6 Foundational Truths of the Christian Worldview
May 31, 2021
A closer look at some of the core beliefs of Christianity, as set forth at the beginning of the Bible.
This article was adapted from a Bible study developed by Mark Staller.
The first chapter of Genesis records that God created our world in six days. The logic of the Genesis account is that in the first three days of the Creation, God made three contrasting realms: on day one, the realms of light and darkness; on day two, the waters above and below the firmament; and on day three, the dry land, which was set apart from the waters below. During the next three days of Creation, God populated these contrasting realms: on day four, He made the sun, moon, and stars to fill the realms of light and darkness; on day five, He created fish and fowl to fill the waters above and below; and on day six, He created animals and humans to fill the earth.
Just as the physical world is populated by the wonderful things God created, so our belief system can be populated by the foundational truths found in the Book of Genesis. In particular, the opening three chapters give information that form the basis for the Christian worldview—the core beliefs that give us an understanding of our existence. While these truths are reiterated and reinforced elsewhere in God’s Word, it is notable that they are initially established in the first pages of Scripture. The accounts of the Creation, the first temptation, the fall of mankind, and the remedy for sin provide the foundation upon which the rest of the Bible teachings stand.
We live in a day and age when the core beliefs of Christianity are being undermined and eroded. Psalm 11:3 asks the thought-provoking question, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Indeed, it is vital that we clearly understand and cherish the foundational truths of the Bible. Of the many truths found in God’s Word, let us take a closer look at six found in Genesis 1-3, to reinforce and reaffirm our Christian worldview.
Foundational Truth #1: This visible world was created by an invisible God.
Genesis 1:1 begins, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The following verses relate that our Creator spoke the entire universe into existence. God said...and it was so. Hebrews 11:3 reiterates the Genesis account: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
From these verses we understand that the physical, material world we live in has not always existed. In fact, the physical world is not even the most important part of existence. There are two key aspects to reality: the physical and the spiritual. Other ways to describe them would be the material and the immaterial, the natural and the supernatural, or the visible and the invisible. Natural science has discovered some amazing truths about the material world, but God’s Word reveals the awesome truth that the visible world is undergirded and sustained by a supernatural, invisible God. He has preeminence and is Lord of both the physical and spiritual realms (see John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Nehemiah 9:6; Romans 1:20).
Stand firm upon the foundational truth that the supernatural, spiritual realm is real. God and Satan, Heaven and Hell, and angels and demons are not religious fantasies. Life in the physical realm is permeated and impacted by the spiritual.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
1 Timothy 1:17
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.
Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.
Foundational Truth #2: The Godhead is a plurality.
Although the Trinity is revealed more clearly in the New Testament, the triune nature of God is established from the initial chapters of Scripture. Genesis 1:26 records God saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...” In Genesis 3:22, after Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (emphasis added in both verses). The words “us” and “our” indicate the plurality of God, even while He is one God.
The Gospel of John begins by intentionally echoing Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Here we see Jesus Christ, the Word, specifically presented as the Creator. Indeed, a core Christian belief is that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God and were all active in the Creation of our world (see 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1-2; 1 John 5:7). Jesus Christ was not just a man; He is also a member of the Godhead and equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (see Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:6), making Him uniquely qualified to carry out God’s plan of redemption.
Hold tightly to the foundational truth that our one God is triune. We were created by, and we worship, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 8:6
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.
1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
Foundational Truth #3: Human beings are made in the image of God.
After making the earth and all the animals that dwell in it, Genesis relates that God chose to create a special being who would have dominion over all the earth: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26). Human beings are unique and especially valuable because we are made in the image of God. The other creatures God made are wonderful, but they are not made in His own likeness. Because we bear the image of God, every human is precious and worthy of honor and respect.
Genesis 2:7 also stresses mankind’s unique status: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis does not record that God breathed into the nostrils of any animals; only Adam received the breath of life from God, and only his descendants have immortal souls. Thus, as human beings, we are part of both the physical and spiritual realms: we have material bodies that are animated by immaterial, eternal souls. Furthermore, our immortal souls are more valuable and more precious than all the material riches of the world (see Matthew 16:26).
As image bearers of God, humans have some amazing abilities that should be treasured and appreciated. For example, we have creative power. Like God, we can imagine things and then bring them into existence. We also have aesthetic awareness; we can look upon the beauty in the earth and sky and see that it is good. We can contemplate and comprehend (at least to some extent) immaterial spiritual concepts such as justice, mercy, grace, and love. And because we are made in God’s image, we can freely choose to love and serve Him, just as He freely chose to create us and give us a free will.
