Lent Midweek 4 – 2 Corinthians 4:1-10
In one of the many reports about the missing Malaysian airplane, one of the experts was asked how long the search would go on for, and at what point do we just give up. The expert responded that aviation abhors a vacuum, and that the search would continue for as long as it needed to, so that we might know exactly what happened and when and why to prevent future issues likes this one.
On the one hand that is very reassuring, especially for those who fly a great deal; that this could happen on one airplane, whether it was pilot error or terrorism or massive malfunction, does beg the question as to whether or not it could happen on another airplane; so the fact that the frantic search for the answer continues, is comforting to know.
But on the other hand, do we really need to know the exact answer? Does knowing every minute and second of the events help us that much? Is mankind really helped that much by knowing what happened to one airplane? If we were to find the answer, would it really bring any comfort to anyone?
Those questions are not entertained today however, not because they are not valid, but because life is like Jeopardy, there is supposed to be an answer to every question.
With internet and communication so readily available, to not know the answer to a question immediately is totally unacceptable. Everything must be explained, must be accounted for, must be detailed down to the very last minute. And if the answer is not known, then no expense may be spared in our efforts to find the answer.
Does this produce some benefit for society? Absolutely. As common, ordinary citizens, we may not know any more today than our ancestors did, but we have more information available to us than those ancestors would have ever had in their entire lives. This is normally a good thing; what was once out of reach of all but a few, is now so common, it is shocking when someone does not have the ability to get such information.
And this quest for knowledge has led to some great things, including the answer to the question as to when life begins: the pro-life debate has largely been won, not through legislation, but through the quest for knowledge of showing the baby in the womb as early as possible, displaying all the features that one would expect to find when the child is born.
But do not be fooled by the good that knowledge has done; for there is great danger in knowledge as well.
Because what if something cannot be explained? What if our grasp of knowledge, great as it may be, cannot answer certain questions?
Science is based not on miraculous one time occurrences, but rather on things that can be tested repeatedly. So science cannot arrive at a conclusion of 6 day creation, because science cannot test or prove it; so the word of God as it relates to creation is dismissed. And it is replaced with a variety of theories explaining creation as happening over millions of years that are presented as fact.
So what happens next?
Well textbooks and teachers follow the line of not teaching 6 day creation, but instead teaching the popular theories that disprove creation; the result being two contradicting world views, with the question posed to every man, woman and child: which do you believe: the millions of years which we can explain; or the 6 day creation which we cannot explain?
But of course that is not the only example: how do you explain the miracles Jesus performed? How do you explain the resurrection? How do you explain the Trinity?
The answer is that you cannot; you accept them not because science can prove them, but because they are divine, and made known to you only through faith.
But that poses a problem: if you cannot explain them, if you cannot prove them, if you cannot duplicate them, than how do you know they happened? If God is hiding things from you, what else is God hiding from you? If God is hiding things from you, does that mean the existence of God is hiding from you as well?
That is the ultimate question that science cannot answer; and since science cannot answer the existence of God, they simply write Him out of the equation entirely.
Can knowledge be used for good? Yes; but beware of where knowledge leads you. The devil offered Eve knowledge; she wanted to know what it was like to be God. It is a very alluring proposition to know everything, to have all this knowledge, and presumably power, at your fingertips. It is just going to cost you one thing: you have to give up God, because God cannot be known; and if God cannot be known, than God must not exist.
That was the conclusion of Bill Nye in his debate with Ken Ham; he was asked a number of questions that dealt with some unexplainable things, and Nye was perfectly comfortable either ignoring them or writing them off completely.
But as it turns out, Ken Ham had a marvelous response, and it is the same response that you have to the allure of knowledge and all that it offers: there is a book.
There is a book that is the ultimate authority on these matters of seemingly unanswerable questions; that explains the origins of the universe, that answers how you got a conscience, and that tells you what happens when you die.
This book, the Bible, contains the one authority who trumps all other authority: God’s Word speaks to us in a way that knowledge and science never could. God’s Word speaks with authority; it speaks with accuracy; it speaks with certainty; and it speaks in a way that is timeless; God’s Word is for all people, of all times and all places.
God’s Word cannot be explained by human wisdom or reasoning, but only through the Holy Spirit can one come to believe and receive it.
And when you read this book, you discover two things. The first thing is a struggle against sin, and that creation is losing. And you discover that sin has corrupted everything that we know around us. Sin has corrupted knowledge, and it has corrupted your minds. Satan has deceived you into thinking that you can learn your way out of sin, just as he tricked you that you could work your way out of sin.
This premise that everything, our hearts, our hands, even our minds are corrupted by sin, than leads to the second theme you find in this book: that Jesus has come into the world to redeem you.
Jesus comes into the world in human flesh, lives a perfect life and goes to the cross where He suffers and dies to redeem your hearts, your hands, your mind, your whole being from the curse of sin and death.
Your typical science and history book are not going to tell you any of that; but there is a book, the Bible, that will tell you that those books, like you, are corrupted by sin, and in need of a Savior, and you find that Savior, not through anything you think or know, but through the Word of God, which calls upon you to believe and trust in His Word, for in it you will find salvation.
For at the end of the day, knowledge leaves you with nothing; there is life on this earth, and when it is over, it is over. But there is a book that reveals to you that life on this earth is not over when it is over, but instead offers to you the promise of eternal life with Christ in Paradise.
There is one book that points you the way to salvation that is found in Christ Jesus alone. But as the meaning to the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed says: I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.
There is a book; not a math book or science or history or English book, but a book that is the holy Word of God that reveals these things to you. That is the book, the Bible, and the one who is revealed in that book: Jesus Christ; that we place our hope and trust in, even when you seemingly cannot fully explain it.