1. What is prime reality—the really real?

1. God is infinite and personal (triune), transcendent and immanent, omniscient, sovereign and good.

1. Matter exists eternally and is all there is. God does not exist.

2. What is the nature of external reality, the world around us?

2. God created the cosmos ex nihilo to operate with a uniformity of cause and effect in an open system

2. The cosmos exists as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system.

3. What is a human being?

3. Human beings are created in the image of God and thus possess personality, self-transcendence, intelligence, morality, gregariousness and creativity.

3. Human beings are complex "machines"; personality is an interrelation of chemical and physical properties we do not yet fully understand.

4. What happens to a person at death?

4. For each person death is either the gate to life with God and his people or the gate to eternal separation from the only thing that will ultimately fulfill human aspirations.

4. Death is extinction of personality and individuality.

5. Why is it possible to know anything at all?

5. Human beings can know both the world around them and God himself because God has built into them the capacity to do so and because he takes an active role in communicating with them.

5. Human beings can know both the world around them and themselves because consciousness and rationality developed under the contingencies of survival in a long process of evolution (no direct answer in text).

6. How do you know what is right and wrong?

6. Ethics is transcendent and is based on the character of God as good (holy and loving). We were created good but now are fallen and need to be restored by God through Christ.

6. Ethics is related only to human beings and are thus manmade.

7. What is the meaning of human history?

7. History is linear, a meaningful sequence of events leading to the fulfillment of God’s purposes for humanity.

7. History is a linear stream of events linked by cause and effect but without an overarching purpose.

SOURCE: The Universe Next Door by James W. Sire (InterVarsity, 1997) Chapters 2 and 4

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