The Brilliant Colors of Jesus

Autumn is my favorite time of year.
Autumn
Colors
The cool, crisp air striking your skin, the blazing bonfire scent filling you up with every breath, the crunch of leaves underfoot. Most of all, the leaves. The dazzling display of fiery colors that fill your sight in every direction.
Dazzling
Those radiant colors that inspire poetry and art are, I recently discovered (or perhaps rediscovered as I feel sure I probably learned this at one time during my elementary school career), actually the true colors of the leaves. The green that we see for most of the year, the green that fills up our springtime and summer, is just the tree-feeding chlorophyll covering up the brightness. It is not until the tree is no longer making food, not until the leaves are beginning to die, that their true colors blaze out.
Green
I want that.
Changing
Oh, how I desperately want that.
Becoming
As I age, as my body moves closer to death, I want for the colors of this life to begin to fade away and the colors of Jesus in me to blaze out.
Beginning
From the moment we choose life in Jesus, we are changing.
Fading
Little by little, day by day, the green of this world starts to fade.
Shining
Little by little, choice by choice, the light of the life to come begins to shine.
Light
The older I become, the more I want people to look at me and see Jesus. I want the colors of me, the colors of my natural self, to fade away. I want the brilliance of Jesus to take over.
Brilliance
At the end of my life, my body will be bent and wrinkled, dry and withered. My prayer is that by then my own self will be so one with Christ that when people look into my eyes, they are taken aback with the dazzling display of Jesus that fills their sight.
Dazzling
What are some of the lessons that Mother Nature is teaching you about our common Creator? She speaks loudly if we will only listen.
Beauty
Creation
Nature
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. ~ Romans 1.20

The Goodness of Creation

There is a sneaking suspicion that lurks in the back of most of our minds.
A suspicion that colors the way we look at ourselves as well as the world around us.
Goodness of Creation
It is the suspicion that sin has completely undone the goodness of Creation.
adam and eve by benjamin west
It is the suspicion that sin has broken our world and our bodies so thoroughly that there is nothing left to it but the ugly.
And if we view Creation through these dark lenses, we will treat it with contempt and shame. Even more, we will increasingly view the world, including our own bodies, as though they have nothing at all to do with God.
We will fall in line with our culture’s idea that we can live perfectly well in this world without ever thinking about how to consider with our lives the glorious reality of God’s Creation.
Glory of Creation
Without beginning our salvation story with Creation itself, without including in the gospel the amazingness of God-in-flesh, we are left with a hollow salvation, one that does the bare minimum to get us through the gates rather than one that accomplishes abundance upon abundance of redemption.
When God the Son died and resurrected, He redeemed not just our souls, but our physical bodies and the entire material world around us as well.
Redemption of Creation
The stuff of creation is what God the Son redeems through his becoming flesh, bearing our sin, enduring death, and rising to life. When we have a truncated doctrine of creation, we have a truncated understanding of salvation. ~ Jonathan Wilson, theologian and author of God’s Good World
Romans 8 speaks of creation in the same terms it uses to speak of men. It speaks of creation as waiting to be redeemed, as yearning to be set free from bondage, as groaning as it waits in the exact same way that we groan as we wait for our own redemption.
Yearning of Creation
We groan indeed. We groan as we labor through the pain of childbirth, we groan as we struggle to live life well and fail over and over to obey, we groan as we age and approach death.
We are a part of Creation and we groan and wait and hope right along with all of this material world for the return of Christ and for the redemption and perfection of all that we know.
And we would be a bit more successful in living our lives more beautifully if we would continue to consider the ways in which Creation should guide us toward or away from different patterns of life.
Guidance of Creation
The glories of Creation and the ways in which God continues to interact with Creation have the possibility of helping us to understand how a “well-ordered life in the body presents opportunities for glorifying God and enjoying Him forever by participating more fully in the glorious giftedness of Creation”. (Ken Meyers of Mars Hill Audio Journal)
There is not room in a blog to explore such huge ideas in any depth at all. I only hope to spur on thought and seeking and exploring. Share with me what God shows you?

