Truth is a Gift

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)

Truth is a Person who upholds all truthful propositions, ensuring that they correspond to reality. How? By holding all reality together. (Colossians 1:17) Coherence, then correspondence, and therefore truth.

In a sense, truth is subjective. But, experience-wise, there is enough commonality to suggest that truth is not merely subjective. Truth is objective, and therefore it is a very practical thing and eminently livable. Truth finds corroboration in all of reality. Corroboration is abundant and builds confidence. But after all is said and done, Truth is self-authenticating in the same way that light simply shines, provided our eyes are healthy. (Matthew 6:22-23) When Truth speaks in power, there can be no doubt. We grasp Truth, because it first grasped us. (Matthew 16:17)

(Note: Feature image is from daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com)


My Times Are In Your Hands

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” (Psalm 31:14-15)

Faith is a commitment in the context of relationship. It is the response of intimacy, issuing or arising from the sense or realization that that relationship has been in place all along, from the very beginning. From my youth up – even from my mother’s womb – I have been protected, guided, cared for. “My times are in your hands!” Why are my times not absolutely chaotic, such as we would expect from an absolutely godless world? The forces of chaos do not reign supreme; they are held in check. His hands are there caring for the flowers of the field and the birds of the air. My times are my times – a bit of meaningful history, even if not completely comprehensible – because his hands are there: He is there, and my times are in his hands.

A Steadfast Mind (2)

And there are three parts of this steadfastness of the mind:

(1) full purpose of cleaving to God in all things;

(2) a daily renovation and quickening of the heart unto a discharge of this purpose;

(3) resolutions against all dalliances or parleys about negligence in that discharge…

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin

A Steadfast Mind

The steadfastness of our minds abiding in their duty is the cause of all our unmovableness and fruitfulness in obedience; and so Peter tells us that those who are by any means led away or enticed “fall from their own steadfastness” (2 Pet. 3:17). And the great blame that is laid upon backsliders is that they are not steadfast: “Their heart was not steadfast” (Ps. 78:37). For if the soul be safe, unless the mind be drawn off from its duty, the soundness and steadfastness of the mind is its great preservative.

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin

Religion and Science

Sometimes people ask if religion and science are opposed to each other. They are – in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hand are opposed to each other. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.

— William Henry Bragg, British physicist who with his son won the Nobel Prize for physics for their work in X-ray crystallography

A legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist. Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.

— Albert Einstein

(Quotes taken from John Blanchard’s Has Science Got Rid of God?)

Sound Mind in Sound Body

“A thinker does not spend his life in the processes of digestion.” So says Sertillanges. What has this to do with The Intellectual Life? A lot. He quotes the following (I assume these are from Aristotle, but I may be wrong):

The different dispositions of men for the operations of the soul depend on the different dispositions of their bodies.

To a good bodily constitution corresponds the nobility of the soul.

Sertillanges goes on to say that “Minds can only communicate through the body,” and that “the mind of each one of us can only communicate with truth and with itself through the body.” Thus, it follows that (Sertillanges puts this in the form of a rhetorical question) –

… in order to think, and especially in order to think ardently and wisely throughout a lifetime, it is indispensable to subject to the requirements of thought not only the soul and its various faculties, but also the body and the whole complex of its organic functions.

Practical suggestions then follow, such as: “Endeavour to keep well.” “Live as much in the open air.” “Every day you should take exercise.” “Look after your diet.” He also has this to say to lovers of pleasure:

A lover of pleasure is an enemy of his body and therefore quickly becomes an enemy of his soul. Mortification of the senses is necessary for thought…

Very good advice! We’ve heard it all before: A sound mind in a sound body. All that is left is to follow it.

Purity of Thought, Purity of Soul

In ch. 2 of The Intellectual Life Sertillanges points out that “Purity of thought requires purity of soul.” He quotes St. Thomas of Aquin:

The exercise of moral virtues, of the virtues by which the passions are held in check, is of great importance for the acquisition of knowledge.

He then asks, “What are the enemies of knowledge?” He mentions “sloth, the grave of the best gifts”, “sensuality, which makes the body weak and lethargic, befogs the imagination, dulls the intelligence, scatters the memory”, pride, envy and irritation. It is these obstacles which prevent a man of study from reaching the level of his own gifts.

Great personal intuitions, piercing lights, are in men of equal powers the consequences of moral progress, of detachment from self and from the usual commonplace things, of humility, simplicity, discipline of the senses and the imagination, of an eager impulse towards the great ends.

The Intellectual Life

I’m presently reading A.D. Sertillanges’ The Intellectual Life. I first came to know about this book while reading James Sire’s Habits of the Mind. Yesterday I found a secondhand copy of this book at a local secondhand bookstore. I was so happy with my discovery I felt like kissing the book! I’ve just finished the first chapter –  “The Intellectual Vocation” –  and I found it really inspiring. Here are a few quotes I liked:

If you are designated as a light bearer, do not go hide under the bushel the gleam or the flame expected from you in the house of the Father of all. Love truth and its fruits of life, for yourself and for others; devote to study and to the profitable use of study the best part of your time and heart.

Do not prove faithless to God, to your brethren and to yourself by rejecting a sacred call.

Every truth is practical; the most apparently abstract, the loftiest, is also the most practical. Every truth is life, direction, a way leading to the end of man.

Work always then with the idea of some utilization… Listen to the murmur of the human race all about you; pick out certain individuals of certain groups whose need you know, find out what may bring them out of their night and ennoble them; what in any measure may save them.