In the prayer at the beginning of the school year it is said: “Furthermore we pray that He will illumine them with the light of His knowledge…for all good and profitable learning.” We pray not that our children merely “learn” but that the content be good and profitable for their salvation. That, above all, it be God’s knowledge. Certainly we have to be particularly careful of this since the world’s knowledge becomes gradually and subconsciously ingrained in us. Subsequently there are things we might take as factual which in all reality have nothing to do with the truth according to divine, scriptural knowledge.
For instance, all Christians believe that man was created by God. He was created in God’s image and the first people were Adam and Eve. Then came Cain and Abel and Seth and later Noah, Abraham and so on. But where in all of this were the fabled ancestors of modern man, the cave men?
The Judeo-Christian view of the origin of man sees him not only as being created by God but as St. Symeon the New Theologian says, the first man shared in divine illumination and brilliance. He was a glorious creature! The secular rendition of man’s origin, on the other hand, sees him as a rough, dirty cave man pulling his wife by her hair. However, this isn’t to say that there aren’t cave men in the Bible. Let us consider Lot who, as we read in Genesis 19:30 “…went up to Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell with Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.”
The story of Lot can be found in Genesis. Basically, his story, even though he was a believer, is a story of selfishness and greed. Despite the fact he appears early on in the Bible he wasn’t the first man, instead he was the first cave man. In truth then, man did not begin as a cave man but the “worldly man” who was only concerned with the material things, ended up spending his days living in a cave. His life resembled the images we get of the fabled primordial, living in the darkness of the cave because of his sin.
Cave men, in other words, are not where men came from centuries and centuries ago. Rather, it’s what they can become because of sin, greed, selfishness and the apathetic and careless refusal to grow in the light of God’s knowledge. Growing in this knowledge, in the end, is what we consider “good and profitable learning”.