Here’s another excerpt from On Our Origins. This section follows “Before We Begin” in my book. https://onourorigins.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/before-we-begin/ In a world where it is often hard to tell the difference between Truth and lies, it’s good to be reminded where the Truth can be found. It is found in Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, the Way and the Life (John 14:6).
The church, since the time of Christ, has been built upon the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is heard clearly in an episode recorded by St. Matthew in the first gospel:
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. (Matthew 16:13–18a, emphasis added)
Here, Jesus explicitly stated that the revealed knowledge of God is essential for knowing the truth about God and the true nature of existence.
This revealed knowledge comes from a different source than scientific knowledge. It is based upon a supernatural knowledge given by God’s Holy Spirit as revealed and preserved in the Scriptures. This revelation includes the overarching story of God’s relationship with His creation, especially humanity, and provides Christians with a framework within which human reason operates. It is not contrary to reason but rather equips human minds and souls with faith to interpret existence from God’s perspective instead of an exclusively anthropocentric (human centered) view of life.
St. John recorded an episode in which Jesus explained to His disciples that He was the key to understanding the God of the Scriptures. Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6-7). Here, Jesus asserted that because He is the way, truth, and life, the only path by which humanity can come to an accurate understanding of God (and consequently the true nature of reality) is to know Him.
According to the teaching of the apostles, the Bible began with God’s creative work, is centered on Christ and will conclude at the consummation of all things. Throughout the course of His work, God promised to care for His people and all that He created by sending humanity a Savior. He and His love for humanity would not remain abstract, but He would reveal them clearly in the person of Jesus Christ. For Christians, everything comes together in Jesus of Nazareth, the historical person, because in Jesus, God made Himself known in ways that humanity can comprehend.
The traditional Christian worldview, which is based upon the revelation of God in the Scriptures, is therefore Christ-centered. It is based upon a revelation of God in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is based on the belief that in the Bible, God reveals to humanity a reality deeper than what is apparent to the naked eye.
Suffice it to say that a Christ-centered worldview is not anti-science. Yes, the basis for a Christ-centered worldview is the revealed knowledge of God, who has manifested Himself in the Scriptures and in the person of His Son. God does not, however, give this revelation at the expense of reason or science. According to the Scriptures, revealed and natural knowledge are complementary parts of God’s revelation to humanity.
There are parts of God’s revelation that, since the time of the apostles, the church has labeled as “mystery,” which means “beyond human comprehension.”[i] Never in the Scriptures is the mystery of God invoked to deny the proper use of reason. The Scriptures instead simply acknowledge that certain things in life (including God) defy purely naturalistic human sensibilities.
We are and always will be limited in our understanding of what we can perceive through our five senses. The confines of the human mind also limit our depth of knowledge. A Christ-centered worldview equips Christians with the revealed knowledge of God—a scriptural big picture—within which they are free to explore and learn about the world.
[i] “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen” (Romans 16:25–27). “He has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on Earth” (Ephesians 1:6–10). “I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25–27). “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
Tagged: Bible, Caesarea Philippi, Christ, Christian Science, Christian theology, Colossians, Ephesians, God, Gospel of Matthew, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Matthew 16, mystery, Romans, Science, Scriptures, Worship