Why We Should Take Our Bibles to History Class

If something happens, is there a way to think about it that is truthful? Does every event have a particular meaning or is it open to interpretation? Does everything depend on how one looks at it, a myriad of perceptual angles? 


For Cornelius Van Til, all events in history are part of God's plan. Consequently, the interpretation of an event has taken place prior to the event. The truth about the event is known, by God, long before the event occurs. For human beings this means that interpreting an event truthfully is to "think God's thoughts after him." However, not all that human beings can know about events can be known just by watching them. For some knowledge can only be had if God speaks. For example, Adam and Eve could only know about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil if God told them about it:
"Man could not know from nature itself that the result of eating from the Tree of Good and Evil would spell his death. Hence we may speak of the revelation as being positive instead of natural. It had to be a direct communication of thought content on the part of God to man. Then too we may speak of this revelation as supernatural in opposition to natural. It was a revelation that man could not obtain by ever so diligent an application of his thought activity to the phenomena of nature" (An Introduction to Systematic Theology, p. 125-126).
For Van Til, this means that God's verbalized interpretation of events is necessary to their intelligibility:
"man was never meant to study nature by means of observation and experiment without connection with positive supernatural thought communication given to him by God. Nature could not be observed for what it actually is except in relation to history, and history cannot be seen for what it is at any stage except it be viewed in relation to its final end. And only by direct supernatural revelation could man have an adequate notion of this end" (An Introduction to Systematic Theology, p. 125-126).
How does this affect how we are to think about history? The most important point, I think, is that the Bible becomes necessary to a truthful understanding of human history, even history not talked about in the Bible. This sounds strange since the Bible clearly talks about some history, but it cannot address everything that has happened. However, even the writers of scripture assumed that they could explain histories (events, cultures, religions etc.) with recourse only to their own Biblical worldview.

Paul is perhaps the best example of this. In the first chapter of Romans Paul interprets the history of the Gentiles, their rebellion against God and their impending judgement. He interprets the history of the Gentile from the perspective of the Hebrew scriptures, from God's take on human history. When confronted with the intellectual might of the people of Athens, Paul explains that the Athenian religions can only be understood from the Biblical perspective of history (Acts 17: 22-31). He finishes his speech to them by telling them about the end of history: "having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead"

If, as Paul assumes, the supernatural, verbal communication of God is necessary to the understanding of all human history, the Bible should be treated in a slightly different light. Instead of it being a history, studied alongside a plethora of other histories, it is better seen as the lens through which all human history is studied. And if this is so, the Bible is the necessary condition for the intelligibility of all events, all history.

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