Thursday, August 04, 2011

This Looking Business is Risky

So where does all this leave us?  On one hand, we see evidence of God all around.  On the other, we’re afraid to collect it for fear we might be led away from pure Scriptural truth. The safe thing to do would be to walk away, sacrificing the benefits in the interest of safety.  But can reward come without risk?  Along our paths of discovery, we must be mindful of the mines, the slippery slopes, and the baited traps.  

“This looking business is risky.”
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Legitimate dangers cause wary believers to wear side blinders through life, out of fear that non-biblical truths may cause them to stray.  As a result, they miss out on enjoying the results of God’s creative energies and, consequently, all that these creations might say about their Creator.
We can neither deny nor ignore the obvious Kingdom truths found in creation.  God has certainly intended that we consider…that we take note of… creation in our search for truths about the Kingdom.  He does not want us to miss the clues!  With discernment and all due caution, then, here’s where this all leaves us…
Filtering our thoughts and observations through the grid of Scripture, prayerful reflection, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak truth, and within the God-ordained community (church) He has placed us (1 John 4:6) we are safe to discover new truths about God.
My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble;  Proverbs 3:21-23
Cornelius Plantinga Jr. put it well...
"The Holy Spirit authors all truth, as Calvin wrote, and we should therefore embrace it no matter where it shows up.  But we will need solid instruction in Scripture and Christian wisdom in order to recognize truth and in order to disentangle it from error and fraud.
"Thoughtful Christians know that if we obey the Bible's great commandment to love God with our whole mind, as well as with everything else, then we will study the splendor of God's creation in the hope of grasping part of the ingenuity and grace that form it.  One way to love God is to know and love God's work.  Learning is therefore a spiritual calling:  properly done, it attaches us to God.
"Educated Christians therefore need to "know their Bible" in order to lead a life that fits in with the purposes of God.  But to reform a complex institution-- or, as a matter of fact, to write a law, treat a patient, or perform any of a number of other human undertakings-- you will need to gain wisdom from many sources in addition to Scripture.  You will need to look for truth wherever it may be found.” Engaging God's World--A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living
Leonard Sweet would agree.
“Jesus taught that whenever we discover truth, it is God who has taught us.  No book is so bad that you can’t get some truth out of it.  No person is without some truth to teach us.  No situation is without its truth.  God is instructing us in soul sciences and soul arts every second of every day.” Soul Salsa. 
So if God is the author and owner of all truth, it follows that examples of God’s authorship fill the libraries of the world.  And wherever we find truth we should, like the psalmist, celebrate our discovery as a God-given clue to His greatness and His character.  We come just that much closer to knowing what God is like through knowing a bit more about what He has created.

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