Monday, July 05, 2010

The Knowledge of God


This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Dr. David James Burrell

The man who does not know God has not begun to live. He may eat and drink, make merry, accumulate a fortune or wear a crown; but he has not entered into that better life of high hopes and noble purposes and aspirations which make us worthy of our Divine birthright. For "this is life eternal, to know God."

To put ourselves into just relations with God is literally a matter of life or death. All the ologies are worth mastering but THEOLOGY is indispensable. We must know God.

But where is He? "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him! Behold, I go forward but He is not there, and backward but I cannot perceive Him; on the left hand where he doth work, but I cannot behold Him; He hideth Himself on the right hand so that I cannot see Him!" The horizons recede as we approach them, and the darkness thickens as we grope like blind men feeling their way along the wall.

There are three roads which are vainly trodden by multitudes who pursue this holy quest. Each of them is marked, "This way to God:" and each of them is a cul de sac or blind alley, which leaves the soul still groping and crying, "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!"

The first of these paths is intuition. There are no natural atheists. All are born with an indwelling sense of God. We do not enter on conscious life like the inferior orders; but "trailing clouds of glory do we come from God who is our home." In regions of darkest paganism there are traces of two innate convictions, namely, a Divine birth and a sinful alienation. hence the universal spirit of unrest so pathetically expressed by Augustine: "We came forth from God, and we shall be homesick until we return to Him."

No doubt there have been some who, with no light but that which shines along the pathway of Intuition, have made the acquaintance of God; but the vast multitude have simply arrived at idolatry. They have made unto themselves gods "after the similitude of a man"; gods, like the Brocken of the Harz mountains, projected on the skies. An idol is a man-made god. It may be carved out of wood or conjured out of the gray matter of the brain; but all gods, whencesoever they come, are idols, except the one true God.

In next week's installment, Dr. Burrell will look at the second futile road, which is reason.

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