The gospel of the crucified and risen Jesus (see 1Co 15:1-11) is the core message regarding the climactic events central to a Christian worldview. To understand the Christian worldview, we must start with the word worldview itself.
A worldview is a way, a perspective, an outlook on the world, on all there is. While worldviews can certainly be described, analyzed, and compared to other worldviews-and thus debated-usually a worldview consists of the set of assumptions that govern how we view and understand all of reality. We don’t ordinarily question our worldviews, unless we feel ultimate issues really need to be analyzed and debated. A worldview is the lens, the frame of reference, or, to change the metaphor, the scaffolding on which we build our living, our actions, our thinking, and our experiences. Thus, a worldview should not be limited merely to ”seeing” or looking. It is our way of knowing and understanding, accomplished as we live and experience all that there is.
A biblical, Christian worldview begins with the assumption of the one true Creator God, who involves himself in history and seeks relationship with his creatures. It does not assume a deist god who is merely there, and certainly not a pantheistic god whose existence is mingled in with all that there is. The God of Scripture is the God who creates, who makes all things good, who is intimately involved with his creation, and who is faithful in all his interactions with it. From a biblical perspective, there can be no argument as to whether or not God does the ”miraculous,” because the whole of creation is his world; he is involved in it; and his presence in the world occurs both by routine and by things wondrous and strange. The Scriptures refer to God as having covenants not only with his human creatures, but also with the creation itself (cp. Gn 8:20-22; 9:8-17).
Most worldviews, whether secular or religious, have stories and narratives as part of their basic structure. In the case of a Christian worldview, the stories that lie at the heart of our perspective are essentially the narratives of what God has done in history. The God of Scripture is active in the world he made; thus, history witnesses to his presence both in creation and in his actions, particularly as these are revealed in the Bible. Thus, Scripture not only provides a worldview for those who accept its testimony, but it also reflects the worldview of its authors. Put another way, the writers of Scripture are themselves informed by the great truths that they teach-so that the biblical worldview provides a lens through which their writing should be understood-while they also establish the worldview that informs Christian theology.
The story of the Bible begins with the God who creates. But the narrative quickly moves to a crisis known as the fall. The rebellion of Adam and Eve provides the second fixed point in the narrative. The fall is the backdrop for the rest of the biblical story, in which God acts to redeem humanity and to restore the entire creation-to make a new heaven and a new earth. So, according to a biblical worldview, there is one Creator God who is involved in his creation. He acts to restore the world.
From the vantage point of creation and the fall, we then see the patterns of God’s actions in history to redeem and rescue, as they unfold in Scripture. This has implications for a Christian understanding of history. A Christian worldview assumes that history does not inevitably decline. There is always the prospect of God’s divine action, which at any moment may set a new course for history. God works through circumstances both good and evil (cp. Rm 9:14-17) to move history along to accomplish his faithful purposes.
We can be somewhat specific regarding God’s movements in history to redeem, since he has unfolded a strategy whereby he chose a particular people, Israel, and through this nation he has acted to bring the whole world back to himself. God’s choosing of Israel underlies the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, through to Joseph and the enslavement of God’s people in Egypt. Israel’s exodus from Egypt through God’s dramatic plagues upon the former led his chosen people to Canaan. But Israel’s story has multiple twists, because, in the end, Israel herself was not faithful to God. Israel was sent into exile, but her prophets, who warned of her impending judgment, also reiterated God’s promises that one day he would reign as King (cp. Is 35:3-6; 40:3-5,9-10; 52:7-10; 60:1-2; Ezk 43:1-7; Zch 8:2-3; 14:1-17) and restore his people. Israel would be brought back from exile, and a son of the great King David (Is 9:6-7; 11:1-11; Jr 33:14-18), who would rule in the place of God, would be seated on a throne. He would not only rule Israel, but eventually all nations would pay him homage and worship the one Creator God.
But once again, the larger biblical narrative takes a surprising turn. The long-awaited King not only suffered for his people, Israel, in an act of propitiation and sacrifice that concluded their exile and redeemed them from sin. He also fulfilled Israel’s unfinished work to be a light to the Gentiles and to bring the nations back to God. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the climactic moments in the larger biblical story.
Now the people of God are organized around Jesus-the true Israel of God, and the second Adam-and must preach the gospel, the message of the crucified and resurrected Jesus, to the ends of the earth. As the gospel of Jesus is preached in all the world, the final vindication of Jesus will come, and the glorious day of resurrection and restoration will occur (Mt 24:14). Then, the restoration of heaven and earth will take place (Rv 21:1-5; cp. Is 65:17; 66:22), and a final separation of all the peoples and nations of the earth will happen (Mt 25:31-46; 2Th 1:5-10; Rv 20:1-15). Those who embrace the one true God through Jesus will be raised to a glorious life, while those who have rejected God’s Son are banished into outer darkness. Then God will be ”all in all” (1Co 15:28).
This outline of the biblical narrative constitutes the lens through which Christians understand the world. Worldviews may be described, analyzed, and debated. But every worldview that claims to be Christian and biblical must start with the one true Creator God, who made man and woman in his image and who, despite the rebellion of his creatures and the consequent cursing of creation, longs to redeem his people-an action that he has accomplished through the coming of Jesus, the long-awaited son of David. Christ fulfills the work of Israel, drawing the nations back to God through his obedient death, resurrection, enthronement at the right hand of God, and final appearance as King of kings and Lord of lords.
This article originally appeared in the CSB Worldview Study Bible. You can order a copy here.