SHOULD CHRISTIANS BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF DREAMS?
Dreams can fascinate believers at times. From the visions of Daniel in the Old Testament in Daniel chapter 7 to Peter’s dream of clean and unclean animals in Acts 10:9-17, it seems that dreams cover almost all the books of the Scriptures.
Also, in the modern context, it seems like many Christians have come to Christ by seeing Jesus in a dream.
Dream interpretation, Jewish in its imaginative attentiveness, involves psychological matters and the reality of repression. But isn’t limited to those concerns. Dreams are of larger realities and possible futures.
The children of the Enlightenment do not linger over such mysterious experiences as dreams regularly. We try to enlighten what is before us and conquer the mysterious and the eerie to make the world a better and manageable place. We perform well in our management while we are awake, and we keep the light, control, and power on 24 hours a day.
Except, of course, that we have to sleep, we need seasons of rest and, therefore, of vulnerability—our flags of control. We become open to stirrings that we don’t initiate. These stirrings appear to us in the night unbidden as dreams that direct us. They invite us beyond our initiative management.
The ancient world and the biblical tradition were aware of dreams. The ancients recognized that the unbidden communication in the night opens sleepers to a world different from the one they controlled during the day. However, the people during the ancients times dared to believe that this unbidden communication was a venue in which God’s holy intentions, perplexing and unreasonable as they might be, come to us.
What are some instances of dreams throughout Scripture? What does the Bible say about dreams explicitly, and does God speak to us through dreams? And how much belief should Christians put in their dreams today?
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF GOD COMMUNICATING THROUGH DREAMS
Of course, every instance of dreams in the Scriptures cannot be dived into. However, a few instances of dreams will be highlighted:
• Joseph (Old Testament): You can’t talk about Joseph, the son of Jacob, without talking about his dreams. Granted, he spent much of his time interpreting dreams when he was in the Egyptian prison, but he had a dream of his own before he came to Egypt (Genesis 37). These dreams indicated that Joseph’s family would bow to him in the future. It comes to fruition as they come to him for food during a great famine. In reality, the dream was intended to foretell the future.
• Daniel (Old Testament): Like Joseph, he mostly interprets dreams rather than having them, but in Daniel 7, he experiences the disturbing dream of four beasts. Theologians also attributed each beast to a certain empire (Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman/End Times Kingdom). The dreams served to show the events and kingdoms to come.
• Joseph (New Testament): Joseph, the father of Jesus, sees an angel in a dream who warns him to flee to Egypt before Herod is planning to take the life of his son (Matthew 2:13). This dream served as a warning.
• The wife of Pontius Pilate (New Testament): As Jesus awaits trial in the court of Pontius Pilate, his wife warned him against condemning Jesus because she knows of his innocence (Matthew 27:19). The vision taught her of the true existence of Christ.
Dreams often use symbolism to teach a lesson, divulge elements of the future, or help us learn more about God.
WHAT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT THE DREAMS FOR US
Although most of the dream references in Scripture apply to certain dreams that God has granted to a certain person, the Scripture says a few things about dreams:
• Acts 2:17: Many believers will see dreams in the End Times. Although it does not indicate precisely what they will see, it may be a dream of Heaven, of God, or the future.
• Ecclesiastes 5:7: This verse appears to caution about giving too much hope to dreams. “Much dreaming is meaningless.” Therefore, we should not linger too long on dreams, and instead, turn to the Scriptures to hear the words of God to us.
• Jeremiah 29:8: This verse warns us against placing our faith in the dreams of others. Often false prophets speak of dreams that did not take place to sway the people of God. Christians need to be careful whenever someone talks of a dream, and they must check everything they have said about that dream against the Scriptures.
HOW MUCH BELIEF SHOULD CHRISTIANS PLACE IN DREAMS?
Christians should read the Scripture if they have a vivid dream that seems to have a purpose or authority more considerable than the regular dreams had any other night.
In some instances, there are Muslims who have seen Jesus in their dreams, and such dreams happen because they don’t have access to the Word of God and have not read the Scriptures themselves. Dreams form a temporary path for them to encounter God.
When you look at the number of dreams in the Bible, most of them are in the Old Testament. Because most of those who lived in the Old Testament had little access to the Word of God, or in the case of those who lived before Moses’ time, God used dreams and visions to communicate His messages to people.
