If someone asked, "What's the purpose of education?,” what would you say?
I'd say: "The purpose of education is to equip the next generation to govern well over this physical, material world.”
Are you shocked?
Not long ago, I was speaking to a group of Christian school teachers, and I posed “the question” to those in the room. But before anyone could reply, I answered my own query.
You could have heard a pin drop. I paused to let the weight of my answer sink in.
Someone broke the silence by asking, “Would you mind repeating that?”
After repeating it, I asked the group if anyone had told them that before. No one had.
I have asked this question to Christian students, parents and teachers. So far, not a single person has responded by saying, “The purpose of education is to equip the next generation to govern well over this physical, material world.”
My guess is, the answer is too “earthy” for most Christians’ sensibilities.
Yet, I contend that not seeing this as the purpose for education is why so many pastors don’t believe in Christian schools, why we lost the “culture war” in this country, and why so many young people are leaving the church. We lost the very meaning and purpose for living—and thus our purpose for learning.
Yes, education is for strengthening character. Yes, education is for practicing self-government under God. Yes, education is for developing one’s talents, gifts and abilities to their highest potential. Yes, education is for learning “good citizenship.” And it’s for getting a “good job,” too. But the bigger question is: to what end?
I believe the purpose of education must be seen in the context of our assigned role and function on Planet Earth. The role God had in mind for humans is no mystery. He stated it plainly in Genesis 1:26-28, Then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and image, and let them rule…over all the earth…”
News flash! Humans were created to govern over this physical, material world! We were made to be Earth-Tenders! That's why humans exist, whether Christians or not.
I believe this is the most under-valued, under-preached Truth in all of Scripture. Fulfilling our assigned role well [that is, fulfilling it in harmony with the Creator's purposes and design] brings glory to God, and serves the common good.