The only internally-consistent life and worldview is that of the Protestant Christian. It has withstood attacks from non-believers, deists, non-Christian theists and other schools of Christian thought for the last 500 years. Yet it is hard to find a set of principles which summarize the belief system on all fronts. I will attempt to do so over the next few posts. There are eight principles which I will cover, starting with the first couple here.
1. The Scripture Principle
The Scripture principle is the acceptance of the Holy Scriptures as self-evidently true through faith. That faith is the result of the witness of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture is the exclusive and infallible wordrevelation of the living God and is enveloped in Godly authority, to which the faithful subject themselves.
The central theme of the Scripture is that of creation, fall, redemption and recreation through Christ.
The Bible does not only have meaning for the Christian church, religion and moral life, but it has universal religious meaning for all of creation, including the whole world and the whole person, i.e. all that he does.
This specifically includes the practice of scientific disciplines because:
a. The God that revealed Himself in His Word is the same God that created the universe, and maintains and decrees it.
b. Man can also get to know God through His creation, but because of sin, can only get to know God’s truth and righteousness in light of His wordrevelation.
c. The Bible gives meaning to the practice of science, and
d. The Bible is not a scientific handbook, but is a neccessary pre-scientific source of knowledge.
This acknowledged view of Scripture fundamentally determines the religious character of the Chrsitian life- and worldview.
2. The Theocentric Principle
This principle states that all things are from, through and to God. It is sometimes called the material principle of Calvinism. According to this principle, God is absolute and self-all-sufficient. God is not dependent on anything outside of Himself and there is no contra-instance against Him.
He is love, spirit, all-wise, omnibenevolent, omnipotent, just and merciful. He is the cause of all that is, creator of heavens and earth. The entire creation, including man, thus belongs to Him, and He is absolutely sovereign over everything He created, also over man in all his doings. He maintains His creation, decrees it according to His pleasure, and disposes over all in His creation, including man.
God is the highest purpose of all things, and everything is subject to His glory and honor. He determines the goal and destination of all things, and calls man to obedience and subversion to His will, and to co-worker to execute His resolution of earth. God is not part of creation and is transcendant over His creation. He is also immanent in creation in that He is omnipresent and controls and decrees creation. His immanence does not mean that He ever becomes part of His creation, or identical to something in it.
He has also established his law-orders over all of creation. God always stands above the laws He created, and is never subject to them, because God can never be subject to any created object(s). Creation, in contrast, is always subject to the laws God created, and can never be loosed from them or rise above them.
This religious principle of radical theocentricity establishes not only the foundation of the Christian-Reformed life and worldview, but also ensures its universal and totalitarian character. Because it is not only valid for the religious, church and moral life, but for all of creation, all of human life and doings.
The assertive implementation of this principle resultantly means not only the Christianizing of religion, church and the moral life, but also all thought-ventures (knowledge, science, language, art, economy, law, marriage, family, nation, government and social institutes), as well as history and all methodology. Christianizing of the whole life of man in this sense means to subject all to God’s laws and will, under the Lordship of Christ, because Christ is not only the redemptive mediator, but also the creation and re-creation(rebirth) mediator, to Whom was given all power in heaven and on earth, to subject all to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
According to this principle nothing in creation, thus also of man, may be absolutized. It neccessarily prohibits the forming of “-isms” in science and thought, like rationalism or evolutionism, which absolutizes something in creation, and withdraws it from the absolute sovereignity and decree of God, and establishes it as a contra-instance.
To be continued…