Having a World View Matters Pt. II
I wanted to follow up on the idea of how important having a world view is in guiding and informing how we live, speak and believe. As I mentioned in the previous blog, there is no one world view but many. Not only are there world views that are unique to each individual, there are world views that are unique to different times and eras of human history.
What’s important in this is that both the biblical narrative and the Christian church have evolved in the midst of these ever changing world views. Because most Christians look to these two elements in helping to frame their own world view, it is important to take this into consideration.
First, the biblical narrative was written and re-written, interpreted and re-interpreted, over a period of more than 3,000 years. This goes all the way back to the oral beginnings of the Torah to our current time where hundreds of versions (interpretations) exist of the Bible. (Not to mention three world religions). Throughout all of this history there existed numerous world views that heavily influenced how these texts came into being. (Just in case you aren’t aware, there is no such thing as the original version of the Bible. It has been pieced together over time from a variety of paper fragments (papyrus) and versions/interpretations since its beginning).
In the time Before the Common Era (B.C.E.) there were multiple world views that influenced belief and behavior. There were views involving multiple gods at battle with each other. There were views involving a jealous god demanding sacrifices of various kinds in order to be appeased. There were views of a vengeful god who wielded severe judgment and punishment for wrong doing. There were even views that involved a human as god and ruler over all things.
In addition, there were world views that understood the physical composition of the universe in many different ways. Some saw the sun as the center with earth revolving around it. Others saw the earth as the center with the sun revolving around it. Still more world views involved philosophies and theories about the very purpose and role of all elements in creation.
In the Common Era (C.E.) world views changed not only because of the invasion of the Gospel, but because the world was becoming much smaller. Maritime travelers dramatically changed the evolution of world views simply by getting exposed to global-ness of human cultures and ways of understanding the universe, the creation and the existence of God(s). The Biblical narrative and Christendom itself were not immune to these influences. As the centuries and millenniums unfolded hundreds of interpretations of who God really was and how this God chose to relate to the creation, and the beings that occupied that creation, began to develop and influence much of how the Christian Church looked at scripture and understood itself in relationship to God and the whole of the cosmos.
Why this matters is there has never been a time where the biblical narrative, or the confessional components of the Christian faith, have been shaped in isolation or a vacuum. The beauty of this is that no one view is correct, no one interpretation is authoritative and no one person or system owns it. This is freeing, exciting and sometimes daunting. Every generation and historical era is blessed with new knowledge, new ways of understanding and experiencing this existence. Because of this, these things can’t help but shape how we see ourselves and what we craft as an existential framework for making sense of our own personal why.
To be clear, this is never done in isolation, or with immunity from cultural influence. That, I believe, is a gift. How we see the world, our role in it and the relationship our God has to this existence is ever changing and evolving. The more we learn, the more we experience, the more people and cultures we encounter, the more our ability to shape a world view is equipped and blessed.
My hope is that this isn’t frightening, or threatening, but necessary. It makes each of us unique, and each moment in time special. Most importantly, it allows us to see our current reality with fresh eyes and not be bound by historical perspectives that lived in very different times and understandings. May you be blessed as you delve into this journey of creating and owning your world view. IT MATTERS!