From 1979 to 1983, we had a Christian school at Three Lakes Community Bible Church where I pastored. Each Wednesday was chapel day and I was responsible for the Bible lesson. We went through the Character Sketches series from the “Institute in Basic Life Principles.” Each week we examined a character quality such as contentment or gratefulness or kindness and looked at a Bible character from Scripture and a bird or animal from God’s Creation that illustrated that quality. I find it interesting that when I see one of the students who attended our school, one of the things they often remember was those lessons from God’s physical world.
The Bible is full of illustrations based on the creatures God made and their unique characteristics. Included in specific references to God’s creatures are 38 mammals, 34 birds, 11 reptiles, 1 amphibian, 16 insects, 4 mollusks, and 1 worm! God assumes that we know or will find out the ways of things like sheep, foxes, lions, bears, eagles, and many other creatures so that when He uses them as illustrations, we can understand and apply what He is saying. As part of God’s character training for marriage and family responsibilities, God brought every animal and bird to Adam for naming. In order to give them accurate names, Adam had to understand their nature and ways (Gen 2:18-20). In his reply to Zophar (one of his supposed “comforters”), Job said: “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you” (Job 12:7,8).
The wisdom which God gave to Solomon included a thorough understanding of the world of nature. In his “book of wisdom” he writes: “Go to the ant, oh sluggard, observe her ways and be wise” (Pr. 6:6); “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly” (Pr. 17:12); “There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock….” (Pr. 30:19,19); “Four things are small on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: The ants are not a strong folk, but they prepare their food in the summer. The rock rabbits are not mighty folks yet they make their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks; the lizard you may grasp with the hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces” (Pr. 30:24-28).
Isaiah, trying to encourage the Jews of southern kingdom of Judah to renew their trust in God, writes: “Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles….” (Isa. 40:31). Jesus, in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Mt. 5-7), says: “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they…And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?” (Mt. 6:26-30).
Jake Hebert, in his article “Delighting in God’s Handiwork in the Classroom” (Acts & Facts, May 2020), writes: “One can’t help but wonder if secularization in our public schools is directly robbing children of the joy of learning.” Psa. 111:2 says, “Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them.” Statistics reveal that “the quality of education, at least here in the United States, has greatly deteriorated over the years. And there is simply no way that evolutionists can blame this educational decline on creationism or Christianity, since these worldviews have been effectively outlawed from public classrooms” (Acts and Facts). For education to not only be high quality but also enjoyable, it must be based on truth, not humanistic, evolutionary theories taught as facts with no room for Creationism or Christianity. If the “Works of the LORD” are removed from our studies, we are robbed of the true “joy of learning.” We were made to “glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Catechism), so if history is not taught as “His Story,” and science and math and the humanities are taught with no acknowledgement of an all-wise, all powerful Creator who is a God of order and that all of nature reflects His majesty, but rather, as is the case in public education, that we are mere products of time and chance and that everything around us merely evolved, then students are missing out on so much which could add to the joy of learning.
World history takes on a whole new meaning when we realize it is all an unfolding of God’s ultimate plan for this earth, and when we see the connection between it and the people we read about in Scripture. Many students dread mathematics, but would they have warmed up to the subject if they had been told things such as how honeybees construct their honeycombs using the strongest geometrical shape of hexagons which also maximizes volume for a given amount of wax. Calculus is needed to determine this, but the bees obviously didn’t figure this out on their own! Or, when we look at the amazing universe, how much more exciting to think that each of the billions of stars in the billions of galaxies was created and placed there by God who even has a name for each one (Psa. 147:4)! How much more exciting would a biology class be if instead of avoiding the overwhelming evidence for design in living systems, God’s handiwork was openly acknowledged and admired?
Learning takes on a whole new excitement, fulfillment and joy when based on who God is and what He has done.