Christian Theology as a Worldview-Story

Here’s a quote from N.T. Wright’s The New Testament and the People of God, where he articulates the Christian story, and shows how Christian theology answers the four basic worldview questions. (the quote is from page 132, emphasis added)

First, Christian theology tells a story, and seeks to tell it coherently. We have already summarized this story, and can do so again briefly. The story is about a creator and his creation, about humans made in this creator’s image and given tasks to perform, about the rebellion of humans and the dissonance of creation at every level, and particularly about the creator’s acting, through Israel and climactically through Jesus, to rescue his creation from its ensuing plight. The story continues with the creator acting by his own spirit within the world to bring it towards the restoration which is his intended goal for it. A great deal of Christian theology consists of the attempt to tell this story as clearly as possible, and to allow it to subvert other ways of telling the story of the world, including those which offer themselves as would-be Christian tellings but which, upon close examination, fall short in some way or other.

Second, this story, as the fundamental articulation of the worldview, offers as set of answers to the four worldview questions. We may set these out as follows, noting as we do some of the alternative views that are thereby ruled out. …

1. Who are we? We are humans, made in the image of the creator. We have responsibilities that come with this status. We are not fundamentally determined by race, gender, social class, geographical location; nor are we simply pawns in a determinist game.

2. Where are we? We are in a good and beautiful, though transient, world, the creation of the god in whose image we are made. We are not in an alien world, as the Gnostic imagines; nor in a cosmos to which we owe allegiance as to a god, as the pantheist would suggest.

3. What is wrong? Humanity has rebelled against the creator. This rebellion reflects a cosmic dislocation between the creator and the creation, and the world is consequently out of tune with its created intention. A Christian worldview rejects dualisms which associate evil with createdness or physicality; equally it rejects monisms that analyse evil simply in terms of some humans not being fully in tune with their environment. Its analysis of evil is more subtle and far-reaching. It likewise rejects as the whole truth all partial analyses, such as those of Marx or Freud, which elevate half-truths to the status of the whole truth.

4. What is the solution? The creator has acted, is acting, and will act within his creation to deal with the weight of evil set up by human rebellion, and to bring his world to the end for which it was made, namely that it should resonate fully with his own presence and glory. This action, of course, is focused upon Jesus and the spirit of the creator. We reject, that is, solutions to the human plight which only address one part of the problem.

(Adapted from wordandspirit.co.uk. Click here to see the original article. For more information on this topic on this blog click here.)

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