Looking at History from God's Perspective

Two definitions of history: 1) the record of important events in the human past, or 2) a narrative that connects important events in the human past and makes them intelligible.

  1. History is of great importance from a Christian perspective.
    1. God has revealed himself in history. Eph. 1:11
    2. We are explicitly commanded to make known God's works. Ps. 105:1.
    3. Christianity is not a mere ethical or doctrinal system but is uniquely grounded in historical events. 1 Cor. 15
    4. Because history is the vehicle for God's work in the world, we should expect to learn from it.
    5. Much of the Bible is history.
    6. History defines and touches our lives.
    7. History allows us to temporarily step outside of our own culture to evaluate it in light of another.

  2. The true interpretation of history is God's interpretation.
  3. Should a historian be objective?

    1. If "objective" means unaffected by presuppositions, then no historian can be truly objective. It is not only impossible but undesirable.
      1. History involves making judgments about significance.
      2. History involves making judgments about reliability of sources.
      3. History involves interpreting the meaning of events and how they relate to one another.
      4. Judgments are formed in a framework of presuppositions.
    2. If "objective" means unaffected by false presuppositions, then objectivity is desirable and possible to some degree.
      1. Only God is completely free of false presuppositions.
      2. God's perspective is revealed to us in Scripture. Therefore, we must seek to understand and apply God's perspective to the study of history.
      3. The events of history themselves can help us break free of false presuppositions. Therefore, we must give careful attention to let the raw material of history speak for itself.

  4. God in his providence directs and governs all things that take place.
    1. All events both large and small are under God's sovereign direction. Acts 4:27-28, Matt. 10:29, Ex. 4:11
    2. All events have a God-given purpose. Eph. 1:11, Rom. 8:28
    3. We can and should expect to learn some of the purposes of many events by studying them.

  5. The Bible reveals to us the basic framework of history.
    1. There are four events that color all of human history
      1. Creation (Gen. 1, Eph. 1:11)
      2. Fall (Gen. 3, Rom. 5:12-19, Rom. 8:20)
      3. Redemption
      4. Consummation
    2. This framework gives shape to history.
      1. History is not cyclical as in eastern thought.
      2. History is not random as in existential or postmodern thought.
      3. History is not marked by unstoppable evolution and progress.
      4. History has a beginning, a path, and an end, all governed by the sovereign purposes of God for his glory.


Christian Faith & Historical Understanding by Ronald H. Nash, Zondervan/Probe, 1984, 174 pp. This is a clear exposition of the relationship between faith and history. A must read for history majors.
Availability: AU library

Telling the Truth: How to Revitalize Christian Journalism by Marvin Olasky, Crossway Books, 1996, ~300 pp. "The editor-at-large of World magazine stresses the need for journalists to have a well-developed Christian worldview. Focusing on the how-to's of excellence in journalism--particularly feature writing, field reporting, and interviewing--Marvin Olasky shows how a revitalized Christian journalism could play an enormous, positive role in the current culture war." (From the publisher) Most of what he has to say can be applied directly to the study and reporting of history in general. He has a great discussion of what biblical objectivity means.
Availability: http://www.worldmag.com/world/olasky/truth1.html