by Bill Nugent
A right understanding of the differences between the wisdom of the east and the wisdom of the west will help bring many things into proper focus. Eastern wisdom ultimately stems from eastern religion. Eastern religion, such as Hinduism, is generally pantheistic. Pantheism is the belief that all things are essentially of the same essence or substance as God. Hindu pantheism leads to the belief that since all things are manifestations of God, then all things are sacred.
Other eastern faiths such as Buddhism, Shintoism and Sikhism are similar to Hinduism in many respects. Pagan faiths of other areas of the world such as African Animism, North American Wiccan faith and New Age occultism also have points in common with Hinduism. Almost all eastern religions and sects are pantheistic or have pantheistic tendencies.
The eastern belief that all things are sacred is one reason why experimental science never originated in the east. No one wanted to do experiments on sacred things. Nobody wanted to cut up an object if they believed that God is infused into that object. In Hinduism, cows and certain other animals are considered especially sacred because of the belief that they are closer to Brahma. Experiments weren’t done on animals because of the belief that people could be reincarnated as animals.
The belief that all things are manifestations of God is called theological monism or “oneness.” It is the belief that all existence consists of one essence. In some Hindu sects this essence is believed to manifest in numerous deities. In many pagan cultures if a stream is dammed, sacrifices have to be offered to the deities. Not only was experimental science not practiced in such cultures but even ordinary engineering was hindered because of fear of offending the deities.
In western religion, which is the Judeo-Christian faith, God is seen as transcendant and separate from His creation. This is metaphysical dualism, the duality of creature and Creator. The Bible gives the worldview in which experimental science is possible. The Bible teaches that the Creator God is rational, He establishes fixed rational laws and He created an orderly universe separate from Himself. Man is created in God’s image and shares God’s rationality and can think God’s thoughts after Him which is to do science.
The book of Genesis records that the first man, Adam, did the work of a scientist. God had Adam name the animals (Gen. 2:19-20) and this is the scientific field of taxonomy which is the naming and classifying of things.
Experimental science arose in post-reformation Europe. The fundamental breakthroughs in the major branches of experimental science occurred in Europe in the 1600s. All of the founders of the major branches of science were Bible believing Christian men such as Isaac Newton (physics), Francis Bacon (the scientific method) and Robert Boyle (chemistry) to name a few. (See book:Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris.)
That scientific breakthroughs occurred in Europe in the 1600s was no coincidence. The 1500s saw major changes in Christian practice brought about by the Protestant Reformation. The 1600s was the first century in which the Bible was generally available to all classes of people across an entire continent.
The fact that the Bible gave us western civilization and gave rise to experimental science which in turn gave us an immense variety of labor saving conveniences including the computer I’m using to write this, is a kind of proof of the truth of the Bible. Since the Bible gives truths that so wonderfully impact the physical world we can infer that the Bible’s teachings about spiritual things are also true.
Consider another invention that comes directly from the Bible. This one may surprise you. The Bible gave us the weekend. That’s right, the fact that you have every Saturday and Sunday off is a result of the Bible’s teaching on the Sabbath. God commanded the ancient Jews to rest every seventh day. Saturday is the seventh day of the week but since many Christians worship on Sunday because that is the day Jesus rose form the dead, we also take Sundays off.
Paganism had no Sabbath. One ancient Roman sage wrote “Those Hebrews waste one seventh of their lives.” The ancient Romans worked their slaves to death seven days a week. Those hapless Celtic, Gallic, Teutonic and Slavic tribesmen that were captured in Rome’s many campaigns suffered horrid oppression, especially those enslaved in agriculture, mining and construction. Caesar would declare a holiday from time to time. Those are the famous “Roman holidays” of lore. But Caesar’s holidays came at irregular intervals and gave no regular assurance of rest.
Now all the world takes weekends off, except for people who work in essential services such as health care and law enforcement. Even essential service people get one or two regular days off per week. The whole world, even east Asia and Africa, follows the Bible in this regard. Muslims got their Friday sabbath principle ultimately from the Bible. The biblical sabbath principle is the law of the land everywhere. This too is proof of the Bible’s wisdom.
Here’s another Bible revelation: the concept of the secular. You read that right, the Bible gives us the secular world. The word “secular” is derived from the Latin word for “world.” It is the concept of the nonsacred. Eastern paganism had no concept of the secular. All is sacred in a pantheistic faith. In biblical thought God is separate from His creation and therefore the creation itself is not sacred. Human beings are sacred because the Bible teaches that people are created in the image of God.
When Nazi Germany was overthrown in 1945 the Allies found huge quantities of papers and photos detailing the nazi experiments on human beings. Those experiments, ghastly as they were, could have shed light on treatment of disease. The Allies decided to destroy the material because humans are sacred and such experiments were crimes against humanity.
Western, biblical thought allows experimentation on nature but not on people. In Genesis, God gave Adam and Eve dominion over nature and commanded them to subdue it. This is the birth of the concept of the secular and the birth of science.
It is ironic that in our own time, as the falling away from the Christian faith continues in the west, those that attack Christianity the fiercest are atheistic secularists who don’t even realize that the biblical worldview is the worldview that birthed the secular! The Christian concept of the secular birthed science yet science is the tool that secularists use to attack Christianity!
Western culture has in recent generations fallen away from Christianity and has morphed into secularism. Secularism is a radical embrace of the secular. We saw earlier that the pantheistic eastern faiths regarded all things as sacred and science was stifled. The pantheistic claim that all things are sacred is the opposite pole from radical secularism in which nothing is sacred.
In a society which is fully secular, human beings are not considered sacred and they can be oppressed and even murdered with impunity. Secularists deny God and reject God’s law and they have no transcendant source of absolute morals. The secular mindset of 20th century western civilization gave rise to the totalitarian political philosophies of communism and fascism. The modern, educated, sophisticated, secular 20th century was the most violent and oppressive of all centuries. Secularists have also been major supporters of abortion. Millions of the preborn are murdered by abortion each year.
Eastern pantheism also resulted in brutal oppression of human beings because in a society in which all things are sacred, people are on the same level as animals and can be treated like animals. People are sometimes less sacred than animals in some eastern faiths. This caused the rise of eastern despotism. Eastern governments were never democratic. Democratic governments were planted in India and Japan by western powers.
The two extremes are as follows: eastern pantheism has no basis for science and western secularism has no basis for morals. If everything is sacred there is no science; if nothing is sacred there is no civilization. The Soviet Union collapsed because there was no basis for morals. The Soviet oppression of people was so stifling that it eventually caused even the leaders to abandon hope in communist utopianism.
The Bible is proven to be God’s holy book because of the supernatural revelatory wisdom from God contained in its pages. The Bible gave rise to western civilization and the concepts of the sacredness of human life, the dignity of man and human freedom. The Bible’s concept of the secular gave the grounds for the rise of science.
The Bible contains thousands of predictive prophecies that have been fulfilled down through history. Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, came in fulfillment of over 300 prophecies. Jesus worked miracles during his ministry and miracles still occur today in His name. Christ lived a life of perfect holiness and taught us great things and then died for our sins and rose from the dead. We receive forgiveness of sins through Christ alone because He alone died for our sins.