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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Defining Worldviews - Naturalism

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Daily Scripture Reading - Psalm 97

Puritan Catechism
Question #14 - What is sin?
Answer - Sin is any want of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God (1 Jn. 3:4).

Devotional Thoughts
A worldview is “a set of fundamental assumptions about the most important issues in life.” - Ligon Duncan.

After learning about the elements and deficiencies of Deism yesterday, we are moving today to the system that grew out of Deism, and in fact was fashioned as a natural (no pun intended) conclusion from those who held faithfully to a Deistic outlook.

Deism appealed to human reason and ability to the point that by the time the next generation arrived upon the scene, they had every reason to be so dependent upon human logic and philosophy that they asked a very pertinent question about the elemental foundations of the Deistic worldview. "Why do we need God?" If we can look to nature for our answers, then why do we even need to believe that there is a God behind it all? The foundation had eroded so far as to lead to the idea that there was no God.

They did not replace the Creator with the creation, they deduced from their own reasonings that there was no Creator and that the creation is all that is. Matter has existed forever and nothing ever came from nothing!

Naturalism

Naturalism summarized states that we can take everything that Deism gives and remove the idea of this God who created things, this first cause, and the philosophy works just fine. Matter is all that exists, the outcome of cause and effect is based purely upon chance, truth is really just scientific proof, and there are in reality no morals or values. As Carl Sagan stated, "The cosmos is all that is, ever was, or ever will be."

The foundation for this grid through which reality is viewed is rooted in matter. Stuff. The cosmos. There is no supernatural, no divine, no miracles, no exceptions to natural laws and science. And to know truth is to know the scientific data. Experiments prove truth. That is why scientists will tell you that the Biblical account of creation is a myth, because they have devised tests that disprove what Moses wrote in Genesis chapter 1.

Scripture is not truth. Only what can be tested and observed scientifically can be qualified as truth.

This view, as several pastors and professors have stated, really puts us in a box. The universe is all that is. There is nothing outside the natural, material world. It is cause and effect, without any initial cause!

So what does naturalism say about the nature and character of mankind? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?

In this worldview, people are simply machines. Complex machines, formed by matter and chance. And they accuse Calvinists of making people ROBOTS! The whole closed system we call the universe is one big machine formed by chance.

Naturalists teach that we are a machine to the point that consciousness, thought, and life are really just secretions or functions of the brain! Yep. Life is really just a physical process that when it ceases you die. And since the machine that was your body is no longer functioning, you have ceased to exist. When you die, that's it. You're dead and gone. Dust. Annihilated.

There is no design, only evolution by chance though cause and effect. There is no purpose. There is no meaning. There is no order, goal, or reason. As a result then the naturalist who is true to his system sees no meaning for life and no goal for history. There is not a meaning to why we are here or to what we accomplish. Everything, from the universe to life to relationships, everything is ultimately meaningless.

Now I am depressed! But hold on, it gets worse. This is man without God, remember!

What about right and wrong? Deists believed that those things which benefit others or cause a good outcome were good. The end justifies the means. But for the naturalist, what determines right and wrong?

Well, for the naturalist there is no such distinction as right and wrong. They went so much further than the Deists in this arena that they stated that we determine for ourselves what is right and wrong. If we want it to be right, it is right. If we want it to be wrong, it is wrong. If it benefits people and we are happy with the outcome, that is good. If we are unhappy then that is bad!

Since everything else is meaningless, then there is no difference between right and wrong except for how we view the outcome of whatever it is that we are trying to determine is right or wrong. This will help form the foundation of other systems we will examine - this idea that we determine for ourselves what is right and what is wrong.

What a system. In a few generations we devolved from the Deistic worldview of a God that does not care to a Naturalistsic worldview where there is nothing to care about at all. Evolution replaces the Biblical account of Creation and everything can be explained (away) because when we get right down to the heart of the matter, it really doesn't matter at all.

The Bible

So how does the Bible address this worldview? What Scriptures can we point to that deconstruct this meaningless mess of matter?

The Bible destroys Naturalism from the beginning, yes, THAT beginning. From Genesis 1:1 we read:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

So where did matter come from? God created it in the beginning. You see, God is eternal, and matter is not. The Word is clear, when God created He created what is out of nothing! See Genesis 1:1; Ps. 33:6; Jn. 1:3; Rom. 4:17; 1 Cor. 1:28; Heb. 11:3.

