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Murky Waters, Murky Minds

By September 18, 2020No Comments

By Mike Augsburger

I couldn’t see 3-feet down to the bottom. That’s okay for your fishing pond, but it’s a red flag for your quick-set swimming pool! I left on vacation, told my neighbors they could use the pool, but I didn’t leave any instructions for the filter. I figured it would survive for two weeks. Unfortunately, a lot more than just the water survived as it became host to many living organisms that clouded the water.

After our arrival home, my kids were anxious to hop back in the pool. The thought crossed my mind, “It really wouldn’t hurt them too much, right?” but then my parental sensibilities kicked in, and I pushed pause on the use of the pool to clean the water. What did that entail? Loads of chemicals and lots of filtering.

After several days I could begin to see the set of divers left on the bottom of the pool. Each day that passed brought clearer water. I cleaned and changed the filter frequently until finally the water was clear. The kids used it one more time, and then we tore it down for the season. So, I guess I went to all that effort in order to have a great illustration for this article!

What’s the point? We live in an age where believers’ minds reflect the condition of the dirty pool water. I don’t mean believers’ minds are dirty. I mean that believers’ minds are clouded by competing worldviews and philosophies. In order to have a Biblically clear mind, we need a Biblically developed worldview filter that can sort out the good from the bad, the Biblical from the secular. With a good worldview filter in place, Christians can engage current events with confidence and clarity.

3″ Diameter Size “L” Pool Filter

My pool requires a very specific sized filter. It must be the right diameter, have the right rubber material on the top and bottom, and be made of the right kind of porous fibers to properly filter the water. In the murky moral waters of our world, it is imperative that our worldview filter is properly constructed, fit to size, and Biblically derived. How does a person develop such a filter?

What is a good starting point? My goal for this article is to give the basic building blocks of a well-constructed Biblical worldview filter. Before getting to the specifics of the filter, let’s remember that the frame of the filter is the belief in absolute truth. There is no Christian worldview without that. With that in mind, we head to the book of Genesis. Let’s see what God intended for His creation and how it still provides moral clarity for modern life.

1. The cosmos is devolving, not evolving

Genesis 1:1 says that God created the universe. He masterfully brought order and beauty from the raw materials of creation. The end result was perfection. He tuned the universe to function smoothly. The entrance of sin in Genesis 3 radically changed the face of the planet. The principle of decay would now plague everything. What God created as perfect would inevitably devolve over time. Sin’s devolving, deteriorating powers demonstrate our desperate need for a King to bring order back to our planet.

Contrary to the Bible, secular humanism says the world is evolving from disorder to order. They claim that humans have the power to make things better and better. For example, if we unite or trust in the United Nations, things will get better. The goal of the Olympic Games was to bring world peace. None of this will work, because God designed history to show our utter failure at self-rule. We need God. We need Jesus to rule us. Poverty, social injustices, racism, human trafficking, etc. will never be eradicated. We do not possess the wherewithal to improve the human condition. Any positive movements in those arenas result from the impact of the gospel. Only Jesus will be able to set things right when He rules this planet. He will bring order from disorder!

2. Human life uniquely bears the image of God

Genesis 1:27 teaches the creation of mankind was unique from the rest of creation. Nothing in creation bears the image of God like human beings. We bear his image in our ability to reason, love, create, organize, and assign value and affection. God gave us authority to rule over every aspect of the creation, except human life itself. Since human life is God’s image, only He has the power and authority over giving and taking human life.

Secular humanism believes human life is the pinnacle not of God’s creation, but of the evolutionary process. Since secularists worship human reason as God, then humans should be able to end human life if it seems reasonable. If pregnancy is just a function of a human body carrying out evolutionary processes, then by all means, a woman should have life-ending rights over that baby. If life’s value is measured by usefulness, then taking the life of a Down syndrome person in the womb is justified. If life’s value is measured by quality of life, then we should exterminate those in nursing homes, or even allow depressed people the means to end their own lives.

