Yesterday I found these words scrawled on an old crumbly piece of paper in the bottom of my filing cabinet: (from Max Lucado, In the Grip of Grace – 1996, p15.)
“The loss of mystery has led to the loss of majesty
The more we know the less we believe.
No wonder there is no wonder.
We think we have figured it all out.
Strange, don’t you think?
Knowledge of the workings shouldn’t negate the wonder.
Knowledge should stir wonder.
Who has more reason to worship than the astronomer who has seen the stars?
Than the surgeon who has held a heart?
Than the oceanographer who has pondered the depths”.
Now there was a reason I copied those words by hand from Lucado’s book quite a while ago. I was probably wanting to be reminded that the heavens declare the glory of God, that day after day creation pours forth speech about our Maker (Psalm 19). I wanted to be challenged not to allow my understanding of the universe, by virtue of my education, to deny me the pleasure of “wondering” at God’s ultimate creativity.
But the reason I am sharing them today is slightly different. Since I’ve being doing a few theological subjects lately, these words got me thinking about the wonder of our salvation, and the “danger” of theological study. When approached as a purely academic exercise, Bible students can easily lose some of the wonder of the Cross. The greatness of God, and the immensity of His grace to us in Christ, can become smaller in our eyes because we think we understand it! Worse still we can become proud of our ability to wrap our brains around the mystery of Christ. In some ways this is also the lot of a composer or professional musician who cannot enjoy the wonder of the symphony for their awareness of all the notes!
Then as I was thinking these thoughts, and preparing to wrestle with revising Numbers and Deuteronomy today, I read a great post on this very dilemma over at Mere Inkling (where C.S. Lewis’ thoughts are explored regularly) a post entitled Theological Training.
Here is how it begins: “I’m proud I graduated from a well-respected seminary. And I’m proud of following that Master of Divinity degree with an advanced Master of Theology degree in Patristics. And that’s precisely the problem . . . I’m proud. As a Christian, I recognize that pride is one of the most destructive and insidious sins. . .” Read more
As I do my own study today I pray that God will keep from me the sin of pride in understanding Him, and focus my thoughts instead on the grace that I am called His child. (Actually, writing this post has helped greatly with that!)