Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption now has a promo page on bjupress.com. If you haven’t yet purchased a copy, you will want to do so now that there is a promo page. Bryan Smith, the presenter on the video there, is the one whose vision I was trying to live out in the book. His theological mentoring made a major impact on me during my nine years at BJU Press. He knows his Bible extremely well and works to apply it across all the academic disciplines with a depth and rigor I’ve never seen in anyone else I know personally.
All interpretation is shaped by the frameworks of belief which we bring to it; the hope is that the text—or rather the Holy Spirit’s opening up of the text—will enable us both to use and to transcend those frameworks with ever new insights into the truth of the gospel.
—Colin Gunton, Christ and Creation
I originally wrote this article for the New York Times opinion page, but it wound up in a slightly less partisan publication, Answers Magazine. (To be clear, the article has been edited a bit to reflect the change of audience.) I just got my copy:
I pray that the article will be beneficial to the readers. It was pretty fun working with the team at Answers, including my former colleague Mike Mathews, who gave me some great feedback.
You can buy the whole issue here.
I finally got my copy. It’s the culmination of my nine years at BJU Press and the one book of mine most likely to actually get read: Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption, a 12th grade Bible textbook for Christian and home schools. But I can’t say the book is “mine,” exactly. For the record (mine as much as yours), here are the chapters, along with a summary and an indication of whether I wrote them or not.
If you like my blog, you’ll like this book. There’s more than an echo of my blog concerns (faithful readers might even recognize a few blog posts; I checked with myself and granted myself permission to use them). I encourage you to buy a copy even if you aren’t a student.
1 Worldviews – Mark Ward
- Introduces the concept of worldview using the primary metaphor of lenses.
- Defines worldview as 1) a head-heart system that 2) tells a master story and 3) produces the group action we call culture.
- Shows briefly how the Creation, Fall, Redemption story of Scripture constitutes the “big story” of the Christian worldview
2 Presuppositions – Mark Ward
- Discusses the role of evidence and presuppositions in the acquisition of knowledge.
- Argues that truth is ultimately taken on authority.
3 The Two-Story View – Mark Ward
- Critiques the secular view in which the lower story of facts is cut off from the upper story of human values.
- Argues that a biblical view of Redemption precludes the two-story view.
4 God the Creator – Mark Ward
- Bases creation firmly in the intra-trinitarian love of God, a la Edwards.
- Argues that God’s glory is His ultimate goal in all He does.
- Analyzes major alternatives to biblical theism (materialism, pantheism, dualism, deism)
5 Man and His Mandate – Mark Ward
- Explores the meaning and implications of the image of God in man.
- Explores the meaning and implications of the Creation Mandate of Gen. 1:26–28.
- Demonstrates that culture flows from the Creation Blessing of Gen. 1:26–28.
6 Everything God Made Was Very Good – Mark Ward
- Examines ways in which the fall is pinned unfairly on elements of God’s good creation instead of on human religious mutiny.
- Describes the “creational norms” God built into our universe.
7 Far as the Curse Is Found – Mark Ward
- Details the personal, cultural, and cosmic effects of the fall.
8 Common Grace, the World, and You – Mark Ward
- Explains the biblical doctrine of common grace.
- Contrasts worldliness and asceticism, proposing that believers are properly seen as pilgrims and ambassadors.
- Argues that affection drives cognition.
9 Structure and Direction – Mark Ward
- Introduces the concepts of structure and direction.
- Explains the structure of sexuality and the evil and good directions in which it is pointed.
10 An Everlasting Kingdom – Bryan Smith
- Provides an overview of the entire storyline of the Bible, structured by the biblical covenants and culminating in the restoration of God’s good creation.
11 Redeemed for Good Works – Bryan Smith and Mark Ward
- Urges lives of good works and witness in the gap between the already and the not yet.
- Critiques theonomy/Christian Reconstructionism.
12 The Mission of the Church and Your Vocation – Brian Collins
- Explains the mission of the church in this age.
- Explores the biblical doctrine of vocation.
MARRIAGE, GENDER ROLES & FAMILY
13 The Man and the Woman in Creation – Mark Ward (based on research by Greg Stiekes)
- Lays out God’s revealed design for marriage and gender roles.
- Discusses the role played by the nuclear family in the biblical narrative.
- Discusses gender roles in society.
14 Marriage Twisted – Mark Ward (based on research by Greg Stiekes)
- Exposes the ways marriage, gender, and sexuality are twisted in this fallen world.
