Last time we looked at the importance of commending a biblical worldview to our children. If we can communicate that, then we have given them a solid frame of reference from which they can comprehend the world about them and make decisions about which directions to take in it. That is a valuable gift; and it is one that will be increasingly needed in the years ahead.
The Wisdom of the World Versus True Wisdom (1 Cor. 3:19)
I said last time that we would begin to see how the right worldview helps us do this. Let me start by listing again those pat catch-phrases which are frequently met with in the world:
- “Listen to your heart”—leaves out God and promotes utter selfishness and folly
- “You have your truth and I have mine.”—An absolute statement which denies absolutes
- “People who think they are right and others are wrong are just bigoted”—Mere name-calling by someone who thinks they are right
- “We evolved from some prebiotic slime and are here by cosmic accident.”—Blind faith which contradicts known laws of nature, all the evidence of the rocks, and leads to the destruction of ethical principles and meaningfulness
- “We decide our own fate.”—Usually said by those who would change their circumstances if they could
I shall quickly address each saying using the biblical worldview. Another way of seeing this is to ask ourselves, “how would the Lord Jesus answer this?”
1. “Listen to your heart.”
The Bible: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Pro. 28:26). This is because of the state of our hearts. They are deceitful and corrupt (Jer. 17:9), and spout forth all manner of evil (Mk. 7:21-23). The second half of Proverbs 28:26 tells us, “but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” We should infer from this that we are not to listen to our hearts, but instead we are to listen to words which will make us wise. In the verse right before it we are told, “he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.” God made the ear primarily so we would hear Him! The biblical worldview informs us about our propensity to lie to ourselves about ourselves (and others), and to ignore God’s wisdom.
2. “You have your truth and I have mine.”
The Bible: “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (Jn. 18:37). To the religious leaders Jesus stated, “You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me” (Jn. 8:15-16). So according to this, seeking our own personal “truth” aside from Jesus is judging according to the flesh. Jesus contrasts this obviously false approach with His own. Jesus is in agreement with God the Father who sent Him.
3. “People who think they are right and others are wrong are just bigoted.”
The Bible: “[Y]ou have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say,`I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word” (Jn. 8:55). Jesus claims that the religious leaders of the day, who were seen as great and godly, actually made fallacious claims when they said they knew God. The Scriptures put people either in the realm of darkness or light (Jn. 3:19-21, Eph. 5:8), depending on where they stand in relationship to God. The pat saying above betrays itself as an example of the acme of bigotry, because it brands as intolerant those who disagree with its patently false claim. If someone tells me that Jesus never existed, or that the Bible has been changed so that we don’t know what it originally said, then they are just plain wrong, and it is no sort of bigotry to gently tell them so. What they feel about it, and whether they would like things to be different, might prompt them to slander me, but that has nothing to do with whether I’m right.
5. “We evolved from some prebiotic slime and are here by cosmic accident.”
The Bible: “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female’” (Mk. 10:6). If anything is clear in the Bible it is that human beings (and all things else) were created; they did not evolve from some other creature over aeons of time! (Exod. 20:11; Psa. 94:9, 139:13). Viewing oneself (and others!) as accidents leads to a very depressing and hopeless outlook. Any search for meaning and worth is rendered futile. In fact, “futility” becomes the great codeword for existence. This world was designed and made productive and beautiful with us in mind, by a God who will redeem it even though it is now cursed (Rom. 8:18-21).
6. “We decide our own fate.”
The Bible: “The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation” (Psa 33:10-11). We cannot even know how long we shall be alive on this planet (Lk. 12:25), let alone contend with God (Job 40:2). We don’t know what is around the next corner (Eccles. 8:7). It is God who has put us on earth at this point in history: “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:26).
Our Existence: A Triad
I have a friend who teaches police officers interviewing and interrogation skills. He is himself an experienced ex L.A. cop who frankly admits that he holds up his former self as the poster boy of how not to do it! But he has learned the art of reading people, and he believes that if an interview with a suspect or witness fails, it is the fault of the interviewer. He has boiled his observations down to three main categories: God, the self, and others. He claims that if one can understand how a person relates to each of these realities, one will have a good grasp of the person and what they value (which can be used to draw the truth out of them).
God, self, and others is a triad. A triad is a kind of three-in-one. Each component of the triad is connected to the other two. This triad deals with relationships, but I told my friend that his “God, self and others” triad was pretty close to my own theological triad: God, Man, and the World. These three things are also inseparably linked. You cannot think about the world without thinking about yourself and vice versa. And even atheists cannot comprehend these two without facing the question of God—even if they always try to push Him away.
Hence, we as parents should make sure our kids know what Scripture says about these three: God, Man and the World. And they must be told what the world says about these, and guided gently through the maze of folly which always comprises unbiblical thinking.
Paul Martin Henebury is a native of Manchester, England and a graduate of London Theological Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD). He has been a Church-planter, pastor and a professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics. He was also editor of the Conservative Theological Journal (suggesting its new name, Journal of Dispensational Theology, prior to leaving that post). He is now the President of Telos School of Theology.