Our Logic and Reason: Can We Trust Them?
Devotional Thought of the Day:
2 The LORD Who are you to question my wisdom with your ignorant, empty words? 3 Now stand up straight and answer the questions I ask you. Job 38:2-3 (TEV)
11 When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. 12 What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete—as complete as God’s knowledge of me. 13 Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (TEV)
It’s been 30 years since i read it, but I think we need a sequel to the book. Specifically, asking the very tough question of whether we replaced our emotions with what we perceive to be our logic, our ability to reason.
I am not talking about outside our churches, although that might be an interesting study. I am talking about inside the church. We have tried to divorce our feelings from ourselves, and the church has been lifeless because of that. We extoll those who present the faith logically, who try to show, step by step, the logic of scripture. (Side note: It is not surprising that as Dobson downplayed emotions, exegetical preaching – verse by verse – became “the” way to preach. Exegesis is good, but it can be blind to the gospel)
But is our intellect, our reason, our ability to be logical all that reliable? Or does it have the same frailty as our emotions? Can you actually divorce the two? The biggest question we need to be asking ourselves is the same question Job was asked, who are we to question God?
You might say that you don’t, that everything you listen to or teach or preach is in complete accordance with God’s revelation. That your brand of theology is the correct version, and you are sticking to it, come Hell or high water. That everything else is heretical or heterodox or mysticism or pietism or legalism, and you are contrary to all that crap.
At which point, you have sinned, and placed yourself in the place of God.
Get it straight, even as your emotions can betray you, so can your logic. That is why John tells us that if we deny our sin, our brokenness, the truth is not in us, we are liars.
That is why we need Christ, that is why we need Him to come to us, His presence revealed and know by hearts and minds in word and sacrament. Not just emotionally, not just logically, but present here, now, overwhelming us with His righteousness, with His mercy, and with His peace.
That is why we need the Spirit to transform us, to conform us to the image of Christ, and to the will of the Father. That is why we need to lay aside all things, and set our eyes on Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, of our life.
It is then, Paul tells the church in Rome,
2 Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. Romans 12:2 (TEV)
Be still and know He is God, let Him be your place of rest, and safety, and let Him transform you. This is the hope you need, that those around you need as well. That He will reconcile our broken reason and our broken emotions to Himself, and gives us life.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Small Catechism: Developed and Explained, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “The Third Article: On Becoming Holy”.