Use Your Noggin

albert Einstein

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15)

Read: 1 Chronicles 1:1 – 2:17, Acts 23:11-35, Psalm 3:1-8, Proverbs 18:14-15

Relate: I don’t remember exactly what the conversation was about. Honestly, I don’t think I was even there for most of it. I had just made my way through the lunch line at one of the cafeterias at SUNY Binghamton and two of my friends were engrossed in a conversation that was still barely on the friendly side of becoming heated. The guy said something along the lines of, “You don’t really believe that, do you?” His female counterpart replied “I try to keep an open mind about it.” He shook his head in mock disbelief and said smugly, “The problem with having an open mind is that everything keeps falling out.” She turned to him and responded deadpan, “The problem with being so close minded is that nothing ever gets in.” Another friend spilled the water he was drinking in laughter and the entire table was immediately joining in. Game. Set. Match. That one went to the fairer sex.

React: Excuse me for getting on a soapbox for a minute. There is two phrases I wish I could bury in a deep grave and never hear ever again. The first one is when someone holds up a Bible and says, “This book is the only book I ever need to read.” Every time I hear that, I say inside, “If that’s the case, I can guarantee you aren’t reading it very accurately.” The second one is, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” I do understand the sentiment here, but that sentiment can be better expressed more simply: “God said it. That settles it.” If we are talking about the authority and power of God, then we should take ourselves right out of the equation. On the other hand, if we are talking about faith and belief, then that doesn’t settle it. I want to know what exactly did He say? To whom? When? What is the historical context? How do others from other languages and contexts interpret what He said in their social setting? What do wise and godly men and women who have come before me have to say about what He said? What are some creative and possibly unexplored ways I can live out what He has said in my social milieu? Then I want to be about doing it. Complete obedience isn’t a settled issue until I have gone to the grave or He has come in the clouds. Then it is settled.

Following God doesn’t mean we shut off our brains. The very opposite. God has given us creativity and intelligence and reason. Let us use it to His glory. He has created an amazing and wonderfully complex world. Let us explore it. He has made us social beings and set us in community. Let us engage with others as they explore and express the creativity, intelligence, reason God has given them. Living a close minded life is both disobedient and dishonoring to God. Worship Him by using that noggin He has gifted you with.

Respond:

God, I want to know You more. I want to know more about what You have created. I want to use and express the creativity that You have gifted me with. I am so thankful that You have revealed Yourself to us. I am thankful that You have made this beautiful universe for us to discover and explore. I am thankful that You are the creator and source of our intelligence. Help me to use it for Your glory.

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15 thoughts on “Use Your Noggin

  1. Now i’m commenting without reading the whole post, however i’ve not found myself to be the intelligent, nonetheless have recently changed my view.

    Long before reading your post, therefore i am very ready and always eager to learn, there is nothing that i take for granted anymore, everything is related.

    i would like to point out that young are more important than people ever will agree with and also see them a playing all the time, now my point it is in this creative play where problem and answers are found, most times not by the person or little persons knowing….

    May we find each other as i believe more than i could ever state when we evolve….

  2. And when our minds are closed, we cannot have respectful discourse with our fellow Christians, cannot hear the Holy Spirit in us, cannot grow mature in the Lord, Amen to this, BJ.

  3. OK, let’s see who has an opened mind. Every creature everywhere without exception, including us, experiences and does, every moment, exactly what God has pre-ordained. It’s all working together for an infinite good to be given everyone some day. Are you giving thanks to him always for everything? Why not? Does your Bible talk about “eternal punishment”? Some Bibles talk about “eonian chastening”, or “age-lasting chastening”? Are you aware of the difference here, and able to tell which are correct? Some Bibles say in Revelation that Jesus will reign “forever and ever”. Others say he will reign for “the ages of the ages”, or “eons of the eons”. Is “ages of the ages” not a phrase similar to “holies of the holies”? However all Bibles I know of say in 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus will reign UNTIL all his enemies are under his feet.Then he will give the kingdom over to his God and Father. It seems most Christians think God would never give anyone a Bible with a mistake in it. That is simply not true. But it is true that no one hears or believes God unless he gives them ears to hear and puts the belief in their heart. Paul tells us in Romans 5 that even as the one act of disobedience by Adam in the garden has resulted in condemnation to all humans, thus also, the one act of obedience by Jesus Christ will result in justification of life to all humans, and all will be constituted just, even as they have been constituted sinners. He tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that all who are dying in Adam, will be given life in Christ. He then goes on to explain it will happen at three different times, the last class being subsequent to the lake of fire and the second death, when death itself is nullified, put out of operation. Believers in Christ are a mere first fruit, chosen by God to have eonian, age-lasting, durative life, a life that will endure the coming ages until the consummation when all will receive life and immortality. Lots of Christians think God would never give them a Bible with translation mistakes in it. That is simply not true. Yes, use that God-given mind and conscience. Would a God who is love torment someone for eternity? Think about it. Paul told Timothy “God is a Savior of all humans, ESPECIALLY of believers.” When God saves someone, he overwhelms their unbelief with belief. Paul is a pattern for us in the present administration of God’s grace before he resumes his work with Israel. If anyone has a free will, it is because God has freed them from slavery to sin. And with this free will they then say like Jesus, “Not my will, Father, but yours be done.” God is the one pulling ALL the strings with his free will. He locks all into stubbornness, in order to show us what mercy is. He is also the one giving us an experience of evil for our good. Thank him for it, and everything else you experience. Satan is being used as a tool, who will experience durative chastening and then reconciliation some day, peace having been made through the blood of the pole Christ died on. God is God, the Placer, the Subjector, the Disposer. There is no one, not even his firstborn son who is Lord of the universe, who comes close to being what and who he is. Think infinity. And he’s in us and we’re in him, together with Christ. What an indescribable gift!

