MITRA: It’s back to (God’s) school again
As students prepare to head back to school, many parents pray to God their children will stand against assaults on their faith in the year ahead.
The students would face attacks not only with regard to their faith, but also in areas of morality, intellectual honesty and the naturalistic versus the spiritual views of life.
Thousands of years ago, the wisest man on Earth counselled people how to counteract attacks on their cherished belief system with these words:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Prov. 9:10).
When we think of understanding, we think of scientific knowledge, ethical knowledge and self-knowledge.
Even today, devout scholars would subscribe to the view the rise of modern science and technology is a result of the Christian understanding of the universe and God.
A great scientist, J.R. Oppenheimer, and the famous philosopher, A.N. Whitehead, tell us the foundations of modern science are based upon the Christian assumption that the universe is rational because God is its creator.
Because the universe is rational and man is created in the image of God, man is rational.
Out of this fundamental commitment to the rationality of the universe and man have come the assumptions and experiments that have brought to life modern science and technology.
This fundamental assumption was the impetus that gave rise to modern learning.
Today, on-campus and off-campus, man repudiates the idea the universe was created and is directed by a rational God.
Science studies the universe, but science did not put the universe there.
Why, then, is there something rather than nothing?
Some scientists and philosophers think we should not ask these sorts of questions.
If science cannot account for the rational intelligibility of the universe, what can?
Our answer will depend not on whether we are scientists, but on whether we are theists or naturalists.
The fact is the intelligibility of the universe is one of the main considerations that has led thinkers of all generations to conclude the universe must be a product of intelligence and understanding.
Not only in the scientific but also in the ethical realm, there are many good people who do not believe in God.
There is hardly a vice that is not praised as a virtue and hardly a virtue that is not condemned as a vice.
People think modern psychology can provide an ethical foundation.
Unless we have a universe that is moral at the heart, unless we have a God who commands, we would create moral chaos.
Unfortunately, this has reached all levels, including the church.
In the arguments about whether certain church practices are right or wrong, few ask: “What does God say about this?”
The big crisis of our time, as many students face the coming academic year, is the sense of alienation and loss of identity.
But, when we believe man was created by God in His own image, we know that man is of infinite value.
Unless we begin with the premise of God, we end up believing we are nothing.
Not only is the knowledge of God the foundation of every other kind of understanding, but “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Most of us agree a religion of fear is bad for faith, that we should not scare people into being good.
We believe not in the God who is there, but in the God whom we would like to be there.
Until we accept the God who is there, not just the God we conceive of in our minds, we will never be able to take Him seriously when He would say: “Thy sins be forgiven thee.”
Isn’t that one of the most tragic and difficult experiences of our time?
Until we take seriously the wrath of God, we shall not really be solaced by the love of God — in the coming academic year and beyond.
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