Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How Much Can We Know?

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. -- Romans 1:19

That’s the ESV translation, the NASB says, instead of “is plain to them”, what can be known about God “is evident within them”.  Everything is built into us.  As we have talked about before, the analogy of radio reception is useful to us.  If I have a radio with the appropriate bands, I can pick up most any broadcast from anywhere in the world.  If it is in a language unknown to me, it may not be particularly edifying, but I can hear it.

One of my sets has multiple bands of AM, FM, Long Wave, and Short Wave, and on Short Wave, I can switch to Single Side Band mode and hear all kinds of broadcasts.  On the other hand, I have an MP3 player that has FM.  If something really good is being broadcast on 7.265, or somebody tells me about something in the 90-meter band, and all I have is my FM, I’m not going to be able to hear it.  In fact, if I know nothing about radios other than my single band, I may not even believe what I’m being told or believe that it is possible for someone to receive that broadcast. 

There is a whole field of study regarding genius.  We do not really understand where those who operate on such a different level get their insights.  They appear to be inspired – that is, something, some different guiding spirit or muse seems to have entered them.  Da Vinci, Einstein, Mozart, Shakespeare, Van Gogh, these people seem to start from a different place.  It is as if they were picking up on a different frequency than the rest of us.  Some seem to have a greater bandwidth, others have more bands, and still others, like some savants, are just tuned to a band different from everyone else. 

Not all of us have the ability to be math geniuses or musical geniuses, poets, artists, or physicists, but the frequency for knowing God is built into every human.  It is not the outside world, not the vast precision of the universe or the magnificent beauty of mountains and waterfalls which convinces us that God exists and is who He is.  It is the fact that we can perceive that beauty, and that some among us can understand and figure out amazing things, and that others can create the useful and the beautiful.  That we can know at all is God’s smoking gun. 

God is broadcasting fully on all frequencies.  As humans, we are, for the most part, operating on a very narrow band.  It raises a question.  Is it part of God’s plan in His wisdom that most of us be limited most of the time?  Or would it please Him if we believed truly that we could tune in more stations?

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid  and trembled, and they stood far off  and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:18-19)
Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.  And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”  And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.”  But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:26-29)


John Lien said...

I do like the radio analogy. My thoughts are that through spiritual disciplines you can lower the static so as to be able to hear the signal -or more signals. (Not my thoughts really, just what I've read, and maybe, a tiny bit of experience.)

mushroom said...

Yes, you're right. Static, interference, jamming -- that's going on, too.