Although dreams and visions have been known to take place in the Old Testament and the New Testament, we must bear in mind that our primary basis for what God has to say to Christians is the canon of the Scriptures.
The Bible does mention Christians having dreams in the last days, but these dreams can never usurp Scripture in terms of authority.
God may place a dream in the life of a Christian to alert them of a future occurrence, display a sign that is important to the life of that believer, or communicate a certain message. If a Christian has such a dream, he is supposed to test the spirits by opening the Bible and reading what it has to tell about the subject of that dream.
Furthermore, though dreams may fascinate us, Christians should not envy other Christians who have dreams. Dreams have no greater authority than the Scripture, and most Christians have the word of God at their disposal.
DOES GOD STILL COMMUNICATE WITH CHRISTIANS THROUGH DREAMS TODAY?
God has indeed spoken to certain people in the past through dreams, but back then, it was an uncommon occurrence. Hebrews 1:1-2 suggests that God’s major way of interacting with people today is through the written Word that God has inspired, not through visions or dreams. The Bible warns Christians to be on guard against spirits (falling angels or demons) trying to mislead (1 John 4:1). One of how people are misled is through paranormal activities.
The Bible talks of certain dreams that are deceptive in Jeremiah 23:25-27. Most dreams are a normal part of the sleeping state. The Bible speaks of the unreal and fleeting nature of dreams (Psalm 126:1; Isaiah 29:8).
Ecclesiastes 5:3 says, “For a dream cometh through the multitude of business,” suggesting that normal dreams are the inevitable outgrowths of the stimulation we experience in our waking hours. Dreams may come from our feelings, from what we hear others say, and from the material we read or watch.
As Christians, we must protect the knowledge that comes to our minds. For example, if we expose our minds to violence or sexually focused content, these stimuli may cause unwanted dreams. Paul gives us excellent guidance on how to guide our thinking in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Having done everything we can to ensure that we have a healthy environment and think of positive thoughts, we can ask God to bless us with quiet and restful sleep. Psalm 127:2 says, “He gives his beloved sleep.”
Joel prophesied of a future time, before the return of Jesus Christ when there would be signs of Heaven, and “your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28-31). The apostle Peter used this interpretation to help explain the extraordinary miracles on the Day of Pentecost. But it is obvious from the New Testament example that Christians are to follow the Word of God from the inspired Scriptures and valid biblical teachings, not from private interpretations (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
It is necessary to know that not all visions are God-given. It could be that you ate something odd, or that your mind just kept working after a busy day. Dreams could also come from Satan. The adversary of our souls is not ignorant of the power of a dream. Let 1 Samuel 28 be a warning to us. It describes a time when King Saul seeks counsel from a medium not of God.
INTERPRETATION OF DREAM
Listening to the Holy Spirit is the most important aspect of having a truthful understanding of dreams.
It is only natural and right to try to understand the meaning of dreams. It’s not divination, and it’s not to be confused with such. We are not to seek for dream and interpretation as our way of getting through life. We are to seek God and His Word.
Dream Interpretation is not mentioned as a spiritual gift, but a dream given by the holy spirit would be interpreted by the holy spirit. (Genesis 40:8, c).
God gave the dream that Pharaoh had in Genesis chapter 40, and God gave the meaning to Joseph. God gave the dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had in the Book of Daniel, and we see that God gave the interpretation to Daniel.
We are to rely on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to validate and explain visions and dreams from God.
God is not going to give us dreams to entertain us or stop us from depending on Him and His Word.
HOW TO HANDLE VIVID DREAMS
1. PRAY: Before doing anything else, pray that God shows you the source of a dream and what He wants you to know.
2. LISTEN TO THE LORD: Take a moment and sit quietly before the Lord to hear His voice. When you sense His peace, then you can be assured that His Spirit was the source. Hearing from the Lord can save you, just as it saved the three wise men. They were told in a dream that they should return home in another way, escaping King Herod and saving the infant Jesus (Matthew 2).
3. WRITE IT DOWN: Write down what you know about it. When you believe that the vision is not of the Lord after you have prayed, then forget about it. So if you believe that God is in it, journal what you believe He’s speaking to you.
