Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Reason, Logic, Truth, Hope, Faith, Too

1 Samuel 12:7, " ... stand still, that I may reason with you ... concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord ..."

The word translated as 'reason' in this verse is 'shaphat', meaning to judge; by implication to vindicate or punish,; by extension to govern or litigate. Although this is out of context with the previous post, it is the process of reasoning and deducing possible outcomes which is being addressed. It is in the context of the verse, where Samuel is scolding the people of Israel for rejecting and ignoring what God had done, that is of interest to myself.

What is of absolute importance in the discussion of man and purpose is that, there is a choice to be made. I believe all processes of reasoning lead to only one conclusion and it is the acceptance or rejection of that conclusion which is of the most utmost importance. Reason will and must default to the greater appropriation of faith. Reason will ultimately come face-to-face with the unanswerable questions, whatever form they take. It is never a consideration that God in His omnipotence and omniscience would not invite, even welcome, the opportunity to reveal Himself to an individual. In fact, the entire Bible is about that very discussion.

Within this life we live there are varieties of relationships, circumstances, situations and opportunities whereby God is pointing towards that very discussion. Ezekiel 20:35, "... and I will bring you into the wilderness ... and there I will plead My case with you face to face." It is unfortunate that the predominant way in which  people come to a realization that belief in a greater power and authority must be arrived at through faith and faith alone is achieved through calamity, pain and suffering, when God is the only resource left. It is of interest me to  that even the most die-hard and stubborn of men, will acquiesce under duress and invite God's intervention.

As Christians, wilderness and desert experiences are of equal significance in our journey. As children of God we must endure and persevere in wilderness experiences, knowing and understanding that as children we are called to accept chastening, trial, discipline and purifying as part of God's glory and purpose being worked out before all people. "Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator."

Within this context we are to ministers of the Gospel, never defaming the work of God, but convincing and persuading other's judgements concerning the actions of God. God is at work in all lives seeking to gain their love and faith, we must communicate the loving essence of His dominion over all of our lives. "Now all things are of God,who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to  us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us:..."

At some point in this discussion of faith reason will have to be discarded. It will always hold the upper hand because man has freedom of will and volitional power to act morally. Man is only limited in action by the boundaries of human capability. Genesis 3:6 is the ultimate illustration of this principle in action; G.S. Bishop pointed out, "The true philosophy of moral action and its process is that of Genesis 3:6. 'And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (sense-perception, intelligence), and a tree to be desired (affections), she took and ate thereof (will)."

Knowledge, understanding and hence reason limit faith as an active ingredient in life. We cannot choose what we are not acquainted with or go beyond what knowledge the mind possesses. Reason determines the will's volition and is dominant as a faculty of the mind.

There will be many paradoxes exposed that are inconsistent with reason. Such inconsistencies are seen only through eyes darkened by original sin. People struggle with omnipotence which cries for justice and yet extends mercy. People cannot comprehend the love of God and Hell. Truly the fault lies in acknowledging the truth of Who God is in reality. If you can get your head around the absolute absurdity of what we, as Christians, propose to be true, when seen by one who is totally indoctrinated into a belief system which has rational cause-and-effect relationships, you will see how impossible it is for them to come to faith. Reasons inherent flaw is in it's inability to explain the improbable which exists.
How are they to see God?

How will they ever understand they have 'fallen from grace'?
How will they ever see their rebellion and ignorance?
How are they to see the patience of God?

Reason is a dictator, authoritarian in logic, totalitarian in demeaning emotion, tyrannical in quenching the spirit of man and the Spirit of God.

Man will never reason himself out of his lack of moral integrity, his hard-heart towards God, the disease of evil in man, the yearnings and satisfactions of man's appetite. As a result, man will not understand  his depravity, his will, his total insensitivity towards spiritual and divine things. These are the property of God and man will remain blind, ignorant, foolish and in darkness as regards his plight until awakened by the Spirit of God.
Ephesians 4:17,18, "(men choose to walk)... in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; ..."

Faith will have it's day in every man's heart, mind and soul. It is faith which will receive the truth about God, and only through faith can the truth about God be believed and known, in that:
"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts."

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