Knowing: Falsely or Truly

No ‘fact’ however simple, is neutral. Depending on how it is taught and the context in which it is put, it will either lead toward God, or away from him. In the Christian framework of knowledge, for example, the fact that ducks have webbed feet leads to an appreciation of the skilled Creator. In the humanistic-evolutionary framework, it leads to the conclusion that ducks developed webbed feet in order to live in their environment better. This mechanistic view of the universe leads away from God.


In social studies, children are taught that cultural and moral practices differ from country to country because of environmental factors. They are taught that one way of life is as good as another and that to be ‘balanced’ and unprejudiced people they need to accept all cultural and moral practices as being of equal value. The word of God judges all cultures, including our own, which fall short of Christ’s standards. It is false to teach children otherwise. One religion is not as good as another. One set of ungodly practices may be as bad as any other set, but the God of heaven weighs them all in his balances and finds them all wanting.


In music, art, and most of all in English, the Centre of the primary school curriculum, children are encouraged to set their imagination to work and rove wherever they will. To escape from reason into fantasy and irrationality is increasingly seen as the height of achievement in creativity. The extent to which the child can become, in his mind, the object of his fantasy, is the measure of success in this area.


This view of the imagination sees the mind as a bird, free to fly into any region whatever without consequences. Having no clear view of what man is or how life is to be lived the state curriculum replaces knowledge and skill with irrational experience.


Christ seeks in his followers a sanctified and purposeful imagination, channeled into fruitful and productive activity, and Paul urges the bringing of the mind into captivity – to Christ! In the Christian school the imagination is set to work in a manner consistent with a godly love for truth and beauty.


No knowledge whatsoever is neutral. Humanistic and evolutionary thinking is woven through the warp and woof of state education, and it must inevitably be ingrained into children’s ways of thinking By committing our children to that kind of education we are involving both ourselves and them in breaking Christ’s commandment to love God with heart, soul and mind.


The Christian starts with the certainty that God is, that he has created and rules all of creation, and that he speaks. It is because of this that man knows. He knows what God reveals, even what he cannot experience.


Only God is self-sufficient. Men like the rest of creation depend on God for existence, but God depends on no-one. We depend on God for both life and knowledge.


God’s knowledge is perfect. He knows himself, because he is the Self-sufficient One. He knows everything else because he made it. For us to know anything truly, we must know like God knows: God’s thinking must dominate our thinking.


For this reason, every field of learning must be placed under the authority of the Bible, because the Bible is God’s revelation of his thinking. Learning is a search for what God has created. God has chosen the Bible to reveal his mind, to shed light on our search for knowledge.


When God speaks, declaring what is true, he does so through the Bible. It is the Bible, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit that gives light to the individual’s learning and experience. This is why Solomon said “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Prov. 9:10)


What we learn can only be truly known when the Bible directs and sheds light on it. We may seem to know much by man’s standards, but it is only when we fear and know God that we have true knowledge or wisdom about what God has made.


The humanist starts by excluding God. If he is there, which most deny, he is somewhere ‘out there’ and not in any way involved with man or experience (beyond the dotted line in diagram 2). That leaves him without any certainty. Whether he holds as his main statement of faith that man or experience is reality he has nothing that can be certain. Each assertion is dependent upon the other, and his search for truth leads around an endless circle getting nowhere.


Man idolises both himself and his experience. In this way he limits knowledge and truth to the narrow and fallible experience of each individual.


These different views of truth affect what is taught. In English for example, since we know God is, we know there is a standard, a truth in language. There is a reason for being accurate and right in what we say and write. The humanist however is locked into his little circle, which means that truth is what he experiences. Whatever English he experiences is valid. As a result standards in such things as spelling and grammar fall away.


Because God created, we know he made language. It is not something man has discovered or invented. Certainly man has changed and adapted the language, but behind all this development is a point in time when God equipped men with language.


Further, because God speaks, we know it is in his nature to use language. Somewhere therefore there is a perfect language, the language God uses. There is a language that is never misunderstood, never confuses, never lacks! Clearly English is not that language, but because there is a truth in language we have a reason for learning as much as we can about our own language, and learning to use it as perfectly as we can.


Not only does the humanist lack the incentive this provides for accuracy and good style, his aim in teaching language is inadequate. For the humanist, experience is truth, so that if children can get good experiences from language they have reached the ultimate! This is often stated in terms like this: “If others can understand what I am saying, and I can understand what they are saying, no further accuracy is needed.” Or, “English is like what its spoke.” After all, we know what the last statement means, so why is it not acceptable?


The Christian is not primarily concerned with communicating with other men, however. His first concern is to hear God and speak to him. Since God speaks to us through his written word, and we speak to God in prayer, our concern must be to have the best possible skills in the language we use.


Man knows because God reveals what is true. To learn English therefore, a child and his teacher are dependent upon God working directly in the classroom. How arrogant of teachers and pupils to approach lessons without prayerful dependence on God!


The same sequence can be followed through in maths. Because God is, there is a standard in this subject as in any other.


As Creator, he made maths. Maths is not an invention or discovery of man, but something God has built into creation, something he sustains as part of creation.


Since we know only because God shows us what is true, we are completely dependent upon him for both our learning and our use of maths.


No teaching in school is ever neutral. In non-Christian schools non-Christian thinking is part of every lesson. That thinking must permanently shape children’s patterns of thought. That kind of education breaks Christ’s commandment to love God with heart, soul and mind.


Teaching that is faithful to God points the pupil to God as Creator, Sustainer and Revealer of truth. Teaching this way is a work of faith, in dependence upon God’s grace moment by moment. Learning this way is also a work of faith, depending upon God for his help in learning the lesson, and in becoming truly wise. This sort of teaching aims to train children to love God with heart, soul and mind … and to serve him for life!


[From Michael's booklet Schools Need Christ]


© 2020 Michael L Drake