What is the Relationsip between secular knowledge, morality, and eschatology or purpose in the context of the CRCNA?

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  I believe the answer cuts accross many different topics, but perhaps the most important is social justice. This opens up a discussion about the relationships between government, secular knowledge, economics, and governance. But, to narrow it down to a single issue, here is an example: what is the meaning of human enhancement in the context of the crcna, and what is the relationship between what God wants, what is true, and what we ought to do about it? More narrowly still, should humans 'improve' themselves, and how are we to decide what improvement is? For example, should the market decide who gets which enhancement or should God decide, and how would we know that is what God wants for us? Sorry, this is such a broad topic, but I think you get the gist of what I am asking. Any answer you give would be nice, but if you could contrast it with an answer great Christians of the past might have given (such as Descartes, or St. Augustine of Hippo) that would be very helpful. For example, if God wants us to have better vision why didn't he make us that way, or offer us advice on how to do so?

 

 

 

 

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I certainly am able to answer everything that you are talking about, partly because I'm not getting what your main idea is.  I do have one question and one answer though.

My question is what do you mean by secular knowledge?  I'm afraid that you are forming a false dichotomy.  Is there knowledge that is secular and knowledge that is unsecular?  All knowledge comes from God.

To answer your last question we have to go back to Genesis.  God created us with perfect vision.  It was our sin that brought about all these physical problems.  By God's grace we are able to improve our vision through glasses, surgery, etc.  God could have left us with the results of our sin and never helped us.  Instead, He graciously gives us help.

I know I haven't hit the meat of your discussion.  Hopefully others can.

There is a big difference between science being compatible with the bible and God teaching man about the natural world. Hence my term, 'secular knowledge'. That is the discintction I am drawing, and to understand what I mean by secular knowledge, plese stick to this idea.

 

For example, suppose God didn't just describe the world in genesis, but also black holes, quasars, and so on. Then I would see your point. There are things God could describe that we will never know about since he was there from the begining. Anyway, my point is about the stuff of the natural world that God does not describe. Whether or not this is derivable or consistent with the bible is a seperate matter. Basically, you haven't offered a direction of where we should go with 'secular' knowledge.

 

Matthew, it sounds like to me, that maybe you are saying that there are two kinds of knowledge:  one derived from scripture (what God tells us), and one derived from nature or what we see (secular).    This is one way of understanding a difference.  Craig is hinting at a problem with that in the sense that secular knowledge comes from what God created.  Secular knowledge is based on what we see of God's creation, God's natural laws working. 

So what is the relationship to morality, eschatology and purpose, you ask?   One relationship is that they are directly connected, not disjointed.  The laws that God gave us in scripture are related to the creation that He made.  The creation that He made reveals also who He is and what He is like, but often we don't understand this very well unless we know scripture.  The Bible says His word is all connected.  The word that spoke creation into being, is the word of God, and is also the son of God, who is the Word made flesh. 

A secular person will try to separate the secular from God, but as Christians, we know it all belongs to Him.  We can also see how God's moral laws for us make sense from an empirical perspective, even thought that is not our primary purpose for obedience to God.  Scripture provides with a lens and perspective on how to see the laws of nature.... for example how does predation fit in, or how does murder or adultery fit in to nature.... is it natural or unnatural and why?   Our value judgements color how we look at empirical evidence;  the empirical evidence is what we see, but does not by itself determine whether what we see is good or bad. 

In some cases, it is even difficult to determine meaning of empirical evidence without a value framework, or without a world and life view.   Is monogamy good or bad... is pornography acceptible or not.... are bribes another form of taxes.... should parents or government raise children.... is it okay if some species become extinct....  does it matter if poor people starve...   etc.   Usually world and life views even shape the collection of evidence, the way "secular" news is presented, and the interpretation or investigation of empirical evidence.   EG.  it is true that both the inquistion and Stalin and Hitler killed many people, but which one is more significant to you, and why? 

How do you interpret other phenomena for example.  Empirically we know that there were giant camels and mastodons and other mammals and large trees in the high artic and the Yukon, some frozen, and some fossilized;  we know that there were dragonflies with four foot wingspans and we know that there are many seashells on the tops of mountains.  What we interpret is how they got there, and it makes sense for people to derive that interpretation within the context of  their world and life view. 

Maybe this gets a little closer to answering your question? 

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