Everybody has one. For some, theirs is already developed to the point it’s etched in stone. For others, theirs is a work in progress - at worst, a loosely gathered group of thoughts, and at best just needing some refinement.
Whether it is the result of religious influence, secular philosophy, or personal reflection, everybody has one. Everyone has a set of lens through which he/she looks at life. Every person has a set of beliefs about how the world works that they consider true.
Everybody has a worldview.
And worldviews matter a lot, because at the end of every worldview is life’s ultimate destination for that person.
In The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important That Happens in Between, Gregory Koukl describes a worldview this way: “Everyone has in his or her mind a story about the way the world actually is, even if they haven’t thought about it much or worked out the details. This story-in-their-mind is what people are referring to when they say they have certain beliefs about things like meaning, value, purpose, and significance…Put in personal terms, worldviews help us answer the basic questions each of us struggles with sooner or later in our lives if we pause to think about the really important things: Where did we come from? What is our problem? What is the solution? How will things end for us?” (p. 23,25)
Where did we come from? That’s not a question of Cincinnati, Atlanta, or Orangeburg? It’s a question of the origin of man - whether we’re the evolutionary product of impersonal laws of nature which has resulted in us having no more significance than a fishing worm, or whether we’re the finished product of an exceptionally creative Creator which has resulted in us being created in the image of God. It’s also a question of why we are here. Are we alive simply to scrap and claw to make the best of life we can, or are we here to fulfill the noble purposes for which Creator God intended?
What is our problem?
This question addresses, not the aggravating problems of life which interrupt our pursuit of happiness, but life’s ultimate problem with which every person struggles – why is our world so broken? Why do people lie, cheat, and steal? Why are our prisons filled to overflowing? Why are personal relationships so difficult to manage? Why do people live in fear of when and where the next terrorist will strike? Why can’t people seem to do the good that they really want to do, instead of the wrong that they end up doing?
If one’s worldview allows for a Creator God who is holy and righteous and to whom we’re accountable, our problem can be attributed to our sin natures. But if one’s worldview does not allow for such a God, then his problem boils down to failure somehow in the life long game of survival of the fittest.
What is the solution?
The answer to this question is tied intricately to answers to questions one and two. If there is a God to whom each person is accountable, and as a result man’s problem is a sin problem, then the solution is the one provided by God Himself – personal faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-man Jesus Christ. If there is no God to whom man is accountable, then the solution to the game of survival of the fittest is, put in the words of the reality TV show Survivor, to “Outwit, Outlast, and Outplay” every other life “contestant.”
How will things end for us?
In one regard the answer is the same for all people. Everyone will live forever. The difference, though, is in the where – with God or separated from Him for eternity. The “where” hinges on how each individual answers and then acts on the answer to question number three.
What is your worldview – your story of reality? And most importantly, based on your worldview, how will things ultimately end for you when you get where it is taking you?
About the Author
Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.