What is the antidote to the secular/sacred divide? How do we make sure our toolbox contains biblically based conceptual tools for every issue we encounter? We must begin by being utterly convinced that there is a biblical perspective on everything—not just on spiritual matters. The Old Testament tells us repeatedly that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). Similarly, the New Testament teaches that in Christ are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). We often interpret these verses to mean spiritual wisdom only, but the text places no limitation on the term. “Most people have a tendency to read these passages as though they say that the fear of the Lord is the foundation of religious knowledge,” writes Clouser. “But the fact is that they make a very radical claim—the claim that somehow all knowledge depends upon religious truth.”1
This claim is easier to grasp when we realize that Christianity is not unique in this regard. All belief systems work the same way. As we saw earlier, whatever a system puts forth as self-existing is essentially what it regards as divine. And that religious commitment functions as the controlling principle for everything that follows. The fear of some “god” is the beginning of every proposed system of knowledge.
Once we understand how first principles work, then it becomes clear that all truth must begin with God. The only self-existent reality is God, and everything else depends on Him for its origin and continued existence. Nothing exists apart from His will; nothing falls outside the scope of central turning points in biblical history: Creation, Fall, and Redemption.
The Christian message does not begin with “accept Christ as your Savior”; it begins with “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible teaches that God is the sole source of the entire created order. No other gods compete with Him; no natural forces exist on their own, nothing receives its nature or existence from another source. Thus His word, or laws, or creation ordinances give the world its order and structure. God’s creative word is the source of the laws of physical nature, which we study in the natural sciences. It is also the source of the laws of human nature—the principles of morality (ethics), of justice (politics), of creative enterprise (economics), of aesthetics (the arts), and even of clear thinking (logic). That’s why Psalm 119:91 says, “all things are your servants.” There is no philosophically or spiritually neutral subject matter.
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Nancy Pearcey currently serves as the Director of the Center for Christian Worldview at Houston Baptist University. She has published several books, including How Now Shall we Live with Charles Colson and Harold Fickett. In Total Truth, Pearcey offers excellent analysis of the public and private split in our lives. She is convinced that this dichotomy hinders our efforts in both personal and cultural renewal.