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“The thing above all else to be remembered is that, according to all the Gospels – Synoptics no less than John, Mark no less than Matthew and Luke – Jesus was a supernatural Person. On that view it was inevitable that an atmosphere of mystery should envelop Him. It would be unnatural to expect that the career of such a Person should unfold itself smoothly and transparently, that there should be no riddles, no problems, no apparent contradictions. And a certain amount of secrecy might also reasonably be expected. The privacy of the supernatural, its tendency to withdraw from the glare of public exposure must be taken into account. . . [even] from a purely literary point of view, is it not likely that Mark, writing the life of such a Person, should have taken pains to introduce something of the chiaroscuro in which the supernatural is [accustomed] to veil itself?”

-Geerhardus Vos, The Self-Disclosure of Jesus, p. 69

 

 

 

“You will hear people say, ‘The early Christians believed that Christ was the son of a virgin, but we know that this is a scientific impossibility’. Such people seem to have an idea that belief in miracles arose at a period when men were so ignorant of the course of nature that they did not perceive a miracle to be contrary to it. A moment’s thought shows this to be nonsense: and the story of the Virgin Birth is a particularly striking example. When St Joseph discovered that his fiancée was going to have a baby, he not unnaturally decided to repudiate her. Why? Because he knew just as well as any modern gynaecologist that in the ordinary course of nature women do not have babies unless they have lain with men. No doubt the modern gynaecologist knows several things about birth and begetting which St Joseph did not know. But those things do not concern the main point–that a virgin birth is contrary to the course of nature. And St Joseph obviously knew that. In any sense in which it is true to say now, ‘The thing is scientifically impossible’, he would have said the same: the thing always was, and was always known to be, impossible unless the regular processes of nature were, in this particular case, being over-ruled or supplemented by something from beyond nature. When St Joseph finally accepted the view that his fiancée’s pregnancy was due not to unchastity but to a miracle, he accepted the miracle as something contrary to the known order of nature. All records of miracles teach the same thing.”

-C. S. Lewis, On Miracles

A tremendous story about a radical, Lebanese Muslim finding Jesus – and becoming a conservative Lutheran pastor to boot! I was struck by the close similarities he drew between the works righteousness of Islam and the old Roman bondage from which Luther was set free.  “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

 

Well, apparently evolution has failed to make us invincible behind the wheel. So humans have retooled themsellves to give Darwinism a little boost. This better (?) human being is able to roll with rolls, to bob and weave with head-ons. Only, I think there’s one design flaw. This better human cannot procreate because he is so repulsive.

I’ll stick with Intelligent Design. God makes perfect humans – able to build vehicles, make them safer, find romance, and perpetuate the race. No accident!

golden-wheat-field-1354390133xGa“When our Savior speaks to us concerning what constitutes our true blessedness He is simply describing His own experience. The beatitudes are not the immediate revelation of His Godhead, they are much more the impressive testimony of His manhood. He knew the truth of what He was saying because He had verified it all in Himself for thirty experimental years.”

-quoted by Alexander Whyte

* * *

The Beatitudes

 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

– Matthew 5:2-12

“He manifests his comparative glory; “Thou art more excellent than hills of prey: fairer than the sons of men;” the bride, the believer sees him as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, every way incomparable. Whatever he be compared to he excels it; if he be a lily, he is the lily of the valley; if he be a rose, he is the rose of Sharon; if he be a plant, he is the plant of renown; if he be a physician, he is the physician of value; if an advocate, he is an advocate with the Father; he is represented without any parallel.”

-Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)

Some robust natural theology, courtesy of the redoubtable Mr. Sherlock Holmes (from The Naval Treaty, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

* * * *

“What a lovely thing a rose is!”

He walked past the couch to the open window and held up the drooping stalk of a moss-rose, looking down at the dainty blend of crimson and green. It was a new phase of his character to me, for I had never before seen him show any keen interest in natural objects.

“There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as religion,” said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. “It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.”

This open letter to Donald Trump is a first-rate piece on how the rehabilitation of marriage in our culture is the sine qua non of truly making America great again. It also underscores the tragic reality that “the way of transgressors is hard.”

Deeper than this need, however, is national repentance and renewing covenant with God and His Christ. Without the fear of God, not even demonstrable socio-economic harm will bring about the desperately needed reform, restore relationships and advance true human flourishing. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”

“Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect. For instance, when you have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planets were made to match-all at equal distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go farther from the sun. In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four, one has two, some have none, and one has a ring.

“Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let us leave behind all these boys’ philosophies-these over-simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either.”

– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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