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5.19.2012

Something Sproul wrote

(This was an email...)

[Don't skim this, the paragraphs follow on each other...]

In that book Saved from What? Sproul wrote about the singular thing most of us think about. How people have a hard time seeing why they need to be 'saved'. He says people don't feel they need a fireman if their house isn't on fire. And it's the same with being saved from their 'sin'. If they don't have a vision of sin, or evil, in the world and in themselves of course they don't feel a need for a savior from it. And even further, even if they *do* see sin and evil in the world and in themselves why should they associate it with a plan by God or the Fall in the Garden or original sin, or see it in the context of it being a barrier to them getting into heaven, etc., etc.?

So there is a divide here. The faith - Christianity - is a *revealed* religion. You can't know about the plan of God from the book of nature or human nature or general revelation. You need special revelation of which the Old and New Testaments are the supreme example (technically special revelation also covers true prophetic utterances and theophanes, i.e. whenever the Second Person of the Trinity appeared to man as an angel or a pillar of fire or smoke, or most notably in His incarnation as a human being; miracles also are in the category of special revelation, but the engrafted word is special revelation par excellence now).

Atheists will explain evil and sin (or bad behavior) in evolutionary terms or whatever other terms they can think of. Most people just seem asleep to the most obvious examples of human evil and sin in history, recent history even, and in individuals, unless perhaps they experience it first hand.

The idea that God is holy and He can't or won't have beings who are not holy in His presence is not a thought that comes naturally to people either.

So it's all really sort of intellectual and derived from God's *revealed* teaching He presents in the Bible. C. S. Lewis said he became a Christian because finally it was Christianity that *explained* what he saw in the world and in himself. That is an intellectual process there. Of course he also needed the Holy Spirit in him to see that, but the process seems intellectual to us.

This is why it always seems a bit shallow or unbelievable when Christians seem to have a purely emotional take or understanding of the faith. At least to me, and I suppose a lot of people. And at the same time a purely intellectual take seems a bit dry and unreal.

THE PROCESS OF DEATH DOESN'T EVEN SEEM TO BE A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM REGARDING GETTING THE MESSAGE. The atheist will go into that dark night as atheist as he's ever been. The sleepy person as sleepy as they've ever been. (And I'm perhaps hearing here a Bible passage that may or may not? be relevant... Let him that is holy be holy still, and him that is sinful be sinful still, and him that is in rebellion be in rebellion still, and him that is asleep be asleep still - I'm paraphrasing - ... I'm not sure what that verse - Rev. 22:11 - alludes to or means. [I know what the commentaries say, but there may be a deeper meaning there is what I'm saying.])

A parallel, I sense, to this theme of Christianity being an intellectual process of seeing the truth (or perhaps 'thought out *realization*' is a better way to say it than just 'intellectual') is the foreign-to-human-nature thing we call 'self-motivation.'

We are used to acting and thinking based on external stimuli and shocks and what not. But to form an actual thought or to articulate an actual thought solely from ourselves is not something we do very often. Mechanical shocks are the currency of sleeping beings. Conscious shocks - much different and more difficult - are the currency of awakened beings. - C.


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