One narrative frames all truth
Every narrative has a beginning. The opening line of a narrative is the beginning of the story line. The story line creates the framework for the characters in the story. This is true not only of written stories, but of cultural narratives as well.
The narrative for human life is revealed in the Bible. What’s the opening line of the biblical narrative? “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That opening of the story line of the Bible creates the framework for our understanding of all of life. In particular, for the purposes of this post, it guides our understanding of education, the pursuit of truth, and the life of free and responsible human beings.
The biblical narrative begins with God and not with nature or man. God is the first and the last. He is before the beginning and after the end of human history. It is His existence and presence that gives our lives meaning.
The narrative continues with Genesis 1:26-28:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The truth about humans: imago Dei
Here the narrative establishes our identity and our purpose. As to identity, we are made male and female in the image of God. Our purpose is established in the cultural mandate with its two subordinating principles: first, to form families and second, to have dominion over creation.
We find in the biblical narrative that being made in the image of God means we are reasonable and volitional creatures, with the freedom to live in the midst of reality.
In any consideration of education, we are concerned with the concept of Truth. We see the importance of truth stressed in both the gospel of John and the book of Acts.
We read in John 8:31-32, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
We find four noteworthy elements here.
First, Jesus is addressing “the Jews who had believed him.” These were believers but not disciples.
Second, note also that Jesus makes a distinction between believers and disciples. To be a disciple is to abide in (“live in,” “continue in”) God’s word.
Third, there are good consequences for continuing in God’s word. When we continue living in God’s word, we will “know the truth.”
Fourth, to know the truth leads to freedom.
There is an organic relationship between truth and freedom. And conversely, believing lies brings negative consequences: bondage and poverty.
The source of truth: revelation
Acts 17:11 gives further insight. “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
The Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians. The Greek word translated “more noble” is eugenes and means to be open-minded. The mind that is open to new ideas, open to asking questions in search of the truth, is more noble than an ignorant mind that does not ask questions. Why? Because truth is of paramount importance, and its pursuit is a noble undertaking. The Bereans were interested in truth. Where was truth to be found? In the scriptures. The Bereans examined the scriptures every day to check the veracity of Paul’s words. They were careful to abide in the scriptures.
– Darrow Miller