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An introduction to the issue of the mythology of theological tasks

Introduction We have already been introduced to the existence of the worldviews and the pervasive way in which they penetrates our daily lives.

The fact that the worldviews operating in Christian theologies differ radically from the worldview operating in biblical thinking has also been underlined.

An introduction to the issue of the mythology of theological tasks

Why should the attention of the Church be distracted from its essential task of Proclaiming to Gospel to dealing with a theoretical issue? Is theworldview issue relevant for the life and the mission of the Church today? My presentation will attempt to explain a technical issue in everyday language in the hope that the connection that exists between worldview, theology, and life may be clearly perceived.

With this goal in mind I will first review the general notion and role of worldview and then address the impact thatworldview has on the theology and the life of the Adventist Church. Clarifying the Notion of Worldview Definition: Set of First Principles We can define the notion of worldview in various ways.

Nash has advanced a simple way to define the concept of Worldview. He suggests that "a worldview is a set of beliefs about the most important issues in life" Worldviews in Conflict: In more elaborate fashion, it is possible to suggest that a worldview is an ensemble of ideas about reality that, because of their general nature and broad scope, condition the entire range of human thought and action. Some Implications of the definition In first place, it is important to recognize that we are using the concept "worldview" technically.

We are not referring literally to a "view of the world" as in Cosmology the study of the world as natural phenomenon. In this presentation the term worldview has a much broader connotation. For instance, it involves, among other foundational issues, general notions about God, human beings, and human history. The definitions also reveal that the worldview belongs to the realm of human knowledge, in other words, to the cognitive domain.

Further, we must emphasize the fact that precisely due to its cognitive nature and role [to be discussed later] worldview is an essential component of human nature. Scripture states the anthropological principle that "as he [man and woman] thinketh in his heart, so [is] he" Prov 23: White, fully working her thought based on this Scriptural principle, explains that "the mind controls the whole man.

Precisely because human beings are what they think, cherish, and decide in their thoughts, worldview plays such an important and decisive role, not only in the thinking, but also in the life and action of the Church.

Let us turn now to explore briefly the general role that worldviewplays in the experience of human beings. Ultimate Presuppositions What does worldview do within the area of knowledge and life? The answer to this question is simple and foundational for understanding the impact of worldview on the life of the church. The specific direct role played by worldview consists in determining the way in which human beings think.

From this it follows that worldview determines the way in which human beings act. Let me explain the role of worldview by using some analogies. Let us think of worldview as a pair of eyeglasses. As eyeglasses allow the individual to perceive an introduction to the issue of the mythology of theological tasks, worldview allows us to see understand the teachings of Scripture. This analogy underlines the fact that worldview functions as the ultimate presupposition involved in the process of thinking and interpreting Scripture.

Imagine a very primitive, underdeveloped culture of aborigines. They are human beings like we are with the only difference that they have no knowledge of our technology. They are as capable of knowing things as we are. Consequently, they have a Worldview through which they can understand reality and even themselves. In this context, imagine bringing a car to their village, ready to be driven.

Would any of them open the door, turn on the ignition, and drive away? Imagine the same situation in the Bronx. Would the residents of the Bronx act in the same way as the villagers? What factor is responsible for the difference? The factor responsible for the difference is not the car, but the worldview that each group uses to interpret the same situation. The same happens in the realm of theology. Scripture is the same but theologies are different because of the worldviews used in its interpretation.

The role played by worldview can also be likened to a computer program. As a computer programworldview allows us to interpret the entire range of biblical data without eliminating any piece or ignoring the natural connections. Specifically, the break down of the comparison between worldview and the computer would be as follow.

The hardware corresponds to the human brain. The software program to run the computer corresponds to the Worldview. The data being processed or interpreted in our case come from Scripture. The outcome the computer produces, for instance a printout, corresponds to theology and preaching.

Finally, in a very real way worldview produces a domino effect. The presuppositional role played by aworldview trickles down, affecting the way in which we understand each portion and doctrine of Scripture.

  1. The impact of the Theistic Worldview on Adventist theology understanding of Scripture is momentous and negative.
  2. Where does it come from? Confronting human ideologies, Biblical Theology introduces a true alternative for human life and history.
  3. However, unity of thinking is not enough. The real side occurs on the other side of time where time and risk do not exist.
  4. The direct application that this issue has for the witnessing and evangelism of the Church deserves that pastors and lay members should take it seriously. Aaronical Whitaker denied it more free of financial anti-Semitism.

I hope you are familiar with the very popular table game called "Dominoes. The face of each block has two squares, each either blank or bearing dots. These flats are used in a game in which the ends of such pieces are matched. My analogy does not refer to the domino game but to the domino effect that is obtained when these flats are arranged in a vertical position in close proximity to each other and in a consecutive order thus forming a line or series of lines.

