Sunday, September 3, 2017

Very Superstitious

Along with this, there are scientific theories that now require very little evidence in order for them to be discussed. One recent theory postulates that the origin of life follows as an inevitable consequence of the “laws of nature” and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.” No theory on origins can be devoid of philosophical presuppositions and the prevailing thought today is that the origin of life is completely natural. This perhaps will explain the relatively new confidence among scientists in finding extra-terrestrial life (despite the lack of evidence) and the continued in belief in the existence of UFOs, ghosts, and other paranormal phenomena in from many Westerners (and let’s not discuss the rise of flat earthers).

 

Many Christian social commentators have lamented the devolution of American culture into a form of anti-culture. It is certainly true that the rejection of the Christian religion in our society has led to moral degeneration within our culture. However, sin not only affects the moral faculties of a person (or society); it also affects our rational/intellectual faculties. In other words, the rise of the anti-culture has also been coupled with irrationalism. It may be a surprise to some, but the secularization of our society has not led to a more rational society. Rather, the rejection of the Christian religion has led to a more speculative, less rational, and at times, a more superstitious society.

In a number of ways, this can be thought of as an expected result. Science historians have pointed out that modern science arose in the context of a Christian worldview, and was nourished and sustained by that view. An example of this can be found in a consideration Psalm 19:1-4:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech,and night to night reveals knowledge.There is no speech, nor are there words,whose voice is not heard.Their voice goes out through all the earth,and their words to the end of the world.

Regarding Psalm 19:1, John Calvin comments,

“As soon as we acknowledge God to be the supreme Architect, who has erected the beauteous fabric of the universe, our minds must necessarily be ravished with wonder at His infinite goodness, wisdom, and power.”

Calvin was deeply moved by both the beauty of creation and the wonder of providence. As mentioned in a previous blog, Calvin lived the same kind of scholarly piety exemplified by the scribes, teachers, and biblical scholars of Wisdom School. Consistent with mode of devotion from the Wisdom School, Calvin often speaks of the spiritual benefits of meditating on the glory of God in creation. Regarding Psalm 19:2, Calvin noted:

“[Natural] Philosophers who have more penetration into those matters than others, understand how the stars are arranged in such beautiful order, that notwithstanding their immense number there is no confusion;… David, therefore having spoken of the heavens, does not here descend from them to other parts of the world; but, from an effect more sensible what we just now said, namely, that the glory of God not only shines, but resounds in the heavens.”

What is interesting here, and is quite typical of the wisdom theology of the Old Testament, is that the glory of God is not only seen but heard. The sages of Israel (and the saints of the early Church) were inspired by what we might call the intellectual beauty of creation.

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