Friday, October 29, 2010

Nothing Makes Sense, And Everything is Wonderful

In the past couple weeks, I've spent some of my time engaging with those in what has been coined by most the "New Atheist" movement. For those unfamiliar, think Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. The process itself is the intellectual equivalent of trying to break a brick wall by bashing it with ones head. However, probably unknowingly to them, God used them to force me to actually think about the faith that I hold as true, and the Bible that I hold as authority.

Every day moreso than the last, I'm convinced that God must be the world's greatest comedian.
But I digress.

Inevitably, a common point of antagonism for most people are the laws of the Old Testament. Of course most of this comes from a misunderstanding of the Biblical story as a whole, and particular themes woven throughout the Biblical narrative in particular, but it got me thinking. Sent me down an alley as to what my own understanding is of the Old Testament and its law, and the path God chose to use. And I have learned a great deal.

But where I hit a roadblock, was the mindset with which to approach the Old Testament. Essentially, in exactly what state of mind must one approach the Old Testament to be able to see it in its proper light? How does the Bible present itself in a way which allows us to better understand it?

And then, tonight, sitting on my couch watching Criminal Minds and playing out a fictitious apologetic conversation in my head, it hit me.

It doesn't. The Bible doesn't present any path by which somebody who is not a Christian can logically look at the Bible and recognize its logic and authenticity. This is because the Bible starts where none of us will ever begin. The Bible starts by the assumption that God exists. More specifically, that He is a person, and He has a will, and, simply put, God is God.

The Bible gives no basis for this. It gives no "10 logical reasons that you will accept and understand that the Bible is true" manual at its beginning. It simply says, "In the beginning, God..." It gives no room to question it, no insert for epistemological arguments. And I believe the reason why this is, is a reason that none of us are capable of accepting by our own strength or reasoning.

God is God. He is the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-sovereign God of the Universe, and He does not need to prove Himself to anyone. He has no need for us to agree with Him, He has no need for us to accept His reasoning, He has no desire to submit Himself to any inkling of our own authority, and that kind of being is absolutely terrifying to a finite, limited, insecure, egotistical human being. Regardless of the creeds we recite, regardless of the doctrine we possess, regardless of what we know in our minds, our human nature cannot take the crippling, fatal blow of insignificance. God does not need us, God does not submit to us, and God would be perfectly fine and well if we had never even existed. And our human minds, craving for need and significance (usually by our own terms) just cannot accept a relationship with Someone with complete power, complete authority, and who will do what He wants, how He wants it, without the need to take any consideration to our own input.

This is a God to whom we are completely indebted, with whom we have no bargaining chip, and against whom none could even hope to thwart. This is a God who does not have to answer for the morality of His decisions, for He is the ultimate judge. He is what defines right and wrong. And this God is terrifyingly, terrifyingly holy. Unsettlingly, unimaginably good. This is the God of the Bible.

And this is a terrifying God. This is an unsettling God. This is the God we cannot manipulate. The God we cannot control. The God at whose sight we should have no other natural response but to tremble and beg for undeserved mercy, because we are unsettlingly, unimaginably evil.

This is not a God a human can accept.

This is a God beyond anything our pitiful minds could imagine.

And this God answers to no one.

Of course, thankfully, the Bible doesn't end there. But that is where it begins. And that is the foundation on which the entire Bible is built. And ultimately, this is where everything had its beginning, and where it will find its end.

I'd heard these words before. I'd said them to others before. But for the first time, the Holy Spirit took those words and began to make them into a reality.

And suddenly, it feels like my mind is starting to twist upside down. Like to suddenly actually believe this reality in one's soul requires such a drastic rearrangement that it feels as though the brain is flipping inside out. It doesn't make sense to me, and it doesn't add up in my head, but it is the truest thing I have ever begun to know.

And suddenly, the Bible begins to make a lot more sense.

And it's this realization that I say with even more resolve, tongue firmly in cheek, that I didn't choose to be a Calvinist.

5 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

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Simply Philosophize said...

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Simply Philosophize said...

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