Christianity and history have always been allies. Leopold Von Ranke's observation that history, more often than philosophy, convinces more people that Christianity is true is certainly confirmed by the Christian view of this discipline. The Bible contains a great deal more history than philosophy (though they are interdependent). Christianity is rooted in history and without its historical roots there would be no Christian worldview (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Nearly all the key junctures of history, from the Christian perspective, can be summarized by reference to a few landmark historical events—the revelation of God through the creation of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1); the special creation of male and female as body and spirit (Genesis 1:26-27); the rebellion of mankind against his Creator (Genesis 3:1-15); the revelation of God through the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and Israel; the crossing of the Red Sea; the appearance of God in history in the person of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind from sin (1 Timothy 3:16); the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthains 15); the revelation of God through His Church, the Body of Christ; the judgment of the world (Acts 17:31); and the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem for the redeemed of all ages (Revelation 21). Christian history, like Marxist and Humanist history, has past, present, and future characteristics. But Christians adhere to a distinctly linear, rather than a cyclical, view.
For Christians, the Bible is a work of beauty and truth—a word from God concerning His love for His creation—not a work of myth and legend. The Bible is accurate, describing events that actually occurred in history. Twentieth-century archaeology generally reinforces Biblical history, including the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), the historicity of the patriarchs and the exodus, and the historical background surrounding the virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Of course, St. Paul's statement regarding history in 1 Corinthians 10:1f. ("I would not have you to be ignorant of [history]") is a solid base for a philosophy of history. Christians are certainly exhorted to learn from history (1 Corinthians 10:11). St. Paul also made it very clearesurrection of Christ as an historical event which occurred in Jerusalem around A.D. 30.
Stephen's defense of the faith in Acts 7 is a lesson on God's redemptive history. Luke, author of two books in the Bible (the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts), was a meticulous historian. The historical Bible (the written Word of God) and Jesus Christ (the living Word of God made flesh) are the two cornerstones of the Christian worldview. If the Bible is not history, or if Jesus Christ is not “God with us” (Matthew 1:23), Christianity crumbles. Therefore, Christians are justified in investing a great deal of time and effort defending both foundation stones.
Naturally, Humanists (whether Secular, Marxist or Cosmic) cannot accept the Bible as an accurate historical document. The character and action of Christ shatter every basic tenet of an atheistic, naturalistic, evolutionary view of history. Instead of God planning and manifesting His creative and redemptive acts (history being a record of such acts), the Marxist has to trust the fateful dialectic, and the Secular Humanist must wishfully trust man's ability to direct future evolution. Neither of these two worldviews can satisfactorily account for the purpose manifest in the world—nor, for that matter, can the Cosmic Humanist (New Age) worldview. The Christian, has a simple yet profound answer—"In the beginning, God." The only wise and true God gives purpose and order to His creation. We are part of His vast creative order, and we are responsible to God. We cannot save ourselves—even from physical death. But God can, and history tells us He offered His Son as a perfect sacrifice for that special purpose.
It is the Christian position that God created the heavens and the earth and all things therein. It takes a blind faith—in essence, a darkness of mind (Romans 1:21-22, 28)—to believe that everything is a result of chance. Christians understand God created history when He created time, and we know God controls the universe and will bring history to a fitting close (Acts 17:24-31).
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Author: Adapted from Understanding the Times: The Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth, by David A. Noebel, published by Harvest House Publishers and available from Summit Ministries.
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