I'm still thinking about the conversation I read on Facebook yesterday between Jay and Don. Jay said, "...the more we learn from science, medicine, and psychiatry, using the intellect that God gave us, the better we understand who God is and what God is about not only through the sacred scriptures, but also through the gifts of reason and experience that are ours from God.
Don replied (and this is just a part of Don's reply), "Isn't it a bit arrogant to think that the more intelligent a person is or the more human knowledge advances the closer we get to God?"
Hmmmm. Do I think that the more intelligent we are or the more we know that the closer we are to God? No, I don't, but I also don't think that is what Jay was saying. I believe God reveals himself to us where we are and how we are - whether we have a MDiv or no education at all, whether we are sinner or -- well, in our sinfulness, whether we have a high IQ or not. I also think that God reveals himself to us whether we look for him or not, or whether we engage in spiritual practices or not. Does that mean that spiritual practices don't matter? Or that gaining knowledge of the world has no impact on our understanding? No.
I'm a biologist by training, and when I study the intricacies of DNA or the vastness of the universe or the wonders of evolution, I learn more about God. God is in all of it. Those studies of God's universe don't move me away from God - they move me closer to God. It's wonderful and amazing and divine. My eyes are opened more to God's presence when I look!
What does that mean about the study of the Bible? When my eyes are opened by spiritual disciplines or intellectual pursuits, then I may be able to see God more clearly in the Bible. It does mean that I may be able to approach the scripture in a different, hopefully clearer way. Does it mean that God thinks me more worthy of revelation through the scripture? Absolutely not. But, for example, if I understand that epilepsy can be caused by brain injury, then I am less likely to believe that epilepsy is caused by demon possession. However, anyone, with that knowledge or not, can read the passage, and learn that Jesus heals, and come to a better understanding of who God is.
PS - I should tell you that Jay is my pastor, Rev. Jack Lipphardt. Don's name is David, but I don't know him. The entire conversation is from a post by a member of our church, Brad Lesher.
The images on the last three posts are from Cranberry Glades.