Grasp fully the foundational truth that you and every other human being are made in the image of God. The Bible makes it clear that Adam and Eve represent all of humanity, not just the Hebrew people. The members of every ethnic background are made in His image. The Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man is universal (see Acts 17:24-26, 28).
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Foundational Truth #4: Human males and females need one another.
The second chapter of Genesis reveals how men and women are interdependent. Genesis 2:18 records God saying, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God took a rib out of man (Adam) and fashioned a woman (Eve), and brought her to the man. Adam then declared, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23).
Just as Genesis presents God as a plurality, it also presents man as a plurality. Genesis 5:1-2 states, “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created” (emphasis added). Adam is referred to as both “he” and “they” because the Hebrew word translated Adam is both the proper name of the first man and a word which refers to humankind, including both male and female human beings.
From the previous foundational truth, we understand that men and women are equally valued because they are equally made in God’s likeness. They have the same intrinsic worth. If you are a boy or a man, you can and should accept and embrace your God-given maleness. If you are a girl or a woman, you can and should accept and embrace your God-given femaleness. Males are not superior to, nor do they have dominion over, females. Females are not superior to, nor do they have dominion over, males. At the same time, males and females cannot be independent of each other. Only together do they comprise humanity.
God designed males and females to work and live in complimentary, “helping” relationships, not to engage in a power struggle between the sexes. Males are not better off without females, and females are not better off without males. Boys and girls need both men and women in their lives. Furthermore, from the very beginning of the sacred Scriptures, the marriage relationship between a man and a woman is presented as the most intimate relationship possible between humans: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This model of males and females, whole-heartedly committed to working and living together in holy matrimony, is also explicitly endorsed in New Testament Scripture, including by Christ (see Ephesians 5:28-31; Matthew 19:4-6).
Lay hold of the foundational truth that human males and females need one another. Husbands and wives are meant to appreciate and support their spouses; fathers and mothers are to model to their children how men and women should love, honor, respect, and help one another. All men and women in the family of God have positions as spiritual fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters. The roles of men and women in humanity are inseparable.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Foundational Truth #5: Human beings are born in a sinful and fallen state.
In the second chapter of Genesis, we read that God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and gave them permission to eat of every tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Chapter 3 records the serpent telling Eve that if she ate of that tree, she would become like God, and then the serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4-5).
The great tragedy of Genesis 3 is that sin and death (both physical and spiritual death) entered into the world. Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and ate of the forbidden fruit, and immediately they were ashamed and separated from God (Genesis 3:6-7). Their fall into sin thrust mankind into a fallen spiritual state. Consequently, Adam and Eve, and the very earth itself, suffered from the curse of sin. God drove them out of the paradise of Eden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life (Genesis 3:23-24).
Humanity’s fall into sin is quickly confirmed in the next few chapters of Genesis. Chapter 4 describes how Adam and Eve’s firstborn son, filled with jealousy and anger, murdered his brother. In chapter 6 we read that as the human family began to multiply, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God destroyed the wicked off the face of the earth in the Flood, sparing only righteous Noah and his family. Afterward, God promised He would never again destroy every living thing, for “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21).
Thus, from the very beginning of the Biblical record, humankind is presented as a mixture of good and evil. We are made in the image of God and are “crowned . . . with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:5). Yet, we are “shapen in iniquity” (Psalm 51:5), with hearts that are evil from our youth. Like God, we can do good and bless ourselves and others; unlike God, we can also freely choose to do evil and harm ourselves and others. And because of the first sin, all of humanity is born with a sinful condition—the carnal nature inherited from Adam that makes one prone to sin and wrongdoing (see Romans 5:12; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8).
Fully acknowledge and accept the foundational truth that human beings enter the world as sinful, fallen creatures. Though made in the image of God, in a fallen state we fail to live up to our potential. Humans often pervert and misuse the powers and abilities God has given them because they desire things that are wicked. For this reason, humans are the source of much of the moral evil that is in the world.
Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
For there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
1 John 1:8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Foundational Truth #6: Human beings need God.
Although human beings are the source of much of the moral evil in the world, our Christian worldview does not limit the struggle between good and evil to interactions between individuals. That conflict is played out in both the physical and spiritual realms (see Ephesians 6:11-12). The battle between good and evil reached even to Heaven when Satan and his angels were cast down to earth (see Revelation 12:7-9), and we know it continues today as our adversary the devil “walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
In the third chapter of Genesis, Satan appeared as the serpent who seduced Adam and Eve into sin and death. God cursed the serpent and then said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This pronouncement was the first prophecy of the coming Savior. On the Cross of Calvary, Jesus, who was of the seed of the woman (see Galatians 4:4), was bruised by Satan. However, through His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, Jesus soundly defeated Satan by giving mankind a way to escape sin and death (see Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 55-57). The hope of a Savior, first given in Genesis 3, was made a reality through Jesus Christ.
