Since the 17th century’s Enlightenment and the unnecessary separation of faith and reason, the idea of Christian intellect has gotten a bad rap. The concern is basically two-fold: 1) mystical Christians either demonize logic in favor of experience or 2) “evidentialists” emphasize faith in logic more than faith in the Lord. Neither extreme is biblical. So this week we’re consider what it means to love God “with all your mind”, Jesus’ third description of the greatest command in Matthew 22:37 and Mark 12:30. For God created us to live in His image, which includes using our minds appropriately. Thus, this week’s video notes several passages in which God calls us to use our minds for positive reasons. But it may also be helpful to reflect on two significant facts about our minds: they are finite and fallen.
Most obviously we are finite in our physical capacity to understand anything. I recently heard a man compare “oceans of truth about God and His creation” to “the soda can of our brain”. Although we can certainly hold knowledge of key facts, our tiny minds cannot fathom the full breadth or depth of anything in creation, much less God above creation. Even Einstein had limited synapses, an aging brain, and could live and learn in only one place at a time. (Job 38:4, Ecclesiastes 8:14-17, etc.)
Less obvious is our fallenness. We simply don’t want to see it. But since Adam and Eve first valued independence from God more than trust in Him, we have a confirmation bias to ignore what doesn’t fit our agendas and to fixate on what we want. (see Matthew 23:24, Luke 22:66-71, John 10:31-39, 1 Corinthians 1:20-25, etc.) Some of our distorted thinking is from our fear of Man rather than fear of God. (Deuteronomy 1:17, 1 Samuel 15:24, Jeremiah 38:19, Matthew 26:56, John 9:22, Galatians 2:12, 1 John 4:18, etc.) Some of it comes from our pride in self rather than pride in God (Genesis 4:1-8, Deuteronomy 8:11-20, Judges 17:6 and 21:25, Psalm 10:4, Proverbs 21:4 and 24, Daniel 5:20, Romans 12:3 and 16, Galatians 6:1-3, etc.) So, given our significant limitations, how are we to use our minds? It might sound like an oxymoron, but the answer is faith – an informed faith in Christ.
Again, biblical faith isn’t blind. It engages our mind to trust God for specific reasons. Note the pattern in Deuteronomy & Ezekiel: The “Lord GOD” acted so they would know that He is trustworthy.
Two of the key Hebrew names for God – אֹ י (Adonai or “Lord”) and יְוְא (Yahweh or “GOD”) occur together 1676 times in the Old Testament: 287 times in Deuteronomy and 220 in Ezekiel. The pairing emphasizes God’s sovereignty: the power to rule over them as “Lord” over all creation and the right to rule over them as their “GOD” who redeemed them. In other words, in Deuteronomy, the Lord GOD calls the remaining generation of Israel to think about the many ways He saved His people in Egypt and the wilderness as past proofs to inform their trust and obedience. In Ezekiel, however, He points to future reasons for informed faith when He will fulfill specific prophecies of judgment or salvation, according to their faith in His Messiah. The Lord GOD’s actions and His Word are still for the informed faith of His people.
Those 500+ verses are too many to list, but you can easily use your mind to search and see them.
You can see other articles and the embedded videos in this series here.