December 7, 2004

Things Invisible to See

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
           -- Paul, Romans I

If like me you are a "Christian-in-a-Crisis" only, you probably haven't been following Donald Sensing's SundaySermons for Advent. Like me, you might want to reconsider. Sample:

The prophets, like us, could not grasp either the totality of the God in whose behalf they spoke or the fullness of the prophecy they were given. I often think that Isaiah himself didn't understand his own prophecies very well. Those of us who seek understanding of their words might do well to be humbled that there is not only more to God's purposes than we comprehend, there is more than we can comprehend.
To me this is a key insight into the human condition today; an insight that those of the secular faith are quite content to skip over. They are content to ignore it because it trumps the religion of the self on all levels. It says, as clearly as possible, that God is not finished with us, either as individuals or as a species. It reflects the self-evident truth that, for all our instruments that peer down into the core of matter or out to the birthplace of creation, the internal instrument that we use to interpret all of this is the least tuned or understood of all. The more we understand about the mystery of the universe we find ourselves within, the deeper the mystery becomes. For all that we know of ourselves and the world, we still seem to be at a place in our understanding that is little better than pagan cosmologies from Mesapotamia; a place where it is still "turtles all the way down."

This interests me because it betokens one of the many points at which, more and more, we see the realm of science edging towards the realm of religion in more than one discipline. Indeed, it is not too much to say, for those that track the disciplines of particle physics and cosmology, that physics and metaphysics seem to be melding more with every passing day. Now I am sure there are many professional scientists and mathematicians that would have a problem with that formulation, but I am equally sure that there are many others who would not.

There has been a lot of loose talk over the past month concerning who among us is truly "intelligent" and, by extension, must then be more fit to lead than those deemed "less intelligent." As a formerly "very smart person," I've leaned to be very wary of those who claim a superior intellect based on "social ideas" alone. I've seen, in my life and in my readings of history from all sides of the political spectrum, how deeply into the pit "brilliant social theories" can lead mankind; seen the depravity which a worship of educated intelligence can create, and have come to understand that intelligence can rest in the hearts of men, the hands of men, and the souls of men as easily, and at times to more benefit to men, than that which resides solely in the brain.

These days I'm more and more of the mind-set that says God and/or Evolution (And why can these two ideas not co-exist?) is far from finished with us. Until then, I'll stand with those whose intelligence says that intelligence is measured more through an understanding of our ignorance than a worship of our accomplishments.

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Posted by Vanderleun at December 7, 2004 11:03 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Thank you so much for such an honest and humble post. I have been reading your blog for 6 weeks or so, and I am always intrigued and challenged.

Regarding God and /or evolution, here is what I recommend: Seek to worship and know God through it came to be is not the thing. That God displays His attributes and self through creation is. He is a personal God, and you will not go wrong in knowing Him.

Good luck, and keep sojourning, fellow pilgrim.

From one with few answers, many questions, and a joy in life.

Posted by: budd at December 7, 2004 4:17 PM

"And why can these two ideas not co-exist?"

They can't if you are a Biblical literalist, or an atheist. Otherwise, there are no problems. After all, why would G-d go to the trouble of creating each and every individual animal, when he could set up the laws of the universe to do it for him? Assuming G-d did indeed make Man in His own image, then we can be sure that avoiding unneccessary work is a G-dly trait.

Posted by: Final Historian at December 7, 2004 5:47 PM

Actually, there was a school of thought in the 18th century that considered G-d as 'Great Watch-maker'.

Posted by: P.A. Breault at December 8, 2004 8:38 AM

Mark Twain thought that his father was an absolute idiot when he was eighteen, and was amazed by how much his Father had learned by Twain's 21st birthday.

Humility is a precursor of Wisdom.

Even some of the most radical postmodern literary theory, reads very much like ancient negative theology, only much shallower.

Posted by: Old Dad at December 8, 2004 10:25 AM

Final Historian:

I'm not sure I buy that. I don't know what the phrase "going to the trouble of..." means to an omnipotent being.

On the subject of evolution:

Be wary of those who say, "Mankind needs to evolve..." Evolution is not a painter, but a sculptor, and his chisel is death. Many people have used that construction without appreciating its implication ("More (of the right kind of) people need to die for my pet social theory"), but in so doing they have empowered those who understand it all too well, and like the idea a bit too much (does anyone doubt that in less turbulent times Lenin and Stalin would have wound up murdering hookers in alleys?)

On the subject of ancient theology, all I can say is that Osama Bin Laden is the Western left's Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Posted by: DTLV at December 9, 2004 9:28 AM
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