Your life is a gift.
When’s the last time you asked yourself why am I here? When you ask why am I here what is the conversation you have with yourself, how do you answer back? Do you hear the voices of parents, grandparents, friends who have helped shape your thinking? Maybe you think of books you’ve read or teachers or Youtube or TV. How do you think about this? Does your intellect process this question?
If I write this post correctly I hope there’s a laugh at the end, maybe not LOL, but a quiet, introspective laugh at God’s humor.
In the history of the world, God or god has been discussed, debated, argued, and idolized. The question is timeless. The answer to the question about why you are here and your relationship with God leaves us thinking about something or someone bigger than yourself, bigger than the universe, something or someone that can’t even be imagined by man. Religion in history has been the accepted answer to this question.
In the history of the world, religion was answering this meaning of life question. Until recently that is. Now, science alone is asking you to believe that only science can answer this question.
Intellect is a Gift.
If your life isn’t of your doing then why do you exist and who gave you life? Is your life explained by science or is it better explained by your religious traditions? When you think about the question do you settle somewhere in the middle? You can understand what science has to offer and its limits and also you value your religious experience?
For this post, focus on how you think about the question. The answer can be set aside while you focus on how you think. When you use your intellect to think, in the conversation you have with yourself, you use reason by using your intellect, your mind. But, where did you get your intellect? Your mind and intellect connect with worldly activities, it connects you to your physical self, it learns from inputs that you provide it, it learns over time as things are revealed to it.
How you think about the question and how you reason your answer is more important than the answer itself for this post. The meaning of life question is influenced by science and religion. But how do you gather the truth in the world and for yourself to answer the question? Are you forced by the question to search for truth? If you have children or nieces and nephews how do you teach them about their role in the world, their purpose in it? Do you tell them the science alone answer, or do you blend together science and religion or is your answer religion only?
If children ask for proof what do you tell them? How do you explain religion and God without a scientific proof? Are you misleading them to offer them religion alone and ignore the beauty of the world and all science has to offer?
How you use your intellect to come to a reason for your answer and who you are trusting to come to an answer is important. Do you challenge science in the same way you challenge religion? Do you challenge religion the same way you challenge science? How do you come to the truth about this in a way that you would teach children?
How do you use your mind and intellect to consider this question?
A Funny Irony
I often laugh at how I see God’s gift of intellect used.
For this post, let’s say it is true, God gave you your mind and the freedom to use it any way you choose. If he gave you your mind so you could use it to search for the truth in the world are you doing that? For instance, a natural truth is gravity. It is a truth, it exists, it is defined in and by nature and you know what gravity is by your personal experience. Gravity has never changed and it is true.
Science 300+ years ago taught us what it new, like gravity. But science, Newton, back then could not have produced or known about the Apple or Android phones or how to use nature to create a phone. Newton was limited to Science and nature revealed at the time. What man and nature have created in the last 100 years would amaze Newton. He didn’t know what he didn’t know. We benefit by science but are limited to only what natural truths have been revealed as of today. Science can’t tell you what it doesn’t know about what it will discover 100 years from now any more than Newton could have known of the iPhone. But, that doesn’t make today’s iPhone non-existent. In 100 years more natural truth will be revealed by the good work of science, but science is still limited to what has been revealed and not more.
We can say the same about the nature of God. God gave us nature and if nature has certain truths, like gravity that are revealed over time, so God is revealed overtime. These truths take time to be revealed and it makes sense that something so complicated as the answer to why we exist would be revealed over time. It makes sense that the beauty of God, just like the beauty of science, will be revealed as nature reveals science slowly, our understanding of God will be revealed slowly.
So, the irony? Skeptics or atheists use their God-given intellect and mind not to learn about God and how he reveals himself to individuals but to prove to themselves that God doesn’t exist. Bright people who have a gift of being bright given by God choose to use their mind to fabricate their own personal belief system to replace God. They use the very intellect God gave them as a gift to deny the giver.