- Views the “Gay Christian” movement through the lenses of a biblical worldview.
- Discusses the topics of cohabitation and divorce.
15 Marriage Redeemed – Greg Stiekes
- Lays out a vision for redeemed marriages, families, and gender roles.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
16 Foundations of Government – Brian Collins
- Roots government in God’s design as opposed to a social contract.
- Argues that justice is the foundational reason for government to exist in a created (not just a fallen) world.
- Explores different types of governmental structure.
17 Political Perspectives – Brian Collins
- Exposes the idols underlying various political ideologies, including liberalism, socialism, and conservatism.
18 The End of Government – Brian Collins
- Explores the various major models of church-state relations from the perspective of a biblical worldview.
- Offers counsel for Christians to act prudently in politics.
19 Science Is Something God Created Humans to Do – Mark Ward
- Shows how the assumptions that make science possible are rooted in a biblical worldview.
- Outlines two major purposes for science: love of God, love of neighbor.
- Enumerates creational norms for the practice of science.
20 Fallen Science – Mark Ward
- Explores the ways science is frustrated by the fall.
- Offers an epistemological critique of scientific naturalism.
- Offers a moral critique of scientific naturalism.
21 Reading Genesis and Doing Science – Mark Ward
- Explores the way various worldviews interpret Genesis 1–3.
- Argues for a view of Genesis 1–3 that is consistent with Jesus and Paul.
- Profiles conservative Christians active in the sciences.
- Urges students to do science themselves.
22 Foundations for History – Brian Collins
- Provides Christian reasons for doing the work of history.
- Lays out creational norms for history.
23 Fallen History – Brian Collins
- Critiques various nationalistic and postmodern historiographies.
24 History in Light of Redemption – Brian Collins
- Discusses the use of source materials and gives guidance on the construction of historical models and the discernment of providence.
ARTS & CULTURE
25 Truth, Goodness, and Beauty – Brian Collins and Mark Ward
- Explores the interplay of truth, goodness, and beauty in culture.
- Offers concrete examples of truth, goodness, and beauty in art, literature, and music.
26 The False, the Bad, and the Ugly – Mark Ward
- Provides examples of cultural artifacts which idolize truth, goodness, or beauty.
- Provides examples of cultural artifacts which attack truth, goodness, or beauty.
- Explores the way culture, particularly pop culture, shapes human sensibilities.
27 Creative Cultivators – Mark Ward
- Shows how condemning, critiquing, consuming, and copying are wrong as postures but good as gestures when it comes to responding to human culture.
- Urges students to be creative cultivators.
That final unit got a ton of help from the best aesthetician I know, Zach Franzen. But as lead author and general editor, I was responsible for the final form and style of the entire text and added a lot of the illustrations and other connective tissue. In other words, this book was a team effort like no other I’ve ever worked on. And that, for me, was a wonderful experience for which I thank the Lord.
Mike Asire, my designer, read just about every word of the text and did a great job designing the book and all the pages and graphics in it. I was slightly skeptical of his choice of Futura for headers and pull-quotes, but I trusted him and I’m glad I did. I think his work looks fantastic.
Chris Koelle contributed fantastic illustrations for the unit openers. Eventually you’ll be able to order some of them at his site for the walls of your own home. I plan to, partly out of gratitude to him.
There were many others who contributed significantly to this book, like the editor and the project manager who would be embarrassed to be named. On such an obscure blog.
A final word about the content: there are many angles, even in Scripture, from which any of the topics covered in this book could be viewed. But I found worldview—application of the entire storyline of Scripture—to be a very fruitful lens through which to view everything from homosexuality to language to music to gender roles to government.
And a final word about the team: this book is really the fruit of the work of Dr. Bryan Smith, the longtime Bible Integration coordinator at BJU Press. It was my goal to fill out his vision in my writing. His combination of exegetical rigor and theological synthesis is unmatched in my experience. He is a gift to the church and a mentor to me, as is my best friend Brian Collins who, you will see, also contributed to this book.
What a privilege it was to work on this project. Gushing done. Buy now.
The god of [any given] system is the fountainhead of [its] morality. This is why Christians have an easy distinction in their minds between “legal” and “moral.” But for those who believe that there is no intelligence beyond our corporate and collective intelligence, there can ultimately be no such distinction. Right? Christians worship the God who is outside all our systems—He is transcendent—and that is why we can distinguish sins and crimes.
I thought that was really helpful. Thanks, Doug.