University and the Centrality of Faith

Queen's University“Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.” Taken from Isaiah 33.6, this small statement is the motto of my university and is supposed to be a reason for me, as a student in university, to learn about the world around me: of science and of humanities. However, this belies one important thing that we areChristians. It must always be that our Christianity comes first in all that we do or else we loose too much and our education becomes vain.

What is missing from the motto of my school? It is the preceeding line from the previous verse. Let me quote the section of the passage:

The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high:
he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.
And wisdom and knowledge shall be
the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation:
the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

Who gives us wisdom and knowledge? The Lord does. It comes from on high to those who are here and wisdom and knowledge are stability in only as much as God blesses us with a stable society.

However, I think that most of us who are in university do not have the Lord as this source of wisdom and knowledge. No, most of us who call ourselves Christians instead go into university with the expectation that knowledge will be our salvation and the stability of our times without meaningfully considering what it means for it to come from God. I say this because most of us, myself included, entered university at the prodding of parents for one reason only: the possibility of a better job, of a better life, of security in finances. And is this not the deceitfulness of wealth? That wealth itself is the unstated means of our salvation, that through knowledge we gain independence from dependence on God. Most of us in university then take this motto as it is without the preceding verses, knowledge and wisdom are indeed our stability and salvation.

As students we are Christian first and students and disciples of Jesus Christ first. Is it not a shame to know that most of us in university don’t study the Bible or church history or systematic theology even a fraction of the time as much as we study for chemistry (my major), or anatomy, or history, or psychology? The very next line after the oft quoted verse is “the fear of the LORD is his treasure.” Is the fear of God our treasure? Why do we say that memorizing scripture is harder than memorizing reactions in a synthesis, the locations of each of the 206 bones in the human body, or the fact that the defenestration of Prague involved throwing regents out the window and started the thrity years’ war. The fear and knowledge of God is not our treasure.

University is a great place and many universities have library sections dedicated to theology (both sound and unsound, easy to remember the location because it’s in the BS section under library of congress catalogue system). I hope that we as Christian university students can take the time to learn and to contemplate what it means to be Christian because even though knowledge may provide temporal security, it is a fear and knowledge of God that gives us eternal security and a respect for him who is ultimately the giver of all things. I hope that we as Christians can remember the words of the preacher: “of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” and that the whole duty of man is to “fear God, and keep his commandments.” All for the greater glory of God.

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