Several months ago Time magazine reported Arthur Lovejoy’s death at the age of eighty-nine. He had served as professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. Earlier in his career he had been asked to fill out a questionnaire on which one of the questions was: “Do you believe in God?” In reply to this question Lovejoy wrote thirty-three definitions with the implication: Which God? What meaning do you choose?
Those of us who study philosophy as well as theology know something about the quest that makes even questionnaires bristle with more questions. But those of us who also study the Word of God know as well that man can never be satisfied with speculative ideas of God. Pascal, the brilliant mathematician and thinker who came to feel the impact of divine revelation, cried out, “Not the God of the philosophers, but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The believer who willingly humbles himself before the Word has come to know the personal God in Jesus Christ. This does not mean that he has sold his reason short as Pascal never did. But it does imply that he has found, or rather, has been found by him who is the way, the truth, and the life. He believes in order that he may understand.
Emily Dickinson, perhaps with tongue in cheek, wrote:
Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen who see,
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.
We who by God’s grace are believers do not minimize microscopes, nor telescopes, nor the searching mind of man. But we also refuse to accept the fallacy that faith is an invention. On the contrary, it is for us an experience and an understanding.
A Lost God
In the long history of man one can find at least three negative conceptions of God. They are: a lost God; a God who does not exist; a God who seems ...1
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