- Ask Why?
- Embrace the Open-Ended
- Use the Perspective of Age
These ideas do help create questions that are much more significant than those that can be answered from memory with a short answer or by a thoughtless Yes or No. The GDC Team encourages the reader, "By digging deeper into the topic that you’re researching and by always remembering to keep asking “why” you can begin to uncover the true meaning of the topic you’re researching." In fact, we're told that "you’re now closer than ever to the most important thing of all: truth." BUT—and it is a big but—it doesn't say anything about the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John at 14:6). Although there may be no intended hostility to Christ, His absence at the center of any discussion about how to discover truth, communicates that He is irrelevant.
Jesus thought questions were very important—He used them a lot. He wanted minds to be engaged with real-life problems, hearts moved by real needs, and bodies involved in concrete action, but these were all to be related to God (Mark 12:30) and others. If we deliberately ignore God, we can discuss essential questions, but our answers will move farther and farther from truth (Romans 1:18-23). We will expect some part of God's creation to do what only God Himself can do. We'll worship something instead of Someone. His good gifts of reason and experience are no substitute for God Himself.
Another missing element in the essential questions is sin. Our willful rejection of submissive obedience to God has affected everything. Not only is our relationship to Him been shattered, but our relationship to others, ourselves and every other part of His creation have been effected. Real-life problems have roots in selfishness, pride, guilt and fear. Ignoring the roots and only discussing symptoms will not get us a lot closer to solutions.
God has revealed everything we need to know about His view of His world in the Bible. When we consider essential questions without investigating what God has told us, we are abandoning the only accurate map and source of light. Dropping random Bible verses into a discussion may not help those who reject the Bible's authority, but unless the teachers are saturated in God's revelation of Himself in His World, His written, Word and His Living Word—Christ, they will become as lost as those they are seeking to guide towards truth.
From the beginning, God gave people, made in His image, the wonderful responsibility of developing and caring for His creation (Genesis 1:26-29). Every part of His creation was to provide new opportunities to discover more about His nature (Romans 1:20) and be used to draw attention to His goodness and greatness as it was used to serve others. Like the father using an iPad as a cutting board, we end up misusing and abusing what He intended for good. It is essential that we ask about is purposes.
The Visual Valet - Personal assistant for Christian thinkers and teachers can be used as a Big Question Guide for making any question essential by reminding us that we haven’t been abandoned to seek answers with only personal preference or majority opinion to be our guide.