Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Death of Reason, The Beginning of Wisdom

The title is a slight misnomer. I don't mean to indicate that a lack of reason is necessary for wisdom. For the Christian, godly wisdom is akin to faith in that wisdom is the willingness to submit to truth. Christian faith is also not blind, and I would admonish any who consider themselves Christian to investigate why they believe that Christ is the Messiah sent by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to fufill the promise made at the fall, reiterated in every milestone covenant in the Hebrew scriptures, and fulfilled as set forth in the Greek scriptures. If one can find no good reason to believe this, the primary tenet of the Christian faith, then I have good news: there is good reason to believe the veracity of it whether you know it or not.

Without getting into Christian Apologetics, you may read through the rest of my blog and find in my writings a healthy ability to reason, whether you agree with my conclusions or not. This is the first point I'd like to make. Good reason and strong arguments are only as compelling as the willingness of someone to submit to the ramifications of the conclusions. The substance of intellectual blindness is to devise dubious rationalles to justify denying the conclusions of overwhelming arguments. What this means is that you don't persuade people by good argumentation. That doesn't mean that you don't try.

What it does mean is that you shouldn't get frustrated when people continue to deny the truth. Jesus knew this. He intentionally cloaked much of the truth He espoused openly. This is why He often spoke in parables. Sometimes He spoke in no uncertain terms. He did so once in order to sour a large group who didn't want to believe so they would go away and stop bothering Him for simple miracles. Jesus effectively thinned the ranks leaving only those who really wanted to understand the truth.

So does this mean that those who are truly wise are the most informed or have the greatest intelligence? Unequivocally: No. Godly wisdom is the willingness to submit to the truth. It doesn’t mean that one who is wise fully understands the truth or knows all there is to know about Christian Apologetics and Christian scholarship. I once heard about a Christian home for people who have Downs Syndrome or other conditions associated with cognitive disabilities. One of the authorities of the home was asked in an interview what the biggest maintenance issue is. One would expect to hear of dirty linens or carpet stains. The reply was unexpected. Apparently the residents wake every morning and rush to press their noses to the windows to see if Jesus is coming back today. Do they know or understand the debate between pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, pre-mil, post-mil or a-mil views of the rapture? Even so, do they think that He will be seen in the morning if He comes back in the evening? What if He descends in Israel instead of the USA? None of this occurs to the residents at this home. Nevertheless they have wisdom even if their faith seems a little blind and they're not completely informed of the eschatological scholarship.

What's the difference? In the Greek Scriptures (the New Testament) Jesus is recorded as having indicated that another (of the same kind) will be sent from the Father (First person of the Godhead) to come alongside to help us in our spiritual life. This "another (of the same kind)" is understood to be the Holy Spirit (third person of the Godhead with Christ being the second). The Holy Spirit is revealed in these same scriptures to indwell the believer. This is in contradistinction to being possessed by demons. In demon possession the possessed, in the weakness of the human mind, give over control to the demon or demons. In the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the submission of the indwelt to the truth has the opposite effect of freeing the mind. This freedom allows the indwelt to understand the truth better according to his or her physical capacity with the promise that at the resurrection, when the physical ills of this fallen world are removed, all will be fully understood. Therefore, wisdom is not contingent on understanding, but produces it.

And reason is not the path to wisdom, although it can encourage those who are on that path.


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