This one is a column, but we’ll add it to our letter-to-the-editor collection. It appears in the Journal Review of Crawfordsville, Indiana. They have a comments feature, but there aren’t any comments yet. Their headline is The God we don’t understand .
Unless the writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today’s column was written by Rev. William E. Pike. We’re told he “has pastored the United Methodist congregations in New Market and Waveland since 2011.” We’ll give you some excerpts from his column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!
I recently had reason to recall a statement by the great bishop and theologian, Augustine of Hippo, whose writings 16 centuries ago defined much of how Christians have understood the finer points of their faith ever since. In a sermon Augustine once said: “If we are speaking of God, why be surprised if you do not understand? If you could understand, it would not be God.”
We tried — without success — to find some verification of that quote. The reason we tried is that we once wrote a post praising Augustine’s understanding of things — see St. Augustine on Creationism. Anyway, let’s go on with the rev’s column. He says:
The point Augustine was making was this: if you don’t understand the who, why, and what that has to do with God, don’t worry. If you did understand, then it wouldn’t be God anyhow.
We’re not supposed to understand? Okay. Then he tells us:
I’ve met plenty of people over the years who have told me, “I would believe in God if his existence was proven to me. Until then, I have no reason to believe.” On the face of it, an argument like that makes sense in our modern world, ruled as it is by science and reason. However, imagine for a moment a God you could prove. What sort of God would that be? Who wants to believe in a God they can explain on a piece of paper like the Pythagorean Theorem?
It could be said that God – the God of the Bible – can’t be proven, by his very nature. Why? Because God transcends science. God transcends mathematics. God transcends logic. Therefore, we can’t use science, math, or logic to explain God. If we could, it would mean we weren’t really talking about God.
Yeah — phooey on understanding! The rev continues:
Scripture tells us, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” In our modern world those who argue against God are often smart and well-educated people. But in reality, the Bible tells us, they are simply fools. [Right!] As a mere human being, so fragile, so fleeting, it can be nothing but foolish to say for certain, “There is no God.” God, by definition, is above and beyond all we can know or understand. Such a being can only be understood through faith, and without faith, we have nothing but ourselves.
This is brilliant stuff! And now we come to the end:
Scripture goes on to say, “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.” When he looks down at us, when he looks down at you, what does he see? Let’s not be fools. There is a God who reigns, and he can’t be proven, or even fully understood. The good news is, he doesn’t have to be. He loves us anyway.
That was truly inspirational. Thanks, rev!
Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.