About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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When Rationalism Fails


I place a high priority on our God-given rational capabilities.  Understanding presupposes intellectual involvement.  That being said, any attempt to know if some kind of divine identity exists by rational means alone, will consistently fail.  If a non-human deity exists, logic dictates that something more than our human intellect is required to determine his, her, or its, existence.     


As a Christian, I agree with Jesus when he said that God, His Father, is a spirit (John 4:24), and, a spiritual birth is required to enter the place where God exists (John 3:5).  If God is spirit, a rational person should conclude that a spirit's existence can only be deduced through spiritual means.   


Some might suggest that Quantum physicists are on the verge of discovering God because of the recently discovered, so-called, God particle.  Discovering God through scientific means might make for an intriguing plot for a science fiction movie, but it's unlikely that Quantum Physics will discover deity, but wouldn't it be interesting if it did?  Can you imagine the sudden shock, the awesome, yet frightful, experience it would be for the physicist who finds himself in the presence of the Almighty Creator of all things material and all things spiritual?                         


I'm not promoting ignorance, as some Christians do.  Neither am I advocating a spiritualism that I have noticed in some ultra-mystical orientated Christians that borders on occultism.  I believe in a Biblical balance between the rational and the spiritual, something I note in the life of the apostle Paul. 


Paul was a highly intellectual and educated man.  More than any other New Testament personality, including Jesus, he systematically set forth the doctrine of God in a format that rational people, even if they disagreed, understood.  I've always said that if Paul was wrong, and allow me to say it this way: we as Christians are in one hell of a mess.  I believe Paul was right.  Look at what he said in 1 Corinthians 6:17.


"But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit."


Paul's statement tells me that a human being is just as much spiritual as he is material and mental.  It was through a spiritual intervention that Paul entered the domain of God.  That did not mean he discarded his intellectual abilities.  He went head to head in debates with the civil leaders (Acts, chapter 26), the religious elite (Acts 17:16), and the philosophical gurus of his day (Acts 17:18). 


The first seven chapters of Paul's letter to the Romans, chapters many Christians ignore because they require much thought, are a scholarly treatise on the theology of God and salvation.  One of Paul's conclusions is found in Romans 8:9.


"And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ."


I agree with Paul.  Without the Spirit of Christ in my life, I do not belong to Him, let alone know He exists.  My life requires a Biblical balance between the rational and the spiritual.  Any attempt I could make to know if God exists through rational means alone will sadly fail.  I have come to understand, through both a rational and spiritual means, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate, divine, universal truth.  I, therefore, have no other logical choice but to submit myself to Him.    


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