There is a song our children are taught to sing and the first stanza thereof is as follows:
This is my Father’s world,
And to my list’ning ear
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
His hands the wonders wrought.
Indeed this is God’s world. It makes no difference what man may do with it. It makes no difference how greedily he may press it into the service of his own flesh. This world is God’s and no one and nothing can ever change that. We may try to deny it. We may behave as thought it is not at all true, but the fact still remains that it is His world. All of it! All the vastness of outer space. All the world of unseen germs and viruses. The depth of the sea which still remains unexplored by man and hides from his eyes many of God’s works and creatures. The animate and inanimate creatures, the organic and inorganic substances, the heaven and earth, the WORLD in its broadest sense, it all is God’s world.
The fool may say in his heart that there is no God, but the fact remains that this fools exists only by the power of that very God that he denies. This is God’s world because He made it all and all depends entirely and every moment upon Him. He is the Creator of that world; and He is the Provider of all that world’s every need. “In the beginning God created . . . .” Deny that and you have not even the beginning, the first principle of wisdom. You do not know the A B C’s of true knowledge and wisdom. Indeed, it is the FOOL who says in his heart that there is no God. And to say that He did not create this vast universe, this wonderful world is to deny that He is God. It is to make creation a god. For a god is that upon which we depend, that which we serve and worship. And the man who denies that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth depends upon that earth, serves and worships it as his god.
We do well then to remember that it is our calling to teach our children that this is God’s world. In fact we ought to teach them to say, “This is myFather’s world.” All education in “reading, writing and arithmetic” that does not serve that purpose fails. It fails to ascribe to God the honor and glory that is due to His name. It fails the child, for it gives him a distorted and corrupt view of all the things round about him. It makes a fool of him, for it strives for and can have only for its purpose the proposition that there is no God. And, of course, the covenant child must be taught that this God who made the heavens and the earth, the universe in all its splendor and glory is our Covenant God and Father in Jesus Christ His Son. The fear of Him is the beginning of wisdom.
First of all then, the child ought to be taught from infancy that it is God’s world because He made it. It belongs to Him. He may do with it as He pleases. And He did make all the creatures according to His own inscrutable wisdom. The lumbering elephant and the graceful deer, the delicate humming bird and the tremendously fast ostrich, the mighty oak and the tender vine, the fiery sun and the cold moon have all been designed and fashioned by Him. There may be creatures that make us look twice because of their delicate color and graceful lines, and there may be others that attract a second look because of their clumsiness and oddity, but God designed and fashioned them all in inscrutable wisdom. Whether the creature looks odd or beautiful to us, whether it pleases us or is loathsome to us, whether it feeds us or seeks to kill us, whether it runs from us in fear or we run from it in fear, it all belongs to God’s world. There is not a creature large or small that came into being of its own power. There is not a speck of dust or a drop of water, there is not a cell or a part of a cell, an atom or a part of an atom that was not brought into being by God. And therefore it all is HIS. It is His possession to do with as He pleases. And it is His workmanship, the product of His mind and hand. Men may make their products and attach their names so that you may know whose product it is. Many of our articles which we use have stamped upon them the words “Made in U.S.A.” Souvenirs as a rule, no matter where you pick them up as mementos of this or that region of our country, usually read, “Made in Japan.” Ah, yes, but man himself has upon him the stamp of being created by God in His own image. And man simply assembles the materials that God has made in the beginning. It is God’s world.
And it continues to be a world exactly because it is God’s world. He created all things but in Him we live and move and have all our being. He made all things, but He also sustains and upholds all things. As the psalmist declares inPsalm 145:15-16, “The eyes of all wait upon Thee, and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” And Psalm 147 declares, “He giveth snow like wool; He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold?” Psalm 147:16, 17. He is in all creatures by His Spirit and keeps them in their essential properties. He is in the storm and in the pestilence. His power causes the seed to sprout, the water to evaporate. The dynamite explodes with tremendous force because He is in it. The gas! and oil, the coal and wood burn and give heat because He is in them. The food nourishes us, and our bodies grow strong because He is in them. The disease germ lays us low and the body develops a fever to kill that germ because He is in them. It is our Father’s world. It is His in the absolute sense of the word. It is not His and ours. It is not the product of God and circumstance. It is not partially His work and partially the result of accident or “luck.” It is His world, and all that happens in it is His work.
