• Julee Wilson

HIS Story: Viewing the History of Man through God's Eyes

In the beginning……….

These well-known words mark the origins of many things: embarking on a journey, starting a new book, learning a new skill, and, for the purposes of this paper, the onset of the history of mankind. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” God, through Moses’s hand, begins a believer’s history lesson. If one has attended public school as a child, one’s history lesson would be more like, “In the beginning, there was a big bang, and then evolution took place.” This might not be even part of the History lesson, but more of a Science lesson. I think perhaps, when most people think of the beginning of history, they think of cavemen, grunting, beating their chests, and, perhaps, banging rocks together and accidentally discovering fire. So, what does that have to do with the Bible? Why does it matter how we learn history or where we begin with the beginning? As Michelle Miller, author of Truthquest History Guides, writes in her Beginnings history guide, “There has to be a greater good that makes the turmoil of life, and thus of human history, worthwhile. That is what we are here to discover!” In this paper, I will aim to show the importance of looking at the past through a biblical worldview in order to understand the present and the future biblically. Most importantly, however, I hope to show how looking at History through the eyes of our Creator can draw us closer to Him, teach us about His character, see His glory, and watch His beautiful plan for mankind unfolding right before our eyes!

Before we can tackle the question of why we should look at the history of mankind through a biblical worldview, we must go back further in history and address the question of “In the beginning” itself. God tells us in the very first sentence of the first chapter of the first book of His Word to us that He created the heavens and the earth. But…….who created Him? Where did He come from? When was His “beginning?” God tells us in His word in Isaiah 40:28, “.....the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” He is eternal. He was, is, and always will be! (Psalm 90:2; Job 36:26; Rev 1:8) Since, He has always existed, HE is the One with all authority to create not only the universe and all that is within it, but time itself! Therefore, Michelle Miller writes, “Please think about history in a brand new way, for it is not the first story of mankind, but of the One who made mankind!”

So, God created all the universe, and finally, last, but not least, us. But why? He does not need us - He’s GOD! God created us for His own glory and to make Himself known! (Is. 43:7) Our purpose here on earth is to glorify Him, but also to enjoy Him and delight in Him. (Ps. 16:11) This, in turn, brings Him great joy, and we get to experience this amazing fellowship with our great and mighty Creator! (Is. 62:5) And, so here we begin! Here is how we begin to study history through a biblical worldview - God’s initiation and our response. Our understanding of history shifts from “the History of Mankind” to “HIS Story.” Genesis 1:1 is the Foundation of His Story. From there, in light of our new worldview shift mentioned above, we should approach our view of history asking two “Big Idea” questions, as Michelle Miller dubs them: Who is God? And, based on that answer, Who is mankind?

Studying History through God’s point of view gives us a clearer view of God’s active hand in where we have come from and where He is taking us. We can better understand a godless society’s motives when we understand their beliefs, and how far they/we have strayed from the Garden of Eden into this fallen world. Francis Schaeffer notes in his book, How Should We Then Live?, “Consequently, people are left with no basis for meaning or truth, or hope in life, and instead have adopted the two impoverished values of personal peace and affluence...regardless of what the result will be in lifetimes of [our] children and grandchildren.”

A survey of the Old Testament shows us the Israelites’ repeated turning away from God and need of repentance and a Redeemer. A survey of the Gospels shows us the fulfillment of that salvation through Jesus. And a survey of the rest of the New Testament shows us the ultimate fulfillment of our salvation in knowing and following our Savior and sharing the message with others.

By understanding and learning from this point of view, we can see the pattern of sin from the past and recognize it in the present, having compassion and praying for the lost, and encouraging them with the hope of a future with Christ. We can also understand and possibly see how God allowed these events to bring glory to Himself, and how we, in turn, can continue to bring Him glory in this present day. Francis Schaeffer puts it best, “It is a commitment to God's Word as truth. It is a compassion for a culture that is lost and dying without the gospel. It is a commitment to the costly practice of truth in the midst of the intellectual, moral, and philosophical battles of our day. It is living in the power and reality of the God Who is there, bearing the witness of His Truth across the full spectrum of life and culture.”

Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of Insanity is to keep performing the same action over and over, expecting a different result.” Learning from past history keeps us from making the same mistakes over again. Unfortunately, we have become a society that doesn’t concern ourselves with the past, or we have forgotten or even erased history, and generations later we find ourselves wanting things that ultimately destroyed past civilizations. We’ve removed God from our society in the redefining of “separation of church and state,” and by doing so, have begun to forget our purpose here. If we don’t understand our purpose here and how to execute it in today’s society, then we are not fulfilling the Great Commission to its fullest extent. We need to see this in light of all that is going on around us, so that we can not live in fear of the future but anticipate the glorious return of our Savior.

I didn’t understand the importance of learning and knowing history until I met my husband, who is very passionate about American History. But, my personal journey in discovering and developing a passion for history (specifically beginning with Genesis and how the Bible fits in with the history I learned in school) began with the homeschooling of my children. With the help of other homeschool teachers/moms, I learned to teach history biblically and chronologically, by using original source documents, biographies, and historical fiction to bring history to life. When my children were young, I would read most of these books aloud. At the beginning of history, we would read from the Bible, then look places up on a map, place important people on a timeline, and read about the peoples and cultures of the Bible. This enriched our studies together, and we had many exciting conversations! I look back now and see how much God was using this time for me, as much as for my children, to grow my faith and knowledge of Him.

I would love to be able to teach history to children and adults (women) in this way — through a biblical lens — as a ministry. I believe most people have been taught history by memorizing dry facts and dates (and what sources were these facts from?). Studying history using original source documents, biographies, and living historical fiction brings it all to life and gives purpose to the knowledge, so it can be used to draw conclusions about the state of where we are now and how we can pray for our current leaders and future for our children. With regards to a non-believer, having a biblical understanding of the past can help refute misunderstandings of today’s society and help show them how God sees the history of sinful actions. It can be used as valuable witnessing tool!

In understanding that God orchestrates and is in control of all history, the present, and the future, I have learned so much about God’s character, but, more importantly, I am beginning to learn to trust Him more. I am now constantly reminding myself that this world, this life, is not about me, but about Him. The Holy Spirit continually nudges me to take my eyes off myself, and to look for where God wants to glorify Himself through my circumstances.

History, our story, HIS Story - HIS WORD - is the foundation of our faith. It teaches us the character of God, the nature of ourselves, and how we have and should relate to one another. Without this knowledge and understanding, we are blind - blind to the past and the future, and completely oblivious to what is right in front of us. God is ultimately the only One Who knows and sees the Big Picture. He is the only One Who knows the complete end of the Story and how it is really going to go down. And in the end……..God will still be - and so will we, as believers, with Him for Eternity. We don’t need to be afraid, because “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3. He has given us what we need to know about our future, and for believers, the end is happy. That is why we’re given the Great Commission - to go out into the world and glorify God in all we think, say, and do, being Lights to those in darkness and share the Good News of the Gospel with them, so they know the Happy Ending too. Or in Francis Schaeffer’s words, “...the hope [is] that this generation may turn from the greatest of wickedness, the placing of any created thing in the place of the Creator, and that this generation may get its feet out of the paths of death and may live.”




Bibliography


Beechik, Ruth, Genesis: Finding Our Roots, Pollock Pines,CA, Arrow Press, 1997, pg. 5

Grudem, Wayne, Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 1994, pgs. 169-173, 440-442

MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Study Bible ESV, Wheaton, IL, Crossway, 2010, all scripture references

Miller, Michelle, Truthquest History Guide: Beginnings, Traverse City, MI, 2012, intro pages, 1-5

Schaeffer, Francis, How Should We Then Live?, Wheaton, IL, Crossway, 2005, pgs. 10-11, 258





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