I like how Chris Wright describes how the Old Testament sets forth a basic worldview by asking and answering four questions:
- Where are we? What is the nature of the universe and this planet on which we live? How does it come to be here and have a future?
- Who are we? What does it mean to be human and how, if at all, are we distinct from the rest of the living creatures we live among?
- What’s gone wrong? What is the cause of the way things are, which we instinctively feel is not the way they should be? Why are we in such a mess?
- What’s the solution? What, if anything, can be done to put things right? Is there hope for the future, and if so, hope in what or whom or by when?
These are all questions the Old Testament answers for us. They are also things which are expanded, elaborated upon, or assumed as background in the New Testament.
Wright says the Old Testament provides the following answers to these four questions:
- This world is part of the good creation of the one single living God, whom we know as the LORD. It wholly belongs to this God (no part belongs to other gods), and the Lord is sovereign over all that exists ‘in heaven above, on earth below and under the earth.’
- ‘We’ in the wider sense are human beings made in the image of the creator God, made for relationship with God and one another. ‘We’ in the narrower sense are an elect people in unique relationship with the Lord who is both our covenant God and the universal God of the nations, who through a great historical deliverance (exodus), through the covenant made at Sinai, and through the gift of the land constituted us as his own people.
- What has gone wrong is that we human beings have rebelled against the creator God, in moral and spiritual disobedience, and this has brought evil consequences into every aspect of human life, including the individual personality, our relationships with one another, with our physical environment, and with God.
- The solution lies with this same creator God who has addressed the problems of the nations of humanity by a historical project of redemption, beginning with the choice of Abraham (the father of our nation) and extending to include the blessing of all nations and a new creation.