Thursday, December 30, 2010

Public Schools and the Glory of God


Since we always, and can only, function in the realm of God's creation, education is therefore inescapably religious. In the process of education we, who are ourselves created, interact with God's creation, we observe God's creation, we think about God's creation and we learn how to use and manipulate God's creation in order to achieve certain results. God's purpose in creating, and our goal in education, is therefore inextricably intertwined.

If we are going to educate properly we must first know the reason and goal of education, and because education cannot deal with anything other than God's creation, we must first know why God created.  Once we have found the purpose of creation we will have found the goal of education, and once we have found the goal of education we can align all that we do to meet that goal. 

So what was the Creator’s ultimate intention for His creation? Why do you and I exist? Why does anything exist? Or we might ask it this way: If God was perfectly happy throughout all eternity past without any of His creation, why did He create anything at all? Wouldn't He been just fine without anything else?  Isn't God, by definition, lacking in nothing?

In short, the Bible’s answer is this:  for His own glory.  Creation was created to glorify God. But this only prompts another question:  What does it mean “to glorify God”?

The root of the word “glory” speaks of heaviness or weight; what something is, its importance, excellence and intrinsic worth.  Glory is also frequently spoken of as light (Luke 2:9; Revelation 21:23) as light makes things visible, observable, knowable and understandable. 

If we put these two things together we see that the glory of God is the shining forth of His own attributes. It is the manifestation of His character, of His own intrinsic worthiness and greatness.  His invisible attributes made observable and exercised. In short, it is God revealing Himself.

Therefore, when we speak of “glorifying God”, we are speaking of being like God. To glorify God means to reflect His light, reflect His character and communicable attributes, to reveal Him. Creation was created to reflect, honor, praise, love, depend on, trust, worship and be like its Creator.

This accords beautifully with scripture. Psalm 19 tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God.” In conjunction with this, Romans 1 tells us that the creation makes some of His invisible attributes “clearly seen”. It makes the invisible visible.  In other words, it reflects or reveals something of the character of God.

Think of it this way; God, as the most righteous and perfect being, must love what is most righteous and perfect.  God, who is perfectly good, must love what is most good.  God, who is most holy and pure, must love what is most holy and pure. God, who is perfect love, must love what is most worthy of that love.  And what is most righteous, perfect, good, holy, pure and most worthy of the greatest love?  God is! 

This may come as a shock to a bunch of self-centered sinners like us who each think that the world revolves around us, but God loves Himself more than He loves any of us, and it is only right that we do the same! This is the first and greatest commandment, isn't it?  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37,38). God does not break this commandment and neither should we!

We are told in scripture that God does all that He does with a view to His own glory. (“For My own sake, for My own sake I will do it…and I will not give My glory to another.” Isaiah 48:11). We, too, are to do all that we do to the glory of God. (“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corinthians 6:20; “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31)

God loves Himself chiefly and we are to do the same. To fail to reflect Him at this point is to fail to keep the first and greatest commandment. To fail to reflect Him here, is to fail to love Him.  To fail to love Him first and foremost is idolatry. 

To fail to glorify God at any point is a sin!  As Romans 3:23 puts it, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  In the book of Revelation, God  pours out His wrath because men refuse to “repent and give Him glory” (verse 9). The “everlasting gospel” is summarized in these words in Revelation 14:6,7; “Fear God and give Him glory”. God must be glorified! This is the purpose of life, the epicenter of doctrine, the cornerstone of knowledge and the call of the gospel! The implications of this truth touch everything, especially education. Education is nothing more than learning how we can best glorify our Creator.

Why do we learn to read? To get a good job at IBM?  No, we learn to read in order to read God’s Word for ourselves that we might obey it and know the Creator. Why do we learn mathematics? Is it just a set of facts that have nothing to do with religion?  No, mathematics teaches us about the character of our God and helps us to take dominion over His creation, as He instructed us to do. 

Why do we study history? Because it’s interesting?  No, we study history because it is the working of Gods providence which centers upon His people and can teach us many invaluable lessons.  We could go on and on with the other subjects of learning, every one of them relating directly to the glory of God.

Here the public schools have utterly failed! Not only have they failed but they have defiantly refused to glorify God!  They have foolishly attempted to throw the omnipresent God out of their little classrooms.  They have told the omnipotent One that He has no authority over them and they have told the omniscient Creator that He has no right to define His creation and that He will not be consulted in the matter.  They have arrogantly made themselves the ultimate authority and have developed an idolatrous pseudo form of "education" in the place of knowing, loving and reflecting God. 

The public schools have glorified man and thrown down God! They have pushed Christ aside and have made education the Savior of mankind.  In the place of God’s likeness as the goal of education, they have placed self-empowerment and self-improvement.  They have seated Self upon the throne of God! Is it any wonder that so many in our day see man as the ultimate and pleasing themselves as the highest good?  But yet at the same time, they know that they did not create themselves and so they are left unable to answer the simplest question: “What is the purpose of life?”

JKB

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