The fact that humans are formed in the image of God has a profound influence on the character of individuals and structure of the civilizations in which they live. All civilizations in one form or another have pursued the big questions of human existence:
- Who is God?
- What is a good human being?
- What is truth, beauty, and goodness?
These questions require answers and, as Christians, we are called to integrate and examine all areas of our lives through our faith, including history. How can our faith inform our study of history? The study of history involves three levels or categories of analysis: Descriptive, Interpretative, and Evaluative. The Descriptive is the ability to describe an event. The Interpretative is the ability to interpret or analyze an event. The Evaluative is the ability to evaluate an event with the Truth of Scripture. You will ask of historical events and ideas: Was it good that it happened? Is it right? Does it conform to biblical Truth?
As you reflect upon your time in this course, apply these three areas of analysis to a topic we explored. Sample topics could include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Select a historical figure or event covered in this course to discuss.
- Your reflection should be 200-250 words long and address each area of historical analysis (i.e., descriptive, interpretive, and evaluative). Make sure to view this videoLinks to an external site. to get a deeper understanding of these three areas of analysis and how to apply them when examining history.
- As you progress through the three levels of analysis, reflect upon the cultural impact related to this topic and connect some of these patterns, ideals, and assumptions to your own life.
- Make sure to incorporate Scripture in your writing.
It can be clearly seen throughout United States history that Americans have often equated wealth with success. This connection between wealth and success was established early on in American history, demonstrated by the fact that many early European settlers were motivated by the chance of great wealth (Coming to America Documents, Week 1). This definition of success was also exhibited by the lives of Victorians in the North who demonstrated their success through their wealth and dividing themselves from the working class (Market Economy Lecture, Week 6).
This definition of success is not the same as what the Holy Bible teaches. While the Bible does not condemn wealth per se, there are many warnings about equating the success of your life with materials possessions. Jesus tell us: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Instead of wealth, the Christian definition of success is living a life that glorifies God. In fact, the Bible tells us that “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
I know that I have been tempted personally to equate success with wealth. Much of what we are taught on social media, television, or celebrity culture is that a successful person has the biggest house, the nicest cars, or the best clothes. I always need to remind myself of Hebrews 13:5: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’.”