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Psalm 14


The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD? There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

(ESV)

 

Don't Know About Agnosticism

Wednesday of Epiphany 7

26 February 2014

Agnosticism is a runaway horse and she is galloping to an unknown destination. Recently, those who are uncertain about the existence of God have become quite certain of alternatives to God's story about the world. For instance, those who are uncertain about the existence of God think that humans were dropped or seeded here by alien beings from another planet. And this is alleged to make sense by such people. I am beginning to think that I am living in a "Bugs Bunny" cartoon with Marvin the Martian, in which Marvin created beings like himself from candy-sized "Instant Martians" that become full-size on the addition of drops of water (maybe the Martians actually came here looking for the water which had apparently dried up on the surface of their planet). In my opinion, this kind of "agnosticism" is hard to take seriously. And yet it is espoused by such rock stars of uncertainty as Richard Dawkins. How is it that we have come to believe in an alien invasion of earth rather than the loving creation of humanity on the part of a gracious God? Oh well, any excuse for the existence of human life will do, as long as it doesn't include the God of the Bible. What a nightmare that would be!

 

However, for most people garden variety agnosticism will do. "God? Who knows?" God is a mute idol, who leaves us on our own to muse about His existence, and if He exists, what He might be like. Such a dumb God is no better than the blocks of wood or stone totems revered by the ancient pagans. I am not sure why it should be so impossible to grasp the idea that God has made Himself known to us in ordinary human speech and in the person of His Son. The Word of God has become flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14) and we would prefer Martians! On purely rationalistic grounds this seems not particularly rational to me. If there is a God, which is a presumption of agnosticism, then that He has spoken decisively about Himself to us can hardly be rated as shocking. That is in fact what the Christian revelation contends, that God has come among us and delivered His Word to us. Nor did He reveal Himself in mere speech, but also in the incarnation of the Word as the Only-begotten of the Father.

 

What could be more certain than that the God who created all things, and in that way displayed His power and a Creator's love for His creation, would do all in His power to redeem and save those who had fallen under the sway of His enemy in ignorance and under the power of death? He has come to reveal Himself to us in speech and in speech incarnate. He has put His "skin in the game" through the Son of God becoming flesh of Mary. This isn't mere talk, like our speech is. The true God puts His life on the line to love us back into His kingdom. The Martians of agnosticism drop their creation here on this sphere and they speed off in their flying saucers to universes unknown (or to Area 51 in Roswell, New Mexico, depending on your views). The God of the Bible kisses life into Adam (Gn 2:7), He has fellowship with Adam and Eve in the garden (Gn 3:8), and He seeks to win back to His fellowship His fallen creatures (Gn 3:15). This He does by offering His Only-begotten Son, His incarnate Word into death for our sakes. This is what the God who speaks does. I do know about God, because He reveals Himself in His Son. I just don't know about agnosticism.

 

Augustine of Hippo

 

"Since we believe in God the Father Almighty, we ought to uphold the view that there is no creature which has not been created by the Almighty. And since He created all things by the Word (Jn 1:3), and this Word is also designated the truth (Jn 14:6), and the power, and the wisdom of God (1Co 1:24) as also under many other titles the Lord Jesus Christ, who is commended to our faith, is presented likewise to our mental apprehensions as our deliverer and ruler: the Son of God. For that Word, by whose means all things were founded, could not have been begotten by any other than by Him who founded all things by His instrumentality.

 

"Since this is the case, we believe also in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten of the Father, that is to say, His only Son, our Lord. This Word, however, we should not grasp merely in the way in which we think of our own words, which are given forth by the voice and the mouth, and strike the air and pass on, and exist no longer than their sound continues. For that Word of God remains and without change. Of this very Word it was spoken when of wisdom it was said, "Remaining in herself, she makes all things new." (Wisdom 7:37). Moreover, He is named the Word of the Father, because the Father is made known by Him. By comparison, just as it is our intention when we speak truth, that by means of our words our mind should be made known to the person who hears us and that whatever we carry in our secret heart may be set forth by means of signs of this sort for the intelligent understanding of another individual, so this One who is the wisdom that God the Father begot is most appropriately named His Word, inasmuch as the most hidden Father is made known by the same."   

 

Augustine of Hippo, A Treatise on Faith and the Creed, 3
 

Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, speak to us in Your Word. Help us to believe that You have revealed Yourself to us and also to believe what you say to us for our comfort and salvation. Keep us from the ignorance and darkness of doubt. Free us from the myths of our culture that would enslave us and separate us from the children of God, redeemed by Your precious blood. Amen.

 

For B. J. Hall, that the Lord would grant her healing and a recovery of health

 

For those who are struggling with sexual sins, that the Lord Jesus would rescue them from slavery to the desires of the flesh

 

For Luke George, who is undergoing chemotherapy for Leukemia, that he would be strengthened in his body and built up in his holy faith

Art: MEMLING, Hans  Adoration of the Magi (c. 1470)

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