and mathematics are not random, nor was it chance that brought them into being. They demonstrate purpose, control, and design. And being created by a supernatural Creator, the world has a definite spiritual element to it. Though it is ordered by natural laws, God’s power can, has, and does supercede natural law, resulting in miracles and supernatural occurances such as the worldwide flood, the virgin birth, and the resurrection of Jesus.

How are we to relate to such a world? First, we must understand that it was created for us. For our use, enjoyment, support, and rule. God gave us dominion over it and the intelligence to govern it wisely. Such a gift implies value in the recipient. Value above the gift. We, even more than the Creation we are a part of, are a product of purpose and design.

Do you believe the earth is created? Without design, how do you explain the overwhelming coincidence that one planet would develop the many necessities to support life? How do you explain the development of complex mechanisms such as reproduction involving the pairing of two distinctly different and compatible cells? Without design, what is the basis of order and natural laws? Without design, do people have value? On what do you base your value?

Categories: Worldviews | Leave a comment

Hold a Seder in Your Home

You don’t have to be Jewish to celebrate Passover. The symbols in the Seder meal point directly to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. As Christians, this holiday takes on significant meaning. But undertaking a festival from a culture you didn’t grow up in can be daunting. So I’ll lay out the resources and recipes that have held me in good stead.

First, read up on the symbols and meanings. This is an excellent Messianic website explaining all the elements of the meal from a Jewish perspective so Christians might understand. Or check out my favorite reference, a book by Barney Kasdan that includes explanation of all the Jewish feasts, God’s Appointed Times. Here are a few of my blog posts you might find helpful, as well. (You can find similar posts covering other Jewish festivals in my “Holidays” category in my sidebar.)

Brush up on the Passover and Easter stories. Reread the Exodus story. Watch the old Ten Commandments  movie. My kids like to compare it to the biblical account. The animated movie Moses, Prince of Egypt is another great one for little guys. After the Exodus story, read the account of Christ’s triumphal entry, the last supper, the crucifixion. The Passion of the Christ is another excellent movie night choice for older kids. Then talk about how Jesus fulfilled the picture of the original Passover.

Plan a Seder dinner. It’s not hard. The downloadable documents below will give you a hand. Keep Kosher dietary rules in mind. Yeast is an important symbol in this meal and is completely avoided. Meijer and other big food stores will have boxes of Matzah (yeast-free bread like crackers) in their ethnic food sections. Milk combined with meat is another obscure rule for this meal that I usually ignore. We’re not really bound to the food rules, but I do follow the “no yeast” and the general “no pork” rules.

The Haggadah file below will be your best friend. Let me say that again. The Haggadah file below will be your best friend. This is the traditional “script” that is placed at every seat and followed the same way each year. It ties in the Exodus story and explains the symbols used during the meal. A Messianic script, which this is, also explains how each symbol points to Christ. It also explains all the symbols and items necessary and helps immensely with meal set up. Read it next. Take notes. I’ve posted it on my blog here, but the file below is formatted and printable (and updated from the blog post).

Seder Haggadah

You will also need a Seder Plate. The symbols used on the plate are explained in the Haggadah. Festive plates are available for purchase online but not necessary. Make your own using a nice platter and small bowls. (It calls for a lamb bone as one of the symbols. I use a chicken bone.)

Traditional recipes:

A few planning helps:

  • Seder checklist (Includes items mentioned in Haggadah.)
  • Food sign up list (This is the actual list I’m using this year. It might help you gauge numbers and dishes.)

Have fun! Hosting a Passover Seder is a great way to fellowship, teach Old Testament Jewish culture, and connect it to Christ’s death and resurrection. It gives a much deeper appreciation of Easter.

Categories: Jewish | Leave a comment

A Purpose Shared with Lewis

Jack, a life of lewisI’m reading through George Sayer’s Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis at the moment. Very slowly as I dedicate most of my free time to finishing my current novel. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Chronicles of Narnia. A few weeks ago, I watched Shadowlands and afterward took an interest in learning Lewis’s real life story. It’s very interesting, this great man’s journey to faith. But so far, I’ve resonated most with his role as a children’s author. (Hmmmm…wonder why.)

I stumbled upon the following section of text in which Sayer summarizes Lewis’s thoughts on being a Christian author of mainstream literature, to which I’ve subscribed wholeheartedly without even realizing I was in agreement with him. Remember, Lewis was writing literature in the 1930’s-50’s.

“[Lewis] pointed out that the difficulties of the Christian writer or lecturer arose from the fact that the culture was not at all Christian. This meant that the influence of a Christian lecture or article would be undermined very quickly by the influence of films, newspapers, and novels in which an opposing point of view was taken for granted. This made it impossible for the Christian writer to achieve widespread success. What was wanted was not more ‘little books about Chritianity,’ but more books by Christians on the subjects in which the Christianity was latent.

“…Jack wanted the moral and spiritual significance of his works of fiction to be assimilated subliminally, if at all… Over and over in talking bout his fiction, he would say, ‘But it’s there for the story.'”

That’s it! That’s what I try to do when I write. I strive to create a story of excellence that will entertain yet rest on, to use Sayer’s word, a latent Christian worldview.

Another quote, a direct quote of Lewis’s that I found sadly humorous was in reference to the ignorant reception his sci-fi thriller Out of the Silent Planet received: “I think this great ignorance might be a help to the evangelisation of England; any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people’s minds under cover of romance without their knowing it.”

