At the start of term I told the pupils the Biblical story of Esther. It’s a Jewish epic, full of excitement and suspense. I knew it was a book that my history class (all girls!) would love. It’s a drama with a clear distinction between the good and bad characters, where the Jewish people are on the brink of annihilation, yet delivered. When we reached the end, I asked my pupils, “Who saved the people?” Predictably, they answered, “God!”
Immediately, I began to play devil’s advocate. I informed them that the name of God was not in the book. How could they believe that God saved the Jews if the Bible didn’t say that God did it? One of the pupils suggested that maybe an alternative name for God was there, such as Lord. But it’s not!
Were the children really going to learn (from their teacher at a Christian school) that God did not save the Jews? No. God is certainly in the book of Esther; it is a story of His mysterious providence – the point is more strongly made through His seeming absence.
The Christian method of studying History is like the Christian approach to reading the book of Esther. Most of the events that we consider do not mention God. And yet the Christian can, and must, trace God’s mysterious providence through it all.
To study History without thinking of God is like reading the book of Esther and assuming that God is absent. If we wouldn’t accept the latter from a minister in a pulpit, why would we accept the former from a teacher in a classroom?