The thinking Christian
by Bill Anderson
“In the beginning was the Word (Idea), and the Word (Idea) was with God, and the Word (Idea) was God” (John 1:1). The Lord our God created a big beautiful world of ideas. But there are many dangerous ideas out there too. Just look at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: they saw the fruit, desired the knowledge it would give, and ate it despite God’s command. The Good News is that God had a plan from the very beginning to redeem us from our sin: “The Word (Idea) became human….full of Grace and Truth….[He is] the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:14, 29).
The commandment to “love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” comes from Deuteronomy 6:5. In the Gospels, Jesus quotes the passage but includes “with all your mind” at the end (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27). The phrase “with all of your heart, and all of your soul, and all of your strength” is a statement of unity and totality of a human being. We are created in the image of God to be in a relationship with him and our fellow human beings. To an Israelite mindset, the components of heart (physical body, emotions, and will), soul, and mind are a whole unit. The Hebrew word for “strength” relates to the “will” of a person. So when the commandment includes strength, the totality means “love the Lord our God with all we’ve got!”
All things are created by God and redeemed for God. Life and the universe were created “very good,” but sin has contaminated all of this now. Yet when we receive God’s gracious revelation through the Word (the lens through which we ought to view life and the universe), we can clearly see God’s goodness and intentions for His creation—as well as what is now wrong with it because of sin. An important part of learning to see the world this way is by using our mind with all our strength. Christians must critically engage the world we live in—something which doesn’t depend on having a high IQ but instead a work ethic (“strength”) devoted to working with whatever IQ points we’ve got!
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If we don’t think that this biblical view of the whole person as body, soul and mind with a holistic worldview in relation to the Creator/Savior God is important, we need to think again. As Christians living in the West, we are confronted by an ever-increasingly complex view of knowledge and understanding of the world we live in and the nature of reality. These ideas are everywhere: in newspapers, academic journals, on television, in the movies, in our conversations at the coffee shop, and anywhere else we can think of.
One such bad idea is the belief that we can only know objective truth by sensory perception and those things which are observable, testable, and repeatable. In other words, only hard science has objective truth; all other spiritual or moral values are subjective—and consequently “optional” or “personal.”
I reject this premise categorically and side with Jesus: there are many ways to love God with all our minds. One way is the pursuit of truth regardless of where it is found, including areas outside “hard science.” We can indeed learn about God and his creation objectively by sensory perception and the scientific methodology, through those things which are observable, testable, and repeatable. But hard science is not the only way to love God with all our minds. We can find truth in many areas…
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