Joseph Kidder, DMin, is professor of Christian ministry and discipleship at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI, USA.

Katelyn Campbell is an MDiv and MSW student at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI, USA.


seek to make sense of our reality. As we look around and see the hurt and suffering in the world, besides asking why this experience exists, we also tend to ask: What now? How are we to respond to the plight around us? How are we to cope with the condition of the world, and where can reprieve be found? Worldviews simply seek the solution to the problem of suffering. Different worldviews provide different answers to this. A biblical worldview will point to Scripture and the redemptive work of Christ. In the previous article, we discussed worldview concepts as seen in the fall. Here we will explore a worldview through the great controversy’s third act: redemption.

“For the wages of sin is death,” writes Paul, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23, ESV). Even before Adam first drew breath, a strategy had already been determined to save his life. “The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ (Revelation 13:8).”1 God was not thrown by the entrance of sin into the world. Rather, He followed through with His plan of reconciliation and redemption, anticipating to save as many people as He could from the ultimate fate of sin.


With this compassionate act of sending His own son to die in the place of sinners, God also refuted all the false claims that Satan had leveled against Him. Did God unfairly lord Himself above others? Was He unjust in dealing with His creations? Was He heartless and uncaring towards them, selfishly using them for His own twisted purposes and ego? Jesus’ incarnate life and death answered all these accusatory questions with a loud and resounding “No!” Rather, God’s true character was revealed. “The Teacher from heaven, no less a personage than the Son of God, came to earth to reveal the character of the Father to men, that they might worship Him in spirit and in truth. . . . He presented to men that which was exactly contrary to the representations of the enemy in regard to the character of God.”2

With the character of God demonstrated for the whole universe to see, the true deceiver could be seen for what he was. “Not until the death of Christ was the character of Satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds. The archapostate had so clothed himself with deception that even holy beings had not understood his principles. They had not clearly seen the nature of his rebellion.”3 But with the love of God laid bare upon the cross, Satan’s character was made evident. He is the father of lies and corruption; God is the Father of mercy and justice. Satan is the father of misery; God is the Father of peace. Satan is the father of death; God is the Father of life. This stark contrast could only fully be seen upon Christ’s coming to earth and dying upon the cross. Ellen G. White captures this thought quite well.

But the plan of redemption had a yet broader and deeper purpose than the salvation of man . . . it was to vindicate the character of God before the universe. . . . The act of Christ dying for the salvation of man would not only make heaven accessible to men, but before all the universe it would justify God and His Son in their dealing with the rebellion of Satan. It would establish the perpetuity of the law of God and would reveal the nature and the results of sin.4

At the cross our sins are forgiven, we are given access to the heavenly Father, we receive salvation and a new life, and we see the true loving nature of who God is.


It is God’s redemptive work that brings the light of hope into our worldview. If there was no promise of salvation through Christ, ultimately all of life would be meaningless, each day spent in suffering under the curse of sin with no purpose for something more. John MacArthur writes, “As far as the way of salvation is concerned, there are only two religions the world has ever known or will ever know—the religion of divine accomplishment, which is biblical Christianity, and the religion of human achievement, which includes all other kinds of religion, by whatever names they may go under.”5 Christianity celebrates the accomplishment of Christ saving us and reconciling God and man. Any worldview outside of this celebrates the achievements of humanity. But as previously mentioned, a sinner’s accomplishments will never be great enough to save himself. Alone, man’s achievements do not bring any meaning or purpose to life, ultimately just leaving an emptiness and ache within the soul which he cannot escape.

This is why we see a particular assumption held prevalently in many nonbiblical worldviews: we must seek as much pleasure as we can each day while we still live, because all else is suffering as we march each day closer to our ultimate demise. Nihilism,6 hedonism, existentialism, and humanism all have roots in this same belief. Even though suffering on earth is undeniable, none of these worldviews truly offer hope for a better life. They do not provide deep, lasting joy, nor do they give satisfying meaning for all the pain we go through.7 However, because of Christ’s sacrifice, there is far more to life than the suffering we see and experience.

Through Christ we experience joy: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet 1:8–9, ESV).

Through Christ we experience hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rom 15:13, ESV).

Through Christ we experience meaning: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6, ESV).

Through Christ we experience a new life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, ESV).

The third act of the great controversy narrative clearly demonstrates this joy, hope, meaning, and new life. Jesus’ redemptive work offers us joy, hope, and meaning in a life that is unattainable otherwise. Embodied in Christ is the ultimate way to view reality. In Christ is the antithesis to all other worldviews, because in Christ we receive what no other can give.


Within a biblical worldview, we have access to the throne of God through Christ. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16, ESV). Other worldviews do not offer this privileged opportunity, as many of them do not even acknowledge a god—or at least not a merciful god. But we know that with Christ, we gain a true mediator. This means that through Himself, Christ creates a way—the only way—of access between ourselves and our heavenly Father. Ellen White writes of this holy work,

This Saviour was to be a mediator, to stand between the Most High and His people. Through this provision, a way was opened whereby the guilty sinner might find access to God through the mediation of another. The sinner could not come in his own person, with his guilt upon him, and with no greater merit then he possessed in himself. Christ alone could open the way, by making an offering equal to the demands of the divine law. He was perfect, and undefiled by sin. He was without spot or blemish.8

This divine mediation is something only Christ can do for us. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5, ESV). It is only through Christ’s mediation that we have such a wonderful opportunity, and it is His desire to be our mediator for everything. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, Jesus wants to stand between us and all other elements of life:

[Christ] wants to be the medium; everything should happen only through him. He stands not only between me and God, he also stands between me and the world, between me and other people and things. He is the mediator, not only between God and human persons, but also between person and person, and between person and reality. Because the whole world was created by him and for him . . . he is the sole mediator in the world. Since Christ there has been no more unmediated relationship for the human person, neither to God nor to the world. Christ intends to be the mediator.9

This is the position Christ wishes to fill in our lives: to save us from our sin and stand between us and all else. He desires to be our everything. In our next article, we will discuss how this work of Christ creates a new life within us.

1 Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1890), 63.
2 Ellen G. White, Fundamentals of Christian Education (Nashville: Southern Publishing, 1923), 177.
3 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1898), 758.
4 Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1958), 68–69.
5 John MacArthur, The New Testament Commentary of Romans (Chicago: Moody, 1991), 199.
6 Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, s.v. “Nihilism,” by Alan Pratt, accessed September 10, 2021, nihilism/, says, “Nihilism . . . is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.”
7 George Barna, Leading Your Church Forward (Ventura, CA: Barna Research Group, 2003), 11–13; James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997); and “Existentialism,” The Basics of Philosophy, accessed September 10, 2021,
8 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, December 17, 1872.
9 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001), 93–94, emphasis original.

Joseph Kidder, DMin, is professor of Christian Ministry and Discipleship at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI, USA.

Katelyn Campbell is an MDiv and MSW student at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI, USA.

Joseph Kidder, DMin, is professor of Christian ministry and discipleship at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI, USA.

Katelyn Campbell is an MDiv and MSW student at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI, USA.