The Four Questions Every Person Must Answer
Philosophers agree that in order to make sense of life, every person must answer four questions. These questions are variously presented, but basically translate as; 1) why is there something rather than nothing, or why am I here? 2) what went wrong with the world? 3) is there any hope of a solution? and 4) where is history heading, or where am I going?
To be considered valid, every worldview must offer a coherent answer to these questions, and the Bible is no exception. Actually the Bible presents the only worldview that can acceptably answer all four. The central themes of the gospel message often consider the last three questions, in fact they make up the three points in a standard 3-point sermon–sin, salvation and judgment–but very often the first is assumed as accepted and thus ignored.
The truth is that we live in a culture where the Christian answer to this all important question–what went wrong with the world?–is rejected. Actually it is not just rejected, it is ridiculed. This presents a problem: Christians don't address it because they assume it as a given, but non-Christians ridicule it because they deem it implausible.
When I consider how I present my beliefs to the current generation I often think of Paul on Mars Hill in Acts 17. If ever there was a culture like our present day Western Liberal democracies, then it was Athens in AD 50. The Stoics (conservatives) and the Epicureans (liberals) gathered together along with the average Athenian to do nothing more than 'shoot the breeze.' It was fashionable to discuss new ideas and philosophies, to throw things back and forward, and not worry too much that no progress had been made.
When called to witness to these people, Paul addressed these four questions but he didn't have the luxury of assumption so he started with the basics: 'Why is there something rather than nothing' and 'why are we here', he asked? 'Because God made the world...we are His offspring' and 'we should seek the Lord.' He continues: 'What went wrong with the world?' 'He saw the city wholly given to idolatry' and all idolatry–the preference of my own will over God's will–is sin. But, 'is there any hope?' Yes! 'God commands all men everywhere to repent.' So where is history heading? Judgment! 'He hath appointed a day when He will judge the world by the man He has appointed, Jesus Christ.'
This is the christian answer to the four questions every person must answer. It might not be deemed politically correct, or even culturally sensitive, but these are answers that cut through all politics and cross all cultures and deliver hope where there is none. Don't lose heart. Keep preaching it!