Reason and Revelation

Those who follow Jesus are, I fear, often suspicious of reason.
Some believe that the spiritual is far above intellect and cannot be discerned by the mind.  Some are simply afraid that those who are deemed intellectual will produce proof after proof to debunk their cherished beliefs.
We are commanded to love God with all of our mind.  And we are told that we cannot know God unless He reveals Himself to us.
Their eyes were opened
It seems a paradox that we can know God by reason and we can know God only by revelation.
Yet our faith is full of paradoxes: the last will be first; the King came as a servant; you live by dying; you gain by giving away.  It is one of the things I love about this Christ-filled life.  One can never get bored; there will never be a dearth of things to discover.
I love a good mystery novel.  I adore following the clues and trying to figure out the solution.  The best mystery authors are the ones who can lead you on, doling out all of the necessary clues and handing you a surprise twist at the end, a twist that you never saw coming but one that perfectly fulfills all of the clues that came before.
Beautiful Books
This is our faith.  The Old Testament prophets gave all of the necessary clues to finding the Messiah yet when He finally arrived, the way in which He perfectly agreed with their descriptions was a complete surprise.
I imagine that this is how it will be at the end of our own times.  The final revelation of God will perfectly complete all that we have reasoned out, yet in a beautifully surprising way.
Our Creator gave us reason, gave us intellect, gave us curiosity for a purpose.  I suspect that He delights in surprising us, in crafting intricate puzzles that lead us on ever new adventures of discovery.
Near Discovery
Far Discovery
Wouldn’t that be just like Him?

Art Credits: Road to Emmaus by Robert Zund; photos of space by NASA

Using Science

I have wondered before in this space, wondered why science and our faith seem always to be at such odds. I have lamented the idea that fear is driving the Christian’s response to science and therefore is driving many intelligent people away from our faith and our churches.
What I did not address in my previous musings is how it seems that every time there is a new scientific discovery, a new theory about our world and our universe, both sides seem to leap upon the premise as proof of their point of view.
Whether we speak of the observation that the earth revolves around the sun or the theory of big bang cosmology, every new discovery or theory is at the first seized upon to carry wide-reaching theological and philosophical consequences.
Those who do not believe in our God grasp at the new discovery to be used as a new attack against Christianity. Those who do believe either dismiss it out-of-hand as patently false, a conspiracy of scientists who twist the facts to suit their own purposes, or else (perhaps more embarrassingly) try to use it as the basis for a new defense for proving their beliefs to the world.
Yet each time this occurs, when “the popular hubbub has subsided and the novelty has been chewed over by real theologians, real scientists and real philosophers, both sides find themselves pretty much where they were before.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Two kinds of words
One would think that we, as humanity, would learn. I suppose, though, that what was true in the third century, BC, is still true today. There is nothing new under the sun.
We would do well, I think, to remember that the purpose of science is to try 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.
Perhaps our role as believers is not, after all, to prove our faith beyond a shadow of a doubt. Perhaps this attempt is what leads us to seize upon science as either a hoax or a tool without really knowing the first thing about the particular theory or discovery we are discussing. This, I think, leads to the valid complaint among unbelievers that we tend to speak hotly about things we do not understand.
Perhaps, instead, we should remember that faith is something that can be pointed to, that can be supported by evidence and can be intelligently concluded to be true, but is not something that can be proved in a way that people cannot help but believe.
Sunlight Through a Crocus
When our faith can be proved in such a manner, that, I believe, is the day we will call Judgement.
What we believe always remains intellectually possible; it never becomes intellectually compulsive. I have an idea that when this ceases to be so, the world will be ending. We have been warned that all but conclusive evidence against Christianity, evidence that would deceive (if it were possible) the very elect, will appear with Antichrist. And after that there will be wholly conclusive evidence on the other side.
But not, I fancy, till then on either side. ~ C.S. Lewis

Art credits: DNA photo by Tomislav Alajbeg; Pulsar and Supernova photos from NASA

A Year of Writing

One year.

That’s how long I’ve been here at this space, writing about life and culture, things in our daily lives and in the world around us, pain and death and ugliness, life and hope and beauty, and how God resides in all of these things and fills them up with Himself. 

Here is what I wrote in my very first post:

Writing is a difficult thing. It requires one to be vulnerable, to trust the world with a piece of oneself while knowing that the world can be a cruel place.

Perhaps this is why I have declined to join the world of blogging until now. 

Perhaps, too, it seems as though everyone is a blogger. Everyone has something to say and not many wish to listen. Perhaps no one will wish to listen to me. 

Yet I still feel that God is asking me to write. Not to write and hide but also to share. 

I have resisted this for quite a while now. Why? Partly due to the work involved.

Even now, I am only agreeing to write once a week. 

A large part, however, is that I don’t feel that I have anything new to say. To add to the over-quoting of Solomon, “There is nothing new under the sun”. (Ecc. 1.9) Who am I to think that I could say something new or even to say something old in an improved way? 

Perhaps God is simply asking me to restate old things for a single reader.

Perhaps God is even more simply asking me to write so that I can grow to be more like Him as I think through various ideas aloud.

Whatever the reason, here I am. Obeying, even though afraid. I will write. God will listen. I pray He will be pleased.

There is not much about these thoughts that I would change, even after a year. It is still difficult to send out my thoughts and ideas, my hurts and my hopes. I still feel almost silly telling anyone that I have a blog. 

And I still feel that God is still asking me to keep writing.

There is a lot that I have learned this year. 

I have discovered that there is a huge world out there called the blogosphere. It is, mostly, a world that I don’t interact with very often. Partly because I only write once a week and haven’t yet made the space for interacting with other blogs. Partly, too, because many in this world have begun their blogs to make money, mostly for very beautiful reasons, yet I have decided that I don’t want to clutter up my space with advertisements and buttons. Not that there is anything at all wrong with any of that. I simply want something different, something more simple for this place.

I have discovered that the more I write, the better I am at this art. The more I write, the more my heart craves to create. The more I write, the more ideas that flood into my mind.

I have discovered that I love the art of writing in this sort of a place, love how I am able to craft and mold my words together with other arts. Photographs, paintings, sculptures, music…it fills something inside of me to bring them together to make words even more beautiful than before.

One of the most beautiful things I have discovered is how my love for God has grown with my writing. When I committed to writing once a week, I was also, inadvertently, committing to continue reading, studying, listening, pursuing God and the things of God. This has expanded my heart and mind and caused my view and knowledge of God to hugely grow. 

Perhaps this is why God asked me to write. 

I still wish to have others read what I write. I still have a dream of being published. 

Yet if all that happens through my writing is that I become more like Christ, I am satisfied.

So. I will close this first year as I began: 

Whatever the reason for my writing, here am I in this space. I will continue to obey, even though it is hard and often causes my heart to feel fear. I will write. God will listen. I pray He will continue to be pleased.

(By the way, I will be changing things around here fairly soon and moving to my truly very own space. I’ll let you know when that time comes, but I pray and hope that you will continue to join me on my journey.)