In Part 1, I suggested that the creation mandate is the foundation of Christian education. Since God created humans to govern and develop creation, education is a normative structure that prepares humans for that responsibility. The creation mandate therefore implies the command to educate. In Part 2, I suggest that the doctrine of vocation, which is rooted in the creation mandate, also implies in the command to educate.
The Creation Mandate Implies the Command to Educate Through the Doctrine of Vocation
The creation mandate supports the doctrine of vocation: that God has given us a divinely ordained “calling” and responsibility to apply the creation mandate each within our own sphere of influence using the gifts and abilities that God has given us. The doctrine implies that our vocations fit into God’s plan for the development of civilization and turns just another day at work into a worshipful, God-glorifying experience (Veith, 62). The reformers saw that, inasmuch as education prepares students for their divine vocations in this world, the creation mandate authorizes and supports that education (Veith, 20).
Vocation is the means by which God uses people to normally govern and care for his creation. God chooses to work through human beings (creatio tertia) who in their different capacities and according to their varying talents serve each other. We ask God for our daily bread, and he answers that prayer through the normal providence of farmers, bakers, and meal-preparers.
“We might today add the truck drivers…factory workers…warehousemen, the wholesale
distributers, the stock boys, the lady at the checkout counter … bankers, futures investors,
advertisers, lawyers, agricultural scientists, mechanical engineers,” etc. (Veith, 13)
We pray for healing and God calls “doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and lab technicians” (Veith, 14). We pray for protection and God provides governments, armies, and police officers. We long for beauty and inspiration and God provides artists and writers. We need to travel and God provides “autoworkers, mechanics, road crews, and airline employees” (Veith, 14). We aspire to cleanliness through “garbage collectors, plumbers, sanitation workers, and even undocumented aliens who clean our hotel rooms” (Veith, 15). And in support of all these vocations, God gives us teachers. Common labor becomes worship when we not only understand its sacredness, but embrace it and consecrate our labors to God’s glory. Education is a means to prepare people for glorifying God in their vocations.
Veith, Jr., Gene Edward (2002). God at work: your Christian vocation in all life. Wheaton IL: Crossway Books.