A worldview informed by the Scriptures says that life must be protected at all costs. Human dignity is a big deal because humans image their Creator and are owned by their Creator. Only He has the authority to give and take life.

3. The earth belongs to humans for their use and enjoyment

Genesis 1:26 says that we are made in God’s image, and as image-bearers we are to mimic our Creator as stewards and re-creators. What is a “re-creator”? It means we take what God created and we reshape, organize, and manipulate it for human flourishing. It’s what a painter does as she creates a beautiful picture by manipulating the elements into art. It’s what a craftsman does by taking wood and making it into a dining room table. The principle is this: The world and all of its natural resources are to serve the needs of mankind, God’s pinnacle of creation. We aren’t to abuse the creation, but we are to use the creation to our benefit.

Secular humanism believes that humans are intruders on the planet. I’ve even heard it stated that we are a curse to this planet. The consequence of this is unreasonable rules and regulations that prioritize the needs of creation over the needs of humans. As Christians, we know the resources of this planet are not designed to sustain life indefinitely, because this planet has an expiration date. This is not an excuse to be cavalier with God’s resources, but we need to remember that He’s intended us to use what He’s provided.

4. The nuclear family is the basic building block of society

Genesis 1:27–28 tells us God created humans as male and female for the purpose of reproducing His image all over this planet. Genesis 2 expands our understanding by introducing the concept of marriage. God ordained marriage as the union between one man and one woman for life. Sexual expression should only happen inside this union. He ordained man as the head of the home, who leads his family physically and spiritually.

Secular humanism claims that love is love. If we are nothing more than highly evolved animals, and sexuality is just a function of the human body, then sexual expression can happen in any context. Without God’s defined roles and genders, any two people should be able to get married, and any person should be able to determine his or her (or its?) own gender.

God intended all society to be built upon the family. Strong families make strong cities; strong cities make strong states; strong states make a strong nation. Dads and moms provide the example of manhood and womanhood to their kids, helping them know how to function in society. As Satan seeks to destroy God’s image bearers, he wisely attacks the family. If he can destroy the family through divorce, same-sex marriage (so called), gender dysphoria, and other God-defying ideas, then cities, states, and nations will collapse. We should never treat these issues casually.

5. Sin distorts the goodness of God’s creation

Genesis 3 tells the tragic story of mankind worshiping self instead of God. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the Garden, they claimed to know better than God. They decided not to trust God, but to trust themselves. They decided that God was keeping good things from them they needed to explore. This is called sin. The fundamental problem for all social ills or problems in our society is sin. Mankind possesses stubbornly selfish hearts. Why is there theft, lying, murders, and rape? Because humans desire things that God has not granted.

Secular humanism believes the fundamental problem for mankind is environmental and educational. They believe that man’s heart is basically good and pure, but a bad environment and lack of education cause people to make bad choices. Therefore, the world’s solution is to make systemic changes that will allow people to develop in “neutral” settings, causing them to act unselfishly.

This might sound good on the outside, but it’s hollow and rotting on the inside. Mankind once lived in a perfect environment and was perfectly educated. Their names were Adam and Eve. Even with a perfect environment and education, they still chose to worship self over God. They needed God’s grace, and so do we. To solve social ills we must solve mankind’s sin problem, and this is only possible through the gospel.

House Rules

Recently we were playing games at a friend’s house. They played slightly different rules than I was used to. I conceded and said, “Your house, your rules!” In order to have a Biblical worldview you must also possess something else: a submissive spirit. God is the creator, God is the owner, and God sets the rules. His rules are designed for human flourishing, so resist the advances of the secular worldview! It’s packaged in phrases that sound good and harmless, like “Love is love!” “Women’s rights are human rights!” “Science is real!” Yet, behind this is a worldview attempting to bend God’s plan and supplant the Creator. God wants us to keep the water of our minds clear with a solid worldview filter. How good is your filter?

Mike Augsburger (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is lead pastor of Soteria Church, West Des Moines, Iowa. This article first appeared on the church’s blog, and is reposted here by permission.