By Jeff Keaton
Over the last year or so, I have spent a considerable amount of time pondering how the first few chapters of Genesis answer many of life’s most important questions. All belief systems, religions, and worldviews are simply an attempt to make sense of all that we see in life. However, we tend to think that in order to prove that Christianity is true, we need to be intellectual geniuses who know something about everything from the beginning of time.
Instead of trying to memorize facts, consider asking these questions to those who are skeptical: How does what you believe work out in the real world? If I follow your thinking and belief system, where will it lead me as a person, spouse, parent, and citizen? Does what you believe produce peace, productivity, prosperity, and actual progress in homes, cities, and nations? I ask these questions because I have become deeply convinced that the biblical worldview answers life’s greatest questions in the most sensible way and leads us to experience beautiful and meaningful lives.
Genesis 1-3 gives us fundamental answers to many of life’s greatest questions. In this series of articles, I want to look at several of those questions and the answers we receive from God’s Word, and how they work out in the real world.
Question One: Who holds ultimate authority in this world?
“In the beginning, God. . .” Genesis 1:1
The question of ultimate authority is one that all humans have pondered from the time we are just children. Because we are born with sin in our hearts, we demand control from our earliest days. We’ve all experienced firsthand what happens when a child is first taught that they can’t do anything they want to do. Not long ago, my two-year-old grandson was sitting on a Polaris ATV and playing with the ignition key. I told him to stop turning the key on and off. He stopped for a little while, but then, as he watched me, he decided to try and start the Polaris. For the first time in his young life, Papaw decided to act as if I would punish him. The way he took off running and screaming, you would have thought I was about to kill him! Marshall was learning that he didn’t have ultimate authority over his young life.
Today we have untold millions of people who do not understand who is ultimately in charge. Most have been taught we are the rulers of our own universe, and we should, within reason, be able to do whatever we want to do. In reality, this kind of thinking leads to chaos, not happiness. Eventually, someone has to be in charge.
In an evolutionary worldview, the strongest person ends up in charge, and if that person happens to be benevolent, life might be okay for a while. However, sooner or later, someone who is evil ends up with the most authority. History is littered with the pain and suffering monsters like Hitler and Stalin have brought to the world.
When humans understand the truth about God’s ultimate authority in their lives and this world and accept the beauty of the authority structure He has set up, good things happen. Children greatly benefit when they learn to joyfully submit to their parents’ leadership. Parents greatly benefit when they joyfully submit to God’s leadership and the roles He has given them. All of us have had an employee, child, or friend who resisted the authority structures in their lives. We watched with sadness as they ended up having less and less freedom because they refused to willingly submit to authority.
I have watched documentaries over the years that detailed the lives of death row inmates. I have always found it fascinating that some of them have remained defiant even in their last hours. They scream, curse, and yell that no one will ever control them. I want to say to them, “Are you kidding me? Your unwillingness to submit to God’s authority has literally taken all your freedom away, and it will soon take your life away!”
At the end of the day, someone will be in control, and that someone will make the rules for how everyone else should live. It is comforting to know that the loving, beautiful, redeeming creator God of Genesis 1:1 is ultimately in control. As humans submit to His leadership and follow His plans, blessings flow from our heavenly Father, and our world experiences the peace, productivity, and prosperity we all long for. When we rebel against His authority, we experience the trouble and darkness that surround us today.
Question Two: How did we get here?
“In the beginning, God created. . .” Genesis 1:1-31
The question of the origin of the world has been asked by every group of people who have ever existed. Once sin came into the world and produced the Fall, people were quickly separated from an intimate knowledge of God and His creating power. However, in Romans 1:19-21, we are told, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
One of the most significant attacks on the authority of Scripture and God’s authority has been the attack on the Genesis account of creation. Once you destroy Genesis 1-3 as a literal account of how we got here, so many other fundamental doctrines of Scripture begin to crumble. I have met many well-meaning Christians who, because of their desire to be accepted by the broader scientific community, have abandoned what God clearly says about creation in Genesis. We must ask ourselves two questions: (1) What are the end results of believing what God says? and (2) What are the end results of believing what this world says in opposition to God?
For example, the biblical account of creation gives us a basis for racial harmony that the evolutionary worldview does not give. Darwin was a supreme racist and even claimed that Black people were not as highly evolved as White people. He and many other evolutionists were eager to experiment on Aboriginal Australians because they thought these people were possibly a missing link in the storyline of evolution. Hitler also used evolutionary thinking to justify the creation of a super-human race. How did that work out in the real world? The evolutionary worldview provides no ultimate basis for morality and no reason to value human life.
A biblical view of creation leads us to treasure all humans and the earth and to understand our purpose as vice-regents with God in this world. It puts things in the right order, and as a result, those who have embraced this worldview have created the Western world, which has produced the greatest level of prosperity, freedom, and security in the history of the world.
The biblical worldview answers life’s greatest questions in the most meaningful way, and it works out best in the real world. As we train children to embrace God’s truth, we spare them much heartache and equip them to become restorers of all that is broken in this world.
In the coming articles in this series, we will look at the answers Genesis provides for these ultimate questions:
Why are humans special and different from all other species?
Why do we have two genders?
What is our purpose for being here?
What is marriage, and what is its purpose?
What is wrong with this world? Why is there so much evil?
Is there any hope for this world? What is that hope?
Jeff Keaton has been a successful pastor, church and school planter, and ministry entrepreneur. As the founder and CEO of Renewanation, Jeff works across the United States and Canada to help awaken the church to the great need to give every child a biblical worldview. Jeff is married to his high school sweetheart, Michele, and they have two daughters, two sons-in-law, and a grandson. He is the author of The Life of Radical Faith.