If the biblical distinctives provide the most consistent and inclusive explanation for life as we know it, how would such a perspective relate to other worldviews? Is it possible that what the Bible affirms as a whole shows up in part within the other views we have seen?
THE SOURCE OF WHAT IS RIGHT
In his book The Abolition Of Man, C. S. Lewis cites common values that are shared by every major civilization. At the core of each is a set of ethics that affirm honesty, respect for parents, and care for the poor. These commonly recognized standards also prohibit lying, stealing, killing, and committing adultery. Lewis considers these standards for conduct a part of the doctrine of objective moral values. He reasons that this common awareness of right and wrong is “not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained” (The Abolition Of Man, HarperOne, 2001, p.43).
But if different cultures tend to agree on the most foundational principles of ethics, why do we also then see such differences when it comes to other aspects of reality? The answer lies in the universal tendency of our human nature to view a part of the truth as the whole truth.
FRAGMENTING WHAT IS RIGHT
The biblical worldview claims to offer a view and system of truth that is consistent with God’s character, the physical world, and the spiritual dimension of existence. But Lewis perceptively observes that competing ideologies often borrow from the whole as described in the Bible. By attempting to take fragments of the truth to escape obligation to the whole, other ideologies generalize their chosen insight into independent worldviews. Lewis believes that “new ideologies” are only fragments of God’s truth “arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to [it] and to it alone such validity as they possess” (The Abolition Of Man, p.44).
If Lewis is right, then we should be able to see in the Scriptures the whole picture and pattern from which others borrow. For instance, the Bible teaches that:
• God is the First Cause of the universe (Deism— Gen. 1:1);
• creation is guided by Providence (Theism— Eph. 1:11);
• matter exists and can be observed (Naturalism— Eccl. 1:5-7);
• spiritual realities do exist and can be experienced (Pantheism—Jn. 4:24);
• skepticism has its place, and apprehending truth often encounters mystery (Nihilism—Eph. 1:9);
• life without God has no objective meaning (Existentialism—Eccl. 1:1-4);
• apprehension of reality requires a new way of thinking (New Consciousness— 1 Cor. 2:13-16).
This is not to say that the Bible agrees with every aspect of these worldviews. Instead, the parallel of agreement indicates that the other ideologies have taken part of God’s truth and turned it into the whole.