Each morning my husband (Peace-Loving Warrior) and I devote the first hour of our day to an encounter with God ... that's before we eat breakfast, before turning on the TV for the daily news, or before attending to the day's work or chores. It always involves an open Bible, but at times we add various topics or supplements to our regimen, such as a study on spiritual warfare; or the Lord's Feasts --- all using Scripture for edification and confirmation. We are usually studying different areas of Biblical interests, and often share the fascinating and new revelations that come from a love of gaining Scriptural knowledge.
Currently, PLW is reading a book by Cris Putnam, noted Christian apologist and expert in the areas of technology, the occult and biblical prophecy. If you are a reader of this blog, then you know that I like to expound upon my Biblical worldview. So, I was naturally interested when PLW told me the name of Putnam's book was The Supernatural Worldview. This view looks beyond the natural laws of nature and the physical existence of matter and energy. It presumes that there is an order of existence beyond or outside or above the natural realm, as we know it. And, by the way, it fits nicely with a Biblical worldview that views God as the Creator of all things, both natural and supernatural.
Have you ever experienced something that could not be explained by the laws of physics or of this world? Both PLW and myself, along with a handful of friends have all experienced what could be described as "supernatural" or "demonic forces" that have come against us. Therefore, I was fascinated with the various Chapter headings that examined the author's opinions on such subsets of the Supernatural as the Paranormal; Near-Death-Experiences; Apparitions, Hauntings, Ghosts and other "unexplainable phenomena". I was also drawn to the seven basic questions that all world views must answer: 1) What is really real? 2) What is the nature of the world around us (external reality)? 3) What is a human being? 4) What happens to a person after death? 5) Why is it possible to know anything at all? 6) How do we know what is right and wrong? 7) What is the meaning of human history?
But I felt it was the answer to Question #3 that might help explain all the chaos and violence we are seeing in the world today. If you are like me, it is hard to coincide the truth of a loving God who made man in His image, with the headlines that scream of the brutality, genocide, and pernicious activities of one man against another. So, does how we answer this question of "What is a human being?" shape not only our worldview, but how we treat our fellow man?
According to Cris Putnam, the varying worldviews in existence today offer conflicting and profoundly different answers to Question #3 and what constitutes a human being. Let's consider what Putnam defines as some of the different viewpoints.
1. The Worldview of Western Science. This view sees a human being as "a highly evolved biological robot". In other words, a human being is a product of perhaps millions of years of evolution without any contribution from an outside Source of Power. This view is often at the foundation of the atheistic worldview.
2. The Worldview of New-Agers, Transhumanists, and non-traditional Faiths. Although, separate from each other in theology and doctrine (or lack thereof, in the case of Transhumanists), each of these views sees a human being as a "little g" god, or as a potential god. It is the individual and his fate that is of primary importance.
3. Reincarnation, Hinduism, Buddhism. This worldview sees a human being as Energy that changes forms; and since human beings possess this power as a resource, they are part of god.
4. Biblical Worldview. This view sees a human being as a spiritual being housed in a material body. "Human beings bear the image of God in a body created by God."
Can you see that these different worldviews could shape how we live this life, and how we treat others? For instance, why would you care what happens to a person after death if this earthly existence is all there is? If we are just a product of biological evolution, then one day we will just cease to exist. That's the end of our story; no consequences, no rewards -- it's just over. The treatment of our fellow man will simply fade from history, just as we do. As a result, what is the incentive to live a moral life? If we don't subscribe to the Biblical worldview, then morals are simply whatever society dictates, or are defined by our personal preferences.
Or we could simply reincarnate into other people or new lives in a never-ending search for more knowledge of ourselves. Whatever we do in this life is left behind, and how we treated others is of little consequence as we seek to develop an elevated state of being in the natural world. Better yet, what if everybody returns to their original spirit state and gets a free pass into heaven where we live in our own state of ethereal consciousness; so man's inhumanity to man is what happens down here on earth. There's no repercussions once we're in heaven.
BUT, what if the God of the Bible is who He says He is in His Holy Book? What if He is a Righteous Judge who meets His creations face to face, and assesses if we were successful in imitating Him? How we view our fellow human beings and how we treated them will have far-reaching consequences!
What's more, I consider the Bible a supernatural Book. When you have received a new heart by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can receive an understanding of the Bible that can only be described as supernatural. No man, on his own, could discern God's Truth from reading the 66 Books of the Bible. It is the supernatural source, provided through the Holy Spirit, that opens one's mind and demonstrates the veracity of God's eternal Plan for the salvation of man. None of the other worldviews offers such hope or evidence of a comparable redemption. So, I guess I would have to say that my Biblical worldview is influenced by the supernatural characteristics of my God.
Today, I have considered just one small concept from Cris Putnam's heady book. "What is a human being" seems such a superfluous and insignificant question, but how we answer it dictates our worldview and our eternal destiny. Putnam explores how our own pride and "religious" views can prescribe what we think "reality" is and limit us from experiencing the supernatural. I daresay that "lukewarm" Christians will find no need to examine his theories of the supernatural through the Biblical lens. I expect that skepticism will run high among this group of Christians. But Putnam's deep, scholarly, and investigative approach to the subject of his supernatural worldview is worth the effort. After all, we Christians claim one of the most extraordinary examples of supernatural phenomena when we declare the Resurrection, do we not? Who knows the mind or the secrets of God? Who can comprehend His authority or His power? I join Cris Putnam in challenging you to consider the supernatural events occurring in the world today, as well as to see the supernatural aspects of the historic Biblical God in Christ's virgin birth, His deity, His atonement for our sins, His bodily resurrection, and His imminent return. It is all for His glory!
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 "Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; Do not spurn the gifts and utterances of the prophets [do not depreciate prophetic revelations nor despise inspired instruction or exhortation or warning]. But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast."