Knowing God is fundamental to education on three specific levels. Job 12:13 states, “With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding.” The implication of this text is that wisdom, purpose, and intelligence belong to God. He is therefore the beginning of education and the end of education. Obtaining His likeness is the goal and purpose of life in this world and in the world to come. In addition to being the beginning and the end of education, God is also the means of education—He is everything in between. Let’s delve deeper into these three levels.
God: The Source
In no uncertain terms, the Bible emphasizes the significance of Jesus Christ as the source of everything that the work of education seeks to accomplish. In Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Jesus as the foundation of education is not just a desirable advantage. Rather, He is the very necessary first component.
Wisdom and knowledge are hidden treasures stored up in the person of Jesus Christ. Human power cannot attain these treasures on its own. The only way to access these foundational virtues is through the Source who is willing to share them. Thus, the first work of education must be to introduce the student, the seeker of wisdom and knowledge, to God, who is their Source.
God: The Goal
When God created Adam and Eve, He created them in His image with the purpose of them being like Him (Gen. 1:26–29). Essentially, the Garden of Eden was a school where the first pair could grow in their physical, mental, and spiritual development, gaining greater insights into the power, wisdom, and love of God. Growth into the image of God was their educational objective—their goal in life. Although humanity has fallen, the goal of God-likeness remains the same (Matt. 5:48).
Secular education aims toward empowering pupils to ultimately be agents of peace and goodness. Through the secularization of society, religious and theological components have been slowly excised out of the institutions of education. Essentially, these circles of society seek to separate Christ’s virtues from His person, even though their achievement is impossible without Him. The noble aspirations of education are scripturally tied to Christ (John 14:27; Matt. 19:17). In other words, if the ultimate goal of education is ever to be accomplished, it will only be completed through the achievement of Christlikeness. From this perspective, the ultimate goal of education is to be like Christ.
God: The Means
It is easy for the Christian to make the common mistake of thinking that God is only necessary at the start of the educational journey and that the student must develop, on his or her own, the tools to become like Him. Another ditch one may fall into is to think that mere knowledge on earth can ultimately lead to an acquaintance with God. However, the story of Scripture teaches that God is not only the beginning and the end of education but also the means by which we use what God gives us to become like Him.
Communion with God has been His own method of education: before the fall of Adam and Eve; while walking earth’s dusty roads with His disciples; and in the future Eden. Education was, is, and will be communion with our Maker.