Conceptualizing Worldview and Expressing the Biblical Worldview

Throughout history, various perspectives which could be called worldviews have been formed, and with the life of Jesus Christ, the Biblical worldview has as well thus this paper is seeking their delineation. Eugene Webb, Professor Emeritus in the University of Washington Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, asserts what he views as an essential part of humanity. Eugene Webb states, “No human being lives without a worldview, but comparatively few ever give much thought to what worldviews are, how they come into being, how they change, and how they are held” (Webb, 2009, Pg. 1). Another way of saying this is that all of humanity perseveres with a worldview. This essay is an inquiry into what the Greeks called οὐσία, which is translated to English as being or, as an adjective, factual in the state of the things as they are. Therefore, this is to deduce what a state of being is and what can be defined as any true Christian fact, if any. The process of analyzing these views is something which is a substantial effort and it is possible that all details fundamental to them may not be described in this essay which shall be addressed in the form of implications for the reader to apprehend through induction. Furthermore, the outcome of this essay is not to express what a conceptual worldview and the Biblical worldview should be, normative proposals, but rather to express what they are, descriptively. It is thus this writer’s contention that the concepts of worldview and the Biblical worldview can be bounded.

To understand a word, apprehending its etymological roots can be worthwhile. The research of James W. Underhill about the origin of the meaning of worldview shows insight. James W. Underhill says that the German word “Weltanschauung” (Underhill, 2009, Pg. 54) is associated with the idea of “’function[ing] as an idea of pure reason to bring the totality of human experience into the unity of the world-whole, or Weltganz’” (Underhill, 2009, Pg. 54). The converse of this is the totality of Weltganz, another German word, into the unity of the human experience. This writer asks if this is a sound relation with some skepticism. If it is, then it a functional idea about which the human experience and the world-whole and sets of values can be input to output information relevant about the entirety of existence. However, looking at the history of the world and its state of not knowing everything in existence, even that of human experience, it is clear to this writer that this term could be, at best, viewed as a conceptual ideal rather than the relationship between humanity and the world in fact or as de facto situation. Therefore, at the very least, worldview is not a relationship between human experience and a unified understanding of the world. Having stated this, it follows that the Christian worldview could be inquired about for the sake of understanding its characteristics.

At this point in this discussion, the word Christian in Christian worldview can be seen as a characteristic of worldview, being an adjective. However, this writer asks if this grammatical explanation is a sufficient one. To reflect, the apostle Paul states something worthwhile to the Romans. Paul says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12: 2 King James Version). This writer holds the view that exegetically, this is to say that if there is a single Christian worldview it is thus not a characteristic of the world hence it forgoes that of attribution to worldview in its true form. Therefore, a more reasonable identification of this understanding should be described as the worldview of Christianity.

During Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, he writes about the natural state of Christ in the world. Paul states to the Corinthians, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now if you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Cor 12: 26-27 King James Version). A view of this writer is to express that the humanity of Christianity is connected by Christ. Therefore, the worldview of Christianity is hierarchically subordinate to him as if Christ is the metaphorical roots of a tree or a mainframe system of a computer network. It follows that the prior identification of worldview as not that of a relation should be compared to the Christian worldview. Interestingly, all of humanity is linked with Jesus, collectively, and Jesus is linked with all of humanity by Paul’s assertion.

After contemplation, David Mathis states that Christ is the son of the unifier of the gospel. David Mathis states, “And, mark this, no one cares more for her unity of his church around her Savior, his own Son, than God himself.” (Piper, Mathis, Warren, 2011, Pg. 11). This is to say that the will of Christ is a characteristic of God, yet the Holy Spirit is a third person thus the Triune God would necessarily be a collective relationship with all of humanity. It cannot be humanity with Jesus and God, and the Holy Spirit, separately, and be a relation. Therefore, at the very least, a worldview without the collective of humanity considered as a single idea with a body of knowledge as the Christian worldview is not a relation. It follows that it cannot be functional. This is to say that while a worldview and the Christian worldview, so to speak, may be concepts that human recognize without a true form of apprehension, at least we may be aware of what these concepts are not.

Bibliography

Piper, J., Mathis, D., & Warren, R. (2011). Thinking, Loving, Doing. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. Pg. 11

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. Cor 12: 26-27.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. Rom 12: 2.

Underhill, J. W. (2009). Humboldt, Worldview and Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Pg. 54.

Webb, E. (2009). Worldview and Mind: Religious Thought and Psychological Development. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. Pg. 1

 

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Author: Jonathan Kelly

For university education, Jonathan Kelly studies liberal arts and sciences. In his free time, he studies history and ethics in science fiction.

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