A Backhoe Analogy
Let’s use an analogy, let’s say you’re giving your son a ridiculous gift, you make no strings attached to the gift and you tell him he has complete freedom to use the gift anyway he wants. No matter how old your son is he is capable of using the gift anyway he wants. You give him a man-size backhoe, now that’s a cool guy gift. Right? This gift represents a tool your son can use, it represents a tool he could use to benefit himself, you, your family, the community. Right? He could use the tool anyway he wants and he could use it for good or not.
He could choose to not use it at all or he could go to classes to become the best at using it. You get the idea, the tool is not your son it is just a tool but he can use it anyway he wants.
Let’s say he chooses to tear down your house. The house built by you and your spouse and family. It’s a house that friends and the community have enjoyed together celebrating many joys and mourning many losses. Much life has taken place in this house. Your son brings the backhoe up to the side of the house and says, to himself, this is siding is silly I’m going to remove it. Maybe, He doesn’t like the front door and tears that down. What about shingles, driveway, landscaping and removes or destroys your home or parts of it. He elects himself arbiter over the good and not good. He uses the tool you gave him to tear down the house you also gave him, the house that is also a gift to him.
He uses the tool you gave him to tear down the house you also gave him, the house that is also a gift to him and others.
God’s Sense of Humor
What’s particularly funny is the smart person, who has a gift from God of being smart uses the gift to convince themselves God doesn’t exist. Then, often, they go around convincing others of their belief, that is they believe God doesn’t exist. Their proof isn’t scientific at all, but rather others believing their belief is their proof. Just like the backhoe, the gift of intellect is used to tear down God’s house.
But as always, when we look closely, God has a planned for good from all things. God doesn’t reveal himself to the brightest people because wisdom and intellect aren’t necessarily the same.
God reveals himself when you and I believe and trust like a child. And, most ironically, the brightest people have the hardest time being simple, child like. Their intellect, pride, smart thinking gets in their own way. Sadly, often, they can’t even see this truth.He doesn’t reveal himself to the prideful super smart people, we should believe like a child.
In the bible, God often points out that a profit or wise person doesn’t come to faith without God willing it.
"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." MT 16:13-20
He says, flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, and what does that mean? It means, the mind or intellect cannot perceive what God has hidden from it.
Jesus, "...you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike." Luke 10:17
When God is ready he will reveal himself.
Turning to the disciples in private he said, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." Luke 10:17
The disciples were simple people, yet they received Wisdom to know God, but wisdom to know God isn’t automatically included in the gift of intellect or a good mind.
Now, that’s funny.
The Intellectual Can’t Find God
By design, ironically, God reveals himself when you invite him in. The intellect or mind is not capable of understanding God. God’s grace is what brings Christians to their knees over and over. God’s grace is the spirit God gives us, it animates the mind and intellect to be fully alive. All that is needed is for the will of the human to be submitted to God’s will, putting your knees on the ground to ask for help is a very good place to ask God to reveal himself.
This is hard for a prideful person of any kind, it took me nearly 4 decades to put my knees on the ground, I was that smart person ignoring all God had planned for me, I’m glad I finally did. How about you?
Atheists or simply skeptics of the Church use the gift to reduce God’s relationship with them to something they understand. Just like the backhoe analogy, the irony is intellect is used to destroy the relationship with God but instead, their sharp mind (the gift from God) is used for selfish pride and isn’t used to help others.
The backhoe could have been used for example to build a community pool, work with the parents to build an addition to the house, construct food plots to feed others. Likewise, the intellect could use that sharp mind to build up the spirit of God, articulate the beauty in science and God’s permanence.
How do you use your intellect to think and reason? What gifts did God give you that you need to use for him and others?
Comment below, please.
I hope you’ve caught my humor and found encouragement in this post. I already know what I think so comment so I can hear what you think.