Text of Human Rebellion and Education Michael Goheen Trinity Western University Langley, B.C., Canada
Human Rebellion and Education Michael Goheen Trinity Western University Langley, B.C., Canada
Danger of minimizing sin Believers often have an inadequate awareness of their adversary or arch-enemy who is near by and crouching at the door (Genesis 4:7). Our tendency to minimize the gravity, scope, and power of sin reducing it to individual disobedience is much more than an intellectually deficiency. It puts us in urgent peril because sin is a very vicious and mortal enemy, an irascible and persistent power, which must certainly be known in order to be overcome. (Berkouwer)
Fall into sin Tree of knowledge of good and evil (2.15-17) Arbitrary commandwhy? Satanic temptation Doubt about divine source or fairness Unbelief Imaging life in disobedience to Gods word Willful disobedience
Forfeiting the glory of creaturehood Man has take leave of the relation of dependence. He has refused to obey and has willed to make himself independent. No longer is obedience the guiding principle of his life, but his autonomous knowledge and will. Thereby he ceases, in effect, to understand himself as a creature. (Von Rad) In desiring to be like God man thrusts himself into a dismal and self-defeating privation. In so doing he forfeits the glory of his creaturehood. (Berkouwer)
Characterising Sin: Against God Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight (Psalm 51:4 TNIV).
Characterising Sin: Idolatry They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creatorwho is forever praised (Romans 1:25). If human beings are inescapably religious, driven always to seek an object of worship, then the fall cannot be characterised solely as revolt against the rightful Lord: It must be described further as exchange of religious allegiance.
God or an idol Human beings are inherently religious creatures. We cannot live without a god, even if it is one of our own making. We need a center, an ultimate focus, a point of orientation for our lives. We have in fact two alternatives. Either we serve the Lord and obey his will, or we practice idolatry and disobedience (Walsh and Middleton).
Sin as Idolatry If human beings are inescapably religious, driven always to seek an object of worship, then the fall cannot be characterised solely as revolt against the rightful Lord: It must be described further as exchange of religious allegiance (Chaplin).
Idolatry as epitome of sin Idolatry is essentially a declaration of autonomy and independence from our Creator, our rejection of his rightful kingship.... Idolatry is portrayed in the Bible not as merely one sin among many, but as the epitome of sin. It is the central act of disobedience which disrupts Yahwehs rule over human life (Walsh and Middleton).
Sin as idolatry
Relational dimension of sin Not transgression of impersonal standard Marital analogy: Against exclusive loyalty of marriage relationship (e.g.,Jeremiah 3, Hosea) Paternal analogy: Against kindness, generosity, goodness of Father
Characterising sin: Against creation Against human life, against shalom, against health, against prosperity, against wholeness, against human flourishing. Am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame? (Jeremiah 7:19). ... disobedience goes against the very grain of creation itself. Sin is rebellion against both the structure and the Structurer of reality. Such rebellion is inevitably self-defeating and self- destroying.
Wages of sin is death See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if you heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed.... I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
Sin as covenant rebellion
Sin as a personal power Romans 7.8-11 Sin: a seductive power, a damning power, an active dynamic and destructive force (Berkouwer) Sin is a power that seeks to rule and ruin everyone and everything. (Berkouwer)
Characterising the power of sin Redirecting power: it redirects our allegiance to an idol. Malevolent: idolatry aims at our destruction. Seductive: it deceptively conceals its appalling nature and as it lures us to death. Disfiguring: it corrupts and distorts Gods good creation.
Parasitic quality of sin A parasite is an organism that lives off the life blood of another; it is an uninvited guest that keeps tapping its host for sustenance. (Plantinga) Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled.(CS Lewis) Sin is nothing and can do nothing apart from the creatures and the powers which God has created; yet it organizes all these in open rebellion against him. (Bavinck)
Scope of Sin Personal lives Communal expression Non-human creation (Romans 8.19-22)
Culture: Common way of life rooted in a shared core religious beliefs in form of story.
Heart of culture Religious beliefs are an organising dynamic and directing power of the various elements of cultural lifeeconomic, technical, scientific, artistic, social, and communal. (Brunner)
Three biblical rules The first rule is that every man is serving god(s) in his life. Secondly, every man is transformed into an image of his god. Finally, mankind creates and forms a structure of society in its own image.
Creating society in deformed image In the development of human civilization, man forms, creates and changes the structure of his society, and in doing so he portrays in his work the intention of his own heart. He gives to the structure of that society something of his own image and likeness. In it he betrays something of his own lifestyle, of his own god (Goudzwaard).
Goudzwaard on Ideologies Ideologies: Humanly constructed stories that fill the spiritual vacuum after the Enlightenment. Make an end for human society absolute (e.g., material wealth and prosperity) Certain social powers or forces identified as means by which the goal can be achieved (e.g., freedom of market); saviours or powers which people put their faith in. Place ourselves under power of these saviours Transform whole of society
Ideology and Education How has this ideology affected education? Focus on Neil Postmans End of Education
Failure of the gods ... the crisis in narrative the decline of once-sturdy gods. (25) ... both students and teachers lack a narrative to provide profound meaning to their lessons. (51) god: ... a comprehensive narrative about what the world is like, how things got to be the way they are, and what lies ahead. (6)
What god will your school serve? The truth is that school cannot exist without some reason for its being, and in fact there are several gods our students are presently asked to serve. (27)
God of Economic Utility If you pay attention in school, and do your homework, and score well on tests, and behave yourself, you will be rewarded with a well-paying job when you are done. Its driving idea is that the purpose of schooling is to prepare children for competent entry into the economic life of a community. (27)
Transformed into the image of our god The narrative/god of economic utility ... tells us that we are first and foremost economic creatures, and that our sense of worth and purpose is to be found in our capacity to secure material benefits. (28)
God of Consumership One may wonder, then, why this god [economic utility] has so much strength, why the preparation for making a living, which is well-served by any decent education, should be assigned a metaphysical position of such high station. I believe the reason is that the god of Economic Utility is coupled with another god, one with a smiling face and one that provides an answer to the question, If I get a good job, then what? (33)
God of Consumership Devotion to the god of Consumership serves easily as the metaphysical basis of schooling because it is urged on the young early in their lives, long before they get to schoolin fact, as soon as they are exposed to the powerful teachings of the advertising industry. (33)
God of Technology ... That people believe technology works, that they rely on it, that it makes promises, that they are bereft when denied access to it, that they are de