History & Geography
History and Geography weren’t exactly my two most favourite subjects while in high School in Scotland, mainly because we never heard much at all about Scotland! However, since leaving Scotland to live in Canada and then Australia, everyone assumes me to be the subject-matter-expert on Scotland’s history and geography! I love the story of Scotland, its people and its topography. We learn better when we are interested in the subject matter. True? I am interested in God as well as Scotland.
History has been called His-story in reference to God and what He has done in history. In reference to God (Gr. Theos) and geography I’d like to coin a new word, a pun: Theography. God has as much to do with geography as with history. In the past, at the very beginning of time, God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them (e.g., Exodus 20:11). Over a period of six days He shaped and formed what He had made, including the planet earth with its land, sea, animals (i.e., birds, sea-creatures, land-creatures etc.) and also humans (Genesis 1:1-2:2; Psalm 104). Subsequently, He sent a great global flood and reshaped the planet earth, forming the great continents and islands with their varied climates and topography, to which people began to flow from Babel (Genesis 11). From Eskimo to Pigmy, from Scot to Japanese each group can trace its heritage back to one of Noah’s three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth (Genesis 10). Says Albert Edersheim, ‘It may be said generally, that Asia was given to Shem, Africa to Ham, and Europe to Japheth … beginning with the youngest, Japheth, we find of those known to the general reader, the Cymry of Wales and Brittany (Gomer), the Scythians (Magog) … the Greeks (Ionians, Javan) ... Among their descendants, the Germans, Celts, and Armenians have been traced to the three sons of Gomer.’
Naturally I am interested in those other Celts, i.e., the Irish with their Scottish offspring. According to The Declaration of Arbroath (1320), these were the Scythians, the progeny of Magog. ‘We know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots ... journeyed from Greater Scythia.’ (See e.g., Colossians 3:11).
To be sure, some may laugh at my brief account of Scottish history, just as others may mock the Biblical record. But, if ‘History is written by the victors’ (Walter Benjamin?), then it is His-story. For, ‘He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they may grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, “For we are also His offspring”’ Acts 17:26-28.
So we see then that God is the victor, because He has written the history of the world. For, as we have just read, He has sovereignly assigned each nation its geographical location and the time it will spend there. And it is all about Him. Thus, God is the best interpreter of history and geography. Why did He put the Scots in mountainous Scotland and the Dutch in the flatlands of the Netherlands? Why Icelanders in Iceland and Welsh in Wales? It is ‘so that they should seek the Lord’!
His-story and Theo-graphy! May God receive the glory!