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Catechism Buzz: Plainly Declared, but Badly Interpreted (2)

12 January 2011 by FX Turk

Q. 2. How does it appear that there is a God?
A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.

It's funny that our error here is that we sense something greater than ourselves in our very nature, and in the work of Creation, but that rather than seek it (that is: Him) out to see what he has to say for himself, we turn to ourselves as if we were a sufficient means to understanding that Creator.

That, in spite of our miserable track record. In the recent past, we thought thalidomide was a great sedative for pregnant women; we thought the United Nations would solve the problem of war; we think we can accidentally change the earth's climate to "deadly", but we're worried that we will not be able to turn it around on purpose.

There's something inside us which we can feel and believe in even when it fails us, and we're ore likely to turn to that than to seek out what it really is and why it calls out to us. We are on the one hand utterly willing to believe this:
    The heavens declare the glory of God; 
       the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
    Day after day they pour forth speech; 
       night after night they reveal knowledge. 
    They have no speech, they use no words; 
       no sound is heard from them. 
    Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, 
       their words to the ends of the world.
and then completely reject this:
    The law of the LORD is perfect, 
       refreshing the soul. 
    The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, 
       making wise the simple. 
    The precepts of the LORD are right, 
       giving joy to the heart. 
    The commands of the LORD are radiant, 
       giving light to the eyes. 
    The fear of the LORD is pure, 
       enduring forever. 
    The decrees of the LORD are firm, 
       and all of them are righteous.
    They are more precious than gold, 
       than much pure gold; 
    they are sweeter than honey, 
       than honey from the honeycomb. 
    By them your servant is warned; 
       in keeping them there is great reward. 
    But who can discern their own errors? 
We're willing to buy into the idea that God can somehow tell us something without words which means we get to fill in our own words, but when we get to the part where God may have also said something brilliant by which we can actually grasp the purpose behind all things, we balk. We retreat from it because that means we don't get to dictate the terms of our lives.

But the Psalmist warns us plainly: who can discern their own errors? We need something to set us right for our own sake, and for the sake of the one who created a universe that sings His praises without one word or one note.

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