You Can’t Tell Me Philosophy Affects Us—Just Look at the Church

1976_slide_rule“In the 1950s and ’60s, rationalism began to erode evangelical scholarship, from academia on down, resulting in a liberal theology that crept into seminaries and churches. As a defensive maneuver, conservatives grabbed hold of the pendulum and swung it all the way over to the right side, wanting to believe they’d got “God” down to a science, his thoughts and ways explainable like mathematics. Romans 11:33 tells us instead that God is incomprehensibly immense, exceedingly expansive, and eternally powerful, and so much so that time and time again our response to many of the things of God ought to be “I don’t know.” Rather than respond to his incalculable God-ness with our slide rules and flowcharts, we would do better to worship him with reverence and awe. How can God see, know, and do all that he does? I don’t know.

Matt Chandler. The Explicit Gospel. 1st ed. Crossway, 2012. 27.

Take Comfort: God Knows We Don’t

Dr. Evil estimates magma to be the temperature of "boiling hot".
Dr. Evil estimates magma to be the temperature of “boiling hot”.

“In addition to the exhaustive depth of his knowledge is the exhaustive breadth of his knowledge. God is aware of every event that has ever occurred and will ever occur, and he knows completely how each event affects other events that create still more events that roll into other events and so on and so forth ad infinitum. From the velocity of every butterfly’s flapping wings at every second to the exact amount of magma to the microgram flowing out of every volcano above and under sea level, he spans it all simultaneously and precisely. If a tree falls in the woods when nobody’s there to hear it, does it make a sound? I don’t know. But God does.

He knows it all without any sticky noties or strings on his finger. He is holding all things together, seeing all things and knowing all things, all purely from the reality of his wanting it be so. This is, at the very least, what it means to be God. 1

If all of this is true, then why in the world do we, with our nanosecond’s worth of existence on the earth, still presume to judge how God operates? Paul’s cry, “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” 2 holds up (as praiseworthy) the enduring reality of divine mystery. Trying to figure out God is like trying to catch fish in the Pacific Ocean with an inch of dental floss. It is a foolish act predicated on a foolish overestimation of human intellect and ability.”

Matt Chandler. The Explicit Gospel. 1st ed. Crossway, 2012. 27.

Notes:

  1. Colossians 1:15-23
  2. Romans 11:33

God is Not Hoping That You Will Be The Best That You Can Be

tamu-yellleader_z“The idea behind moral, therapeutic deism is that we are able to earn favor with God and justify ourselves before God by virtue of our behavior. This mode of thinking is religious, even ‘Christian’ in its content, but it’s more about self-actualization and self-fulfillment, and it posits a God who does not so much intervene and redeem but basically hangs out behind the scenes, cheering on your you-ness and hoping you pick up on the clues he’s left to become the best you can be.

The moralistic, therapeutic deism passing for Christianity in many of the churches these young adults grew up in includes talk about Jesus and about being good and avoiding bad—especially about feeling good about oneself—and God factored into all of that, but the gospel message simply wasn’t there. What I found was that for a great many young twentysomethings and thirtysomethings, the gospel had been merely assumed, not taught or proclaimed as central. It hadn’t been explicit.”

Matt Chandler. The Explicit Gospel. 1st ed. Crossway, 2012. 13.

In 50 Trillion Years

So if you and I exist in some way or another 50 trillion years from now, and we exist from now until then and beyond, then this 50-trillion-year mark is far more important than what happens to you at 8, at 16, at 42, at 61, or at any point in this little dew-in-the-morning, gone-in-the-afternoon life of yours and mine. So really and honestly, the cruelty of God would be to protect you here and now in such a way that would rob you of eternal life into the 50-trillion-year mark and beyond.

The mercy of God would be to wound you in such a way that your heart was bound to him, so that in 50 trillion years with an imperishable body when all things have been made new, you might be singing the praises of the King with those who loved him alongside of you.

Matt Chandler, The “How” Matters