Men may discover the power of electricity. They may invent many motors and pumps. They may make cameras and radios, television sets and radar instruments. They may make computers and electronic brains. But each and every time man simply makes a crude adaption of the power that God has already created in man’s own body. No man can make a heart like the heart that God designed and planted in man. No communication system with its maze of wires can duplicate man’s nervous system, no camera or radio can improve upon man’s eye and ear. In fact all these inventions of man depend upon the eye and ear that God designed for their value and worth. Yea, these are made possible only because God first designed and fashioned a human eye and ear, a brain and a heart. A mechanical brain may do many mechanical activities, but it cannot know or love God. Nor can it speak His praises. It cannot be prophet, priest and king of the living God. It has no life. It has no reasoning power. Truly the chiefest of the creatures that God made and belongs to His world here below is man made in His image. And he also belongs to God. So do your children. And therefore they must be taught to see all this wide creation as His world. Do not deny them it!
It stands to reason then, does it not, that an unbeliever cannot teach your child. He does not see this world as God’s world. He prefers the folly of a world that comes into being in the very unscientific way of “just happening” and into its present form by an evolutionistic process which he has never seen, cannot prove, and defies all present experiences that a species never changes into another species. All he can present for “proof” is changes within the species itself. The truth of a God Who created all things in ranks and orders, in degrees and steps of power and ability he rejects. And therefore also he rejects the truth that this is God’s world from the point of view that man is His steward to use all of it to the glory of God’s name. If he does not see it as God’s world, does not believe that it is His world, how can he teach your child so to see it and believe it? It is utterly ridiculous to take the position that he can. Only in the measure that one sees it and believes it himself can he instruct others in that truth. One does not go to the doctor who does not believe in seeking to cure cancer by medication for a prescription for such medicine. One does not go to a devotee of Buddhism to receive instruction in Christianity. In the days of Jesus it would have utterly foolish to go to the Pharisees to be instructed in Jesus’ doctrine. And yet men actually think it reasonable to have the unbeliever teach his child about God’s world and do so without the fear of having the mind of that child corrupted by the denial that this is God’s world.
Some of the subject matter in school, of course, lends itself more easily and quickly to this truth that this is God’s world; and yet it is quite rewarding when one applies oneself to the more abstract subjects. Geography certainly and very obviously speaks of this being God’s world. Spelling, mathematics and grammar are a different matter. But that, of course, is the challenge of the teacher. It can be done, and we hope to say a few things about this matter in a future installment. But in this introductory consideration of this matter we wish to point out not only the fact that this is God’s world but also that this is the principle according to which all instruction must be given and around which the whole training of the child must revolve.
And since the world cannot teach that truth to your child, and your child is a child of the covenant, the instruction is and should be, “This is my Father’s world. The covenant child does not simply see this world as the product of God’s work—even the unbeliever can talk that way at times—but he must see it as the work and possession of our Father who is in heaven. Instruction must be Christian. And that means that Christ must be in it. The Unitarian who makes Christ but a mere man, the Modernist who denies the divinity of the Son can speak of this world being God’s world. He may even speak of it as my Father’s world in the sense of the First Person of the Holy Trinity rather than of the Triune God. But Colossians 1:15 may not be left out of the instruction of creation as God’s world. Christ is “the first born of every creature” according to Paul in this verse. All this wide creation, then, outer space included, must be seen in Him Who is this first born of every creature. When we look at Father’s world, we must see it as Father sees it. It must all revolve around Christ. And in Him is God our Covenant Father. The fear of HIM is the beginning of wisdom and the basis for all true instruction.