This article looks at the relationship between world pictures (world view) and how we view science and the theory of evolution.

Source: The Outlook, 1988. 2 pages.

World Pictures

In the old yet current debate over creation vs. evolution there is one area which needs special attention, namely, the concept of world pictures.

A world picture is the way we con­ceive of the world operating, in light of what we know and believe, in re­gard to what is there, how it works, and how it got to be there. This world picture is easily influenced by what we read and hear, and the more we read and hear about the world out there, from both Christian and non-Chris­tian perspectives, the more careful we have to be in sorting out those influen­ces, and making sure that we make the right choices.

It is important that we start with God, because He is the only Person who really knows the entire situation. And we know about God only be­cause He has revealed Himself in the Bible. The Bible is God's Word to us and tells us who He is, who we are, and what our relationship is and ought to be to Him, to our fellow men, and to other creatures.

Only through sovereign grace does God give us true faith in Him, and through the working of the Holy Spirit we can have the beginning of a proper understanding of the origin of the world and its inhabitants.

By careful and obedient listening to God's Word in the Bible we get our world view – the perspective in which we see all of life. It is this Bible-based world view that must also be the basis for how we see the world operating today. Our world view must deter­mine how we select theories and opinions about the world, and how we put together our world picture. Our world picture must, therefore, be founded on the Bible and on the world view which it portrays to us. Then we can deal with all the data that are gathered by scientists. And then we can properly evaluate the theories and hypotheses that come to our attention.

It is important to recognize that we cannot make a neat separation be­tween the Bible giving us a general world view on the one hand, and natural science, on the other hand, giving us a separate world picture that would give us the hard facts. Our world view and our world picture are not unrelated.

Science is not nearly as objective as we would like it to be, because scien­tists are not as objective as we would like them to be. Nobody can be objec­tive in doing science. Everyone comes with preconceived notions and strong convictions, and with ideas that have been planted in his mind through reading and studying. Unbiblical ideas must, therefore, be carefully elimi­nated from the way we see the world in its structure, operation and origin.

It is the Bible that must give us the basic concepts about origins. And we know that, though the information is limited, it is correct and true. When we have such a biblically-oriented framework, we can gather all kinds of data and fit them into that biblical framework. When we are true to the natural world and obediently listen to God's Word in the Bible, then we will find that there can be no conflict be­tween the two. Facts from natural science will always fit our world pic­ture if our world view is biblically cor­rect and not contaminated with secular thought. With the accumula­tion of additional data, our world pic­ture may change somewhat, but our biblical world view should never change.

For Christians today it is important to realize that the secular world pic­ture is not compatible with the biblical world view. Compromise is being sought by many. But the mechanistic world picture fits well only with a secular world view and cannot truly be harmonized with the basic biblical concepts.

Secular scientists may be well in­formed, but that does not mean that therefore their world picture is scien­tifically informed. They have made the data fit their presuppositions to the best of their ability. And for that we must give them credit. But their world picture is skewed, because their world view is not based on biblical principles.

But those Christians who are scien­tists and yet do not accept the secular world picture, too can be well in­formed. And they made the data fit their presuppositions and basic com­mitments as well. That way they, too, derive a world picture, but it conflicts with that of the secular scientists. Who is scientific in this situation? Only those who most carefully and honestly deal with all the data available.

But is that secular world picture ac­tually scientific? While most secular scientists adhere to the secular world picture, and call this "the scientific view," it must be recognized that the majority is not necessarily right, nor does this make their view scientific.

And when we compare the so-called "scientifically-informed" world picture with the ultimate truth of the Bible, we see that there is indeed a conflict between the basic biblical con­cept that God has supernaturally called the world into being and, on the other hand, the basic assumption of the secularist that the world could and did develop by natural means, ac­cording to the laws and principles by which we today understand the world and its parts to operate. These two concepts in the current debate over creation and evolution – of the super­natural acts of God and of the natural behavior of matter being the ultimate origin of the world - cannot be recon­ciled.

We must take careful note of this in­compatibility, and we must remember it clearly as the debate continues. The distinction between the Creator God and His creaturely handiwork must be maintained at all cost. No amount of knowledge gained from natural science can tell us of the supernatural activities of our almighty God. Only God can tell us about those matters. Whatever He left untold will remain unknown forever. We should have per­fect peace with that, also as scientists.

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