One of the most important implications regarding the topic of worldview for Christians is what it means for our walk with God. In dealing with this topic it is certainly easy to get caught up in the culture war battles or the apologetics implications, but what it means for our relationship with God is utterly profound.
As we look at the Christian worldview, probably the most important thing that we can possibly say is that the biblical understanding of God represents actual reality. It is not simply a philosophical point of view or position to be defended. Certainly, these things are true and important for us to know. But the most important thing is the truth that God is an actual person we can know in an objectively real personal relationship. In many ways it is no different than the personal relationship we have with any other person. It is actual and it is real. If this is true, which it is, then our walk with God is not merely a religious point of view, it is something we actually live in.
God Is an Objectively Real Person
One of the most important things that we must come to understand, in order to grasp the Christian worldview, is the concept of personhood. To understand the Christian faith, we need to grasp what it means when we assert that God is a person.
It is not unusual, when I make this statement, for some to shrink back in horror and think that characterizing God this way is an affront to him. The thinking is: How could we possibly bring God down to the level of a person? Those who say this, in their own minds, equate personhood with human being.
That kind of thinking, though, misses the entire point. The concept of personhood is not based on humanity. God was a person before human beings were ever created. In fact, the only reason human beings are persons is because God created us in his image. Personhood and humanity are not the same thing. Personhood is an expression of characteristics which personify God – characteristics such as free will, self-consciousness, creativity, dominion, and the like.
Another matter that needs to be dealt with, as we look at this topic, relates to how persons interact with each other. How does that occur and how is our interaction with God different from our interaction with human persons? The truth is, the actual communication which takes place between persons is spiritual, regardless of whether it is between two humans or a human and God.
When two human beings communicate, they do so from a physical platform. That being said, the actual communication itself is not physical. It is composed of meaningful ideas which originate in a part of the person which is not physical. So, a human being comes up with an idea he or she wants to convey, then uses the physical body (brain, vocal cords, tongue, mouth, hands, etc.) or physical materials (flags, signs, electronic or sonic impulses, etc.) to pass the information to another person who then receives it and interprets the communication in their own spirit.
When a human being interacts with God, the only difference is that the material part is bypassed. As God is spirit and human beings are spirit beings housed in physical bodies, the communication is passed back and forth directly from spirit to spirit.
The important point to grasp is that communication is simply the process of conveying meaningful information from one person to another – which can happen between any legitimate persons, regardless of their physical situation. God is a person, we are persons, and we can personally interact with him.
Non-Christian Worldview Beliefs about God and Their Implications
As Christians, the concept of a personal God we can know and interact with is a natural concept. But for non-Christian systems, it is a very unnatural belief. Note the different ways non-Christian worldviews conceive of God.
Naturalism is the belief that there is no such thing as a supernatural reality. As such, for them, God doesn’t exist. And, since God doesn’t exist, the very idea of communicating with him is an absurdity.
Animism believes in many spirits/gods which are connected with the material world in an interdependent relationship. While the spirits are believed to be able to provide blessings or problems to human beings, the concept of a personal interaction does not exist. The spirits react to humanity based on the actions of humans as they live out their lives.
Far Eastern Thought (FET)
FET understands ultimate reality to exist as an impersonal life force. Believers of this worldview conceive of a supernatural reality, but it is entirely impersonal. As such, there is no personal transcendent God with whom human beings may interact. As such, the goal of humanity is to escape the apparent suffering which exists in the illusory material world and achieve a state where there is no personal consciousness. The concept of communication in this kind of transcendent reality is meaningless.
Non-Christian Theism believes in an actual transcendent God who is the creator and sustainer of the material universe. However, he is not recognized to be the God of the Bible, and generally not thought to be personal in the sense of desiring and providing for a personal interaction with individual human beings. The implications for this understanding is that there is such a thing as an objectively real God, but personal communication with him is thought of either in terms of a mechanical process or is meaningless.
Walking with God – How Christians See God
When it comes to an understanding of God, the Christian faith is completely unique. It recognizes God to be a person who can be known in a personal relationship. This understanding is troubling for some because they don’t fully understand the nature of this relationship possibility. Some say this brings God down to a level that is below his actual position and is, thus, insulting to him.
In the Christian faith, however, that is simply not true. While God is immanent to human beings via this relationship possibility, it does not bring God down for two reasons. First, he is the almighty and transcendent one. The fact that he allows himself to be known personally does not change that. The other reason is that he intentionally created mankind in order to allow for that kind of fellowship. This is not something that human beings did to him. Rather, he intentionally did it himself and for his own purposes.
Since God is personal, has revealed himself to humanity, and provided a way to know him in a personal relationship, it is essential that each individual take advantage of this opportunity and enter into the relationship with him. A relationship with God is not automatic. It is available to everyone, but each individual must, by his or her own decision, engage it. This interaction occurs as human beings do two things.
First, we must open ourselves up to communicate with God. As was detailed above, since God is an objectively real person and human beings were created in his image, communication is a possibility.
The second thing we need to do is spend time with God. As he dwells, literally, in the bodies of believers, spending time with him is not a matter of proximity. He indwells us no matter what. Rather, it is a matter of attention. We spend time with God as we direct our attention to him and consciously recognize his presence with us.
It is in these two acts, Christians are able to take advantage of the personal relationship with God that he has provided for us. Again, this is not merely a mental exercise, but is an objective reality.
So, when we direct our attention to interacting with God, we need to imagine that we are actually in his presence and communicate just like we would with any other person. As we exercise our imagination, we are not speaking of doing something imaginary. We are able to use our imagination not only in the realm of what is imaginary, but also in the realm of the real. We do it every time we seek to solve a problem or consider alternative possibilities. Our imagination is the bridge between the material world that our bodies dwell in and the spirit world which is the domain of our minds. By using our imagination to recognize the actual presence of God with us, we are able to know his presence and communicate directly with him.
God is an actual person that we can know in an objectively real personal relationship. To the degree we do this, we can walk with God in the fulness of his intention for us and know an intimacy with him which goes beyond anything any other worldview can even conceive.
© 2013 Freddy Davis