As defined by Webster, "a: to control, direct, or strongly influence the actions and conduct of b: to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over."
* universal, not situational
* timeless, not temporary
* objective, not subjective
* at work whether we like it or not
An example used to demostrate principles in growing potatoes. The question was asked, "Which principles govern the process of growing quality potatoes? Answers like:
- long preparation to get the soil right
- take what is given (we have no control of the weather or other natural conditions)
- there are no shortcuts, do it right
- human element cannot be replaced
- time commitment
- may do everything right, but the crop does not produce
If we want to mature, what principles will govern the process of growing a quality life? This will be discussed later. The important thing to understand now is as we work in light of sound principles, we can establish new habits and thereby create the results we aspire to acheive.
We need to examine the principles by which we live at this moment. Like paradigms, we may not think we live by principles, but we do whether we know them or not. We need to take time to recognize them and decide if they are the correct influences which will take us where we want to go in life.
How do we know there are universal principles that are true to everyone throughout all time? How do we know we know anything? This is the philosophical question of epistemology - how do we know truth. Not just truth but, as Francis Schaeffer would say "true truth." Schaeffer would say, "because of the God who is there."
This always brings me to the questions of origins. Were we created by an Eternal Almighty Being who defined these principles so we could live life abundantly (a map to guide mankind); who created man in His own image and gave us our humaness? Those qualities that set us apart from all other creatues Francis Schaeffer refers to as "the mannishness of man"; a desire for real love and significance.
Or, did we evolve from inanimate matter which, we have been told, has always existed. If this is so, then humaness is an accident and there is no map to guide us to abundant living. Everyone can do what is right in his own eyes. There is no universal, absolute right or wrong. (Read Matter Matters article in Christianity Today.) As humans we have an innate sense of right and wrong. With out acknowledging the God who is there, who has the authority to dictate what is right and wrong; what is truth and untruth, the powerful or majority will control and influence. They will determine what is right, what is the truth - and if history says anything, humans cannot be the final authority on these matters. It brings death, poverty, manipulation and destruction.
If one observes the universe around them, they can see the naturals laws God has set in motion. If one looks inside one's self, they can feel the needs only God can satisfy and guide them in truly living a fulfilled, significant life.