The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

God’s Revelation: The Christian Approach To History (Part 1)


Bible with Cross Shadow

Past historical perspectives offer little help today. The ancient Greeks adhered to a cyclical philosophy of history that saw past events as a series of repetitive cycles—the old adage that history repeats itself. The religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the amorphous New Age Movement, with their common emphasis on reincarnation, all view history similarly. The common element among them all is an absence of hope, meaning, and purpose.

Other approaches to history are inadequate as well. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment saw history through the grid of progress. The Scientific Revolution of the preceding century and the certainty of constructing a science of man created an optimism about humanity that viewed human perfectibility as imminent. Destroyed by the carnage of the twentieth century (two World Wars and the Holocaust), the view of progress is no longer viable. Modern existentialism or postmodernism offer no meaning to history except individual autonomy and choice.

Biblical Christianity’s approach, rooted in God’s revelation, gives hope and solid confidence for the future. This approach has four essential aspects:

First, the Bible calls for a worldview that rejects the cyclical model of history. The ancient Hebrews saw history as a line with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Creation marked the initiation of history with God creating the universe ex nihilo. The Old Testament records God revealing Himself to men and women through many means, while the New Testament demonstrated His power and purposes through miracles and signs. The greatest revelation, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, bifurcates history, and when He returns, Christ will bring history to an end. For the Christian, then, history is linear, has purpose and meaning, and is filled with hope.

Second, the Christian approach to history is a commitment to God’s sovereignty. Daniel 4:17, 25 affirms in the message to King Nebuchad-nezzar that God rules in the affairs of men, seeking the counsel of no one. The Old Testament also declares that God’s sovereignty entails overruling the evil deeds of men so that His purposes are attained. The narrative of Joseph details God’s providence over his life—“the Lord was with Joseph”—despite the evil intents of Potiphar’s wife and of Joseph’s brothers. God’s purpose was to preserve life, and Joseph was His means of doing that. Furthermore, God’s sovereignty extends to the counsel that rulers receive. Second Samuel 17:14 demonstrates that God thwarted the counsel of Absalom’s adviser, Ahithophel, to secure the safety of David’s retreat from Absalom.

Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews : A biblical understanding of worldview alternatives (123–125). Wheaton Ill.: Crossway Books.

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September 6, 2010 - Posted by | Revelation | , , , , ,

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