4. GO FOR A GODLY COUNSEL: Sharing your dreams is biblical. Pharaoh sought counsel from Joseph, and a generation was saved from starvation (Genesis 41). Just be wise about whom you share your dreams. Be especially careful of friends who consult books to interpret dreams (1 John 4:1). Most times, these books are philosophies that leave God out of the equation.
5. LET IT BE: The Lord will bring to your remembrance His dreams. Most people’s dreams are vivid, but the ones you should pay close attention to are the ones you remember years after you had them. Occasionally, while sitting in God’s presence, He’s going to remind you of a dream to reinforce the lesson He’ wants you to learn. The danger comes when these dreams preoccupy our thoughts instead of the One who gives us these supernatural visions.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER
If people experience visions and dreams today, it may fulfill what the Scriptures say about this happening more often in the Last Days.
However, it shows us that God still speaks to those who can’t be reached by the Scriptures.
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN BELIEF?
What do Christians believe in? This question does not have a direct answer. Christianity generally encompasses a wide range of denominations and faith groups. Thus, within the general context of Christianity as a religion, Christian values differ widely as each denomination subscribes to its collection of doctrines and practices.
The most commonly practiced religion in the world is Christianity, with more than two billion followers. The Christian faith centers its belief on the birth, earthly ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. It began with a small gathering of followers. Many historians view the adoption and spread of Christianity across the world as one of the most successful spiritual missions in human history.
Christianity remains culturally diverse in its western and eastern branches and its doctrines on justification and the nature of salvation, ecclesiology, ordination, and Christology. Their creeds generally hold in common — Jesus Christ, the Son of God — who ministered, suffered, and died on the cross but rose from the dead on the third day for the salvation of mankind; which is the Gospel, in the Bible. The four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John with the Jewish Old Testament as the revered history of the Gospel explain Jesus’ life and teachings.
Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as ‘The Way,’ probably coming from Isaiah 40:3, ‘…prepare ye the way of the Lord….’ According to Acts 11:26, the term ‘Christian’ was first used in reference to the disciples of Jesus in the city of Antioch, meaning ‘Christ’s followers,’ by the non-Jewish inhabitants of the city.
DEFINITION OF DOCTRINE
Doctrine is something that is taught, a principle or creed of principles presented for acceptance or a belief system. In the Scripture, doctrine has a broader meaning. This explanation of doctrine is given in the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: “Christianity is a religion based on a message of good news grounded in the context of the life of Jesus Christ.”
In the Scripture, however, doctrine refers to the whole body of fundamental biblical realities that define and describe the message that incorporates historical facts, such as those surrounding the events of the life of Jesus Christ. Still, it is broader than the biographical facts alone.
The three main Christian creeds, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, constitute a relatively detailed summary of traditional Christian doctrine, reflecting the fundamental beliefs in a wide range of Christian churches. However, many churches oppose the custom of professing faith, even though they may agree with the creeds’ contents. They refuse to follow or acknowledge the creeds except that which is written in the Bible.
Some basic Christian concepts include:
• Christians are monotheistic; that is, they believe that there is only one God and that He is the creator of the heavens and the earth. The divine Godhead comprises of three parts: the Father (God himself), the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit.
• The purpose of Christianity revolves around the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Christians believe that God sent his only begotten son, the Messiah, to save the world, and conclude that Christ was crucified on the cross to grant forgiveness of sins and that he resurrected three days after his death before ascending into Heaven.
• Christians believe that Jesus will come to earth again in what is known as the Second Coming.
• The Holy Bible contains the teachings of Jesus when He lived on earth, and the teachings of the great prophets and disciples, and how Christians should live.
• Both Christians and Jews follow the Old Testament of the Bible, but Christians also embrace the New Testament.
• The cross is a symbol of Christian.
WHO IS JESUS?
Some historians believe that Jesus is a real person born between 2 B.C and 7 B.C. Most of what historians know about Jesus is from the New Testament of the Holy Bible.
According to the Holy Bible, Jesus was born to a young Jewish virgin called Mary, in Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, in modern-day Palestine. Christians believe the birth was a supernatural occurrence “…for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20)
A little is known about the upbringing of Jesus. The Scriptures show that he grew up in Nazareth, that he and his family fled the persecution of King Herod and moved to Egypt, and that his “earthly” father, Joseph, was a carpenter.
