We have seen that the Bible describes the development of civilization emerging in the context of the rebellious city-building projects of Cain and his descendants (Genesis 4:17-22). That’s where the first-mentioned teacher appeared. As humanity spread out (as God intended we should do), people began to develop the potential in their abilities and the resources that God had deposited in the raw materials of creation. But the fact that these embryonic expressions of civilization emerged in a God-forsaking city indicates that the process of civilization is not necessarily the progress of civilization. God-given human and natural resources were quickly used in the wrong ways and for the wrong ends.
Like Cain’s descendants in Genesis 4, we would argue that we have made progress in the realm of agriculture. But have we treated either the land or the hungry as God intended? Like Cain’s descendants, we pride ourselves in new advancements in technology. But we have moved on in what we can do with bronze and iron to make weapons as well as tools. We have made progress in the wrong direction - toward weapons of mass destruction rather than tools to serve our fellow men.
Cain’s offspring developed new musical instruments. We know that heaven is filled with the sound of music, and God’s plan was that the earth would be filled with the sounds of heaven replicated on earth – his will being done on earth as it is in heaven. Music (like all art) was an expression of worship, to his glory and our delight. But the city of man has twisted and distorted it – cutting it off from the God in whom it was created, and developing it in the city dedicated to man’s rebellious desire to make a name for himself. Art becomes self-expression; music, a means to promote rebellion.
This is why we need Christian Education. City life is made up of all the kinds of things that are used in the examples that Genesis 4 gives us. Civilization and culture flourish. But since earliest times, these developments have been taught by the like of Tubal-Cain in a certain kind of city, taught from the perspective of city-dwellers who have their own agenda for the human race, who have their own architect’s drawings for what life on planet earth should look like. If we are to be a “city set on a hill”, if we are to be citizens of a city whose builder and architect is God, we need to discover his blueprints for city life. We need to train citizens who will think about, practice and teach agriculture, technology and art (to use examples from Genesis 4) God’s way rather than Cain’s way. This is a significant facet of seeing God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
Tubal-Cain taught metalwork in Cain’s city. But Bezalel not only had an equivalent level of craftsmanship; he was also anointed with the Spirit of God (Ex 31:1-5). God gave him some blueprints for what do to with those skills when put to use for the glory of God. That’s the kind of teacher we really need!