And if God created all that is out of nothing then what becomes of the premise that there is no meaning, only chance and cause and effect? We learn that if our worldview attempts to eliminate God, suddenly we have no reason for being, no purpose, no meaning, and no direction to help us determine right and wrong.

Psalm 24:1-5 declares for us this truth when it comes to determining the reasons God created:

The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Here we see that the earth belongs to the Lord, as do all who dwell in it! And we see that there are requirements for gaining access to God in fellowship. Instead of meaningless chance, we see deliberate causation and personal accountability.

Instead of having no difference between right and wrong other than personal perspective we also see that the Bible teaches that while men may do what is "right in his own eyes", ultimately "the Lord weighs the heart" (Prov 21:2). God decides what is right and who is right. In fact, "the way of the fool is right in his own eyes" (Prov 12:15).

Speaking of fools deciding on their own that what they do is right, how does the Bible define a fool? "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'." (Psalm 14:1). So it is no wonder then that a naturalist says there is no God and then moves immediately into the belief that whatever he decides is right, is right!

So is this world really driven by chance? Or is God in control? These are the only two options. Somebody has to be in control and we know it cannot be us! How do we know this? Why can't human beings be in control? Because the Bible tells us that we are either under the power of sin (Rom 6:16-18) or we are under the power of the Holy Spirit. Get this now, you and I are never in control! Either sin is, or the Spirit is. And when the Spirit is in control, sin cannot be (Galatians 5:16).

But back to the question, what about chance? Do things happen by chance? Or is God in complete control?

The answer is simple. God is in control! He is absolutely sovereign! Consider:

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” - 1 Chron. 16:31

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. - 1 Chron. 29:11

God reigns over the nations;God sits on His holy throne. - Psalm 47:8

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! - Revelation 19:6

He rules by His power forever;His eyes observe the nations; Do not let the rebellious exalt themselves. -Psalm 66:7

The LORD has established His throne in heaven,And His kingdom rules over all. - Psalm 103:19

In this short sampling we see that God is sovereign. He rules and reigns. He alone is God. Once we have established this the rest of the worldview of naturalism fails to matter any more!

What we have to be aware of though is that Naturalism is still alive and well. It serves as the foundation of Secular Humanism, which in fact is nothing less than a false religion, a religion the worships man, rejects God, and requires faith in science and reason, even when science and reason are manipulated to fake results!

What starts with Darwinian evolution, survival of the fittest, and natural selection, moves on to political and religious pluralism, and to outright lies - such as it took millions of years for life to come to be on earth as we know it.

This worldview lends itself to underpinning the false religion that is being forced upon our children in government schools even today. The way the classes are set up according to age brackets is based on the worldview of Naturalism and derive specifically from the unproven theory of evolution as it models peer development. The "science" that is taught is based on Naturalism. The meaning of life (there is no meaning, matter is all that is) is based on Naturalism.

Talk about a faith based system! And yet our children cannot pray, mention the Bible, witness to their friends, and are being brainwashed in our government run schools. And we wonder why kids kill kids. Life after all does not matter! We wonder why teens get pregnant - when you determine what is right for you! We wonder why kids think no one cares - when there is nothing to care about in this bankrupt system of thought and this immoral view of reality.

The truth is that as soon as a worldview removes God it has in fact removed reason and will soon result in meaninglessness. On the other hand, when we see that God created, with a purpose, that we are created in His image and have value because of that, when we see that He rules actively over His creation and holds us accountable for right and wrong according to His Word, then we see what we do have to live for and the hope that we have when we die.

Naturalism is unatural. Has it affetced the way you view the world around you? Do you think things happen by chance? Or that things are just cause and effect? Are you tempted to take the word of atheistic scientists over the very God-breathed Scriptures when it comes to explaining how and why we are here? Then it is necessary to use the Word of God to purge our worldview. Get the rot of Naturalism out of there! God, the SUPERnatural Creator of this world is where it all starts.

"In the beginning God......" Do you look to Him first, or last? Do you pray first or last? Do you spend time in the Word first or last in your day? Is God first? Don't chance it!! Obey Him. Serve Him. Honor and glorify Him. Start everyday with Him first.


Links for Further Study
This week I will be providing links that you can use to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time!

Tim Challies on A Naturalistic Worldview - Part 1 and Part 2
Answers in Genesis on Natural Processes - can they explain the origin of life?
Dr. John MacArthur on Creationism

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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