Art credit: The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise by Benjamin West

Saving the Earth

I’ve never been a “SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!!!!” sort of girl.
Save the world
Not because I want to actively destroy our planet or because I am particularly opposed to saving it, but simply because I haven’t thought much about it.

I love spending time outdoors, love seeing and being in the beauty that God has given us, but not until recently has my mind made the connection between our earth being created by and loved by God, and my own responsibility to take care of our world.

Love our world

I know. There are a lot of you who are rolling your eyes right now and thinking, “Wow. You are some kind of dense not to have understood that before now.”

Perhaps, though, there are at least one or two of you who are like me and have simply not thought about this idea of being stewards of God’s creation. These thoughts, then, are for you.

Surprised By Hope

This idea first started bouncing around in my mind when I read N.T. Wright’s book, Surprised by Hope.  One of the themes that Wright discusses is the concept that this world is going to be restored someday, is going to be made whole and perfect, and we are asked by God to begin now to work towards that restoration. He even suggests that we are part of God’s plan to perfect our world, that perhaps He will accomplish this restoration (at least partially) through humanity.

This is a staggering idea, especially in the implication that if we are not working to care for our world then we are delaying the restoration of creation.

My first reaction to this idea was that God would never entrust such an important task to such frail humans. Yet there is, however, that whole “go into the world and teach people to be My disciples” task that He gave us. Perhaps God is just crazy enough to put such big things into our little hands.

Biology Through the Eyes of Faith
My next recent encounter with this idea of stewardship (I was starting to feel as though perhaps, just perhaps, God was giving me a little nudge) was when I read Richard T. Wright’s book, Biology Through the Eyes of Faith. (I was also starting to feel as though perhaps, just perhaps, I was reading too many books by authors with the last name of Wright.)
When I wrote an essay about the book, about how Christians should not fear what science can do to God, I was struck by something that I quoted from this book at the end:
Over the years, I have realized that even though it is necessary to look at these origins issues and problems, the more important problems are those that are facing us today as we try to learn how to take care of the creation and how best to use its gifts. (If God were to ask us a question about His Creation,) would He ask us what we thought about how He made the world, or would He ask us what we did with it
Caring for Our World
What does God want us to do with this creation He has entrusted to us? I started searching Scripture and was surprised by what I found. Here are just a few:
God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. ~ Genesis 1.31
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it…So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. ~ Genesis 2.15, 20
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. ~ Romans 8.19-21
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare … But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth (emphasis mine), the home of righteousness. ~ II Peter 3.10, 13
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

As I searched the Word for wisdom, I was also reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is the story of how her family spent one year eating only what they could obtain locally. The book gave me a myriad of ideas about how our family could begin paying attention, how we could be deliberate about how we use this creation that God called “very good”.

And so I’ve started exploring. Perhaps we will start loving our neighbors by purchasing as much as possible from farmers who live nearby, from businesses owned by local people. Perhaps we will start loving this world by eating meat and eggs from animals that have been well cared for and that have been fed foods they were created to eat, by recycling and reusing as much as possible. 

 

Recycling Our World
 
I’m probably still not going to start marching in environmental protests or throwing paint on people who wear fur coats. 
I will, however, begin to pray, to think, to be aware and deliberate about how our family can be responsible stewards of this very good earth that has been graciously loaned to us by God. I will try to understand how to make sacred these choices about food and how we live on this planet.

What do you think about these things? What does your family do to care for our world? Do you have any advice for our family as we begin to explore this: advice about using a co-op or a CSA, recycling, etc.?

Science, Faith, and Fear

Why are so many Christians afraid of science?



So many Christians get incredibly defensive and angry when it comes to debates and discussions about science, particularly when our origin is the topic under scrutiny. People will argue fiercely and loudly against theories such as evolution or big bang cosmology.

Some would even go so far as to state that Christians cannot also be scientists.

Why do we get so defensive and angry?

Fear.

While most would not admit it, many are, deep down inside, afraid that if such theories are true than their God does not exist. They fear that God is unable to defend Himself and so they get angry in order to drive out their fear.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship

I have fear too.

