Lesson 7: Sociology
One of the more astounding facts about the world we live in is that it is so incredibly ordered at every level. From the subatomic particles that make up the entire physical universe, to the anthropic fine-tuning of the world, solar system and galaxy we live in, there is order and complexity all the way up and down. With this lesson we begin to explore how a similar kind of order has even been imposed on the social systems we take for granted every day. Once we recognize that order and seek to understand its origin, it becomes blatantly obvious that the deceptions involved in the "cosmic battle" all seem to in some way deny the very order that was designed to make societies work.
As R. C. Sproul so eloquently pointed out, the order we see in the created world is not a human construction. It is not even something God "made up" or thought of as he went along. The order we see in the creation and the social systems that define our culture has been there for all eternity in the nature of God himself.
The Trinity (One Nature, Three Persons :: One What, Three Whos), though comprised of separate persons, shares the Divine Essence and is the ultimate model of relationship, union, communion, intimacy, fellowship, love, and community. In the triune Christian God we see the leadership and properly-practiced, gracious authority of the Father, the glorious and loving submission of the Son, and the helping, honoring nature of the Holy Spirit. God is unity in diversity and from God's nature every social system derives the model by which it should operate.
The family (husband, wife and children) and the church (Christ, leadership, flock) are the two most obvious models of social systems that Dr. Tackett uses to describe a properly functioning relationship. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves his bride -- the church. Children are to honor their parents as the flock is to honor the leadership of the church.
This kind of system was in place before the fall and is best described by the ancient Hebrew term: shalom. Shalom is more than just the commonly translated word for "peace." It is a rich concept that includes: completeness, contentment, soundness, wholeness, health, welfare, safety, prosperity, rest harmony, tranquility, and absence of discord.
Quite simply, shalom is "the way things ought to be."
Sadly, if shalom describes how things ought to work, each of these descriptions has become the focus of nearly every societal ill. A secular, naturalistic culture that hates the authority of God will do all that it can to destroy any system that reflects His nature. We see the effects of this aspect of the "cosmic battle" that rages all around us. The family is under assault. It becomes obvious when we reflect on some the most debilitating trends we see going on: the abdication of male responsibility, radical feminism, children's "rights," pornography, child abuse, the homosexual agenda, and a redefinition of marriage itself. In each of these, we see some aspect of the godly model being undermined.
Our charge is to recognize not only how things ought to be, but how we are going astray. Our exploration of social systems begins with the church and the family, but it does not end there. In the coming weeks we will see just how pervasive this trend has become.