Posted by: aboutalbion | April 25, 2012

World History and the divine

World history … world government … world religions.

 To say that world history might provide a narrative that could accommodate world government is to move towards ideas that have been deeply held by the three monotheistic ‘Abrahamic’ religions in the ‘western core’ for many centuries.

 Yahweh came to be perceived by Israel as the singular divinity, not just of Israel, but of the whole world.  In this conception of history, the nations of the world were the active instruments of Yahweh.

 The Christian God was similarly perceived by the church as the one and only god who needed to be made known to all nations.  On this view, the purpose of world history was to grant time for all people to submit to the single unified governance of God’s Christ.

 In Islamic thought, Allah has knowledge of everything that will happen and may alter the course of human history as may be necessary.  The Umma of Muslim believers have the freedom to choose how to arrange for the word of Allah and the religion of Allah to triumph over all the other religions.

 Taken together, the three ‘Abrahamic’ religions have lodged in the cultures of the ‘western core’ the idea that world history is the arena in which the divine purpose can be inferred.  Attempts to raise the status of world history writing will have to engage with embedded ideas about divine purpose that are already part of the readers’ culture in the ‘western core’.

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