DayBreaks for 8/01/17: Deus Incognita
From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:
I must confess, I am deeply troubled by the lack of theological understanding and inquiry among Christians today. I include myself in that statement. It causes me to fear for the faith of future generations of the church – and then I’m reminded that it is Jesus’ church, and He has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. But that doesn’t mean that we can slide willy-nilly into mindless oblivion about our faith. The enemy’s attacks grow bolder each and every day – partly, I believe, because as Christians, our ability to defend the faith through the Spirit and knowledge of and about the Truth has reached low ebb. We’re too busy watching television, renting movies, playing with our iPods or Nintendo’s to pull the bible off the shelf and read it for an hour each day (or longer, as our ancestors in the faith did), or even to read the thoughts and lessons learned by the brilliant saints who have lived and died throughout history.
Do you remember what the Jews call the Shema? It goes like this: Deut. 6:4-5 – Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. You know that by heart, probably. We like to think about that, and my guess is that when we do, more often than not, we focus on the heart and strength aspect of the verse. That’s not a bad thing – but there’s one other thing that we often overlook. It’s the bit about loving Him with all our “soul.” The Greek word is psyche and is also translated “mind”. We are to love God, not just with our hearts (emotions) and strength, but also with our minds.
From Mark Buchanan’s Hidden In Plain Sight – the Secret of More: “In old medieval maps, the cartographer typically inscribed uncharted areas with the words, Terra Incognita, “Unknown Earth.” A convention then developed to add a warning, Hic Sunt Dracones, “Here be dragons.”
“Terra Incognita was honest. It was an admission of ignorance, an invitation to further exploration. It awakened inquiry. Hic sunt dracones was mere speculation, laden with superstition. It was a covering up of ignorance with wild conjecture. It warned off further expeditions. It stifled inquiry. It hid truth beneath a crust of myth making.
“This is easy to trip into, not least of all with our God talk. When our theology is patchy, it’s best just to say so, and then set out to fill in the missing pieces. But I find I’m prone to speculate, swap opinions, walk darkly. I’m tempted to cover my ignorance with a flurry of razzamatazz and boondoggling. Hic sunt dracones.”
It’s a huge challenge, of course: this business of the study of God. Unlike every other area of study in the universe, this is one course of study that will never be fully grasped, it’s depths will never fully be plumbed. Physics is finite because it is a part of the finite universe. Biology is finite, because it is about the study of the life of finite things. Geology, paleontology, archaeology, astronomy…and any other science you can name, are all about finite things. But theology is infinite because it is about that which is Infinite – God. Could there be a more exciting, rewarding or important field of study?
How long have you spent this week in readying the word, or the thinking of those who have wrestled with these Infinite questions? Maybe a better question would be this: why haven’t you spent time this week doing such things? If you are a Christian, there is no more important course of study, and certainly no other line of research that will benefit you in eternity.
PRAYER: Father, forgive us for letting our minds grow feeble and flabby through our laziness. Help us to hunger and thirst after You and You alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>