I’m not optimistic about any students I might have in the future. I know they’re, for the most part, a generation of spoiled college students who’ve never done anything but lust for money, sex and power their entire lives and tried to compensate by looking generous and hip. Oh, wait, what compensation? Like me, my students would be selfish, prideful, superficial, lazy, negligent, inattentive people who could never save themselves.
But this is not what I’m here to talk about. Yes, to see students like this, to see how mindlessly they conduct themselves, to see how they want a degree without thinking on any deeper level than what’s needed to get them into medical school or law school or a Ph.D. program, is depressing. The personal pleasure I might derive from learning and teaching what I learn could not make up for that. But the total depravity of man is not the whole story.
No, I have no optimism. What I do have is hope: hope in Christ’s redemption of the world, hope that the mind can come to see more like God, hope that working toward this can be a work of dedication to God. I spent half of yesterday grieved at the sorry state of education, the disrepair in which I find the essence of university – even talking about it got me only to the conclusion that it was a fray I could not avoid – but no longer.
My faith is not in any natural ability of humans to rise above their present state: it is in God’s ability to work in me and through me for both the rescue of souls and the gradual cultivation of minds to know the truth. What was this hopelessness in which I saw myself beset with only a bulwark of retreat? It was knowing how thoroughly man is corrupted, how totally he is depraved, without knowing how totally God will finally heal creation of such things.
I am not happy that it is out of a broken system that I must teach, God willing, but though I am but one man, God is the one God, and there is no God but YHWH, Lord of my salvation and the world’s. Why should I rest on my own abilities? There is One far greater than I, and greater far than even the challenges.