I have come to believe that all of life can be summed up in the words of the wise teacher of Ecclesiastes and the wisdom books. My personal integration and worldviews are hence firmly based on the Bible, as I read it in the New International Version, guided by the brilliant Zondervan Handbook to the Bible. As Sire says in "The Universe Next Door," I believe that the Christian worldview is the only legitimate way of approaching the world, as it is the one that provides both a sense of moral justice in the universe and the only rational approach to life.
What is the prime reality -- the really real?
Christian believe that everything around us is real -- that matter and the physical are real. The bible says that the world is not imaginary, but rather that it was declared by God. As Sire says, "God created the cosmos as a uniformity of cause and effect in an open system... The cosmos was not created to be chaotic... The universe is orderly, and God does not present us with confusion but with clarity. The nature of God's universe and God's character are, thus, closely related." (Sire, 26) This is evidenced in Genesis 1, when God creates the earth out of nothingness. That which is physical is in the Bible that which is real. The primacy of the physical is evidenced in Ecclesiastes 1, where the wise preacher says: "Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say."
Of course, this is not to say that the spiritual is not also important. The physical is far more important to Christians than to many other world views, such as those typified by Eastern thought, but it is less important for Christians than for atheists or materialists. Christians such as myself not only believe in the primacy of reality, but we also believe that there is a world beyond that which we can see. The spiritual is also real, and everything which is seen was created by an unseen, infinite, and omni-powerful God. Beyond the primal reality of the physical world is the greater reality of the spiritual, and when this reality has been destroyed, that reality will remain.
2. What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?
As addressed in the last question, the nature of external reality is that it is precisely what science can make of it: physical, concrete, real, nonchaotic and unconfusing. Yet there is also a degree to which the world around us is beyond our control. As the Teacher says in Ecclesiastes 8: "No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it." Science can discover much about external reality, but that discover is worthless compared to a knowledge of God. Nothing we can do physically even approached the glory of God.
3. What is a human being?
Humans hold a unique position in the Christian worldview, particularly in the way I integrate christianity into my thought. Sires speaks of humans being made in the image of God, and possessing of "personality, self-transcendence, intelligence, morality, gregariousness, and creativity." (Sires, 27) Humans are very important to God -- so important that he sent his son to die for them, that he created the world for them, and that he concerns Himself with them a great deal. Yet at the same time, humans are here only to serve and provide glory to God. Our experiences are worth nothing if they do not glorify God. We are essentially pawns for his perfection. The wisdom book of Job illustrates the way that we exist only at the pleasure of the deity. All of our righteousness is as…