That does seem to be the case today, as well. I plan to continue taking advantage of it.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Worldview Question #1: What is the nature of ultimate reality?

It’s time I get back to my series on worldviews. To hold the posts together, I’m linking back to the original post, which will have all successive links at the bottom. The question I’ll tackle today is…

What is the nature of ultimate reality? (What is real?)

Included under this question are smaller ones, such as, is there such thing as the supernatural? Is there a God? What is he like? Is he personal? Knowable? What are his traits? Are there many gods? What are they like? If the supernatural is nonexistant, how did everything we see originate? What is real that we cannot see? I’ll attempt, in my own unscientific, untrained way, to explain what I believe to be the answer to these questions.

In my search for truth, I leaned heavily on the historicity of Jesus Christ, the reliability of the Bible, and the fulfillment of prophecy in making a decision for the Christian faith. So my answers will reflect a biblical worldview and rely on the Bible as my source.

Simply put, I believe that Creation is real–everything created by the spoken word of God. This includes all the physical matter we see around us, the earth, the sky, the universe. It encompasses the physical laws that hold Creation together. Absolute right and wrong are real. Spiritual beings are real. And of course, God is real.

God is infinite, triune, all-present, all-knowing, sovereign, and good. He is the only God. He is the basis of all reality. In him all things exist. Without him there is nothing. God is also personal. He’s knowable. And he’s revealed himself in the Holy Scriptures. God is the source of all reality. This is the underlying foundation of a Christian worldview, and all further answers hang decidedly from this singular belief.

Do you believe in God? If so, do you know him? If not, how do you explain all you see and all you believe to be true? What is the basis of your reality?

Categories: Worldviews | Leave a comment

What’s a Worldview…and Why in the World Do I Need One?

magnifying_glass_globe_sm6First of all, you don’t need a worldview. You already have one. It’s simply the way you see and understand the world through the lens of your own beliefs. A worldview answers the hard questions like Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Is there a God? And What happens when you die? Most people today, however, don’t think through what they really believe. Worldviews are often incomplete and even contradictory. They don’t make sense. But most people today don’t really care.

That’s unfortunate, because a worldview influences our decisions and attitudes. It comes through in our words and our actions. If, for example, someone believes their race is above all others, as happened in the American South or Nazi Germany, those persons will be cruel, brutal, and self-righteous. If someone believes all living things are connected, they will place special emphasis on preserving the environment. If someone thinks life is random chance without purpose or meaning, they will treat life with little respect.

The good thing is about worldviews, however, is that they can grow and change. We are constantly learning and modifying how we understand reality. It’s never too late to search for answers and tweak our beliefs.

Every author has a worldview. It influences what subjects we tackle, how we treat them, the language we use, the themes we write about, the point of view of our major characters, and the take away value of each story. It shapes how an author understands good and evil, what we perceive as moral or immoral, and the bias we take on controversial issues. By the time you finish a novel, you have learned much about what an author believes to be true.

I write from a distinctly Christian worldview. My books are not “religious”, but they are conservative and traditional. And not just because I write for a young audience–I’ve read plenty of children’s literature from non-Christian worldviews. They are an extension of the way I perceive the world.

Throughout the next year, I’ll be returning frequently to discuss the seven questions a worldview seeks to answer. And I’ll be sharing what I believe about each one. You need not agree with me, but I would encourage anyone who reads this to mull the questions over and answer them for themselves. Here they are listed below with links to further posts. See you next time!

1. What is the nature of ultimate reality? (What is real?)

2. What is the nature of material reality? (the physical world)

3. What is a human being?

4. What happens to a person at death?

5. Why is it possible to know anything at all?

6. How do we know what is right and wrong?

7. What is the meaning of human history?

Categories: Worldviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Gospel in Plain English

No formidable words are needed to simply and concisely summarize what the Bible’s says. The message is not complex, but it is anathema to those who desire no authority beyond their own intellect. If there is a God, however, the opinions of men cannot negate his existence. A better use of human intelligence might be to judge scripture in light of the possibility that God does exist.

The Bible starts with an all-powerful God who created everything within the universe, including life, natural laws of order and mathematics and logic, and a moral code. Mankind chose to rebel against it. God is love, but he is also holy, and as Creator he has the authority to judge sin. He must, or he would undermine his own laws. The payment for sin is death.

But God in his compassion and creativity devised a way to take that judgment upon himself. He came to Earth in the person of Jesus, who was fully human and fully divine. He lived a perfect life and therefore was undeserving of death. Because he was human, and because he was perfect, his sacrifice is counted as a substitute payment for the sin of all mankind. Anyone seeking reconciliation with God need only claim this payment. We will still die physically, but Christ’s resurrection has proven his power over death. The Bible promises that the dead will rise. Those who claim Jesus will live in a recreated world free of sin and its effects. Those who reject him will suffer eternal, physical punishment.

Some things to think about:

Would any of this prove too hard for a Creator God? What objective does God’s plan meet? Is it unreasonable that he would share it with men? Is any part of this unfair? Is God inconsistent in character or action? Does history bear out the person and accomplishments of Christ? Does this explanation account for the presence of suffering and death? What does this plan imply about the value of human life? What makes the Bible reliable? Do I care enough to do further research, or am I content with what I think is true? What do I base my beliefs on? And finally, what if it’s true?

 

 

Categories: Faith and Logic, The Bible, Why I Believe What I Believe | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.