Worlds in Collision – Fall
The first and most fundamental issue any Worldview must deal with, is the way it answers the questions of origins—Where did we come from and who are we? The Bible has the very best answer to that question. A thoroughly Biblical Worldview begins with the belief that God spoke the universe into existence, creating all life—making man in His own image, and providentially rules over His creation.
Because I had so much to say last Sunday, I didn’t have a chance to say everything I wanted to say or needed to say. I told you that I am an unashamed Creationist, and I would like to persuade all Christians to be unashamed Creationists. Not all are. However, we should not make Creationism a “test of fellowship” among the brethren. Some Christians sincerely believe in what is called Theistic Evolution and an Old Earth. In other words, they believe that God is the author of creation, but that He simply took His sweet time in accomplishing the feat, and used the processes of evolution to bring the various species to their present form, including man. Polls show that a majority of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and mainline Protestant Christians accept the view as do about 25% of Evangelical Christian. They do not believe that biblical literalism in the creation account is mandatory.
To be a Theistic Evolutionist does not make you a heretic or a lesser Christian. I do continue to believe, however, that there are some significant theological difficulties with such a stance, and the Theistic Evolutionist can never have as thoroughly a biblical worldview as they could have.
The second fundamental issue any worldview must deal with is the way it explains the human dilemma. Why is there war and suffering, disease and untimely death, and why do men commit such horrendously evil acts? These questions are particularly pressing for the Christian worldview. If we believe that the universe came from the hand of a wise and good Creator, how do we explain the presence of evil? No question is more important for the Christian to answer.
The Biblical Worldview and the Naturalistic Worldview are diametrically opposed in their responses as to the human dilemma.
- The Biblical Worldview maintains that all men are born naturally depraved and in time their sin nature will assert itself and will cause them to commit evil. When a man does commit evil, he has no one to blame but himself. He is responsible.
- The Naturalistic Worldview maintains that all men are born intrinsically good and that under the right social conditions, their good nature will emerge and prevail. When a man does commit evil, it’s everybody else’s fault—poverty, a dysfunctional family, a failure of the educational system, or any number of other reasons. The individual is a victim.
The Bible’s answer for universal human experience is better than any other belief system. Many don’t like the Bible’s answer, not because it isn’t clear, but because it is unpalatable. Here is the answer: "The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate," (Genesis 3:4-6, NASB95)
I. A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW TEACHES THAT GOD CREATED US IN HIS IMAGE
- Genesis 1:26-28 "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” NASB95
- God created us to live in obedient fellowship with Him, to tend the earth
- yet God loves us so much that he imparted to us the unique dignity of being free moral agents – creatures with the ability to make choices – to choose either good or evil
- to provide an arena in which to exercise that freedom, God placed Adam and Eve in a perfect environment with only one moral restriction
- He forbade them to Eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil'
- Adam and Eve, however, exercised their free choice and chose to do what God had commanded them not to do
- they rejected God’s commands and God’s will and sought to exercise their own
- their choice opened the world to corruption, evil, and death
- the theological term for this catastrophe is The Fall
- in that original choice to disobey God, human nature became morally distorted and bent so that from then on humanity has had a natural inclination to do wrong
- why is the human heart in such appalling condition?
- because of something called sin
A. SIN HAS AFFECTED EVERY PART OF MAN’S PERSONALITY
- Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” KJV
- when the bible speaks of our heart it is not referring to the muscle that pumps our blood
- when the bible speaks of our heart it is referring to the whole man, with all his attributes — physical, intellectual and spiritual
- it’s referring to what we commonly call character
- it is our character that makes a man what he is, and governs all his actions
- Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” NIV
- Jeremiah is clear, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” KJV
- the word deceitful is the root word from which we get the Old Testament name Jacob
- the Bible is saying that we’re all like Jacob in character
- if you remember, Jacob was a schemer and a conniver who would do about anything to advance himself or his agenda
- he was double-faced and double-tongued, tricking his brother and lying to his own father
- the word desperately in this verse literally means incurable
- our character is not just desperately wicked, it is incurably wicked
- Paul speaks to this in his letter to the Christians at Rome
- Romans 1:29-32 “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” KJV
- the prophet Jeremiah looks at the human heart and sees it as so wicked and so depraved that he wonders out loud, who can know it?
- some men, who by all accounts are good men, will sometimes commit unthinkably horrible acts that leave the rest of us wondering, “How could they have done that?”
- ILLUS. What is it about human nature that allows a man to murder and then dismember an eight-year-old Jewish boy asking for direction, and then act as though nothing has happened? (this happened just last week in New York City). How could a Nazi Concentration Camp guard kiss his wife and children goodby in the morning only to go and gas the wives and children of other men?
- “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:1–3, NIV84)
- what does it mean to be dead in transgressions and sins?
