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The "Enlightenment" was a Dark Thing


In The Benedict Option, author Rob Dreher writes: "The scientific Revolution culminated in the life and work of Sir Issac Newton, a physicist, mathematician, and unorthodox Christian who fabricated a new model of the universe that explained its physical workings in a wholly mechanical way. Newton certainly believed that the laws of motion he discovered had been established by God. Yet Newton's God, in contrast with the God of traditional Christian metaphysics, was like a divine watchmaker who fashioned a timepiece, wound it, and let it carry on without his further involvement....the Enlightenment matters because it was a decisive break with the Christian legacy of the West. God, if He was mentioned at all, was not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but the nondescript divinity of the Deists. Deism, a rationalist school of thought that emerged in the Enlightenment, holds that God is a cosmic architect who created the universe but does not interact with it...Most of the American Founding Fathers were either confessed Deists...or strongly influence by Deism." (p. 33-35)


The bottom line? God made it, but having walked away from it, is not discoverable through it, and left us to do what we will with it.


We have control.


The trouble with believing in the sovereignty with God—or at least one of the "troubles"—is that we are operating under a false assumption. We think we are in control—but we are not. God has not walked away from any of what He created. I Timothy 6:15 in the Phillips Translation reads this way: "God...is the blessed controller of all things, the King over all kings and the Master of all masters." According to Hebrews 1:3, Christ sustains all things "by his powerful word." This is expressed in present tense and is again in places like Colossians 1:17 where we read: "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."


Even we as believers tacitly agree with Newton and others when we refer, for example, to "Mother Nature" as being somehow in control of the weather. Perhaps that makes it easier for us to avoid attributing to Him some of less agreeable events that take place in nature. We'd rather not admit that volcanoes, tidal waves and earthquakes are under His sovereign hand, and part of His divine design. What we can't explain we are driven to trying to explain away. We can't just say that we have "faith," right?


And what do we do with the rise of tyrants, human trafficking, pandemics, and every other inexplicable calamity that happens? Why is it so hard to say, and believe, as Jeremiah did: "Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?" (Lamentations 3:37, 38).


It's hard because we don't trust Him. We don't trust Him because we don't know Him. We don't know Him because we aren't looking for Him, even though He is as close as our next breath. Paul writes: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not lives in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked our their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him, though he is not far from any one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'" (Acts 17:24-28)


Could it be that we aren't looking for Him because if we aren't in control then we must bend a submissive knee to the One who is?


But when we find Him we will discover that the "blessed Controller" is both powerful AND good and that we can trust Him.





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