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Christian Apologetics – 3

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” 1 Peter 3:15

Introduction To Worldviews

“I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14)

In articles so far we’ve seen that there is no neutral ground between the Christian and the non-Christian. This means that we will defend Christianity as a whole and complete system, and we will set it against any other (2 Corinthians 10:5).

But what exactly is a worldview?

A worldview is a network of presuppositions or foundational commitments that a person has. These commitments are not tested by natural science. They guide one’s thinking and hold the highest authority in one’s life. If one’s core presuppositions were to change, then one’s whole view of life would change with it.

In order to challenge other people’s beliefs, one needs to do an internal critique of their worldview in order to expose the errors in their presuppositions. And to do this effectively we need to understand the three components of a worldview—namely, reality, knowledge, and ethics.

What is reality?
Is the universe real or does it just appear to be real?
Am I real?

The Christian worldview states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). From that sentence we learn the reality of God’s existence. Genesis does not argue for God’s existence but presupposes it. This means that there is a clear distinction between the Creator and His creation, and all reality can only be properly understood when in reference to Him.

The second component of a worldview refers to knowledge.

We tend to take knowledge for granted, but what exactly is knowledge and how does one justify a claim to actually ‘know’ something? God has revealed many things for us to know. In His general revelation (nature),

God has revealed His existence (Romans 1:20), His glory (Psalm 19:1-2), and His wrath (Romans 1:18). He has also revealed Himself by special revelation to Moses, the prophets, the evangelists and apostles (2 Peter 1:21). Most importantly, God has revealed Himself through His Son Jesus.

God’s existence is undeniably known to all people (Romans 1:20; 2:1), which means that all knowledge necessarily reveals God. Because He has pre-interpreted all facts, the only way that man can claim to have knowledge is if his thoughts reflect God’s thoughts.

Yet we wouldn’t say that something is good only because God said so—or that what is good is based on something outside of God, either. Instead, we would say that the standard of all ethics and morality is grounded in God’s nature. He is holy. Therefore His moral commands are universal, and the words He uses reflect His very character (Psalm 119:137, Mark 10:18b).

What do other worldviews say about reality, knowledge, and ethics? Some say that all of reality is based upon random chance processes. If that were the case, how could we depend upon science which needs order and predictability to work?

Others may say that everything is material, and we human beings are merely matter in motion. If that were the case, how do laws of logic (upon which knowledge depends) make sense? The laws of logic cannot be heard, seen, or touched, but we depend on them to know things.

Claiming that knowledge is possible while saying that immaterial things do not exist does not work.

If we do not need God as a grounding point for ethics, where do we look? Some say to humans; but what gives one human the authority to determine what is right or wrong? Another place to look is society, but isn’t a society made up of humans? And if one human has no authority to determine right from wrong, why would a group of humans have that authority?

Everybody has presuppositions, and one of the jobs of an apologist, a defender of the faith, is to understand one’s opponent’s worldview better than he (the opponent) does. One who trains himself to do an internal critique can show the contradictions in any non-Christian worldview.

It will be seen that the proof of the Christian worldview is the impossibility of its contrary.

(The apologetic method and organization for these articles is taken from the book Pushing the Antithesis: The Apologetic Methodology of Greg L. Bahnsen, American Vision, Powder Springs, Georgia, 2007.)