Four Fundamental QuestionsBy Dan Vis
November 12, 2018
Last week, I explored how society is often influenced by scientific theories in illogical and irrational ways. And how that tendency has drawn thousands away from a knowledge of God. This week, I want to share part two: how to build a worldview instead on the four fundamental questions of life.
Everyone has a worldview, whether they are aware of it or not. It is like the colored glasses we wear that give a tint to everything we see. It can be shaped by parents, friends, education, culture, media, politics, sports, entertainment, and countless other influences. Often these conflicting influences lead to confused and contradictory views about life.
A better approach, is to construct our worldview by reasoning from first principles. That is, by asking first the most fundamental questions of life. In particular, there are four questions every person must answer:
Question #1: Is there a God?Our entire outlook on life ultimately revolves around our answer to this question. Either there is a God, that is sovereign, absolute, self-existent, external to us and independent of us, or there is not.
If there is a God, then there is truth and morality outside of ourself. If not, then God is a mere figment of man's imagination. The only divinity to be found is that which is hidden within you. There is no higher reality--everything devolves to individual perspective. There is no right and wrong--only individual interest. Life is fully subjective.
It reminds me of the verse in Judges 17:6In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.. "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Because there was no king, no external, absolute ruler, everything degenerated to personal opinion.
I believe God exists. I believe He is a personal God--and that in fact, there is a God-shaped hole in every heart only He can fill. I believe He is a Creator God, and our only hope for a heart made new. I believe He is an absolute God, and the only fix for our broken moral compass. And I believe He is a loving God, that crosses bridges to connect with and care for those who seek Him.
I won't go into all the arguments for and against the existence of God here. Others have written volumes on the subject. My point is, this is the first and foremost question every person has to answer. There is or there isn't. And every aspect of our worldview flows from our answer to this question.
Question #2: Does the Bible reveal God?Suppose you do believe in God. An absolute God. A God outside of yourself. What then? How can we learn more about Him? Has God chosen to reveal Himself in some way? And more specifically, is the Bible God's definitive and authoritative self-revelation?
Once again, it is a simple yes or no question. If yes, then the Bible is objective, external, factual. It reveals the truth about Jesus, salvation, and God's will for our life. It teaches absolute truth, and is our only rule of faith and practice. We may make mistakes in how we interpret it, but the problem is never in the source. Our faith is in something outside of ourself. The Bible is a reliable, textual record of what God has revealed about Himself.
If not, then there there is no sure way to know God. There are many paths to truth. The Bible is flawed, imperfect. Too confusing. Too subject to interpretation. Every person is free to follow their own path to God, and it doesn't really matter which path you take--because they all lead to God in the end. We can believe whatever we want to believe, as long as it works for us. And it doesn't matter if you and I view things differently--it's just a matter of perspective.
The Bible answers this question clearly. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (II Timothy 3:16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:). "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.). The Bible is indeed God's self-revelation.
And it provides its own internal evidence--independent of our thoughts and feelings about the question: Bible prophecy.
Isaiah 46:9-109 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.
Here, the Bible is appealing to external, objective, testable evidence. Evidence that distinguishes the Bible from any other sacred writings. It has nothing to do with personal opinion. It is the historical fact of fulfilled prophecy.
The Bible also make it clear what we believe about truth is important. According to John 17:17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth., we are "sanctified" by truth, the truth found in Scripture. In other words, it corrects or fixes our life. Scripture reveals right or wrong. Good and evil. The path to blessings and cursings. It's not a matter of opinion or interpretation. It's a matter of revelation.
You see, it's not enough to just believe in a God. We must also choose how we are going to live our life. If we choose to follow our own ideas, desires, and values, it's a sure path to trouble. Each of us are broken, and we make poor choices. We didn't make this world, and we can't fully understand it. Nor can we see very far into the future. On our own, we can do little more than stumble along blindly in our efforts to make a way through life.
We need outside help. A higher power to guide us. We need divine illumination. That help is found in the Bible. It's our only credible source of divine revelation. The only safe authority to build our life upon. We can't afford to ignore it.
Questions #3: Is God's Law still important?Here's our third question. Assuming there is a God, and assuming He has revealed Himself through the Bible--is His Law still relevant today? Is it something we still need to obey?
Answering yes means we recognize man needs a standardized code of right and wrong. That the Bible gives us that moral code in the 10 Commandments. That this moral code is external to us, independent of us. It doesn't ask what we think, but tells us what is. It's not subject to change, preference, modification, negotiation, or opinion. It's the definition of morality. The basis of all ethics. It's absolute.
Answering no concludes God's law is in some way irrelevant: outdated, flawed, localized. We're free to follow or not follow it as we choose. Yes, we are supposed to show the love of Christ--but we define for our self what that means. Yes, we are not supposed to sin--but sin is defined by our personal convictions. What's right for me may not be right for you, and vice versa. Nothing is inherently evil, it all depends on the circumstance and situation. To know what is right, one must look inward. Morality is internal, subjective, relative.