The good news of the Gospel is that even though there was a serpent in the Garden of Eden, there was also a Lamb—Jesus Christ, the sacrificial “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Revelation 13:8 proclaims that He was “slain from the foundation of the world,” indicating that from the beginning of our world, God ordained that Christ the Lamb would redeem and restore us to a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Embrace and confess the foundational truth that human beings need God. Because we are born in a sinful and fallen state, we cannot save ourselves from sin and death. We must repent and ask forgiveness of our sins so that Jesus our Creator God can become Jesus our Savior God. It is He that made us, and not we ourselves (Psalm 100:3), so it is He that can save us, and not we ourselves.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The culmination of the Christian worldview
We have focused on the foundational truths in Genesis 1-3 and how they inform our worldview. However, to fully grasp the foundational truths of the first three chapters of the Bible, we must compare them to the last three chapters of the Bible. Whereas the opening chapters give us the foundation of our worldview, the closing chapters present the culmination of our worldview. Genesis 1-3 and Revelation 20-22 act in many ways as “bookends” that hold together the entire sixty-six books of Scripture.
The last three chapters of Revelation parallel and mirror the first three chapters of Genesis in order to reveal to us not only humanity’s past failure, but also our present and future hope. Whereas Genesis 1-3 depict the tragic fall of humankind, Revelation 20-22 foretell our triumphant restoration. The opening of Genesis could be titled “Paradise Lost,” and the closing of Revelation could be titled “Paradise Regained.”
In comparing these chapters from Genesis and Revelation, a marvelous symmetry emerges:
- Genesis 1:1 relates that at the beginning of time, our current Heaven and earth were created; Revelation 21:1 says that at the end of time, God will create a new Heaven and a new earth.
- In Genesis 3 the serpent tempted and deceived Eve; Revelation 20 tells us that Satan, “the old serpent,” will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for one thousand years, and eventually the devil “that deceived” will be cast into the Lake of Fire to be tormented forever and ever.
- When Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, death was born into our world; Revelation 20:14 states that at the end of this present world, death itself will be cast into the Lake of Fire—death will die!
- Genesis 2 describes a river that “went out of Eden to water the garden.” In the new Heaven and earth described in Revelation 22, there will be a crystal-clear river of water of life that flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Christ the Lamb proclaims, “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”
- In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve were driven from Eden and barred from eating of the tree of life; in the restored paradise described in Revelation 22, the tree of life flourishes by the river of life, and those who obey God’s commandments have the right to eat of the tree.
- Genesis 3 relates that the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve included a curse upon the earth and humankind. This curse still exists: we are subject to tears and sorrow, pain and suffering, sin and death. However, in the new Heaven and earth, Revelation 22:3 proclaims, “There shall be no more curse.” Revelation 21:4 describes mankind’s joyous future: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
- After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3 says they were ashamed and hid themselves from God. Sin severed their relationship with their loving Creator, and they became separated from Him. Separation from God in Genesis 3 is transformed into restoration to God in Revelation 21, when “the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” God promises, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”
Although the last three chapters of Revelation parallel the first three chapters of Genesis in these remarkable ways, there are two important differences between the paradise in Eden and that described in Revelation 21 and 22. First, the paradise described in Eden was in a rural setting where Adam was tasked by God with dressing and keeping the garden, and Adam and Eve were the only two humans who briefly experienced the idyllic existence in Eden. In contrast, the future paradise described in Revelation has an urban setting: John the Revelator saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven. John described the marvelous city at length, with its streets, foundations, walls, and gates made of pure gold and many precious jewels. More wonderful than the building materials is the massive size; whereas the garden of Eden held only Adam and Eve, the New Jerusalem will be large enough to hold all the descendants of Adam and Eve who have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb!
A second difference in the Bible “bookends” is that the world God created in Genesis contains both darkness and light. In contrast, God’s new Heaven and earth will have no need of a sun or moon because the glory of God and of the Lamb will provide it continual light. Revelation 22:5 proclaims that the servants of God “need no candle, neither the light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
When the last three chapters of the Bible are read in tandem with the first three chapters, our place in this world becomes clear: we are only strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Hebrews 11:13). We cannot return to Eden, but Jesus Christ has gone to prepare an even better place for us (John 14:1-3). As we hold faithfully to the foundational Bible truths given in Genesis and look forward expectantly to our heavenly home described in Revelation, we will be among the people described in Hebrews 11:16: “Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
6 Foundational Truths of the Christian Worldview