Notes on TNE, pt. 1: Biblical Worldview

In the introduction to Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the WorldJames B. Jordan makes a point of distinguishing between the Christian worldview and the Biblical worldview. The Christian worldview seeks to establish a Christian view of philosophy, art, history, etc., and this is important. The Biblical worldview, on the other hand, is simply the way the Bible speaks and thinks, and if we will be faithful “hearers and doers of the Word,” the way we must speak and think. The Bible challenges our modern worldview and thought processes with a worldview that seems foreign and archaic. As Jordan says,

The Biblical worldview is not given to us is the discursive and analytical language of philosophy and science, but in the rich and compact language of symbolism and art. It is pictured in ritual and architecture, in numerical structures and geographical directions, in symbols and types, in trees and stars. In short, it is given to us in a premodern package that seems at places very strange. (TNE, p.1)

Jordan goes on to show that where we approach questions of the world around us scientifically, the Bible speaks of the world around us as primarily as revelation; that is, God’s creation is intrinsically symbolic and typological. We ask what stars are made of, but the Bible is concerned to tell us that they are given for marking time and to symbolize men and rulers.

Scientific questions are important, but if that is all we are seeing, we are not looking at the world through the lens of the Bible. We need new eyes.

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Parallelism in Col. 1:15-20

In this text, St. Paul structures his poem about the cosmic gospel to draw parallel between Creation (vv. 15-17) and New Creation (vv. 18-20), demonstrating that Jesus is the captain of both the created order and of the reconciliation. Below is a rough sketch of corresponding ideas in the two sections:

  • 1:15 Image of God; 1:18 Head of the Church
  • 1:15 Firstborn of creation; 1:18 Firstborn of the dead
  • 1:16 All things created in Him; 1:19,20 In Him the Fullness of God dwells, reconciling all things to Him
  • 1:16 Things in heaven and on earth; 1:120 Whether on earth or in heaven
  • 1:17 In Him all things hold together; 1:20 Making peace by the blood of His cross