The domino effect is obtained when the first domino in the consecutive series is tilted toward the one standing immediately next to it. As we very well know, tilting the first flat in the series unleashes a chain reaction that tumbles the whole series of dominoes.

In the theological task the worldview functions like the first domino flat, or the first few flats in the entire sequence, whose action determines a chain reaction that brings the whole line to the floor. In the same way the worldview initiates a chain reaction that affects the whole thinking and life of the church. Some Important facts about the Worldview First, we have stated in various ways that the Worldview is a bunch of foundational ideas about realities which, working as presuppositions, are directly involved in the process by which human beings understand, and relate to, reality.

Moreover, the universal reach of worldview needs to be recognized and accepted as an unavoidable reality. Possessing a worldview is not optional.

All human beings think and act within a worldview even when unaware of such a fact. Next, all human beings initially get a worldviewthrough a process of cultural assimilation. Worldviews usually spread by way of an uncritical process of assimilation of whatever is available in the cultural milieu. Worldviews also spread through cultural assimilation in the more sophisticated levels of academia.

Worldview works as a pair of glasses, as a computer program that allows us to see and determines the way we understand things including Scripture. A veritable chain reaction Domino effect generating from the Worldview reaches the entire range of human thinking, experience, and action.

Finally, we need to realize that human beings are not predetermined to function within the worldviewprevalent in the culture in which they have been educated.

On the contrary, by way of some reflective process they can choose the worldview they want to adopt. We are not bound to cultural slavery by means of the Worldview.

To get a Worldview by cultural assimilation is not like getting a terminal disease. Even when we have assimilated one or several components of different worldviews, replacing them by another one is possible. The an introduction to the issue of the mythology of theological tasks we operate with is not absolute or unchangeable.

On the contrary, we can program our operative Worldview and even exchange it with another. In fact, a variety of worldviews from which to choose is always available.

  1. The spatial temporal event of the cross cannot be understood as the cause of salvation because God cannot act in space and time nor can salvation be the consequence of a historical action.
  2. Precisely because of these characteristics Plato conceived that heaven is real in the true and ultimate sense.
  3. God cannot simply act within the historical world of human beings in the historical way that is proper to them. The dichotomous worldview of theism requires that both the "sacrament" and the "encounter" should be understood in a dualistic way as well.
  4. Sacrament and encounter, then, take place in the nonhistorical side of the instant in which the divine intersects with the human.

This fact brings hope for the consciousness and work of the Church. As we continue let us keep in mind the following question: Why should we change our operative Worldview?

Worldview's Impact on Theology Clarity demands that I briefly define the way in which I am going to use the word "theology" in the following pages. By the world "theology" I mean the understanding of Scripture. Our previous discussion has made us aware of the fact that the interpretation of Scripture always involves a worldview. Theology, then, is always subordinated to the worldview theologians, pastors, and believers operate with.

This being the case, we should ask ourselves whether Adventist theology can adopt any worldview without contradicting its biblical foundations. Previous presentations and Dr. Humberto Rasi's paper mention the existence of three major options from which Adventism could choose, namely, the Naturalistic, Pantheistic, and Theistic Worldviews.

Clearly, Adventism cannot adopt either the Naturalistic or the Pantheistic Worldviews without contradicting itself. Consequently, in this presentation I am going to deal specifically with the Theistic Worldview operating in most of classical and modern theologies. The conception of God we find working in the Biblical Worldview is neither pantheistic nor naturalistic but theistic.

The Biblical God cannot be confused or identified an introduction to the issue of the mythology of theological tasks His creation. In this sense we can argue that the Biblical Worldview is Theist. Yet, when the Biblical Worldview is compared with the Classical Worldview operative in Christian theology, which is generally designated as Theistic Worldview, one discovers the existence of foundational differences between the classical and the biblical way of understanding God which generate different interpretations of Theism.

To avoid confusion in my presentation I will call classical theism Theistic Worldview, and, biblical theism Biblical Worldview. The intricacy of the issue and the specific purpose of this presentation calls for simplification. Thus, I will deal only with two main factors that are at the very root of the difference that exists between the Theistic and Biblical Worldviews. These two components exercise their role at the very beginning of the chain reaction characteristic of the way in which a worldview works.

Thomas Aquinas recognized the importance of giving careful thought to the way in which the theological task is started. The first words of his Being and Essence warn all theologians that "a small mistake in the beginning is a great one in the end. Since most of us are more familiar with the Biblical than with the Theistic Worldview, I am going to concentrate my attention on the Theistic Worldview. The Theistic Worldview departs from the Biblical one The Theistic and Biblical Worldviews disagree at the very beginning of the theological task on two major counts.