The following is based on a few prerequisites:
Nobody has a complete handle on the Lord. His ways are higher than ours. Our perspective is developed inside the limited bubble of our existence on earth within these physical bodies, our tents, if you will; these bodies are corrupted flesh; and He is spirit and not of the earth.
The French have a proverb: “The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of.” It sounds prettier in the French, but you get the idea.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
On to the post.
Along my journey I have learned many things. Much of this is useless, though it sticks in my brain. Did you know that among the improvements to the 1954 VW Beetle as compared to its predecessor, the crank turns to raise and lower the windows went from 10 ½ in ‘53 (and all previous models) to 3 ½ in the ‘54? It has never benefited me to know this!
I have also learned that humans are difficult to understand. If it were a simple, factual matter wherein we analyze from a purely objective, natural world perspective, it might prove a little easier. However, humans make errors in recall, application, and synthesis so objectivity is out, and humans as a studied object do not function logically. We are not computers, nor can we be reduced to a finite list of yes/no answers.
We have a heart. Psychiatric science would call it the “psyche”, poets like to mention the “soul”, and politicians fear it.
There is no escaping that humans have a piece of themselves which completely influences them, and this contrary part is separate from the intellect. We are not rational beings. We can determine to think rationally and be magnificently successful, but our irrational times are inexplicable and many. The French, in their inimitable way, have reduced this hard concept down to its essence. (See proverb above.) Are you trying to understand a woman, guys? Are you trying to understand a man, ladies? Every human has an emotional reason for why he or she is making the decision he or she is making which defies logic. ‘Nuf said.
The Scripture warns us in Jeremiah 17:9 that this aspect of being within us, the heart, cannot be trusted. Evangelical Christianity has fully accepted this notion of never trusting the deceitful heart as the culture of rationalism in which Protestantism developed has progressed. This logical response is called systemic theology among other things. We attempt to rationally interpret scripture for a variety of reasons, but at least to protect ourselves from demagogues who would build a following on fear, and this post is not to suggest that working to correctly interpret scripture is wrong. Yet, those with intellectual strength and, er... pride maybe--there’s that heart issue again--excitedly engage in attempting to establish one intellectual system of interpretation over another. How successful has that proved to be in uniting Christians and supporting the everyday person?
Where does the common man find support for spiritual seeking and awareness of God the Father? On the one hand, those who rationalize Scripture warn him that the heart is deceitful, therefore he must move beyond the deceitful heart to live in an intellectual and systematic approach. The Scriptural proof of this is Jeremiah 17:9. However, as he reads the Word for himself, Jesus states he will see God, as a function of a pure heart.
Which brings us to a real world dilemma: Does Everyman trust in a trained, intellectual discourse on Scripture or is there a spiritual state he might achieve which does not rest on rationalism in which he may secure a satisfying and deceit-free spiritual awareness?
I know what I think. What do you think?