Author: Pastor Paul A. Bartz
A God-pleasing use of the intellect does not come automatically to the Christian. It requires training and learning, as well as practice before reason can be used, and very special training to use our reason in a God-pleasing way. The only source for truly Christian training of our reason is the Bible.
Children think differently than do teenagers or adults. As we mature, we make more use of our reason, as life demands of us. If a child has been taught the story of creation and Adam and Eve in the primary grades, he has learned what the Bible says. However, as he grows he begins to use his reason in a more complex way. If he is not trained in the Biblical and God-pleasing way of reasoning, the world, the devil and his own flesh will teach him another way of reasoning. In the end, as experience shows, the first grade understanding of creation will have great difficulty standing up to 8th, 10th, or 12th grade reasoning which has been taken over by the devil, the world, or the flesh. This is essentially what Paul is recognizing when he writes in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a Child I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man I did away with childish things.” Paul is not saying that as adults we do away with what we learn as children. What he is saying is that as adults our needs are so different than when we were children that we must learn new ways – ways which are, of course, built on the foundations laid in childhood.
In the next verse we see that St. Paul is comparing the actions of a child to an adult in order to show that we are still very much children in relation to what we shall see clearly in eternity. Likewise, the adult sees much more than the child. So the Christian education that we give to children only indirectly prepares them for the challenges of adulthood by providing a basis for continuing growth toward what will result, finally, in adulthood.
The child’s education on the Biblical approach to creation is not completed after even four years of studying the creation story in Sunday School. The Church’s mission of teaching the basics about creation is not completed until a person reaches adulthood with a full understanding that the Biblical teaching on creation also has a firm basis in the observable world – the sciences.
In Luke 2:52 we read about how the 12-year-old Jesus, according to His human nature, increased in wisdom as well as stature. Wisdom is a very complex thing. Wisdom includes knowledge, and the right use of reason in order to properly, and in a God-pleasing way, apply that knowledge. This is a crucial point to be noted at this stage of Jesus’ human life. At this age He was just starting into His teen years – a time when our understanding changes from the needs of a child to the needs of an adult. We all know that these years are probably the most difficult years of life. Yet how many churches miss this point in their ministry and provide young people with no help in the scientific area for dealing with origins? It is no accident that the devil has, using those who have rejected God, designed that this age is the time to hit young people the hardest with evolution.
The use of reason to compare the physical world with what God says is commanded in Scripture. If we do not practice this for our entire adult lives, the Truth will not change, but we run a high risk of losing the Truth. In Deuteronomy 13:1-5, the Israelites were warned to compare both a prophet’s prophecy and message with the physical world. God here tells His people what to watch for in order to evaluate the prophet’s message. In Deuteronomy 18:22 we find a similar command. God here rejects the idea of “taking a leap of faith,” and commands His people to consider only the words of a prophet who has never given a sign that did not come to pass. Only a prophet with a perfect record could be God’s prophet.
By these examples we see that God demands the use of our reason to evaluate the physical world in light of His Holy Word. All our thinking and understanding must be ruled by the Word of God. This is the underlying basis of creationism, and the rational from which creationists begin their work, ultimately to give glory to Jesus Christ! This must also be the goal of Christian education.
Some things to discuss:
Does Christian education say, “Don’t question the ‘why,’ just believe it!”?
Some people talk about making a “leap of faith,” because what the Bible says has no correlation with the physical world. Is this really true?
Does this lead people to live as though the Word of God has nothing to do with the real world?
Is it likely that young peoples’ loss of interest in the Church can be largely traced, ultimately, to the church’s failure to teach young people how to make Christian use of their reason?
How does this leave young people unprepared for the scientific and moral challenges to their faith as they learn to deal with the world as adults?
Is it likely that many church members do little in putting their hands, feet, and other gifts to work for Christ because they have never learned how to put their reason to work with Him?
What kinds of programs can a congregation adopt in order to solve this problem?
Copyright Â© 1983 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Paul A. Bartz. Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839 Foley, MN 56329 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com