I am afraid that this divide between Christians and science is driving people away from our faith rather than drawing them in.

How can we possibly think that science could destroy God? How can we believe that science could ever come up with a truth that would cause God to cease to exist?



We worship and serve God Who is Truth and science cannot help but point to Him.

Perhaps part of the trouble is that Christians have mistaken the purpose of science.

Science tries to figure out how things work. Science does not give ultimate explanation for the origin and existence of the universe or answer questions concerning the purpose of the universe or of our existence.



What if evolution is true? What if the big bang theory is true? Does that take God out of the picture at all?

God created our universe. The Bible is clear on that point. 



As Richard T. Wright writes in Biology Through the Eyes of Faith:

Whether you believe that His gifts were bestowed at the outset of creation, or periodically over time, or all at once recently, you should see design in what He has done. What we see doesn’t prove His existence, but it does point people in the right direction, and for Christians, what we see and learn should cause us to thank Him and give Him the glory for such a wonderful creation.

Why should we fear science when science can give us more and more insight into how beautiful and complex is God’s design? Science doesn’t deny God, science glorifies God! 

God reveals Himself through His Word: 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching…

God also reveals Himself through His created world: 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Why do we try to throw out one of His revelations?

At the end of one of his papers, the biologist David Wilcox says this:

In our speculations, we must be limited by God’s self-revelations – both by Scripture and in His created world. As we seek to be guided by these two sources of truth, let us humbly acknowledge that our interpretations of both sources of knowledge are worldview guided and fallible. We will always need to be guided – and corrected – by the Spirit of Truth, in science or in theology. And when we get home…won’t we have a good laugh at ourselves?!

Perhaps we should trust God. Trust that He is able to defend Himself, trust that He is Truth and that science can never knock Him off His throne.



Whether you believe that the earth is young or old, whether you believe that we humans were created in one day or over billions of years through evolution, when we have debates and discussions with other Christians and with non-Christians, please remember that the most important thing to God is not our origin but that we love Him and love each other.

It is not wrong to have your opinion, to study science and debate with others about various issues, but don’t fear those who disagree–love them. In the end, our love and respect, our willingness to listen and prayerfully consider new ideas is a much stronger way to show Jesus to the world around us than attacking others or becoming defensive out of fear.

…But perfect love drives out fear…

As we think about how we love, may I end with one last thought from Wright’s book?

Over the years, I have realized that even though it is necessary to look at these origins issues and problems, the more important problems are those that are facing us today as we try to learn how to take care of the creation and how best to use its gifts. (If God were to ask us a question about His Creation,) would He ask us what we thought about how He made the world, or would He ask us what we did with it?


Art credits: DNA photo by Tomislav Alajbeg; photos of Eagle Nebula and Supernova from NASA; microscopic view of a lime tree by Kriss Szkurlatowski

A Psalm of Love


Holy. Beautiful. Glory.



Creator. Author. Majesty.



King and Lord. Humility and Servant.



Love.






Wise beyond my wisdom.



Knowing beyond my knowledge.



Perfect plan beyond what I can comprehend.



Love.






Giver of all that I grasp too tightly.



Sacrificer of all, that I may see Your face.



Abundant mercy and grace, I rest in your delight in me.



Love.






For all that comes before,



When I cannot understand,



Still I will cling to Your power, Your goodness and



Your Love.




In Christ All Things Hold Together

I think about God’s creation quite frequently this time of year.





The trees are aflame, the air is crisp and cool, and we are watching our farmer neighbors harvesting the fields.





I’ve also been thinking about Colossians 1

For by him (Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

I’ve especially been thinking about that last phrase: in Him all things hold together.


I look up the verb for “hold together” in my Strong’s and find that it is “sunistao” or ” sunistemi” which has connotations of “strengthened…to set together…to stand with”. 


It is a present tense verb: Christ is currently and actively holding all things together.


I am intrigued and try to consider this idea more thoroughly.


