We all exercise dominion. It is one of the great attributes that we inherit by virtue of being created in the image of God. What is unique about this attribute is that it is not just inherited, we are commanded to use this attribute correctly.
We make choices and judgements according to our purposes, acting freely within the boundaries of our created nature. So, what does all this mean regarding education? It means that if we are going to educate a student’s behavior, we must educate students in a manner that recognizes their free will.
hate grammar. There is no way around it. I despise it! I am not good at it. I don’t have a big desire to work harder at it. I hate it. I hate it so much that I don’t bother to proof read my posts, but rather, send them off my wife or to an editor to proofread. That being said, I learned something amazing from sentence diagramming.
While in between teaching classes at Artios Academies one day, I stumbled across one of our amazing teachers tutoring a 9 year old child in sentence diagramming.
Absolute morality exists and is knowable. This is the first thing we must acknowledge when attempting to educate morality. The second thing we must understand is that God and His Word is the standard for this absolute morality. This is one aspect of educating that though often considered, the approach is too often ineffective.
C.S. Lewis writes in The Abolition of Man:
“Education without values only serves to make man a more clever devil”
This is absolutely true. Man is born fallen and with the natural inclination to sin. Any ability taught to man through education, apart from the biblical way to use that ability, only gives man another way to sin. When we educate our children and students, we must do so in a way that not only teaches them how to do something, but also the biblical reasoning and biblical way to do it.
The very first thing that we learn about God is that he is a Creator. “In the beginning God CREATED…”. He formed the world in all its diversity, colors, simplicity, and grandeur. And then He declared it all to be good. This profound attribute of creativity is something that we, as image bearers, possess. We see this attribute displayed in the art we create, the concepts and ideas that we envision, the businesses we form, and so many other ways. However; in our educational settings we often squash a child’s creativity.
Rationality is an essential aspect of God’s character. We see this in the creation story. Creation was made in a very rational and thoughtful process.
- On the first day God created the heavens and the earth.
- On the second day God created separated sky and waters.
- On the third day God gathered the waters into one place allowing dry land.
The events that we see in the creation story are no doubt the work of a rational and thoughtful God.
Rationality, reason, and thinking are attributes that we inherit by virtue of being created in God’s image. It something that is inescapable of humans. We think and act with rationality in everything we do. This is something we do by virtue of existing and bearing God’s image. Learning to think and reason correctly is something that must be taught to students.
“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2
We must teach our students and children to think correctly, to reason as image bearers of God, and to view the world as God views the world.
Now, this next part is VERY important. There are those who would say it is better to wait to teach children reason or logic until they are older. They say that the “child” is not capable to be taught how to reason correctly; however, this view is incredibly incorrect and dangerous. To say this is to deny that children, regardless of age, are image bearers of God. It says that the “thinking” aspect of God’s character doesn’t apply to young children. But any parents who’s child has argued and convinced them to stay up past bedtime knows that children are capable of thinking rationally.
All of the attributes of God that we inherit by being made in his image are present in us from the beginning. They must all be developed and trained to be used correctly from the earliest age.
When we look at our children or students, we must understand that they bear the image of a rational and thoughtful creator. We must acknowledge this ability for students of all ages. It is something that we must develop and instruct correctly and with purpose in order to educate them to perfectly and completely fulfill the purpose that God has for them.
Almost daily I visit the Desiring God website. It is a great source of encouragement and edification for me. This morning I stumbled upon this video. It is a video of Noel and Talitha Piper, John Piper’s wife and daughter.
John Piper rediscovered an incredible theology called “Christian Hedonism”. It is essentially the idea that we are able to take pleasure in God and pleasure in Life because God takes pleasure in himself. It is a beautifully simple idea that can be hard for many Christians understand, but Noel Piper explains the idea through the simplicity of apple pie.
This post is Part I of the Educating In the Image of God series. When I listed the attributes of God that we inherit by virtue of being created in his image, Purposeful was the first one I listed. We start with this attribute because it is profoundly important to wrap our brains and hearts around this concept so we may explore the remaining attributes with a proper frame of reference. We all know that God acts with purpose, but do we always act like we know it?
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
God has a purpose for everything he does and if we are bearing the image of God, we must do all things (including educating) with purpose. As parents, teachers, and educators, we must know the goal and our purpose in education. Donavon Graham, author of the book Redemptive Teaching, gives the best goal of education I’ve ever read.
The task of true education is to develop knowledge of God and His created reality and to use that knowledge in exercising a creative-redemptive dominion over the world in which we live. Such an outcome can be attained only by loving God and communing with him, resulting in the wholehearted worship of God.
You notice that in this “purpose statement” of education, there is nothing about concepts. There is no list of subjects or standard course competencies that should be taught. The entire purpose of education is to allow us to see God, God’s created reality, and to use that knowledge to serve and glorify Him. Every course should be designed with this purpose in mind – from conception to outline to final exam, always giving priority to the “Who” over the “What”.
My name is John Lane. I’m a student, teacher, disciple of Christ, and husband to the lovely Windy Lane. (yep, thats her real name!) My wife and I live in Atlanta, GA where we both work and teach at Artios Academies.
We love our work and love our students. In my classes, I often teach about living with purpose and intention.
Through my work at Artios Academies I have had the opportunity to speak to several organizations around the country.
My passions include my work, my family, my wife, the outdoors, theology, Art, culture, how I might strive to combine all of these passions to Glorify God.
A FEW NOTES ABOUT THIS BLOG:
- I post 3 times a week.
- I mainly post about Christianity, Culture, and Education.
- My posts are intended to spur conversation and help me to clarify my own thoughts.
- Not everything is on the blog is reflective of my current opinions. ( I reserve the right to change my mind)