If you polled the students at Eternity Bible College (or probably any other Christian college), you would learn that not all classes are created equal. Most of our students see the value in taking a class on Genesis or on preaching. The spiritual value of such topics is easy to see, so students have no problem devoting time to these pursuits. But classes on economics or history are another story. What’s the point of studying things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things?
I would argue that topics as “unspiritual” as economics and history are important. Though mastering economics will not necessarily make us better preachers or Bible Study leaders (it might), it has the potential of making us better worshippers of God and witnesses for Him in this world.
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. says, “The learned person has, so to speak, more to be Christian with” (Engaging God’s World, xi). Even the most mundane or seemingly unspiritual topics give us an opportunity to think Christianly. As we expand our knowledge of this world, we give ourselves fresh opportunities to see more of the world as God sees it. Every random subject is an area of God’s world that can and should be seen from God’s perspective.
Every aspect of life warrants deep and dedicated Christian thinking. God created every aspect of the universe and Jesus Christ claims authority over every created thing, every human being, every theory and thought pattern that has ever existed. The Bible may not tell us how to do nuclear physics, but the truths of God’s world come to bear on that field as much as they do on any other.
I was surprised when I first learned that Christianity was largely responsible for the rise of modern science. Most of us are taught to think that science and religion are incompatible, that the church has always squelched scientific inquiry. Not so. Modern science took off as Christians looked at the world around them and decided that since the Creator was reasonable and orderly, His creation could be understood and must be governed by principles that could be understood. For these early scientists, studying aspects of the world that were not obviously “spiritual” was a way of learning more about the Creator, and therefore it was an act of worship. (To be fair, not all of the early scientists were Christians, but they were operating within the framework of the Christian worldview, so they also saw the world as explorable and understandable.)
I’m not suggesting that you should read Wealth of Nations rather than Romans. But I am suggesting that reading Wealth of Nations wouldn’t necessarily be a waste of your time. Understanding God’s world, the people He created, the way they interact, and the way they think has great value.
So let’s study the Bible passionately, but let’s not denigrate other subjects. If you are inclined to study economics or political science (or if your professor forces you to do so), then mentally place these subjects in their appropriate theological framework and study to the glory of God. Use them as an opportunity to think Christianly. Apply Christ’s lordship to them. A Christian education should include a lot more than studying the Bible and preaching.