- it means that a sinner’s sinful nature is totally in control of their lives
- it’s a wonder that they don’t
B. HUMAN CHARACTER IS TOTALLY DEPRAVED
- depravity is a doctrine we don’t like to talk about much these days
- it’s a doctrine that teaches that, outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ, man has no moral compass or spiritual guidance
- man, by nature, is a fallen creature
- Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” NIV
- and we are sinners by choice
- Romans 8:7-8 “When people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, they are against God, because they refuse to obey God’s law and really are not even able to obey God’s law. Those people who are ruled by their sinful selves cannot please God.” NCV
- our spiritual depravity does not mean that every man is as sinful as he could be
- but our spiritual depravity does mean that every man is completely affected by sin
- the Bible says that we are slaves to sin
- the Bible says that no one seeks after God
- the Bible says that we cannot understand spiritual truth
- the Bible says that we are subject to God’s wrath
- ILLUS. Any person who knows the history of mankind, especially the history of the past two hundred years, and thinks that man is evolving upward, is deceiving themselves. Man has increased in scientific, medical, historical, educational, psychological, and technological knowledge to an astounding degree. But he has not changed his own basic nature. Man’s knowledge has greatly improved, but his morals have progressively degenerated. The Bible says that man was created a little lower than the angels. One thing is clear today — he's been getting a little lower ever since. The doctrine of original sin is the only worldview that has been empirically validated by six thousand years of recorded human history!
- every part of every man is corrupt — he has no inherent good traits that can be isolated from the bad
- ILLUS. Albert Einstein once said, Evil is the real problem in the hearts and minds of men. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.
II. THE NATURALISTIC WORLDVIEW FINDS THE BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW UNPALATABLE
- those who accept the naturalistic worldview deny that the problem lies within us
- they dismiss the idea of sin as repressive and unenlightened
A. THE NATURALISTIC WORLDVIEW INSISTS THAT MEN ARE BORN INTRINSICALLY GOOD
- if men are born basically good, then it must be our environment or outside events or sources that are the cause of our personal and societal woes
- if the source of disorder and suffering is not sin, then where do these problems come from?
- over the last few decades our nation has experienced a number of violent rampages
- they run the course from school shootings such as took place in Littleton, Colorado in 1999, to 9-11, to Congresswoman Gabby Gifford being gunned down at a political rally
- every time one of these events takes place we’ll hear an astonishing array of explanations
- almost immediately the national debate begins: What is it about our culture that causes seemingly good, normal people to commit such atrocious acts?
- some attribute these acts to dysfunctional homes or even dysfunctional cultures
- some attribute these acts to disenfranchisement by various groups
- some attribute these acts to the desensitizing affects of a violence-filled culture
- few, outside the church, attribute these acts to the fundamental flaw in human character – sin
- they did what all people are capable of doing
- they acted like they did because it was in their very nature to do so
- they did what their depraved, sinful nature coerced them to do
B. A NATURALISTIC WORLDVIEW DOES NOT ADEQUATELY EXPLAIN MAN’S MORAL DEPRAVITY
- a naturalistic worldview teaches that man – given enough time and resources – will fix all the world’s problems
- some scientists have proposed that by surgery or careful electronic stimulation of the brain, a person’s bad impulses can be eradicated, leaving only the better part of his nature
- others propose that the ideal, crime-free, problem- free person will be developed through genetic engineering
- ultimately, in the naturalistic worldview, Government is the answer to our personal and societal woes
- the State becomes the primary social architect for building the perfect society
- and we all know how well that turned out during the 20th century
- Fascism, Marxism, Nazism, and Communism were all grand attempts to fashion the perfect society
III. ONLY A TRANSFORMED HEART CAN SOLVE MAN’S PROBLEM
- Ezekiel 36:25-27 "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances." RSV
- Christ didn’t simply come to teach us how to live a good life or to furnish us an example to follow
- he came to transform our sinful hearts and conform us into his own image and likeness
- he came to change us from what we became through the Fall into what God originally intended us to be
- because of his disobedience, Adam the righteous became Adam the sinner
- when Adam sinned, evil tendencies, which were totally unknown to him before, spread through his heart like a blight through a tree
- lust, pride, dishonesty, selfishness, greed and a thousand other evils, completely unknown to Adam before, polluted his heart like a poisonous stream
- and dreadfully, Adam passed these evil tendencies onto his offspring in the procreation process
- Christ came to change all this
- he came to make man clean, to stamp God’s image and likeness upon man again
- this is why the Apostle Paul writes: /“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"\ (2 Corinthians 5:17) NIV
- Christ didn’t come simply to save us from the penalty of sin; he came also to save us from the power of sin
- he does this by transforming our sinful hearts by giving us a love for those things that are pure, clean and holy
God has a solution for your heart problem – He will give you a new one!