THERE ARE PARTICULARS WE MUST KNOW, BUT THE INFINITE WE CANNOT

The Lagoon Nebula, shown in a photo taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (from here).
The Lagoon Nebula, shown in a photo taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (from here).

Reading insanitybytes22‘s post, Intelligent Fools, I thought of these verses.

Hebrews 12:1-2 English Standard Version (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Each of our sins is a form of self-deceit. Thus, I think that what the Holy Spirit does for most of us to help us remove our self-imposed deceits — sins or weights — that prevent us from accepting God’s Word.

Consider how this works with respect to a purely practical matter. Much of a scientist’s job figuring out what is important. To develop a theory that works, scientists must set aside all the details that do not matter.

When a scientist develops a hypothesis, he is modeling the real world. The real world is an infinitely complex web of causes and effects beyond our understanding.

A scientist begins by focusing upon that bit of behavior within a certain system that he wants to understand, that is, a particular set of cause and effect relationships related to some aspect of an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral. Consider some examples: the way bats spread a certain fungal disease to other bats, how an insect pollinates a flower, or the way the element carbon cycles through the environment.

The scientist’s focuses upon the creation of a testable model, a mathematical model if possible, that describes the behavior he wants to understand.

To develop a practical mathematical model, each scientist must put boundaries around the system he is studying. Then within those boundaries he must decide which causes and which effects are relevant to the behavior he wants to understand. Next he must gather data that demonstrates the relationship between these causes and effects. After all that, he is finally ready to develop and test his hypothesis.

What if a scientist’s hypothesis is wrong? Then he must discover where his model is in error or incomplete. He must set aside his biases and reexamine the animal, the plant or the thing he is studying. What did he miss? What is he not seeing?

What does it mean to set aside our biases and reexamine an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral? We must look only at the information we have, not for what we wish to see. To be a good scientist we must first love the truth.  We must be more fascinated by what we find than what we wish too see. The universe — we exist — for the glory of God, not to make it easy to for us to impress our colleagues, apply for grants, or win a Nobel prize.

The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. It would not perhaps be too fanciful to say that a new idea is the most quickly acting antigen known to science. If we watch ourselves honestly we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated. — Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter (1872-1939) English surgeon (from here)

Similarly, each day we live each of must discover what is important to our purpose in life. What tasks did God make us to accomplish? If we set the boundaries around our lives incorrectly, we will miss our purpose. We will leave out God. We each will think only of what we want. We will not think of what God wants us to do — what God wants for us.

Once we include God within the boundaries of our life — once we put Him in charge — we can then seek out what He has given us to do. We can discern each task He sets before us, and we can discard each distraction or sin that would keep us from fulfilling our purpose.

If we keep our focus upon our Creator, we will not despair. We will remember He is God, the Creator. Everything depends Him, and He will give us what we need.

What is our modelling tool? How do we decide what is important? Whereas the scientist works with data and mathematics, the Christian works with the Word of God and prayer. The scientist works to gain knowledge and understanding. The Christian works to gain wisdom so that when the time comes he can choose to do what is right in God’s eyes.

Wisdom is the fitting application of knowledge. Knowledge understands the light has turned red; wisdom applies the brakes. Knowledge sees the quicksand; wisdom walks around it. Knowledge memorizes the Ten Commandments; wisdom obeys them. Knowledge learns of God; wisdom loves Him. — from What is wisdom? What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?

Check out Intelligent Fools by insanitybytes22.

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10 thoughts on “THERE ARE PARTICULARS WE MUST KNOW, BUT THE INFINITE WE CANNOT

  1. Well said, Tom. Thanks for the mention. In love, faith, even in science, it is not so much what we know, what we believe that allows us to reach the truth, but rather a suspension of our own disbelief. Some of the best minds in the world, some of the most amazing discoveries, began with men willing to set aside their disbelief, who had the humility to accept that they may not know what they think they know. I often think of airplanes and helicopters, everyone “knows” that humans can’t fly and yet taking that leap of faith and suspending disbelief is what got us to the point where we really can fly. So, while it’s a good thing to temper some of our faith with wisdom, with reason, to try to worship at the foot of human reason and intelligence is almost funny, downright comical actually. We can be very smart, but also not too bright and full of preconceived notions and deceptions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your post, your praise, and for a thoughtful comment.

      Learning is hard work, not for the slothful.

      Consider what entertains us. Have you ever had a child ask you to repeatedly read the same story? Why the same story? We enter a place we have already been, already imagined. There is no work. There is no anxiety — we know the end. There is simply the delight of a place we find familiar and comfortable.

      Are adults so different from children, yet our Lord calls us to perfection. To keep our eyes upon Him. To examine ourselves in the light of His Truth. To see ourselves as we truly are is neither familiar nor is it comfortable.

      There is the hope of a reward, but the Truth hurts, and the end is not in sight. Given the nature of eternity, it may never be. Therefore, we can only put our faith in the One who made us and loves us.

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  2. Many good words here Tom and I just cannot agree with you more when you say this, “Each of our sins is a form of self-deceit. Thus, I think that what the Holy Spirit does for most of us to help us remove our self-imposed deceits — sins or weights — that prevent us from accepting God’s Word.”

    That took me a long time to discover. It’s truly humbling to finally admit being wrong and that there is so much I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s truly humbling to finally admit being wrong and that there is so much I don’t know.

      It is a funny thing. We live in a world with so many points-of-view and so many different opinions. Instead realizing the obvious — I might be wrong — we decide it is okay to believe whatever it is we want to believe. When it is obvious there is more to know than any of us could ever know, we decide “I” am okay. “I” know enough. When each of us must die — when everyone we care about must pass away — there isn’t a problem? Seems we can ignore that too.

      I ignored the fact I needed God decade after decade. Finally, when someone close to me was in trouble, I prayed. It finally dawned on me there was not anything else I could do.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. We don’t get that kind of credit. We don’t deserve it. The Lord does the convincing.

          We just let people know about the Gospel. We just obey the Great Commission. Nevertheless, I thank you for thought. I too wish he would believe.

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