What is an existential worldview and why do you need a new set of glasses?

  1. What is an “existential worldview”?

I have found that this is a complex idea to define. This is probably the result of how affected I am by existentialism. This worldview is marked by an individualistic, self-seeking, self-satisfying, and consumer-driven mindset. Life within this worldview is characterized by an individual personally seeking pleasure and fulfillment. The individual is the center of life. Everything else is in existence to provide personal pleasure and personal fulfillment. This results in all other things being commodities to be consumed. This inevitably includes God and other people. When a believer comes to the Scriptures with an existential worldview it affects his interpretation of the text. The unbiblical worldview leads to a distorted understanding of God and the purpose of life. Life becomes all about the individual, and not about God’s glory.

  1. Why do you need a new pair of “glasses”?

The Bible teaches the opposite of an existential worldview. The Bible relates a worldview that has God at its center. Everything else in creation revolves around God and Him alone. The Bible teaches that true fulfillment and pleasure is found in an authentic, growing relationship with God through faith in Christ. Yet, God is not a commodity to be consumed.

The Bible teaches that everything has been created by God for His honor and glory. Humanity was created to love, serve, and glorify God. Therefore, according to the Bible God is not focused on individuals being personally fulfilled and pleasure-filled. When an individual approaches the world of God being affected by an existential worldview he will inevitably misunderstand the text because he will be reading it with a man-centered focus. All people must approach the Word of God with a God-centered humility that is open to what God is saying for His honor and glory.

There are ways that will help people to avoid misinterpreting Scripture as a result of an existential worldview, such as the following:

    • a consistent historical-grammatical hermeneutic

    • a genuine effort to understand the Bible in context (which should be included in the previous statement, but for clarity I mention it again)

    • a God-centered focus and a recognition of the overriding theme of goal of all things being the glory of God

    • a willing submission to the lordship of Christ and the authority of God’s Word

    • a willingness to learn from older mature believers

The ultimate goal is to understand what God was communicating, not “what it means to me”. There must be submission to the authority of God’s Word. It is God’s message.

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