Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Education and the Glory of God

After I finished reading the rest of Chapter 45 in RC Sproul’s St Andrews Expositional Commentary on Romans 11:36,  I wanted to add a little bit more to what I wrote about on this topic the other day.
Romans 11:36 (NKJV) tells us:
“For of Him, and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.”
I already wrote about the significance “of Him”.   I’d like to break down what the significance of “through Him” and “to Him” are, and relate those to some of the thoughts I’ve been having about what difference this all makes in how we educate our children (or ourselves for that matter).
“Through Him”
Sproul tells us that this phrase refers to the sovereignty of God.  God is sovereign over, in, and through all things.  Resting in God’s sovereignty is one of the great joys of the believer – we can trust that He is in control of all things.   Sovereignty is a key attribute of God – if even one molecule was out of place, he would not be sovereign, and he would not be God.
When I read this statement in the commentary, it resonated with me.  I have been reading a book called The Disappearing Spoon, which is basically an entertaining look at the history of the periodic table.  (Yes, I’m reading a book about chemistry for fun.  Yes, I have accepted the fact that I am a hopeless nerd.)   This book isn’t a “Christian” book – the author very evidently assumes evolutionary theory as a fact.   And yet, I have found myself fascinated by all the stories of people who have discovered new elements or posed new theories about how the world works on the atomic and subatomic levels.  I can barely wrap my mind around all the detail there is when you plunge beneath what is plainly seen on the surface, and I can’t help be see the fingerprints of the Creator all over it. 
“To Him”
Sproul says that this phrase speaks of “the purpose towards which everything is moving” – what is the ultimate goal and purpose of history?  All things – even the those things that seem bad on the surface – are for His glory.  He goes on to explain that the Hebrew word for glory implies “weightiness”.   God’s glory is His significance and value.   We cannot begin to fathom the depths of God’s glory.   In Revelation 21, we are told that in the New Jerusalem there will be no light, nor lamp, nor sun because the radiance of God’s glory will supply all the light that is needed and it will never be extinguished.  Our appropriate response is reverence, awe, humility, and submission.  “To Him be the glory forever and ever!”   All things are meant for His glory – to reveal His significance and value and inspire in us reverence, awe, humility, and submission.  
This is what education that is truly ‘Christian’ will do.  It will help us  see and reflect God’s glory in the world and lead us to worship Him.  This is what studying chemistry – even from a “secular” book – has helped me do.  It has helped me to understand the sovereignty of God on a whole new level – He is in control of every single particle down to the minutest subatomic level.  He governs the laws that control how all of these elements interact with one another.   I have no practical need to apply the information that I’ve read in this book, but my knowledge of God has increased.   That alone makes study worth pursuing.
This is what I aspire to give to my children as well.   I don’t merely want to prepare them for the world beyond our home.
I want them to get a little glimpse of God’s glory.

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