I tend to view creation as neutral, as separate from heaven. I often see creation as something that points to God but not as something that participates with God. 


I think that many people see creation as having been made or set into motion by God but now is on its own. 


In Him all things hold together.


I often hear people talk about having a Christian perspective on creation, especially when conversing about the need to care for the earth. Even that sort of language implies that creation is neutral and needs for Christ-followers to imbue it with godly meaning.


Yet if Christ is right now holding all things together, then perhaps that means that there is something deeper, something sacred behind all created things.


According to Hans Boersma in a recent Mars Hill Audio Journal interview, that is certainly what Christians believed for more than a millennium after Christ:  Just as you wouldn’t simply read the text of the Bible without seeking something deeper, something sacred behind the words, you shouldn’t simply look at creation without seeking something sacred behind the created thing. 



Just as Christ is the logos, the Word of God, that is behind the Holy Words of Scripture, so, according to Colossians 1, Christ is also behind the created world, holding all things together.


I am only a stay-at-home mommy. I don’t pretend to know a whole lot. 


I do know that modernity has enlightened us to many realities about the world around us. 


Perhaps, just perhaps, it has blinded us to some of the deeper realities as well.


Would you continue the conversation in the comments below? What do you think? Is there something deeper and sacred behind created things or is creation now neutral, only pointing to God rather than right now participating with God in its renewal?

The Goodness of Time

I sit with my sweet sister, my brother’s wife, this 26-year-old mommy of a 16-month old, watching her life ebb away. She has fought hard for her husband and son, fought hard against this cancer that is quickly overtaking her lungs, her bones, her eyes, her brain. 


We now want her to just rest.


Cancer.


Such a hideous piece of this broken world. This broken world that can yet be so beautiful.

Why does God allow things to go on the way that they are? If He knew ahead of time the brokenness, the fallenness, the sin of this world, why begin? If He knew He would have to send the flood, send His Son, why create at all?

I have been wondering for a long time.

I don’t have any answers, just a few “perhaps’”.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it was the only way.

If God created with a purpose, a future purpose as well as a present purpose, perhaps this brokenness is the only way to reach that future goal.

My mind protests.

If He is God, can’t He create a world that has already reached that goal? Can’t He do anything?

I think it through.

Yes, He can do anything. Anything, that is, which is not nonsense, not just silly.

Perhaps, just perhaps, creating a world that has instantly reached God’s future purpose is as silly, as nonsensical, as creating a round square, a four-sided triangle, a circle with corners.

Perhaps the journey is essential to the goal.

I wonder and ponder for several days as I go about my daily work.

Then I receive a gift from my family: a bit of time alone.


That is when I read this:


Music challenges the belief that the longer something takes, the worse it will be…Music, in a very concentrated way, tells us that something can take time AND be good. Music takes time to be what it is, and as such can be glorious. It can remind us that it is not a failing of the created world that it reaches its fulfillment only through time. This is part of the way God made things. The created world takes time to be what it is. ~ Begbie, Resounding Truth

Ah.

Why DO we persist in thinking that God’s delay in coming and making all things perfect is a bad thing, that somehow He is impatiently waiting for something to happen so that He can be allowed to return?
IF (this is, don’t forget, just an “if”) all of this brokenness, all of this fallen-ness is essential to bringing about the new earth in which:

the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God…It (Jerusalem) shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. ~ Revelation 21.3,11



THEN
Let us:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! … Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4.4-6

I don’t mean that we shouldn’t long for Christ’s return, wait anxiously for all to be set right again. The Bible is clear that we should yearn for the day when we shall see God.

And God’s delay, these thousands of years between the beginning and the end, is a gift, not a curse.

I don’t pretend to understand how. So much of this world seems so bad to me. We probably won’t understand until the end.

We must, however, give thanks and know that time is a gift and is part of the way God made things. This middle of the story is what moves us from the beginning to the beautiful, glorious end.


The created world takes time to be what it is.