Jesus was raised as a Jew, and according to most historians, he was trying to reform Judaism — not to establish a new religion.
When he was about 30 years old, Jesus began his public ministry after being baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist.
For around three years, Jesus traveled with 12 appointed disciples (also known as the Twelve Apostles), teaching large numbers of people and performing what the witnesses described as miracles. Some of the most prominent miracle incidents included raising the dead man called Lazarus from the grave, walking on water, healing the blind, e.t.c.
Jesus used parables— short stories with hidden messages — in his teachings.
Some of the central themes that Jesus taught, later embraced by Christians, include:
• Love the Lord thy God.
• Love the neighbor as yourself.
• Forgive those who have wronged you.
• Love your enemies.
• Ask God to forgive you of your sins.
• Jesus is the Lord and has been given the authority to forgive others.
• Repentance of sins is necessary.
• Don’t be hypocritical.
• Do not judge others.
• The Kingdom of God is near. It is not the rich and powerful — but the weak and the poor — who will inherit the kingdom of God.
During one of Jesus’ most famous teachings, known as the Sermon on the Mount, he summarized many of his moral instructions to his followers.
DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS
Most historians agree that Jesus died between 30 A.D. And 33 A.D., even though the exact date is transpiring debate among theologians.
According to the Bible, Jesus was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death. Roman governor Pontius Pilate issued an order to crucify Jesus, under pressure from Jewish leaders who believed that Jesus was guilty of several crimes, including blasphemy.
Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem by Roman soldiers, and his body was laid in a tomb. According to the Scriptures, three days after His crucifixion, He resurrected from the death.
In the days following Jesus’ resurrection, several people reported sightings and having an encounter with him. The authors of the Bible say that the resurrected Jesus ascended to Heaven.
THE HOLY BIBLE
The Holy Bible is a collection of sixty-six books written by different authors. It is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament, which is also accepted by the adherents of Judaism, describes the history of the Jewish people, outlines the specific laws to be observed, discusses the lives of many prophets, and predicts the coming of the Messiah.
The New Testament was written after the death of Jesus Christ. The first four books — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — are known as the “Gospels,” which means “good news.” These texts were written sometime between 70 A.D. And 100 A.D. they give an account of Jesus’ birth, earthly ministration, death and resurrection, and the giving of the great commission.
The next book in the New Testament is the Acts of the Apostles, which gives an account of the apostles’ ministry after the death of Jesus. The author of the Acts of Apostles is the same author as one of the Gospels—it is also “part two” of the Gospels.
It is followed by the letters which were written by early Christian leaders. It is also known as “epistles,” which make up a large part of the New Testament. These letters provide instructions on how the Church should operate.
The last book of the New Testament is Revelation. It describes the signs and prophecies that will happen when the world is about to end and the metaphors that will explain the state of the world.
HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY
According to the Bible, the first Church organized itself 50 days after the death of Christ on the Day of Pentecost — when the Holy Spirit was believed to descend upon the followers of Jesus.
Many of the first Christians were Jewish converts, and the Church was centered in Jerusalem. Shortly after the founding of the Church, many Gentiles (non-Jews) adopted Christianity.
Early Christians felt it was their duty to spread and teach the Gospel. Apostle Paul, a former Christian persecutor, was one of the most prominent missionaries.
Paul’s conversion to Christianity, after a divine experience with Jesus, is outlined in the Acts of the Apostles. Paul preached the Gospel, and he founded churches in the Roman Empire, Europe, and Africa.
Most historians agree that Christianity would not have been widely spread without Paul’s ministration. In addition to preaching, 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament are believed to have been written by Apostle Paul.
PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
The early Christians were persecuted by the Jewish and Roman leaders for their religion.
In 64 A.D., Emperor Nero accused Christians of a fire that broke out in Rome. During this time, several Christians were brutally tortured and killed.
Christianity was illegal under Emperor Domitian. During His reign, anyone who professes Christianity will be executed.
Beginning in 303 A.D., Christians have endured the most severe persecutions under the co-emperors Diocletian and Galerius. It was known as the Great Persecution.
CONSTANTINE EMBRACES CHRISTIANITY
The period the Roman emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity; religious tolerance shifted to the Roman Empire.
