Learn how you can predict the future

Ok, so that’s purposefully a clickbait title that could head some conspiracy book or YouTube video. Yet, I’m fairly serious at the same time. Let me explain.

Last week, there was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake followed by a 7.5 earthquake that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria. I knew it was going to happen. Actually, so did most current and former Concordia students who took World Geography over the past 8+ years. Every year when studying plate tectonics and fault lines we would read an article about the North Anatolian fault that runs through northern Turkey. This is what’s called a transform or “strike-slip” fault line and this one the north side moves east and the south side moves west. According to geologists, there had not been enough movement on this fault over the past few decades. That means pressure was mounting. Additionally, there are many cities along the fault and many centuries old buildings that are not earthquake rated. The result… a horrible natural disaster that everyone knew was coming with little anyone could do to lessen the human toll.

Please don’t misunderstand me to think I am making light of these events or that anyone could have known it’s time or exact place. It’s a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people died, thousands of buildings collapsed, communities wrecked. Terrible. That’s what made it even more striking for me; I had been teaching on its inevitability for years. So had many others. It brings questions like “could more have been done?”

This is where I begin to sound cliché and yet am completely serious. I’m passionate about the subjects I’ve had the privilege to teach over the years. I truly believe the subjects of Geography, History and Government (political science / civics) help us more deeply understand the world God created, our place in it and ultimately what will happen in the future. While we could discuss how similar concepts apply to our individual lives, that’s a topic for another time. Here the point is to paint a broader picture.

Geography illuminates where we are and the beauty and interconnectedness of the physical world God created for us. It also more deeply illuminates who we are in studying the peoples God populated this planet with. ALL of us. (Genesis 1:27 = God created man in his own image)

History gives us context and understanding into why we are the way we are and how we got to where we are as humans. In a previous year’s blog post I talked about how history repeats itself not just because it does, but because we (humans) are predictable in our sin and God is predictable in his love and forgiveness. (John 10:10 = “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”)

Government (political science / civics) helps us understand man’s ongoing failed attempts to fix the problems of this world on our own. (Proverbs 29:2 = “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”)

Add all of that up and it actually gives us the ability to more deeply understand the collective problems of our present and to foresee those of our future. That brings me to the piece I’ve referenced and not directly addressed. Scripture. While earthly academic subjects by themselves may have benefit to some, as a Christian, those endeavors are enriched, brightened and clarified when rooted in an understanding of The Bible.

If we are to live out Jesus’ charge to truly love God and love people (Luke 10:25-37), then we should seek to better understand all aspects of God and his creation. It nearly becomes imperative then for the Christian to have a healthy curiosity for studying geography, history, government and other topics underpinned and rooted in our reading, studying and living of the teachings of scripture.

Sean Gibson,
Social Studies Teacher