Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jesus the Logician?

That's a chapter title from Dallas Willard's The Great Omission. Our pastor has said in at least one sermon that if we believe "Jesus is Lord" then we must also believe Jesus is smart -- that is, if Jesus says one thing but I think another thing, guess who's wrong?

But Willard explains this point further: it's not just that Jesus is smart about moral issues or what we call "wisdom"; he also is smart in those areas we normally call "skill" or "expertise" or "technology." In the book he mentions an experience Catherine Marshall had, wherein she was trying to design something. She prayed, and several ideas came to her about how to proceed.

A former housemate told me some years ago about something even more unusual (in my view anyway) than that. His computer program was not working -- something was not quite right about it for some days. He prayed and complained, and one night, he had a dream. In the dream, he heard a voice: "Do you trust me, or not?" And there in front of him was a printout of his computer program (this was some years ago) and a finger indicated a particular line of Fortran.

You see where this is going -- that was the defective line, as my former housemate confirmed the next day. Jesus the Programming and Computational Fluid Dynamics Expert? Hey, why not? For by him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1).

And speaking of "hold together," he knows how the Strong force works; he knows why a moving electron creates a magnetic field; he knows not only why software has so many mistakes, but he knows what each one is. He knows which books will become best-sellers, and which ones will be 99% remaindered. He knows (and I mean knows) to what extent our changing climate is the result of human activity, and of increasing CO2 concentration in particular.

Jesus is Lord. And Jesus is smart. It's true.

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