At that time, there were many groups of Christians with various ideas about how to view the Bible and the position of the Church.
In 313 A.D., Constantine, with the Edict of Milan, ended the ban on Christianity. A time went by, he sought to unify Christianity and resolve issues that divided the Church by creating the Nicene Creed.
Most historians agree that the conversion of Constantine was a turning point in the history of Christianity.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In 380 A.D., Emperor Theodosius, the first, declared Catholicism to be the Roman Empire’s state religion. The Pope, or the Bishop of Rome, served as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Catholics expressed a sincere devotion to the Virgin Mary, recognized the seven sacraments, and honored the relics and sacred sites.
After the Roman Empire collapsed in 476 A.D., there were differences between Eastern and Western Christians.
In 1054 A.D., the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church were divided into two classes.
Between 1095 A.D. and 1230 A.D., the Crusades, a campaign of holy wars, took place. In these wars, Christians fought against Islamic rulers and their Muslim soldiers to recover the Holy Land of Jerusalem.
The Christians succeeded in capturing Jerusalem during some of the Crusades, but eventually, they were defeated.
After the Crusades, the power and wealth of the Catholic Church increased.
In 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther published 95 Theses — a document that condemned the Pope’s actions and argued against some of the policies and goals of the Roman Catholic Church.
Later, Luther publicly declared that the Bible did not grant the Pope the exclusive right to read and interpret the Scriptures.
Luther’s teachings then gave rise to the Reformation — a movement aimed at reforming the Catholic Church. As a result, Protestantism was founded, and different Christian denominations gradually began to develop.
TYPES OF CHRISTIANITY
Christianity is generally divided into three branches: Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox.
The Catholic branch is governed by the Pope and by Catholic Bishops around the world. The Orthodox or Eastern Orthodox is divided into separate divisions, each governed by the Holy Synod; there is no overarching governing structure comparable to that of the Pope.
There are various sects within Protestant Christianity, all of which vary in their interpretation of the Bible and in their view of the Church.
Several of the other sects that fall under the category of Protestant Christianity include:
• The Baptist;
• Pentecostal / Charismatic
• The Lutherans
• The Anglicans
• Assemblies of God
• Christian Reform/Dutch Reform
• Church of the Nazarene
• Disciples of Christ
• The United Church of Christ;
• Christian Science
• The Seventh Day Adventist
While many Christian denominations have different beliefs, separate traditions, and worship in various ways, the core of their faith is based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW?
WHAT’S A WORLDVIEW?
A worldview is a framework from which we can see reality and make sense of life and the world. It is an ideology, philosophy, theology, movement, or religion that provides a global approach to understanding God, the world, and man’s relationship with God and the world.
EVERYONE HAS A WORLDVIEW
A popular Chinese proverb says, “If you want to know what water is, don’t ask the fish.” Water is the sum and content of the world where the fish is immersed. The fish might not reflect on its habitat until it is abruptly forced to dry land, fighting for survival. It realizes, then, that the water provided its sustenance.
Immersed in our environment, we have not taken the implications of the secular worldview seriously. Sociologist and social critic Daniel Yankelovich defines culture as an attempt to provide a cohesive set of answers to the existential problems humans face in their lives. A real cultural shift is one that makes a decisive break with the shared meaning of the past. In particular, the break affects those meanings that relate to the deepest questions of the essence and nature of human life. What is at stake is how we comprehend the world wherein we live.
Christians everywhere recognize a great spiritual battle raging around the world against the hearts and minds of men and women. We are now in a cosmic struggle between Christian truth and a culture of moral indifference. Therefore, we need to shape a Christian worldview that will help us learn how to think like a Christian and live out the truth of the Christian faith.
The truth is that we all have a worldview. Some worldviews are inconsistent, merely a smorgasbord of natural, supernatural, pre-modern, modern, and post-modern options. However, an in-depth and thoughtful worldview is more than a private personal view; it is a comprehensive life system that tries to answer life’s fundamental questions. The Christian worldview is neither just a personal expression of one’s faith nor a theory. It is a fundamental way of life that applies to all spheres of life.
