God Redeems Sinful Thinkers

The Old Testament declares that acquiring the knowledge of God is of paramount importance. Knowing Yahweh Elōhîm is the key to understanding everything in creation, including ourselves. In fact, the knowledge of God is the object of the verbal phrases “shall know,” “might know,” “may know,” and “will know” at least 114 times in the Old Testament. In Ezekiel the expression “know I am the Lord” occurs 80 times.

Understanding what God reveals about himself is akin to gaining a clear view from a very high point. From there one discovers the breath and beauty of the world. One can navigate the terrain better, so to speak, with less effort and danger. In this sense, knowing God is a compass, North Star or everlasting landmark to guide our way. This why John Calvin wrote: “It is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating him to scrutinize himself.”

But, as we know from the Bible, we are lost intellectually because of sin. We no longer climb the mountain to get a better view. Our minds are marred by Adam and Eve’s sinful folly with the serpent. We struggle with a Trojan’s Horse within, seeking to distort our perception of ourselves and dull our understanding of reality. We are subject to a continual barrage of deviant worldviews from our cultures.

Thank God, however, that he redeems sinful thinkers!

This poem by Michel Quoist as an imaginative depiction of thinking under grace (excerpts). It well expresses the motivation of a thinker who aspires to love God with his mind. This meditation is called “I Would Like To Rise Very High” from his book Prayers (1963).

I would like to rise very high, Lord, above my city, above the world, above time. I would like to purify my gaze, and borrow your eyes.

I would then see the universe, humanity and history, as the Father sees them . . . .

Startled, I will begin to understand, that the great adventure of Love, that started at the creation of the world, continues to unfold before my eyes.

The divine story which, according to your promise, will be completed in glory, only after the resurrection of the flesh, when you will come before the Father saying: “All is accomplished. I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End  . . . .”

Then, falling on my knees, I would admire, O Lord, the great mystery of this world, your world, which in spite of the innumerable snags of sin, remains a long throb of love,
leading towards Love and Life eternal.

I would like to rise very high, Lord, above my city, above the world, above time. I would like to purify my gaze, and borrow your eyes.

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