Go To the Beginning of the Book Excerpts from The Bible’s ‘Big Picture’
The Great Importance of the Bible to the World as Well as the Church
The Bible is – by far – the world’s best-selling book of all time. Our Western Civilization – the most advanced civilization in the world, which up until recently was known as Western Christian Civilization – is based on it and cannot be understood without reference to it, since Western Civilization was built by the Christian Church (informed by the Bible) after the ancient Roman Empire fell to the barbarians and the Christian missionaries sent by the pope all over Europe gradually both Christianized and civilized the barbarians, whose newly civilized nations became Christian Europe, which later colonized the rest of the world1 (or traded its advancements with it in the cases of China and Japan). International Law is based on the Bible’s moral code, and the idea of “Human Rights” from its foundation is very much a Christian concept, rooted in the Christian conviction (informed by the Bible) of the supreme dignity of humankind, created in the “image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26), redeemed from sin (anti-love) by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and intended by God to be adopted into His Family as His children.2
Even the modern university system itself owes its existence to the Bible, since the early modern university system (in which Theology, “the study of God and all things in relation to God,” was considered “the Queen of the Sciences”) grew out of the medieval Cathedral Schools, which themselves came to be primarily for the purpose of answering questions raised by close reading of the Bible. Science is actually rooted in the Bible: The pure sciences and the modern scientific method developed nowhere else in the world but in Christian Europe precisely because science requires the worldview which the Bible teaches: the basic understanding of the universe as an ordered cosmos (not a random chaos) which can be studied to identify patterns of order so as to make predictions – order implying an intelligent orderer, a Creator God, as the Bible teaches. The Greek philosophers of the Socratic School who are recognized as the first scientists, who laid the foundation for doing science with their Metaphysics/Ontology (the study of Existence), laid a foundation which is in complete accord with the metaphysics/ontology the Bible testifies to, and it can justifiably be said they got the idea from the (much older) Bible, since the Greeks were certainly very familiar with the Jewish Bible, the Christian Old Testament (see below Footnote 3 for more details).3 Therefore it is no surprise the “First World” or “developed,” technologically advanced nations are precisely those Western nations of Christian Europe or its colonies in places where there was previously only a sparsely populated and primitive civilization, like North America and Australia (not an already-populous non-Christian civilization, like the colonies in India, Africa and South America – see footnote 4 below for more details).4
So even for those citizens of the world who are not (yet) Christians, the Bible is an extremely important book to know in order to understand history and the world today – and of course, for Christians, it is the written Word of God which testifies to the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ, who dwells in our hearts, and it represents God the Father’s Love Letter to us His children in Christ.
But how do you read the Bible in order to get the most out of the effort? It can be an intimidating book, since it is a collection of many books and sources written over a period of thousands of years by dozens of different human authors (each inspired by God’s Holy Spirit) who all lived in cultures and periods of history very different from our own. It even contains many different types of writing – historical narrative literature, legal texts, poetry, letters, and so on. It can be very easy to get lost in all the Bible’s rich details, and it can be easy to fail to see how all its various parts all fit together.
So, to greatly aid the understanding and appreciation and enjoyment of the Bible, this book [from which these excerpts are taken] intends to introduce the reader to what I call “Family Theology,” which combines Covenant Theology and Trinitarian Theology to produce an exciting Biblical theology (or interpretive framework) which will enable the reader to get much more out of reading his or her entire Bible (I prefer to say, will revolutionize your Bible reading), by demonstrating the consistent “big picture” or single unfolding story of the entire Scriptures from beginning to end. Covenant Theology ties the whole of the Scriptures together, making the entire Biblical record really come alive as our own family history as Christians, and Trinitarian Theology gives the whole story its beating heart, the unstoppable Love Unbounded which is God who made us His Family.
© 2007, 2009 Peter William John Baptiste SFO
Go To the Next Section The Bible Tells the Family History of God’s Adopted Family the Church
Go To the Beginning of the Book Excerpts from The Bible’s ‘Big Picture’
1 See How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods.
2Markedly non-Christian countries (notably Muslim and Communist countries) are the countries most notorious for human rights abuses. Were it not for the Christian British influence in India, predominantly Hindu India would not even have any government support for the poor, since Hinduism teaches that the lower castes of Hindu society (and the “outcasts”) are poor and suffering because of “bad karma” from a “previous life,” and therefore noone feels motivated by Hinduism to help them or ease their suffering. In the Hindu tradition women are treated deplorably for similar reasons (since they were not “reincarnated” as men). Women are accorded so little value as persons in the traditional Hindu Caste System that even today they are often murdered (while authorities turn a blind eye) rather than divorced, since India’s British Christian-based legal system would give divorced wives more property than their husbands are willing to part with (there are 6000 such “dowry murders” each year, as well as much female infanticide and sex-selective abortion of females). “Human rights” are not respected very well without Christianity, since they are a Christian, Biblical, concept.
3The Israelite/Jewish civilization was much older than the Greek, and the Israelite King Solomon’s wisdom was legendary, so the Greeks, who honoured wisdom, familiarized themselves with Judaism. There is an ancient rumor that Socrates, who studied with the Jew Ahitophel, converted to Judaism in his old age, and certainly his star student Plato was so well-versed in the Jewish Bible, the Christian Old Testament, that his critics said that Plato was “nothing more than Moses speaking Attic” (Attic being the Greek dialect Plato spoke). It was Plato’s star student Aristotle who most clearly articulated the “First Principles of Being/Existence” which underlie all logic and science – and they match the metaphysics testified to (much earlier) in the Bible! See my essay, Why Believing in Science Leads Logically to Believing in God, as Einstein and All the Greatest Scientists Did: Debunking the 200-year-old Enlightenment Era Myth that Science Opposes Faith. Einstein himself noted that “there is no conflict between science and genuine religion” and in fact that “science without religion is lame” – science can’t even get on its feet without recognizing the universe as an ordered cosmos, which implies an intelligent orderer (God) who designed the ordered patterns which science discovers. Thus Einstein said “the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible” – the mere fact we can in great degree comprehend the universe means that it is ordered, order implies intelligence, and thus the supremely intricate and elegant order science has discovered in the natural universe points to the existence of a super-natural orderer-God beyond nature. Since the Judeo-Christian religious tradition is the religion which understands God and the universe this way, Einstein, widely recognized as the most intelligent person and the greatest scientist of all time, said that “the Jewish-Christian religion is the best thing we have.” Einstein was himself Jewish, but he recognized the close connection between Judaism and Christianity – a close connection which this book defines quite precisely. Biblical Judaism was the stage of the one ongoing Covenant Family of God which started with Adam (long before Abraham, father of the Jews) which was just before Christianity, the latest stage of that one ongoing Covenant Family.
4The main exception to this, Japan, was rebuilt into a modern highly developed nation after Japan lost the Second World War, using Western (Christian) money and technology, since the Western (Christian) Allies had learned from the example of Hitler’s Germany that it was best to help your enemy rebuild and get stable economically after they have lost a war with you, or else in desperation they may start another war (Germany was in economic chaos after losing the First World War, which aided Hitler’s rise to power). Japan’s factories had been bombed in the war, so after the war the Christian West helped rebuild Japan’s (and Germany’s) factories – with the latest, state-of-the-art technology – so Japan (and Germany) then had an edge economically and technologically (the Allies’ factories were still using older technology since their factories had not been bombed because they won the war!). Before this, in the late 19th Century, Japan had specifically made great effort to “westernize” itself, specifically copying the Christian West’s ways and using its technology (the Samurai who revolted against this died, using katana swords against western guns), and this westernization itself only happened after Western, American gunboats had forced Japan to trade with the West (China also had resisted modernization, similarly cutting itself off from the West, until forced to trade by the British). Israel is the most advanced nation in the Middle East because the Western, Christian nations who won the war created modern Israel as a homeland for the Jews (who had not had a homeland for over 1800 years) after the Second World War (and of course Israel also stands in the Judeo-Christian religious tradition). The point of all this is not to say that non-Christian cultures are inferior to Christian cultures – this book by the end will make very clear that God intended the many different cultures of humanity to develop when He deliberately scattered the nations to make them “fill the Earth,” and intended them all to eventually be united in love in the one Christian Church as it actually existed in the Undivided Early Church – as a Communion of different culturally-based “Sister Churches” (Syrian, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Ethiopian, and so on, renewed in Christ) which mutually enriched each other and only together by pooling their different insights from their different cultural perspectives on the same Christian Revelation were able to clearly articulate the fundamental tenets of Christianity at the Early Ecumenical (worldwide) Councils of the Undivided Christian Church. So the point is not that non-Christian cultures are inferior – they have as much to add to the Church as all the first Christian cultures did once they too are renewed in Christ and become Christian cultures! The point is that only the Western, Christian European culture developed the most technologically advanced civilization the world has ever known because it is founded upon the Bible and Christian truth, which, because it is the genuine truth, accurately reflects the nature of the universe so that Western science and technology could develop from this Biblical foundation. Whatever pure science and resultant advanced technology the non-Western civilizations have was originally borrowed from the Christian West which had developed it upon the foundation of the Biblical and Christian understanding of God and the universe. A Christian worshiping at Church or doing scientific research in the laboratory is operating from the very same assumptions about the nature of God and the universe in both places, whereas a Hindu worshiping in his temple operates from a different worldview than he does when he uses the scientific method borrowed from the Christian West.