DISTINGUISHING A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW
There is a clear Christian view of things, which has its essence, coherence, and unity, and is in sharp contrast to counter-theories and speculations. The Christian worldview has the stamp of reason and reality and can stand the history and experience test. The Christian view of the world cannot be violated, accepted, or rejected in part, but it stands or falls in its integrity. Such a holistic approach offers the stability of thought, a unity of comprehensive insight, not only on the religious area but also on thought. Christian philosophy is not built on two forms of reality (religious and philosophic or scientific) but on a universal principle and all-encompassing structure that influences faith, natural and social sciences, law, history, health care, arts, humanities, and all fields of life-long learning.
The followers of Jesus must articulate a Christian worldview for the twenty-first century, with all its accompanying challenges and changes, and show how such Christian thinking can be applied across every aspect of life. At the center of these challenges and changes, we see that truth, morality, and interpretive frameworks are ignored, if not rejected. Such challenges are indeed daunting. The very existence of normative truth is being challenged throughout the culture.
For Christians to respond to these challenges, we must hear the words of Jesus from the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40). Here we are asked to love God with our hearts and souls and with our minds. The words of Jesus apply to God’s wholehearted dedication in every part of our being, from whatever perspective we want to see it — emotionally, enthusiastically, or cognitively. The result of this kind of love for God is that every thought is taken captive and brought to the obedience of Christ. This means being able to see things from a Christian point of view, that is, thinking with Christ’s mind.
The starting point for developing a Christian worldview is the confession that we believe in God the Father, the Creator of Heaven and Earth (the Creed of the Apostles). We know that “in him, all things hold together,” for every true knowledge flows from the creator to his one creation.
WE BELIEVE IN GOD, CREATOR OF THE HEAVEN AND EARTH: A WORLDVIEW STARTING POINT
A worldview must offer a way of life consistent with reality by offering a comprehensive understanding of all areas of life and thought of all aspects of creation. As stated earlier, the starting point for a Christian worldview brings us to God’s presence without delay. The fundamental affirmation of the Scriptures is that there is a God, but that God has acted and spoken throughout history. God is Lord and King over this universe, ruling all things for His glory, showing His perfections in everything He does, so that humans and angels may worship and adore Him. God is triune; there are three persons within the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Thinking wrongly about God is idolatry (Psalm 50:21). Thinking right about God is eternal life (John 17:3) and should be the life goal of the believer. We can rightly think of God because he is knowable, yet we must keep in mind that he is, at the same time, incomprehensible (Rom. 11:33-36). God can be known, but he can’t be fully understood.
We maintain that God is powerful and separate from other beings, from nature, and the universe. This is in opposition to other worldviews that say that God is in a part of the world, creating a continuous cycle and that the process itself is God — or becoming God. God is self-existent and not dependent on anything external to himself. God is infinite, meaning that God is not just unlimited, but that nothing outside of God can constrain God. God is infinite in relation to time (meaning he is eternal), knowledge (omniscience), and power (omnipotent). He’s sovereign and unchanging. God is infinite, intimate, transcendent, and immanent. He is holy, righteous, just, good, true, faithful, loving, and merciful.
God, without the use of any pre-existing material, has brought into being everything that is. Both the first chapter of the Bible and the first paragraph of the Apostles’ Creed admit God as the Maker. Creation reveals God (Psalm 19) and brings glory to him (Isa. 43:7). All creation was originally good, but it is now imperfect because of the entrance of sin and its effects. However, this is only a temporary imperfection, for it will be redeemed in God’s final work, the new creation.
God, the creator is no different from the God who gives salvation through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. God is the Source of all this. This implies that God has put the universe into being out of nothing through a purposeful act of His free will. Christian philosophy affirms that God is the supreme and all-powerful Lord of all creation. Such an affirmation rejects any dualism.
Christian worldview also contends that God is separate from and transcends His creation. It maintains that God is a purposeful God who creates freedom. In God’s preservation and provision for His creation, he works out his ultimate goals for humanity and the world. Human life is, therefore, significant, meaningful, intelligent, and purposeful. This confirms the overall unity and intelligibility of the universe. Here we see the greatness, goodness, and wisdom of God.
