A Protestant Reformed World and Life View (2)

Two issues ago in the Beacon Lights we introduced the subject of a Protestant Reformed World and Life View. Since this article appeared some time ago, it will be well briefly to review the points that were made. The subject itself deals with the true character of the world about us, its history and culture, its aim and goals, its life and manifestation of ethical life in all that it does. The subject has to do with the place of believers as the body of Christ in this world and their attitude that they take over-against God’s creation and the use which is made of it by men throughout the ages of time. A view of the world and life which is a view that must have the spiritual perspective of the Scriptures is the content of any discussion of this subject.

That this is a subject of some importance no one will deny. After all, we are living here below even though we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We are called to live our life in this world even though when we depart this life to join the church above, we will have no need to seek answers to these things, for there will be no more need of an answer then. Yet we are called to live this life in such a way that we reflect in all that we do that we are children of the Lord our God through Jesus Christ, and that we are members of His covenant marching in the army and under the banners of our Lord and Savior. Besides, there are many answers which are given to this question, and some claim to stand in the tradition of the Calvinistic Reformation when they give their answers. And yet what they say we cannot possibly agree to for we have examined Scripture and found that they have not found their answers there, but rather in their own heads. But it is for these reasons that it is so vitally important also to emphasize that the Word of God alone is a lamp unto our feet and a light upon our pathway; that only there can we discover what is our calling. If we examine the world about us from our point of view; if we take a view of ourselves even and men in general apart from the Scriptures; if we examine what the world produces in art, literature, music, science and philosophy; we will undoubtedly come to far different conclusions than the Word of God. We need to know what God says about all these things, for He alone knows their true character. And before this we must bow, humbly and without reservation. It is therefore also true that we can only learn from the Word of God what must he our attitude over-against all these things, and how we must serve our God in the world in which we live.

Before we enter into a positive discussion of these matters, we do well to take a brief glance at some of the answers that have been given and try to understand their fundamental errors.

We can perhaps best start as far away from home as possible. It is rather characteristic of most of the civilized world of today that they have adopted some form of evolutionism to explain the existence of things, their origin and final goal. I do not intend to describe in a detailed way the ideas of evolutionism. That is another subject fit undoubtedly to be treated at another time. Yet there are a few points which are made by them all which have relevance for the subject we are discussing. Evolutionism flies under the flag of atheism shouting as its motto and battle cry “Every day we are becoming better and better.” It is a fundamental principle with people who hold to this view that lower forms of life developed in the course of eons of time into higher forms of life. Somewhere along the line in some yet mysterious way, life was introduced into dead and inorganic material, probably by some chemical reactions of complicated molecules of matter. Yet all development is progress. In a lengthy and agonizing progress of development, it is always the best products which can survive and pass on their traits to their progeny, for they are hest adapted to live in their environment, and the fittest to continue in the endless struggle for survival. Whether this process will ever come to an end is a matter of some debate perhaps, but it will certainly not come to an end until the perfect man is produced, able to overcome the limitations of his life as he now lives it. He will surmount the barriers of sickness and death as well as time and space and realize a utopia far beyond the wildest dreams of mankind. We are marching on the ladder upward to more perfect times, better ways of life, happier days, and our progress is inevitably forward. If man, in his foolishness, does not destroy himself, then these days will as inevitably appear as the sun inevitably rises each morning in the east. Man will become as God, sovereign of the universe, ruler over the creation in which he finds himself, all wise and powerful by the effort of his own strength and the glorious result of his own intelligence.

With this fundamental view of man and the world and life, it is not difficult to answer the question, What must he the attitude of mankind towards the world about him? The process which will lead to perfection will continue, and the less man tries to interfere in that process the better it will he for generations to come. God is not; man is good and is an absolute monarch; he determines what is right and what is wrong; he will and must contribute in his own way to the development of the species of which he is a part. But the product of the perfect man will inevitably come. Let him contribute as best he can to the heritage of science and culture, for although he die, in some way he will leave his contributions for posterity, and will in this way have devoted his efforts in the eternal struggle toward man’s ultimate goal. The best thing right now is to see to it that man does not destroy himself so that the process will have to start again from scratch.

This, in our day, is given a coloring of religion. While, on the one hand, it is but natural that such men would deny the basic doctrines of Scripture such as the infallible inspiration of God’s Word, the virgin birth of Christ, the resurrection from the dead, they nevertheless speak rather piously of a spirit of Christianity, a divine providence, a beneficent God and brotherhood of all men necessitating the good life.  I am always rather struck with the fact that many magazines today can in one issue so completely mid a firm dedication to evolutionistic principles with a variety of religious subjects and the need for a revival of Christianity.

But this answer indeed is conceived in the wicked and depraved heart of man and born in the godless intercourse of a sin-steeped world. Man climbs God’s throne and the life of Paradise “Ye shall be as God” comes to full expression in a man’s life. Departing from Scripture and denying the final authority of the Word of God, man invents his own lies and seeks in them the answer to all things which face him as he faces the things of creation.

We need not concern ourselves unduly with this perhaps, except to note its danger. This view is gaining in influence throughout all of the civilized world, and will become before too long the predominant view of men. But if we sacrifice the principle of the authority of Scripture on the altar of science as those do who teach and believe this view as well as the so-called period theory, and prostitute this great reformation principle in the service of the powers of science, we have lost the basis for our defense and have already stepped with one foot from the camp of the faithful into the army of the enemy. We have lost the only foundation on which we can stand to take a proper view of this world and its life as children of God.