Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Educational Significance Of Seeing All Things As Revelations Of God

by James M. Bramblet

What significance all this has for Christian educators! The things God has made are the things we study in school. It is true that the primary revelation of God is His written Word (Heb. 1:1), and His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:2), but using His written Word as a guide, we can become interpreters of God’s glory as seen in creation,, Instead of simply seeking something in nature that will be beneficial for us as individuals, we can begin to see something of our true relationship to our Creator.

With this view of school studies, it would seem that Psalm 145 was written for Christian school people: “Every day (at school and home) will I bless thee, and I will praise thy name for ever and ever”(v.2). “One generation (parents and teachers) shall praise thy works to another (children), and shall declare thy mighty acts” (v.4).

We can see now how badly mistaken the Christian parents of a generation ago were in thinking that “secular” subjects could be taught in a secular school and the church and home would give the Christian teaching. There is really no such thing as a “secular” subject, for as has often been quoted, “All truth is God’s truth.” The only reason it has seemed there were “secular” subjects is because God’s truth has been secularized by removing Him from the curriculum and from the school program. It is as though man has stepped between God and His creation and, with his back turned to God, is carefully studying the things God has made while refusing to recognize the One Who made them. Science becomes simply a study of things. History is a study of events without recognition of the providence of God. Mathematics becomes something invented by man for man’s benefit. The whole process of education is for the purpose of making man richer, healthier, and with more leisure time.

As Christians, we are studying the same subjects as the world, but we need to walk around to the other side where we can see the things God has made while we face Him and see things in the light of His Word. When we do this, science becomes that which declares the glory of God. History becomes His-story, telling of His justice and grace and how they have been manifested in years gone by. Mathematics and the other abstract sciences are seen as the eternal knowledge of God which has been in His mind through all eternity.

The essentialists are right in giving an important place to subject matter. But they are very wrong in separating subject matter from the God Who created it. The Apostle Paul spoke of those who, “worshipped and served the creature more than the creator” (Rom. 1:25). When we see “things” as independent of God, then they seem to us as so many goodies just waiting for us to pluck them for our own use. Unfortunately, more than one person or more than one nation often arrive to pluck the best goodies at the same time, and conflict results. This is described by James as follows:

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not here, even of our lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:1-2).

Considering the many “things” in the world to be independent of God will cause us not to recognize God, not to hear His voice, and not to be aware of His presence. The Scriptures say concerning Jesus Christ: “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” (John 1:10). The people of that day had lived all their lives in the world made by the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet when He came to earth a very few recognized Him. This verse indicates that they should have recognized Him. Indeed, they would have recognized Him had they been seeing His creation in the right perspective.

When we as Christians recognize that the many things in the world are not independent of God but are utterly dependent upon Him, our entire world changes. Everything becomes a reflector of the glory and person of an all-glorious God. God is so resplendent in glory that no one can see His face and live. As a special privilege, Moses was allowed to see of His glory after He had passed by (Ex. 33:20-23). We creatures are permitted to see His glory by way of reflection. He is reflected not only on the sacred pages of Scripture but also in the mirror of creation. If our eyes had not been dimmed by sin, we would continually confirm the truth of Scripture where it states that the “whole earth is full of His glory.” Enlightened by the Spirit, we are enabled to see something of the glory of God on exhibit everywhere. We see it in the things that please us. We see it in our affliction, and with Hezekiah we say, “It was for my peace that I had great bitterness” (Isa. 38:17). In the “thorns and thistles” of this sin age, we see the glory of God’s justice.

The real purpose of non-rational creation is to reveal the glorious attributes of an all-glorious God. The result of this outlook in the field of education is expressed in the following simple poem:

One ship sails east and another west,
With the selfsame winds that blow.
‘Tis the set of the sail and not the gale,
That determines the way they go.
One class sees man and another God,
With the selfsame studies that be.
‘Tis life’s outlook, not the subjects they took
Which determines what the pupils see.

Excerpted from Chapter 2 of An Introduction to the Christian School by James M. Bramblet, Copyright © 1985 by James M. Bramblet

2 comments:

  1. For me to have him as a father-in-law is comparable to a nineteenth century preacher having Spurgeon as a father-in-law.

    ReplyDelete

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