I received Creation Regained [1985, Eerdmans] from a Pastor friend of mine, and had never heard it before. I’m a sucker for any good book on worldview.   The subtitle “Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview” hooked me even further.

Albert Wolters defines ‘worldview’ as “the comprehensive framework of one’s basic beliefs about things.” [2]. Everyone has one.  Whether they know it or not.  Now…for a Christian then, Wolters states, and I agree, that our worldview must be shaped and tested by Scripture.  From that foundation the book “offers help in the process of reforming our worldview to conform more closely to the teaching of Scripture.”

This should be understood to mean all of life – a biblical worldview is simply an appeal to the believer to take the Bible and its teaching seriously for the totality of our civilization right now and not to relegate it to some optional area called “religion.” [9]

The author lays a foundation for distinguishing between those disciplines that usually play in the worldview sandbox together – philosophy and theology.  He lays down a “distinction between philosophy and theology that can be make more clear if we introduce two key concepts: ‘structure’ and ‘direction.’ Philosophy can be described as that comprehensive scientific discipline which focuses on the structure of things…and theology can be said to focus on the direction of things.” [10-11]

What makes this view reformational are the details within the big parts of the grand meta narrative of Scripture – Creation, Fall, and Redemption.

When we talk about creation, we must not “lose sight of the Creator’s sovereign activity in orientating, upholding, guiding and ruling his world.” [14]. Scripture clearly presents Christ as intimately involved in the preservation of creation.  All things were created by him and are held together in him [Col 1:16-17], he sustains all things by his powerful word. [Heb 1:2-3].  Thinking then of the work of Christ, he is in fact the mediator of both creation and re-creation. [24]. Scripture therefore, [the Word of Christ]  must be used to illuminate creation.  One fundamental concept to hold true is that creation, before sin, is wholly and unambiguously good. “Deeply engrained in the children of Adam is the tendency to blame some aspect of creation (and by implication the Creator) rather than their own rebellion for the misery of their condition.” [50]

The fall, was “not just an isolated act of disobedience but an event of catastrophic significance for creation as a whole.” [53] Furthermore, “it is one of the unique and distinctive features of the Bible’s teaching on the human situation that all evil and perversity in the world is ultimately the result of humanity’s fall, of its refusal to live according to the good ordinances of God’s creation.” [55]. “Sin is an alien invasion of creation, is completely foreign to God’s purposes for his creatures. It was not meant to be; it simply does not belong.” [58]

When speaking then of a worldview, the “world” is not just limited to a realm outside of the church, for there certainly is worldliness [=sin] in the people of the church.  There is no sacred/secular divide, as Wolters states “this compartmentalization is a very great error.” [64].  What’s the result?  “Christians have abandoned the ‘secular’ realm and have themselves to blame for the rapid secularization of the West.” [65]

This is a glaring call for redemption.  A restoration which “affects the whole of creational life and not merely some limited area within it.” [69] Note this is a restoration, not that God “scraps his earlier creation and makes a new one, but he hangs on to the former creation and salvages it.  He refuses to abandon the work of his hands – in fact he sacrifices his own Son to save his original project.” [70]. I love where Wolters goes this this – everything then is not necessarily avoided or abandoned, but redeemed for God’s glory.  Marriage, sex, politics, art, business…the list goes on and on.  “Redemption is not a matter of an addition of a spiritual or supernatural dimension to creaturely life the was lacking before; rather it is a matter of bringing new life and vitality to what was there all along.” [71]. YES!

“What was formed in creation has been historically deformed by sin and must be reformed by Christ.”  [91] AMEN.

Wolters then goes into an extensive practical section on “Discerning Structure and Direction” which I appreciated for the most part. He separates the sections into societal and personal renewal.  I was into the societal, but the personal section included a bit on “Dance” which makes me itchy.  Maybe it was because this book was originally written in the 80s.  Or maybe it’s because I see little to no use of social dancing [private is another story] redeemed or otherwise.  [Or perhaps it’s because I look like a complete DORK anytime at all I dance? I’ll consider that too…]. Also, the topics seemed very random.  What about including other topics like alcohol? Medication?  Even self-improvement?

The book includes a very helpful post script which I appreciated.  I love anything that brings us back to the centrality and foundational nature of the gospel, which the author(s) did well.  “The gospel is a redirection power. It is not first of all doctrine or theology, nor is it a world view but it is the renewing power of God unto salvation. [Ruel: Romans 1:16]. The gospel is the instrument of god’s Spirit to restore all of creation.” [121]. They also go on to note that the gospel is restorative, but they point out that the “creation itself is the goal of the salvation”…I would push on that word a bit and say rather that “God himself is the goal of salvation” which I’m certain the authors would agree with, but I understand in the redemptive context what they are going for.

The gospel is also comprehensive in it’s scope and it fulfills the long story that is unfolded in the OT.  Last – the church, the people of God is essential to the gospel.

“This gospel is the source of our life and the means by which we interpret our place in the world.”  [143]. AMEN!

Great resource for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of a gospel based worldview!

 

 

 

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