Recently, I have explored what it is to have God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And in it, I have concluded that the only way for God’s will to be done on earth is for everyone to collectively choose God before the self. However, it is pretty hard for us to make sense of God-centred living without a proper and tangible guide. Many people, including myself, struggled with what it meant to live a life where God takes the center place. Do we follow everything the Bible says and disregard everything else? Do we follow every single thing that is stated in the Bible without questioning why? Do we take the Bible as the ultimate truth and ignore everything the world says?
“To understand what it meant to lead a God-centred life, we must first relook the ideas of education and change our attitude in knowledge acquisition.”
To understand what it meant to lead a God-centred life, we must first relook the ideas of education and change our attitude in knowledge acquisition. The question we must ask ourselves is this: where is God in our quest for knowledge?
Let us first look at the method of knowledge acquisition that is most commonly used today – the scientific method. The scientific method aims to help one derive causal explanations for observable phenomena. It is done through careful observation of natural phenomena, creating cognitive assumptions, formulating hypotheses through induction, experimenting to measure deductions about the hypotheses, and refine (or eliminate) hypotheses based on experimental findings. The central objective of this method is to provide causal explanations for natural phenomena in their given ‘natural’ context without acknowledgment of anything that is beyond the realm of the physical world.
Now that we have understood the modern method of knowledge acquisition, we will need to be sure of God’s position in this process to shape the way we see the world.
There are two ways of viewing God-centred education: 1) A complete rejection of the scientific causal explanation of natural phenomena and judge the world based on the scripture, and 2) Acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all things and research in humble admiration for all that He has done.
A Complete Rejection of the Scientific Method to Explain Natural Phenomena and Judge Solely Based on Biblical Texts.
In my post, “The Complementary Nature of Religion and the Sciences”, I touched on how the religion and sciences should be used to complement each other to help us understand things within and beyond the observable universe. It will give us a better understanding of the universe’ creator and provide societal predictions that the current method is not able to give.
A complete rejection of sciences will blind the natural mind to the vast richness of God’s glory and wisdom. This complete rejection of sciences that blinded humanity from scientific breakthrough and persecuted scientists for their work was in full display when the Roman Catholic Church classified Galileo Galilei’s idea of a heliocentric solar system as a heresy. The popular understanding of the heliocentric solar system that we all hold today was something that this Italian astronomer fought for. For science, Galileo stood through trials, was imprisoned for life, tortured, and was almost executed in a death sentence (Wolf, 2016).
Even though Galileo renounced his findings of a heliocentric solar system in his later years, his work paved the groundwork for later scientific analysis about the true nature of the universe. Had the Catholic church treated Galileo and his heliocentric theory differently, greater scientific findings would have taken place.
In Galileo’s conflict with the Roman Catholic Church, the main item that the church used against Galileo was the description that happened to Joshua when God allowed the Sun to “stand still over Gibeon” and the “moon over the valley of Aijalon” (Joshua 10:12, NIV). With the complete rejection of scientific analysis and rationalization, the church took the scripture at face value and concluded that the earth must be the center of the universe for it did not move while the sun and moon did.
“Rejecting the scientific method may cause people to take scripture at face-value. The study of scripture at face-value will cause people to judge others based on their outward behavior without considering the factors that cause them to be that way.”
Rejecting the scientific method may in itself cause people to take scripture at face-value. The study of scripture at face-value will cause people to judge others based on their outward behavior without considering the factors that cause them to be that way. This led to the heated debate about whether or not the church should accept LGBT people into the church. While the issue appears to be on the topic of LGBT, did the church realize that there are other factors that played a part in the formation of this trend? The issue of LGBT couples in the church comes alongside the rise of divorce rates, blended families, single-parent families, and pre-marital sex. And these issues can be largely attributed to the lack of understanding of social factors that led to these social trends.
Some factors that led to the breaking apart of Christian families are the lack of understanding about the sanctity of marriage, the inability to manage conflicts within the family, and the lack of understanding about the purpose of marriage. All these contribute to the changes in societal trends that appear to downgrade the family unit in an attempt to put increased emphasis on self-gratification.
When we completely ignore scientific evidence and take issues on at face-value, we will not be able to solve the imminent crisis that is currently unfolding before our eyes. When the Bible says that something is wrong, He also says that there is a root to that problem that needs to be solved – what is it?
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind so that they do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:28, NIV).
If the root of the problem is people thinking that it is not worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, then should it be worthwhile to evaluate whether or not the people who teach the knowledge of God acknowledge the importance of it so that people might see the severity of going against it?
Acknowledgment of God’s Sovereignty over All Things and Research in Humble Admiration for All that He has done.
Another way to look at the world is to look at it objectively with God in His rightful place. This meant acknowledging that He is indeed the Creator and He is beyond the realm of the observable universe. Knowledge acquisition will no longer be fixated on answering the question of why things happen the way they happened. Rather, the focus of knowledge acquisition will be to understand God’s awesome handiwork and His wisdom.
“When we look at the world objectively with God in His rightful place, the focus of knowledge acquisition will be to understand God’s awesome handiwork and His wisdom.”
In fact, this exact method of knowledge acquisition can be found in Early Islamic teachings in Medieval Islam. During the early days of Islam, the pursuit of sciences and scholarship to understand the natural world was seen as the duty of every Muslim. To them, Allah will direct whoever who pursues knowledge to paradise (Science and technology, n.d.). In fact, the pursuit of knowledge is seen as the best way for Muslim to know God (Muslims Contribution to Science, n.d.).
For them, they recognized that everything in the created universe is the work of God and the study of created things is the study of God’s wisdom. And because everything in the world displays God’s wisdom, this strongly motivated Muslims to explore, develop, and apply empirical laws in the scientific realm. This made them excel in all areas of academia and established the foundations of modern mathematics and sciences.
The fact that the Muslims had done it proved that when we acknowledge the sovereignty of God, we will likewise be able to make sense of the natural world through empirical studies. When we study the natural world, we are to humble ourselves in adoration of God’s handiwork, admiring His wisdom that is displayed in every corner of the created world. After all, “the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalms 19:1, NIV). Shouldn’t it be our duty to see what He has done and praise Him for all the things that He has made for us?
Societal Progress and Constant Worship
When the focus of knowledge acquisition is on God, we will have constant worship for Him. Children will learn to worship God when they are taught the wisdom in God’s creation. Researchers will worship through the admiration of every new findings that they have established in science, acknowledging that God’s wisdom is beyond human understanding and there is always something new to learn. Policy makers will worship through their admiration of Old Testament’s scripture and for God’s almighty providence for people of all social-classes. They will model after God’s law and shape policies based on cultural context that will bring about social progress. Teachers will worship when they prepare lesson plans because there is nothing else better than sharing and teaching God’s awesome knowledge the younger generation. Designers will worship when they consider and reference God’s magnificent design in nature. Workers will too worship in joyful admiration of God’s created order of the society.
When we change our focus of knowledge acquisition to be on God, God’s kingdom will definitely come, and “His will” will undoubtedly be on earth as it is in heaven.
Muslims Contribution to Science. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.iupui.edu/~msaiupui/contributiontoscinece.htm
The Prohibition of the Heliocentric Theory (1616). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://muse.tau.ac.il/museum/galileo/prohibition_helioce.html
Science and technology in Medieval Islam. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/scienceislam_education/docs/Science_and_technology_in_Medieval_Islam-Teachers_notes.pdf
Wolf, J. (2016). The truth about Galileo and his conflict with the Catholic Church. Retrieved from http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/the-truth-about-galileo-and-his-conflict-with-the-catholic-church
Picture was taken from Pixabay.