The Bible has much to say about the believer’s relationship to the world. This relationship was established in the Old Testament and is further described in the New Testament. God’s relationship with His people is covenantal: “And I will walk among you, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people (Leviticus 26:12).”
God’s covenant with humankind began at creation. It is developed further with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. God’s people are to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6 & I Peter 2:5). Through Abraham all the nations of the world shall be blessed (Genesis 18:18). God commanded His people not to learn the ways of other nations or to intermarry with them. Some Scripture that provides insight include:
- “I am the LORD thy God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:2 & 3).”
- “And thou shall take no gift: for a gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous (Exodus 23:8).”
- “Thou shall make no covenant with them, or their gods. (Exodus 23 :32).”
- “Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel: Then they came to Zerubabel, and the chiefs of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you …. But Zerubabel and Jeshua and the rest of the chief fathers said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God: but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel… (Ezra 4:1-3).”
Christ is the fulfillment of the God’s covenant with humankind. Christ is a king, but His kingdom is not of this world. Jesus told His disciples that the world would hate them because the word first hated Him (John 15:18). Christians were to be in the world but not to be part of the world. Christians are sent out into the world with the gospel message. The New Testament deals extensively with the relationship between the Christian and the World. Some Scripture that provides insight include:
- “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matt 28:19 & 20).”
- “I have given them thy word: and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17:14).”
- “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can know them, because they spiritually discerned (I Corinthians 2:14).”
- “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness: but unto us which are saved it: is the power of God (I Corinthians 2:18).”
- “Let not a man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let hi become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men for all things are yours (I Corinthians 3:18-21).”
- “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).”
- “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world … (2Timothy 4:10).”
- “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world. The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (I John 2:15 &16).”
- “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness (2 Peter 2:15).”
The early church grew in a hostile world. Today the church is also in a hostile world. The basis of the worlds’ hostility toward Christians is that the world does not know God.
Some principals gained from a study of the believer’s relationship to the world include:
- God’s elect are joined to Him in a covenantal relationship. He is our God and we are His people.
- God’s people do not seek the help of non-believers to build.
- God’s people are not to accept gifts because gifts can affect the believer’s judgement.
- God’s people do not make covenants with unbelievers are intermarry with them.
- God’s people can be deceived and made to sin by greedy men like Balaam.
- Christians are not of this world even though they live in this world.
- Christians are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
- Christians are not to love this world or the things of this world; the lust of the eye; the lust of the flesh; and the boastful pride of life.
- Some Christians who were once in the ministry leave because they love the world.
The YEC View of the World
The YEC view of the world is Biblical and consistent with the historic view of the church. Christians are in the world but not of the world. Christians are to build the church through their own funds. The YEC community recognizes that they are not loved by the world and are to be separated from the world.
There are many qualified scientists within the YEC community. However, most who speak publicly come from the business community rather than the academic community. In the United States, support of creation or even intelligent design in the academic community can result in loss of tenure or discipline. This is well illustrated in the 2008 Ben Stein film “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed.” Scientists with YEC views are often not welcome in Christian colleges and universities.
YEC funding of comes from within the Christian community. YEC funding does not come from secular based foundations.
The OEC View of the World
The OEC view of the world changed dramatically in recent times. One element of this change is the engagement of Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries with the scientific consensus. The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) is a place of fellowship for Christians in science and education. The ASA was established in1941 as a group for evangelicals in science. The group soon became dominated by those who believed in theistic evolution.
OEC funding of comes from within the Christian community until the coming of the BioLogos in 2006. BioLogos is an aggressive promoter of promote theistic evolution (termed “Evolutionary Creation” on their website) within the Christian community. Biologos promotes theistic evolution using grants to scholars who write on topics specified by BioLogos. In turn, BioLogos is supported by grants from the Templeton Foundation, a secular organization. Here are two examples of the Biologos and Templeton efforts:
The Evolution and Christian Faith Granting Program:
“In 2012 BioLogos established a new competitive granting program called Evolution and Christian Faith. With funding from the John Templeton Foundation, more than $3.6 million in grants was awarded to over three dozen individuals and teams from sixteen states and six different countries. Their projects aim to address theological and philosophical concerns commonly voiced by Christians about evolutionary creation in a way that is relevant to the church. Over three years, they plan to generate hundreds of resources, including videos, websites, articles, teaching materials, books, and seminars….” (The above is a quote from the BioLogos website (About / Our History); it was excerpted on June 15, 2016.)
“The Creation Project”:
In 2015, the Templeton Religion Trust awards a $3.4 million grant to the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding (Henry Center) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2015 for a project called Evangelical Theology and the Doctrine of Creation (known in short as the “Creation Project”). The Creation Project is described as:
“…. a three-year, six-program initiative intended to bring greater clarity, openness, and understanding about the doctrine of creation within the evangelical theological community in light of modern scientific discovery. In addition to providing wider guidance to the evangelical public, the project is also intended to stimulate interdisciplinary scholarship and engagement on the controversial issues at the intersection of Scripture, theology, and scientific discovery.” (Information and quotation were excerpted on 5/4/16 from: www.covenantseminary.edu/the-thistle/Collins-research-fellowship.)
The activities of BioLogos and the Templeton Foundation demonstrate that much of the push for theistic evolution comes from outside the Christian community. The Templeton Foundation and BioLogos have established OEC discussion topics, agendas, and timetables. This has been accomplished through a system of bestowing grants and honors to leaders who will develop materials and programs which meet Templeton Foundation and BioLogos approval.
The YEC view of the world is consistent the historic view of saints in both the Old and New Testament. Believers are in the world but not of the world.
The OEC view of the world is that Christians should minimize conflicts with the with the secular scientific consensus. This results in continuing efforts to reinterpret the Bible. Leaders in the OEC community have the impossible task of presenting theistic evolution as scientific to secularists. They also have the challenging task of presenting theistic evolution as Biblical to Christians. Apologists for the OEC view seek gifts and honors from secular sources. Those who provide these set the agenda, topics, and timetable for OEC apologetic efforts.
Homework & Preparation
In our next post, we will examine the YEC and OEC views of Adam. Your homework is as follows:
- Briefly, summarize the YEC and OEC views of world in your own words.
- In preparation, read Genesis 3, I Corinthians 15, and Romans 5.