Posts Tagged ‘Vern Poythress’

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“THINKING ABOUT THINKING” – April 24

April 24, 2013

“For the Lord will not foresake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.” 1 Samuel 12:22

The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA a...I had a Monday that taints the weekend with an odd color of anticipation. I had a one-day business trip to San Francisco scheduled.  I was to fly into Oakland International Airport in the morning, have my meeting, and fly out that same evening.  I am amazed at how travel has changed.  We left the car rental agency in Oakland without a map or direction.  All we had to help us navigate through an unfamiliar city was a GPS unit that I call Uncle Mel (that is a longer and different story).  I typed the directions in for Fort Mason on the Marin Headlands and Uncle Mel started to tell me where to go.

I had a rather disconcerting feeling of dependence as we were going through the labyrinth of one-way streets in the skyscraper canyons of downtown San Francisco.  I knew that our destination was just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge and I knew the general direction.  However, I was going to be hard pressed to navigate such an unfamiliar city if Uncle Mel died.

Uncle Mel faithfully guided us right to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge.  I was very thankful for that beautiful bridge because it carried us across the chasm of water right to our destination with 15 minutes to spare.

I was reflecting on my trip as I listened through some podcasts on my way home.  I listened to a particular podcast called Philosophy for Theologians  that got me to thinking.  Dr. Vern Poythress was on the podcast to discuss his new book, Logic: A God-Centered Approach.  Dr. Poythress challenges the concept that logic is inherent to itself; that logic and rational thought, such as 2+2=4, exists whether God exists or not.  He proposes a distinctly Christian logic based on the reality that even logic is a revelation of a redeeming God.  He works to demonstrate how our ability to think rationally is grounded in the very nature of God himself.  The implications of this Biblical worldview are profound.

I thought about my trip through San Francisco to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge and how similar I believe that is to our salvation.  I believe that the Spirit guides all who are called through the myriad of life’s one-way streets, imposing intellectual canyons, dangerous neighborhoods; past dead-ends, playgrounds, restaurants, and park benches.  The Spirit guides us along a route where we are completely dependent upon Him.  Often, a traveler doesn’t even realize that they were being guided when they come right to the foot of the cross.

I realize that there is debate among my brothers and sisters in Christ as to the degree and extent that the Spirit draws people to the Father.  I tend to attribute the drawing of a person’s soul to the cross as a complete work of God.  There are some who view it as a complete work of man’s free-will.  There are still others who view it as a combination of a person’s free-will and the Spirit drawing.

As my plane was whisking me home, I rolled this concept of rational thought, as presented by Dr. Poythress, around in my mind; considering the implications to man’s free-will.  The function of man’s free-will is a result of that person’s rational thought.  If rational thought is a revelation of our redeeming God, then even the functioning of a person’s free-will is a reflection, although an often poor and weak reflection, of the very nature of God.

God has given us a rational mind.  He has placed us in a world where 2+2=4.  I cannot comprehend a world where 2+2 does not equal 4 but that does not mean that God could not have created a world where simple logic did not apply.  I am a created creature with a limited mind and understanding, just because I cannot comprehend something does not mean that it is impossible.

The reality is that 2+2 does equal 4 and that is an incredible gift.  It means that we can make decisions; we can think through difficult questions; we can follow directions and we can respond when called.   Therefore, we could never be saved if God did not create us with a rational mind in a world where logic worked.

San Francisco downtown seen from helicopter

San Francisco downtown seen from helicopter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would have never made it out of San Francisco if I was incapable of rational thought.  If I could not think logically I would not have been able to follow the directions of Uncle Mel.  If Uncle Mel had not worked, I would not have been able to deduce the correct route to the Golden Gate Bridge.  In the same way, no one can come to the cross without God.  Rational thought is a God glorifying gift of God.  No one could ever find God if He did not first give us the ability to seek.

Now, the Bible teaches us that no one can get across the chasm that separates us from God.  We all come to the bank of our lives with the realization that our sin has separated us from the holy and righteous God.  There is nothing that we can do to span the gulf created by our unrighteousness.  That is why God had to give us a bridge.  We are powerless through our own ability to reach our eternal destination.  The free gift of eternal life is by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross in payment for our sins and that is our only bridge to eternity.

No one can reach God without God.

No one comes to the Father by any other route than through Christ.

We are all travelers on the road to our eternal destination.   It is an amazing work of grace that any person is ever allowed into the presence of the King of kings.  I think that we will all be amazed to the extent of grace that we have been shown in this life.  I think we will learn of so many aspects of this life that we have taken for granted, like rational thought, that are really gifts of mercy and grace from a loving Father calling His children home.

May God be glorified in every breath we take and every thought that we make.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for blessing me and taking care of me in ways that are beyond my comprehension.  Thank you for gifting men like Dr. Poythress to teach us to think deeply about you.  Thank you for the ability to seek you.  Most of all Lord, thank you for allowing yourself to be found.  You truly are great and worthy of all praise.  I praise you and pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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