|Interpretations of History|
The Cross of Jesus Christ is the focal point of all human history and is that which gives meaning to man's existence. The definition of the word HISTORY is "an account of what has happened in the life and development of a people, country, institution, etc., usually with an analysis and explanation." Looking back through the events of time gives the informed observer insight into the all-important questions, such as the origin and gradual developments of any race, nation or people. Accurate historical accounts tells exactly what happened in past events, but it is the meaning and interpretation of those events where a difference of opinions arise. Because of these differing opinions, a number of interpretations have been set forth by historians in an effort to explain the purpose of what has taken place in the past.
If any historian or philosopher can satisfactorily explain to himself and his peers what has happened in the past; he therefore, feels he can give a purposeful explanation of the present and the future.
When examining each major interpretation of history it becomes very evident that each one is based upon two major premises in the minds of their proponents:
The two major interpretations of history which are diametrically opposed to each other are as follows:
THE SECULAR WORLD VIEW
This interpretation teaches and promotes the concepts based upon the false theory of the "self-determination" of man. It rejects the idea of divine intervention and instead believes that man controls his own destiny. The following theories which secular minded historians and religionists have concocted in their effort to explain the Secular World View are:
1. The Cyclical ViewThis view sees all of history as a series of endless repeating cycles which has no ultimate purpose or goal. It teaches that there is no climax to history, therefore each cycle within itself is insignificant to the whole.
It views history as having no original plan from its beginning as designed by an all Sovereign Creator, therefore it reserves no place for an ultimate fulfilled purpose. This view has been widely accepted from antiquity by many eastern pagan religions of the ancient world based upon what they see in the repeating seasons of life-cycles of nature. This viewpoint has led to the naive acceptance of such beliefs as reincarnation, fatalism and utter hopelessness.
2. The Marxist View
This philosophical scheme of history views all mankind as being involved in a "class struggle" between the bourgeoisie (capitalists, middle-class) and the proletariat (industrial working class) which will eventually result in a "utopia" or the "perfect socialist state." When formulating this philosophy, Karl Marx put all men into one of two categories: the "liberating class" as "saviors" or into the "oppressing class" as the adversaries of the perfect social order. This atheistic view of human history while polarizing a society has resulted in utter social chaos and revolution. Marx viewed man as nothing more than an economic materialistic animal whose sole purpose was to serve the all-powerful state through human labor. This view also results in utter hopelessness for man both now and in the hereafter.
3. The Existential View
This view is often referred to as the open-ended view because it sees no real meaning or purpose to history or the future, but can only relate to the present. This point of view was popularized in France after World War II, chiefly by Jean-Paul Sartre as a literary philosophic cult of nihilism and pessimism. It teaches that each individual exists as a separate entity in a purposeless universe. It also teaches that man can only improve himself by opposing his hostile environment in exercising his free will. Nihilism is that philosophy which denies the existence of absolute truth and the foundational basis of knowledge. This ungodly theory was practiced in the hippie sub-culture which was known as "Moral Relativism." Its battle cry was "the right for absolute freedom of expression." It spawned such ideas as "do your own thing," "do it if it feels good" or "if I don't think it's wrong, then it's all right." These fallacious concepts opened the door to a social and religious revolution which as resulted in the breakdown of authority in our civilization.
THE CHRISTIAN WORLD VIEW
This interpretation accepts and teaches that God has a plan for mankind and is definitely involved and even intervenes in the affairs of human events. Accepting the Sovereign God as creator, He therefore is the Supreme Authority over all His creation.
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"TO SERVE THE PRESENT AGE,
MY CALLING TO FULFIL,
O MAY IT ALL MY POWERS ENGAGE,
TO DO MY MASTER'S WILL!"
MAYNARD G. JAMES