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The Transforming Vision written by Brian J. Walsh and J. Richard Middleton is a book that explains the Christian Worldview, cultural mandate, the metanarrative of scripture, dualism, the relationship between faith and reason, integration of faith and learning, and so much more. Walsh and Middleton go deep into a discussion about all of these topics and give us a different view of things that we usually would not see before. To be able to go into this book we have to understand the Christian Worldview and mandate and what that means. People can take the definition of a worldview and make it completely different than what it is. According to Walsh and Middleton world views are not formal or abstract systems, but they are perceptual frameworks. It is a different way of seeing and understanding visions of life and for life.
The cultural mandate scriptural basis can be found in Genesis 1:26-27 which says “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” We then see the primary call which is from God to God. We then go into the secondary call which is the calling that he gives to each of the individuals (how we take our gifts, talents, and abilities and use it for him. With both of those ideas, we then see the overall idea which is that every single part of our life is for Him. Along with the Christian, world views come along the metanarrative of Scripture. The metanarratives are creation, fall, and redemption and these all tie in with the four world view questions. These four questions include answering the questions of “Who am I?” “Where am I?” “What is wrong?” and “What is the remedy?” It all begins with the metanarrative of creation. This goes back to Genesis 1:1 which states ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’ Without understanding this and truly taking it into account, we only focus on Jesus and the Gospel when it all starts with God and the creation.
Creation is such a big aspect of life. We have to understand that it is not the central message but the actual foundation. Without creation, we cannot understand what sin is, what salvation is, or redemption and reconciliation. It is creation however that is affected by both salvation and sin. Salvation is just the outworking of God’s love for his creation as he restores it from bondage and the effects of sin. One of the way creation came into the world was through words and wisdom. In Genesis 1, God created all of creation by uttering commands, and without that, we would have nothing. Moreover, with that, wisdom is the craftsman through whom God creates. Proverbs 8:30 states “When he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman and I was daily his delight.” Wisdom is not merely God’s plan in the abstract; it is the way he designs and orders the world. Along with Proverbs 8:30 came creation by wisdom through Job 28:25-27, Psalm 104:24 and Psalm 139:14. Based on all of this creation we start to answer the question of where are we? We start to go into the understanding of who are we by discussing what it means to be human. To do this, we have to look at whom the Bible says we are. It states that we are God’s creation, living in His kingdom, dependent on his wise and loving rule. The bible states that we are His servants and that we are created in His image. It states in Genesis 1:26-28 “Let us make man in our image…” The creation mandate is a cultural mandate, and we are cultural creatures called by the creator to go forth and develop the earth. We are servants and stewards of the Father. We live in the likeness of God and should be engaging culture and be involved instead of stepping back. We should be shaping culture for the good of others and should serve the culture by leading it. This all leads into the fall. With understanding the fall, we go into the worldview question of “What’s wrong?” What happened was human disobedience, and we are given two options. One of them is to obey his will/word (resulting in enjoyment in the garden) and the second one being practicing our own will in disobedience to God (compromising the enjoyment of the garden). We have to be in an understanding of acknowledging the fall. Doing so takes us into idolatry, the sacred/secular split and the clashing of kingdoms. Idolatry goes into discussing how human beings have rejected God’s revelation of Himself through creation. Idolatry is something we do instead of serving God, and it is essentially a declaration of autonomy and independence from our creator and rejection of His rightful Kingship. In doing this, we reap the consequence of judgment. We then go into the sacred/secular split which also goes into the idea of dualism. In order to fully grasp this concept, we have to discuss the sacred and secular split along with the problem of dualism. In the sacred and secular split, there are different ways people divide things. Sacred split can be for church life and private life. Some examples of these can include prayer, worship, missions, our spiritual life, the moving of the spirit, scripture reading, and meditation. The secular split can be seen as used for everyday life and our public lives. Examples of this can include work, sports, politics, recreation, dating, school, or military. We then go into the problem of dualism.
Dualism is the split-vision world view. It separates reality into two fundamentally distinct categories: holy and profane, and sacred and secular. We then add in the fact that dualism is not duality, The Christian worldview recognizes duality-we either serve the Lord, or we serve the idols. “Dualism blurs the valid duality between obedience and disobedience because dualism identifies obedience, redemption and the kingdom of God with only one area of life. It sees the rest of life as either unrelated to redemption (or the sacred). Or worse – under the power of disobedience, sin, and the kingdom of darkness.” We have to take into account that all we do is to be done from a heart filled with love towards God. If our lives are not an expression of our love for Him, they will express rebellion against him. We have to realize that all cultural life is subject to God’s norms, and we are called to respond to Him in obedience. We then go into the clashing of kingdoms and discuss how sin entered into God’s good creation. Satan attempted to take over the creation by inciting its inhabitants, subjects of God, to treason against their rightful ruler. He led a rebellion against the lawful King of creation and set up his renegade kingdom. He led humankind into disobedience. Just as our cultural life is created and this under God’s rule, so all our life is now fallen. We then go into the last metanarrative which is redemption. This answers our worldview question of ‘What is the remedy?’. We are transformed by redemption.
To go into depth about this, we must have an understanding of the redemptive history. The Bible promises that Satan’s illegitimate claims will one day cease and his kingdom will be destroyed. Genesis 3 states one of the redemptive clues to God’s plan ‘I will put enmity between you are the woman and between your offspring and hers; he (Jesus) will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’ The story the scriptures tell us recounts the drama of God’s mighty acts in history – leading up to his most significant act, the Incarnation of Christ – through which he reserves the fall, counters sin, and so restores and redeems his creation. We then come to the understanding that any world view built on the Bible must focus on Christ’s incarnation – his life, death, and resurrection. The redemptive history then proceeds primarily through a series of historical covenants in which God established with mankind, the covenant with Noah being an example. Here God is at work, not creating the world or sustaining its existence, but working out his plan of salvation, his plan to redeem his fallen world. He beings by narrowing the earthly population to one righteous family and even through the covenant remain universal in scope. In conclusion, a lot of these ideas have changed my understanding of the content of Christianity.
In going through all of these, I understand the relationship between faith and reason and integration of faith and learning and why it is essential to have it. These integrations and relationships work together and show that yes you can have one without the other, but it is very difficult to understand. Reason supports faith and if there is a creation you have to believe that there is a creator. Our thinking should be rooted in the Bible, and this is shown in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’
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