Equipping our students to participate in truth, by fulfilling their calling to mirror the creative-redemptive God, first requires us to answer the question ‘what is truth’? In the Gospels, there is recorded a conversation between the Lord Jesus and Pilate. Jesus said “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me…”
This means that Jesus embodied in His personhood and the life he lived in the world the nature of ultimate reality. In response, Pilate asked “what is truth?” Jesus told his disciples “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)
As Christian teachers, our most wonderful privilege is to know Christ and to bring our lives into conformity with His truth that leads to wholeness. “We teach who we are” (P Palmer) and we have the role to lead our students to the Source of all truth. The Bible’s purpose and authority is that it teaches us to understand all aspects of existence ‘Sub Specie Dei (under the sight of God)’ – humanity, creation, history and the future. Holistic learning calls students away from self-determination to the pursuit of their Creator who made them in His image.
Biblical truth corresponds to and expresses the nature of reality. It is the true story about God and His creation which enables us to know truly but not exhaustively. In Christ all things hold together (Colossians 1:17) and it is only in relation to him that reality can make sense and find its true meaning. The Bible then is foundational for our schools in every generation as its story is the interpretative framework for drawing our students into its plot and locating their lives in God’s great purpose.
Consider the Science teacher who wants her students to consider that reality is more than we can observe and measure. In tracing the wonder of God’s creational design, meaningful scientific conversations can help students to think about the relationship between the non-material and the material world and the rationality embedded in the creative order.
She poses a question “why is the kettle boiling on the stove?” and asks for a scientific reason and a non-scientific reason to explain this phenomena. A student responds by explaining the law of thermodynamics whereby heat applied to water causes it to boil. This is a scientific fact which has been discovered by reason. Another student replies that it is boiling because grandma wants a cup of tea. This speaks to purpose and is revealed truth. Science can never achieve pre-determined purpose. Revelation is necessary if we want a holistic explanation of the physical world. God’s Word enables us to understand the relationship between the material and non-material aspects of our existence. God has designed the laws that govern the way the material world works and these point to His existence. (Romans 1:20)
The goal is that our students’ lives will be characterised ‘not by the accumulation of disembodied, unconnected facts, … but by … interconnected wisdom that traces the wise and loving way that God orders this world in all its rich diversity.” (Brian Walsh)
Consider a unit of work you are currently teaching. What questions can you pose to your students which will enable them to explore the learning through the lens of God’s Story? In the above example, what are the implications for our lives if it is a closed material world?
“… Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)
Grace and Peace
The Excellence Centre