When we are confronted with issues we are often tempted to use proof texts from the bible to present a Biblical view. Proof texting can be dangerous especially as it often means that we rip a verse out of context to support our views. In a complex world this is tempting because we want to find a quick solution. But such a method ignores both the culture of the bible and our own culture, but perhaps more dangerously it avoids the complexities of the world and of the biblical revelation. Moral issues need to be seen in the context of today’s culture but tested against the background of the whole Biblical story. So often in discussions today we start with wanting to present our own perspective but thinking Christianly starts not with issues but with worship. Worship means that our approach will be God centred and not man centered. We will want to know not only what the bible says about moral issues but who is the God of the Bible? what is his character ? and what are his purposes for mankind? It is only when we start here that we have any hope of progress. This is because many of our modern issues are not met head on in the Scripture, scientific and technological advance has meant that we need to understand the principles contained in scripture more urgently. I have found that there are three themes of biblical revelation that help me to think clearly they are, creation, fall and redemption. Let me look at these individually, to help unlock the key to Biblical thinking.
Creation: All that is before is created by the Sovereign Lord of the universe and his intention for creation can be found in Genesis 1 and 2 and repeated again after the flood in Genesis 9, here we find that life is precious to God, that each individual is made in the image of God and therefore made to relate to him. This amazing fact means that all human beings are to be treated with dignity. These passages also show that because we are made in the image of God, we are to be his stewards of the created world. This means that we do not exploit the world but rather we take care of it. Concern for the created order is part and parcel of what it means to be truly human. As stewards of creation we are answerable to the Creator and we are called to bring our minds into line with his.
The Fall: If it were not for the fall we would not have the problems we have to day, the problems that we face are a result of the brokeness of the world because it has tried to walk independently of the creator. Our world is in an abnormal condition from a Christian perspective because the world was not designed to function under the curse of sin but rather in relationship with a loving God. The big issues of our day all stem from the brokeness of the world caused by the fall. We can look at the big political, moral and religious issues and in each we can see the results of mans rebellion against God. Even in discussing the fall we are saying that everything relates back to God and his character. Our biggest question must always be what accords with the character of a holy God? Thankfully we are not left to brokeness and the fall as the final solution but rather the loving purposes of our creator God.
Redemption; The work of Christ upon the cross is more comprehensive that just our individual salvation rather it is the redemption of the whole created universe. Redemption demonstrates clearly that god wants to restore his people and the world he created into a loving relationship with himself. This means that we must ask of any moral issue what does God want to restore his creation. We will acknowledge that we should be seeking God’s redemptive purposes for this world. This leads us to ask some tough questions about some important questions. It also means that having a clear framework of what the main themes of scripture are we can search the scriptures for answers to our problems. this does not mean that we will come up with proof texts for each situation but rather that we wrestle with the biblical revelation seeking to know the mind of Christ. In so doing we acknowledge that God’s ways are better than ours. We can wrestle with the Scriptures sometimes in a rationalistic sense, we are called to use all the power of our minds but they must be in subjection to the Lord. In other words we come back to the fact that to be good Christian thinkers our primary aim in life will be to worship and serve our Creator