Thank You, Lord God, for doing whatever it takes to carry all of creation into its glorious end…which is, after all, only the beginning.

credit/source/copyright for the last two pictures: New Jerusalem and New Earth

An Old Question, Part Two

May we continue our conversation from last week?
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”
~ Genesis 1.26
The first part of that amazing declaration is “Let us make”
We are created by God. We are part of God’s creation.
Along with the trees, mountains, birds and sun, we ARE God’s creation.
We humans, however, have a unique role that was given to us. A role that only we can fulfill.
We are (as far as we know!) the only creatures who can love God in return.
We are the only part of creation who can give voice to the wordless praise of all creation.
As Jeremy Begbie says in Resounding Truth,
In the human being, creation finds a conscious answering voice, a mortal from the dust of the earth who can know and respond to God’s love as a creature, love God in return, and as a part of this response, voice creation’s praise.
This is a beautiful picture and a beautiful role.
What grace that God entrusted this to us!
What tragedy that our role as worshiper in creation has twisted into worshiper of creation.
Including worshiper of self.
Oh.
Just as I have twisted my role as God’s representative, I have twisted my role of offering worship on behalf of all creation.
…disproportioned sin
Jarred against nature’s chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion swayed
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood
In first obedience, and their state of good.
~ John Milton “At a Solomn Music”

However.
What a beautiful word, “however”.
God gave us grace through Christ.
Jesus. Man. God.
A man who gave complete and un-distracted praise to God.
A man who acted out God’s wise rule in the world.
He is our worship to God ~ perfect praise from us to God, creation’s perfect voice.
He is the image of God to us ~ perfect representation of God, being a wise steward of the earth, He brought healing, restoration, hope and peace from God to earth.
Jesus helped and healed many people, like this. He made blind people see. He made deaf people hear. He made lame people walk. Jesus was making the sad things come untrue. He was mending God’s broken world. ~ Jesus Storybook Bible
The most exciting part of this gift, this grace? We are invited to join Him!
As Begbie says,
Our privilege is to find our true place in the world, to be conformed by the Spirit to Christ (II Corinthians 3.18) so we can start to be true image bearers ourselves, reflecting the covenant love of God to the world…In Christ through the Spirit we can recover our calling as God’s image bearers, as the people of God exercising wise stewardship. This is part of authentic “spiritual worship” (Romans 12.1).
What joy! What grace! What gift!
By reflecting God’s image to the world around us, to the tiny piece of creation (human and non-human) in which God has placed us, we are voicing the praise of creation back to God.
What a beautiful circle.
*paintings are Christ and Samaritan by Henryk Siemiradzki and Christ Healing the Blind Man by Eustache Le Sueur

An Old Question

May we have another conversation?
How about an old question today?
A question as old as humanity.
What is my purpose?
Why am I on earth and what am I supposed to do while I am here?
The ancients spent time on this:
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
~ Genesis 4.2
Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. ~ Genesis 4.20
His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.
~ Genesis 4.21
Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. ~ Genesis 4.22
They figured out what to do while here on earth. 
What about us? What about all of mankind as a whole?
This is what has been in my mind lately:
Perhaps we have a dual role, we humans. A dual purpose, given to us by God Himself.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness… ~ Genesis 1.26
Let us make. We are created, a part of God’s creation.
In our image. We are God’s unique counterpart, His representatives here on earth.
Perhaps we could try to work through the idea of being God’s representative first?
Being made in God’s image brings with it certain responsibilities.
The second part of Genesis 1.26 says that God decided that we were to rule, have dominion over, all living creatures.
David echoes this in Psalm 8:
What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet.
This has, unfortunately, been used too often as an excuse to plunder the earth and destroy it.
Instead, as Jeremy Begbie says in Resounding Truth:
as God’s image bearers, humans are to exercise God’s wise and loving rule within the world; to use more modern language, we are to be wise stewards of the earth, caring for it and protecting it in a way that reflects and embodies God’s rule over his creation.
We are also to spread God and His love to the rest of the world. We are to work to speed up God’s future goal for creation, to bring healing, restoration, hope and peace.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. ~ II Corinthians 5.18-20
Israel was supposed to be a picture of this. Israel was called to be God’s people, accomplishing God’s purposes for humanity in and for the world. They had experienced God’s rescuing power and love and were to be His way of giving that love to the rest of the world.
I wonder what would have happened if Israel had obeyed. What would our world look like if they had acted as God’s representatives?
This is a painful question.
Israel’s purposes were but a shadow of our own.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
~ II Corinthians 3.6-9
What would our world look like if I were acting as God’s representative?
What would my neighborhood, my community look like if I were caring for and protecting our world, if I were sharing God’s rescuing love with the people around me?
I will confess. Different.
Things have gone wrong and many live in alienation from one another and in purposeless and destructive living. I want to be different. I want to live in the image of God.
We can only do small things. Being mindful of the way we treat our natural resources, sharing our garden and our baked goods with our neighbors, helping another child get the food, education and spiritual learning she needs…
I will continue to think through this, trying to imagine what it looks like to act in the image of God. Will you help me? What if we all made a small change or two? Perhaps our world would look different.
Come back next week? Bring your coffee and stay awhile. I enjoy talking over hard things with you. Even if we come to no conclusions, I think it is helpful and good. We can continue with the other side of this: being a part of God’s creation.

