Christian education, faith, learning, grace, Bible, hermeneutics
Integral Christian higher education is in vogue. Most Christian institutions of higher education who take their mission seriously make the claim that the education offered to students is one where faith and learning are not separate. It is a belief that their entire educational enterprise is inexorably tied in some way, shape, or form to our new life in Christ. Most engineering programs on Christian campuses are the outgrowth of this perspective. Over the last fifty years, numerous philosophers, writers, scientists, and engineers have developed a solid foundation from which engineering can be understood as an essential calling in the kingdom of God.1 Central to this work has been a revival of the Biblical theme of creation, the mandate for culture formation, and the proclamation of the gospel through engineering work. The dialogue has often focused on developing a Christian motivation for our engineering work rooted in a Biblical understanding of Creation or on defining what constitutes “right” engineering action (ethics, responsibility, morality, witness…) from a Christian perspective. While I applaud these efforts and find this work indispensible for our task in engineering education, our work to date has yet to plumb the depths of another theme that thoroughly pervades scripture. This Biblical theme is the unpredictable, indeterminate, and irrational grace that characterizes life in the kingdom of God. When it comes to engineering education (which seems at home in the systematic and rational environment of laws, rules, regulations, and responsibility), grace is often either relegated to a personal sphere or is conveniently left for elsewhere in the curriculum. If the epoxy of grace is so bound up in the fiber of the kingdom of God and we claim that faith and engineering are not separate, then the trajectories of engineering and grace must somehow intersect. This paper will begin by establishing a biblical hermeneutic for understanding engineering in the light of scripture. It will illustrate from scripture that “grace” is not simply a theological concept or a mechanism for salvation. It is a way of life. Using the work of Christian philosopher Albert Borgmann on technology and grace as a starting point, the paper will explore how grace is woven into our work as engineers. An example of how “grace” might color a course in the engineering curriculum will be presented using an Instrumentation and Control Systems course as an example.
Source Publication Title
Proceedings of the Christian Engineering Conference
Christian Engineering Society
Brue, Ethan, "Sola Gratia: Grace in the Engineering Curriculum and Profession" (2015). Faculty Work Comprehensive List. 776.