Thursday, July 2, 2009

Do I have to understand what I say I believe?

The topic of “worldview” is frequently mentioned and discussed in our home. Because every single thing you read, watch or listen to has a worldview, we have to be careful to not passively allow anything to fill our minds. We need to closely analyze and determine whether or not the things we fill our minds with are in line with what we believe, because they do have an influence on us.

Another thing to note is that we need to know and understand not only what we believe but why we believe something; whether doctrinally, theologically, or practically. The reason it is important is because if we do not understand why we believe something we cannot refute it, nor can we stand against the many philosophies the world will throw at us. (Col. 2:8)

I have a sorrowful example of this. Everyone knows Charles Darwin as the “founder” of the theory of evolution and natural selection. But at a point in his life Darwin actually believed in God (the extent or depth of this belief I do not know) and intended to become a clergyman! If you are exclaiming “Unbelievable!” right now, allow me to disclose how someone could go from a belief in God to the complete opposite...

After discarding the ideas of becoming a doctor or clergyman, Darwin, aged 22, was invited to go on the voyage of the HMS Beagle as company for the captain. Darwin used this time to study specimens and the environments of animals. Because of his weak understanding of the Bible, he gradually began to doubt the doctrine of creation and started speculating that animals could have changed from one species to another. Darwin read the writings of Lyle, who believed that new varieties could only be formed within the species. Making a huge jump, Darwin claimed that animals could evolve into new species. Likewise he read Malthus’ theory that population exceeds the amount of available food, and thus asserted that there is a continual “struggle for survival”. Darwin’s repudiation of the truth of the Bible initiated when he doubted the first chapters in Genesis. In his autobiography he stated:
“I had gradually come by this time, i.e. 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos or the beliefs of any barbarian”.
A miserable decline continued as he rejected the gospels, the New Testament, and eventually God completely.

Did you pick up on that? Because of his weak understanding of the Bible, Darwin began to doubt the truth of Scripture. My friends, Scripture is infallible! If there is anything that we are uncertain about when it comes to whether something is the truth or not, we should immediately turn to Scripture and allow God’s Word to teach us. The reason I can assert that Darwin had a weak understanding of the Bible is because of his statements regarding it. Let me give you an example:

Darwin declared:
“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.”

It may sound like a reasonable statement, but it reveals a weak understanding of the doctrine of the Fall and sin. The reason we have sin and death is because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God and giving into the temptation of Satan. God originally created everything “good” (Gen. 1). He did not desire for the world to be full of evil and suffering, but a holy, just, and righteous God could not allow disobedience without consequences. Since the Fall there has been sin, destruction and death.

I hope that if you didn’t already comprehend the significance of knowing why you believe something that you’re beginning to grasp it. I am not suggesting that you come up with great ways to debate your opinions. Instead, please turn to Scripture, the source of all truth, and study it! Also ask your parents or pastor questions to help you understand difficult truths. We need to actively study the Bible and learn what we mean when we say we believe something so we can refute the worldly philosophies that are thrust upon us, especially the ones under the title “Christian” that sound pretty good.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Great post Allison! We (as a family) have been talking a lot about this and Darwin is a great example of someone being twisted and turned because of a faulty understanding of his beliefs. I know your post wasn't about Darwin, but it's also interesting studying about his life. He was basically a lazy bum that didn't have any drive or purpose in his life! His seminary attendance was actually something his exasperated father got him to do because he didn't really care to do anything else! Anyway, yes, if we don't know what we believe, we won't be able to stand in the face of opposition and scorn. Paul writes in the epistles that we need to be equipped and ready to give an answer always for the reason of the hope that is within us. We need to evaluate everything, even those philosophies that have a "Christian" label, and hold them to the light of God's Word. Thanks for sharing such a great reminder to know what we believe and why we believe it!