Why do you seek to know?

She has control over so little in her life. Her Daddy and I tell her when to get up and when to lie down, when to eat and when to play, what to wear and where to go. She grasps at anything that will give her more power over those things with which she comes into contact.

She loves to know what name to call things, especially when that thing frightens her a little. When she was smaller, her constant response to a loud noise was “that was?”. Now that she is a little older, she asks “what was that? that noise?”. Knowing the name of something gives her power over it, makes it seem a little less scary.

She seeks to know.

Perhaps she is not very different from many adults.

Scientists, medical researchers, geneticists, stay-at-home moms who like to learn…people want to know what name to call things, want to know about things, because that gives them power over those things, those ideas. If we know how something was put together or how something works or even just what to call it, we feel as though we have power over our world.

We seek to know.

A long time ago, in a land far away, around the beginning of the Christian Church (perhaps even earlier), there lived a group of people we call Gnostics who believed (among other things) that matter, the material universe, was bad and that deliverance from our material form could only come through special knowledge.

Not so long ago, in a land not so far away, there lived a group of people who believed that their minds were all-powerful, that through knowledge they could overcome all physical limitations. They could eat poorly and take vitamin supplements. They could ignore their children and send them to therapists. They believed that saving our natural resources wasn’t important because their minds, human ingenuity in the form of science and technology, could surely take care of that problem as well.

There is nothing new…

In C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man (1943!), he said that mankind’s power to do exactly what it wants seems to be growing all the time through humanity’s so-called “con­quest of Nature” – the progress of applied science. However, “each new power won by man is a power over man as well.” We can throw bombs from airplanes but can also be bombed ourselves; a race of birth-controllers is a race whose own birth has been controlled.

We seek to know. We seek to control.

Why do we feel that Nature is bad, that the material world needs to be conquered? Even as Christ-followers we seek knowledge because we fear. We want to know and to name so that we can control that which is uncontrollable.

Is the pursuit of knowledge wrong? If so, than my thoughts a few weeks ago were completely amiss.

As I read through Philippians again, I see this:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. ~Philippians 1.9-11

Paul seeks to know.

I also read this:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4.12-13

Paul is definitely not in control, nor does he seek to be.

Is this a Faustian-like power, this power of knowledge? A power that gives away everything good that God created in order to gain power and control over His creation?

It can be.

As Christ-followers, do we seek knowledge because we are fearful of the future and wish to wrest control of His creation from the One Who set it all in motion?

Sometimes I do.

Perhaps instead we can seek knowledge in order to praise God with our minds. Perhaps we can seek knowledge in gratitude for our imagination and intelligence, in gratitude for the complexity of His creation.

I suppose that, as with most that God has created, the goodness or evil of the pursuit of knowledge depends upon the heart of His creation.

May our hearts and minds seek to know out of thanksgiving rather than out of fear.

*etching is “Faust” by Rembrandt