As a student at Redeemer, I hear the term worldview in many of my classes. And yet it is striking that, upon writing this essay, the answer to the guiding question “why does a Reformed worldview matter?” is not so apparent. I have found that this is not a fundamental issue; rather the unapparent nature of the answer to this question proves something central about worldview itself. Worldview consists of one’s basic beliefs. Worldview is unavoidable. It is “simply part of being an adult human being” (Wolters 4), and our basic beliefs subconsciously guide our choices. Thus, it is of fundamental importance for the intentional Christian to become increasingly aware of one’s basic beliefs and to be certain of their truth. Furthermore, I firmly believe that the Reformed Worldview is “shaped and tested by Scripture” (Wolters 7) and built on the foundation of orthodox tradition. In this confidence I hold to the Reformed Worldview.
What, then, does a Reformed worldview offer? I find the answer to this question in two places: firstly, in the wholistic view of the sovereignty of God in the world, and secondly, in the idea that “grace restores nature.”
The Reformed worldview is one that I find wholistic, and I believe that this wholistic nature is derived from the belief in the total sovereignty of God. Wolters argues that “there is nothing in human life that does not belong to the created order. Everything we are and do is thoroughly creaturely” (25). God norms everything. He is the author of Creation and the sustainer of all things. What we do, think, say, and create all falls under the scope of God’s creation and God’s norms. God is sovereign over all things. There is not a single thing in this world which God deems untouchable. And yet, the Reformed worldview does not deny that the fall carries “the corruption, at least in principle, of the whole creation” (Wolters 57). The Reformed Worldview holds in tension the ultimate sovereignty of God and the totality of the effects of the fall.
It is into this tension that the concept of grace restoring nature comes in as a Reformed distinctive. God is not a supernatural being removed from the natural world. Instead, God desires cosmic restoration of the goodness of creation (Wolters 69). I am struck by Wolters’ claim that “nothing in all of creation is neutral in the sense that it is untouched by the dispute between [Satan and Christ]” (72).
Here, in this fundamentally charged creation, I find myself living. This is where the Reformed worldview presents its practical implications. If I believe in an all-powerful, totally good God who desires the restoration of creation, how should I live? Wolters presents structure and direction as key pieces to understand my actions in the world. I unavoidably live and move within directed creational structures (family, school, church, emotions, work, sports). The Reformed worldview holds that I approach these structures with hopes of “cleansing and reforming.” (Wolters 93). I am an agent of cleansing and reforming – an agent of the restorative work of the Kingdom of God. And this restoration is a continuation of the redemptive story of God. It is the story of Abraham, Israel, Christ, the apostles, and the Church. Scripture is my story.
The Reformed worldview continues to have important implications as I narrow in on my own spheres. As an athlete, I recognize that sports are deeply impacted by the fall. Athletes are often motivated by greed, team leaders are often deeply flawed, and the culture of sports fans can be toxic. But this is the direction of sports, not the structure itself. The structure of sports is a beautiful picture of movement, enjoyment, and cooperation. Because I can discern between the sinful direction and beautiful structure of sports, I can participate in sports myself. In fact, I have the opportunity to be an agent of the restoration of the Kingdom of God through sports. The same can be said for music, art, politics, and various other spheres of my life! Why does a Reformed worldview matter? It matters because it is built on scriptural truths about God and Creation. It matters because it aligns my purpose on earth with God’s purpose of redemption and restoration. It matters because it emphasizes God’s continued presence in the world. A Reformed worldview matters because it helps me live according to the truths of Scripture.
Wolters, Albert M. Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview. W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1985.