    • Are you giving thanks to him always for everything? Why not?
      I should be, but I am still imperfect, prone to wander.

      Does your Bible talk about “eternal punishment”? Some Bibles talk about “eonian chastening”, or “age-lasting chastening”? Are you aware of the difference here, and able to tell which are correct?
      This is something that has been discussed and debated for quite some time among minds far greater than yours and mine. What is clear is that hell itself is eternal. What is up for debate is whether the unrepentant will spend an eternity there or some set amount of time. An excellent contemporary book on this would be Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell

      Some Bibles say in Revelation that Jesus will reign “forever and ever”. Others say he will reign for “the ages of the ages”, or “eons of the eons”. Is “ages of the ages” not a phrase similar to “holies of the holies”?
      I believe you are referring to Revelation 22:5 which, even though it is translated forever and ever by pretty much every major translation (KJV, NIV, NLT, NASB, NKJV, RSV, etc) does say in Youngs: “…and they shall reign — to the ages of the ages.” Let us put aside how the context is talking about the finality of the end of all things, including time itself and address the question. It actually says in Greek that they shall reign “aiwn, aiwn” That word, aiwn, most commonly means an unending period of time both in Biblical and extra biblical Greek usage. In essence, the writer of Revelation is saying they shall reign for eternity, and then eternity. The double usage is used for strong emphasis just as Jesus, when saying something of special importance, said, “truly, truly” or how the angels in heaven cried “holy, holy, holy” (That is the only time a triple repetition is used.) If you want more on this, please check out Life Time Entirety.

      It seems most Christians think God would never give anyone a Bible with a mistake in it. That is simply not true.
      You say this twice. I actually just posted a few days ago about how modern readers hold improper standards for our Bible. Check out It Doesn’t Add Up

      Would a God who is love torment someone for eternity?
      I know it has already been addressed above but I just want to channel my inner Soren Kierkegaard for a moment and say, “How dare you presume to judge God based on your limited reasoning, faulty logic and flawed moral standard.” There. I feel better. If you want to read more of SK, I would recommend starting with Fear and Trembling.

      There is no one, not even his firstborn son who is Lord of the universe, who comes close to being what and who he is.
      Now why didn’t you come out right from the beginning and say that you were an arianist? It could have saved a lot of time and trouble. Anyways, as an arianist, what do you think of Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles?

    • I’m not sure if anyone else sees the irony in your first statement: ‘OK, let’s see who has an opened mind. Every creature everywhere without exception, including us, experiences and does, every moment, exactly what God has pre-ordained.’

      Who has an open mind? You follow the challenge with an extreme Calvinistic theological perspective statement as though it is absolute, and unarguable eternal truth that everyone must singularly take for granted.

      (Some of us aren’t Calvinists – but bless God, even if we’re wrong, according to your worldview, we’ll make it to heaven one day too! 😀 Praise God!)

  4. Beejai, Thanks for this mature defence of the The authority of the Bible, the adaptability of its Truth to our noetic limitations, and the authenticity of our in-Christ existence.

  5. Reblogged this on ChristianBlessings and commented:
    Lord, I am made in Your image – body, soul and mind. Help me use my mind to learn Your ways even though they are higher than mine and so help me understand and share Your will for mankind as Your Holy Spirit gives me discernment.

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