Common Thoughts 6


I feel bad that there is so much about Reality I don’t understand. As the saying goes, inquiring minds want to know and I want to know. It isn’t because I’m not intelligent enough to know. I readily admit there are many who are a lot smarter than me. But I also know that the most intelligent among us don’t know much about Reality, either. Now, if you are of the not-God camp Reality is understandable. The real question for you is why did one species become intelligent like you? Your intelligent answer is that it just did because of time and unconscious trials and errors somehow all the right cells coalesced and created human intelligence. Well now, isn’t that just great. Martin Luther has something interesting to say to you: “[I]t is not uncommon for men of outstanding intellect to be habitually blind in a matter which is plain even to a dull and uninstructed mind, and to show how weak an argument drawn from human authority is in divine affairs, where divine authority alone has weight,”

If you are of the God camp, you have more intelligent answers, but you are still left with a lot of unanswerable questions. It’s not that we are blind to Reality, we just see a riddle in a mirror. Sometimes it feels like the Deists are right, God created everything, then went off on other missions leaving the earth to itself. But both the Old Testament (the Jewish Bible) and New Testament clearly defeat that argument: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV.) To give more quotes on this subject I’d practically end up quoting three-fourths of the Bible, which you can read for yourselves.

And in this declaration I’ve said something else: we have a testimony explaining a lot about our bubble life, though certainly not everything. Our story begins with Genesis. There’s a lot of history, 2,500, before it gets written down. Some liberal scholars want to assign the writing to others, not Moses which Jews and Christians have generally accepted as the author. Here’s an interesting story: After hearing the story of Jesus’s resurrection, two apostles (follower support of Jesus, though not of the twelve) are walking the road to the city of Emmaus. They aren’t really sure what happened in that tomb and are sharing with each other their confusion when a third man joins them. He asks, “What up?” and they respond with the story of Jesus’ death. This stranger says to them: “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27 NIV.) It’s the “beginning with Moses” here that’s instructive.

That Moses could write down this particular history is not difficult to understand. Before writing history was passed along in oral traditions shared with each new generation. Moses seems the odd guy to write Genesis given that he was taken into the Pharaoh’s household as a baby and raised in his household, but God always uses the odd guy. In addition to the oral traditions God would have spoken to Moses things he wanted in this particular history.

Why do I keep calling it a particular history? There are other people of the earth from Adam to Moses but we are not given by God a history of the world taking into account all people. Neither is it a scientific treatise on the nature of Reality. Because of this all those questions we have God doesn’t seem to care about that. So, what’s the purpose of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible? We want to make it about all kinds of things but when you look at it in total there is one clear and constant subject. Martin Luther gives us a clue when he writes: “What indeed, does almost more than half of Holy Scripture contain but sheer promises of grace, in which mercy, life, peace, and salvations are offered by God to men?”

In short, it’s a history of man’s sin and God’s redemption. It unequivocally shows us what our sin looks like and what God’s redemption looks like. God didn’t inspire Moses, or any person, to write an 18-volume encyclopedia covering every subject that comes to our mind. Any of us who write have a theme to our writing, it’s not our intent to meander through subjects but stick to our theme. I know what we’re thinking, it being God why didn’t he tell us all the ins and outs of himself and what he created? Life in our bubble would be so much more livable if God gave us private tours of his Kingdom so we would understand everything and make perfect choices in the bubble. The Book tells us why not, we just have to read it. “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27 NIV.)

And having read it we have to accept what we read. Now if you are not-God all this has no meaning to you, you may even ridicule those of God for what you call foolishness. After all, your science tells you that things just came to be, no reason, no rhyme, and lo and behold one day a fish walked out of the mud and became an ape and then became homo sapiens with an intelligent brain that knew and understood. And with the late, great Jean-Paul Sartre you sit around the coffee table at your favorite coffeehouse, drink fancy coffee drinks and commiserate with each other that you come from nothing and go back to nothing and applaud how smart you are.

Smart might get you a dime for a cup of coffee, but coffee now costs over $2 a cup. You’re not getting very far with smart.