Sufficient Wisdom

The bible is sufficient in telling us everything we need to know. Emphasis on the word “need.” The bible is not sufficient in telling us everything we want to know. That’s not a flaw; it’s intentional. God is not saying to us: “If it’s not in the bible, I don’t want you to know about it.” Rather, God is saying: “If it’s not in the bible, I’ve given you the wisdom to figure it out for yourselves.”

This is where philosophy comes in. Philosophy: philein sophia – lover of wisdom. Philosophy doesn’t replace the scriptures. My faith is based on scripture, not philosophy. Truth is based on scripture, not philosophy. The nature and character of God is based on scripture, not philosophy. So what is philosophy good for? For figuring out the things not directly revealed by God.

God gave us curious and inquiring minds. He gave us the ability to gather information and solve problems. He expects us to wrestle with difficulties and obstacles so that we will grow in maturity, understanding, and knowledge (see Luke 2:41-52). We can ask the tough questions. We can safely talk about the possible answers. We can philosophize.

As long as we keep philosophy in it’s proper place, and not make it the foundation of our lives (that’s what the scriptures are for), we do indeed have sufficient wisdom to find and know what we want.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” -Proverbs 25:2

Are You Saved? Saved From What?

You have desires. Your desires determine your choices. If more than one desire is active in you at one time, the strongest desire will win. You have a desire to lose weight and therefore have decided to do daily morning exercise. You wake up at five o’clock in the morning and discover there are two desires working against each other in your mind: Stay in your comfy bed for another hour, or get up and exercise. If your desire to lose weight is stronger than your desire to stay in bed, you will get up. If the opposite is true, you will go back to sleep.

Your desires determine your choices, and you can’t choose your desires, at least not in the moment. You can shape your desires over time by your choices. You can create a lifestyle with systems and habits which develops certain desires in your life which then determine your choices. This is difficult and you’ll probably need outside help.

What about moral desires? If you are evil, and your desires are evil, your choices will be evil. How can you change this? How can you know what is good? How can you desire what is good?

You need to be transformed by the only one who can transform you: Your Creator.

The Christian gospel is not primarily about being saved from hell. It is about being saved from being evil. Being evil will send you to hell, but if you were somehow able to avoid hell, that wouldn’t mean that you were then good. The avoidance of hell doesn’t make you good. Christ’s salvation makes you good.

Free will is not the ability to choose A instead of B. Even a person whose will is enslaved to evil is able to choose A vs B. Free will is the ability to always choose the good. To choose the good is to know the good and to desire the good. Free will = good desires. Enslaved will = evil desires.

Christ offers to all salvation from enslavement to evil. You already know the good enough to know that Christ’s offer is true. You already have the desire within you to be saved, no matter how evil you might be. Therefore, Christ’s salvation is available to you right now. To choose that salvation is as simple as asking for it, which you can do right now.

But be warned, Christ’s salvation is no small thing. Your life as you’ve known it will be torn apart, you will die, and there’s no turning back.

Defeatism

I am currently reading The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, a Chinese science fiction novel. In the story, the leaders of what is called the space force, are concerned that the greatest threat to their force is defeatism. They study the problem and come up with a list of what defeatist attitudes look like among their troops. I found the list to be quite profound and applicable to real life. I will share it here, but I will change and remove some elements so that you can fill in the blanks for your own life….*

  1. Treating one’s duty in _________________ as an ordinary job: despite working with dedication and responsibility, lacking enthusiasm and a sense of mission, and doubting the ultimate significance of one’s work.
  2. Passive waiting: believing that the outcome of __________________ depends on [certain special people]; believing that prior to breakthroughs [in advancing your field of work], _________________ is just a pipe dream, and subsequent confusion about the importance of [your] present work; being satisfied simply with completing tasks related to establishing ________________; lacking innovation.
  3. Harboring unrealistic fantasies: … On the surface, this is a positive state of mind, a desire to throw oneself onto the front lines [of what is perceived to be a losing battle], but it is essentially just another form of defeatism. Lacking confidence in victory and doubting the significance of [the] present work, [your] dignity becomes the only pillar sustaining work and life.
  4. The opposite of the above: doubts about [your dignity in your work] … and that fighting to the end has no meaning; the belief that [your] dignity [in your work] only exists when there is someone to see it, and [if your work] ends in defeat [or failure] … your dignity loses its significance.

* Taken from: Cixin Liu, 2008, The Dark Forest, New York, TOR, pg. 78