GENERAL IMPLICATIONS OF A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW
The Christian worldview becomes a driving force in life that gives us a sense of God’s plan and purpose. This worldview shapes our identity. We can no longer see ourselves as marginalized sinners. The Christian worldview is escapism, but an energizing motivation for godly and faithful thinking and living here on Earth. It also gives us trust and hope for the future. Amid life’s challenges and hardships, the Christian worldview helps to stabilize life, anchoring us to God’s faithfulness and steadfastness.
The Christian worldview thus provides a framework for ethical thinking. We recognize that human beings, made in the image of God, are truly moral beings. We also understand that the fullest embodiment of goodness, love, holiness, grace, and truth is in Jesus Christ (John 1:14-18).
The Christian worldview has consequences for the understanding of history. We see that history is neither cyclical nor natural. Rather, we see history as a linear, meaningful sequence of events leading to the fulfillment of God’s purpose for humanity. Human history is going to climax where it began — on Earth. This truth is another unique of Christian thinking since Christianity is at the core of history. In the sense that, according to his essential teaching, God has acted decisively in history, revealing himself in specific acts and events. Moreover, God will act to bring history to its providential destiny and its planned conclusion.
God that acted in history in past events will act in history to consummate this age. So when we ask, “How is it going to end?” We do not simply or suddenly move from the realm of history to never-never land. We move on to that which is still likely to happen, because God is behind it, and he is the one who assures us that it will happen.
The development of a Christian worldview is an ever-expanding process for us, a process in which Christian convictions increasingly shape our culture participation. This disciplined, vigorous, and never-ending process will help shape our assessment of culture and our place in it. Otherwise, culture is going to shape us and our thinking. Thus, the Christian worldview offers a new way of thinking, seeing, and acting based on a new way of doing things.
Christian philosophy is a logical way of seeing the universe apart from deism, naturalism, materialism, polytheism, existentialism, pantheism, mysticism, or post-modern deconstructionism. Such a theistic perspective provides bearing and direction when confronted with New Age spirituality or secular and pluralistic approaches to truth and morality. Fear of the future, suffering, illness, and misery are guided by a Christian perspective focused on the redemptive work of Christ and the glory of God. Also, Christian philosophy gives meaning and purpose to all aspects of life.
While many examples could be provided, there are six specific applications where the Christian worldview provides a different perspective:
1. TECHNOLOGY — Technology can become either an instrument through which we fulfill our role as stewards of God or an object of worship that will eventually rule over us. Christian philosophy offers balance and wisdom to grasp this critical dimension of the life of the twenty-first century.
2. SEXUALITY AND MARRIAGE — Sexuality has become a major theme for those reaching the third millennium. There is a big deal of misunderstanding between Christians and non-Christians. Sexuality is a good thing in the covenant relationship of mutual self-giving marriage. Sexual affection, apart from covenant marriage, in heterosexual or homosexual relationships, is immoral and has a distorted meaning, a self-serving purpose, and negative implications.
3. ENVIRONMENT — Environmental Stewardship means that we have a duty to the non-human aspects of God’s creation. Since the plan of God’s salvation involves both His world and human existence, we should do whatever we can to participate in it carefully and lovingly.
4. ARTS AND RECREATION — Arts and recreation are recognized as a valid and essential part of human imagination and culture. They express what it means to be made in the image of God. We need to learn critical analysis and assessment skills to be aware, and deliberate, and representative of what we make, see and do.
5. SCIENCE AND FAITH — Science has been at the center of our modern society for almost two decades. We must explore how we see science issues from the perspective of a Christian worldview. The understanding of God includes the knowledge that we obtain through scientific investigation. With the lens of faith in place, an image of God’s word emerges that harmonizes and complements the findings of science and the teachings of Scripture.
6. VOCATION — Understanding of work is important to any culture. Work is a gift from Heaven, and it is to be done with diligence for God’s glory. We recognize that all legitimate professions are honorable, that the abilities and gifts we have for our vocation come from God, and that prosperity and promotion come from God.
These are just a few examples that could be cited that will help shape our thinking in other areas.
Christian thought must surely subordinate all other efforts to improving the mind in the pursuit of truth, taking all thought captive to Jesus Christ.
Today, as in the days of Corinthian correspondence, our thinking and minds are captured by the several challenges and opposing worldviews in today’s academy.
The essence of a serious Christian worldview is bringing every thought captive to the Lordship of Jesus Christ to serve and teach others.