The Bible again answers this question. "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul" (Psalms 19:7The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.). "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.). It defines right and wrong. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.). "I had not known sin, but by the law" (Romans 7:7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.). And in the end it will serve as the standard in God's final judgment. "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty" (James 2:12So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.). "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-1413 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.).
Some argue the New Covenant somehow abolished the 10 Commandments, but actually, it lies at the heart of it. The New Covenant is new in that it provides power to live in harmony with the law. It doesn't create a different law, nor does it invalidate it. Instead, it implants that law into the human heart:
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
When Christ comes into a person's heart through the Gospel, he becomes "a new creature: old things are passed away ... all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.). And that change consists of a shift from self at the center to God at the center. It's a shift to a life that chooses what God says is right over what we think is right. It's a shift to a life that is powerless to do good, to a life infused with power to carry out good choices.
The Bible teaches a saving Gospel, one that brings man back into harmony with God. It gives freedom from the character flaws that limit our success. From the negative consequences of poor choices. From selfishness, laziness, bitterness, and guilt. It gives power for lasting change through Christ!
Question #4: Is there some point to life?Yes there is a God. Yes the Bible reveals Him, And yes, His Law is absolute. But one last fundamental question remains: is there some meaning to it all? Is there some point to life?
A yes answer implies we have a purpose, a destiny, a future, perhaps even some reward. That this life is not all there is. That if we put our trust in God, He will make all things right at last!
A no answer believes this life is all there is. What happens, happens. It is what it is. And there's nothing more after death. No one is there to pick up the pieces. So we might as well make the most of this life here and now.
The Bible makes it clear, there is a reward--and it is real. There is a purpose to our life. A destiny. A future. And interestingly, it connects that reward to how we answer our preceding three questions!
For those who believe God exists, and come to know him, the reward is eternal life. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.).
For those who believe the Bible is God's self-revelation, the reward again is eternal life. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.).
And for those who believe God's moral law is essential today, the reward once more is eternal life: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.).
There is a purpose to our life. We do have a destiny, a future. There is a reward for those who answer these most fundamental questions correctly. And that reward is far bigger than anything this world can offer us during our few short years passing through it. We dare not miss out!
There is a God. The Bible reveals Him. His law is absolute. And there is a point to our life.
Let's not get caught up in the swirl of confusing influences shaping society today. Let's instead pray for a worldview that is rooted in the most fundamental questions of life. Let's seek to build our life, both here and in the world to come, on the correct answers to these questions.
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CommentsWhat do you think of these questions? How important is it to have a worldview rooted in the fundamental questions of life? How important is it to answer these questions correctly?
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/28/18|
|Four people, four questions. Hadn't thought about it that way, but kind of neat Denice! :) Glad it was helpful...|
|Posted by Dinah Robles on 11/21/18|
|These are very helpful toward God direction life. There is so much to learn and focus on to obtain a meaningful life. Thanks so much.|
|Posted by Zewdi Isaac Enbom on 11/20/18|
|Thank you once again I have learnt a lot since I joined FAST.
Have a blessed day.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/15/18|
|Definitely an important topic Robert Baillie, and yes, many have been led astray.
Not sure which is better. We've had snow all afternoon. Pretty outside, but cold. But you probably have better tropical fruits! :)
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/14/18|
|I actually have one tentatively scheduled for late 2019 Carole. We'll see if it all comes together. :)|
|Posted by Carole Bliss on 11/14/18|
|I hope you do a class on this, it is wonderful. Getting back to basic
|Posted by Verona Edwards on 11/13/18|
|This reading is truly a blessing.Thanks for teaching me how to respond to those questions that I often face may God continue to bless this ministry|
|Posted by Laurie Wissink on 11/12/18|
|I'm so glad you mentioned the New Covenant. The law wasn't destroyed by this new covenant. What was changed is our relation to the law. Instead of trying to keep it in our own strength and personal resolve we now have God's spirit living in us to give us the power to do that which we cannot do on our own. Ezekiel 36:26-2726 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Jeremiah 31:33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
|Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 11/12/18|
|This was so well put together. Thank you for putting the truth right next to the false thinking so that you can see the comparison. Truly the gospel is foolishness to those who do not believe. I Corinthians 1:18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.|
|Posted by Lynn Badger on 11/12/18|
|Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes! Great questions. Thank you for sharing this. Very important with today's world view of doing what feels right to you and becoming god yourself. Thank you for starting my day on this message.|
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 11/12/18|
|Amen Dan Vis! Amen! This is the most complete memo yet because it does answer these basic questions coming from every human heart. Praise God for His love for us.|
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