2003-05-01 - Foundations
1 Cor 3:10-11 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (NAS)
Nicolai Copernicus published his work "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies" as he was on his deathbed. It is believed by many that he feared ridicule and disfavor with his contemporaries and would only publish his work as he left this life for the next. His work was based upon his own observations and the observations of others. But it challenged the wisdom of that time in such a critical, fundamental way that even the scholar and thinker felt that he was not up to the task of defending his findings against the clamor that would surely be raised. His work went largely unattended for 100 years after his death.
What was the earth shaking change that he was proposing? His proposal was that the Earth moved around the Sun rather than the reverse. It was understood that the Earth was the center of God's universe and that everything revolved around this planet. But the mathematics didn't support it any more than the mounting evidence of observation of other planets through telescopes. It was understood that the Bible supported the earth-centric universe as well. So, Copernicus was literally challenging the Bible itself in the minds of many. Copernicus feared that the authorities of the day would not pause long enough to consider his evidence before he was condemned as a heretic or at least was brushed off as crazy. He may have indeed been correct in his estimate. But the world of science was forced to wander without the correction of Copernicus' work, which was a huge disservice to that community.
If your foundation is not correct and strong it will not support the structure that is built upon it. My son was working on his geometry homework tonight calculating the area within shapes and was struggling with a problem. I made a suggestion that he add a line to the diagram to break an awkward space into two manageable shapes. After that additional line divided the space the problem was easily solved. But the idea that he could add that line had never occurred to him. He was laboring under an incorrect rule that he had placed upon himself leaving the homework problem unsolvable.
Many Christians labor under badly formed theology or simple misunderstanding in their faith. The world tells us that we have to leave our faith outside of our vote or our secular discussions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our faith is a serious component of who we are and how we think, and why we vote the way we do, etc. If we remove the foundations from our world views and our thinking, everything above it crumbles into the hole that is left by the removal of the foundation. Taking something as true just because it is said by a majority of people does not always make it right. That majority may be perfectly happy with their situation and incorrectly believe their statements to be true. They have no motivation to review the facts and have no desire to be shown to be incorrect.
If you are secure in your foundation then I have to ask you why that is so. Does your faith work or is the understanding inherited? There are some very basic thoughts that must be taken on faith: the existence of God for example - though many will not strenuously argue the point. The order and structure of creation is evidence of God's existence, but is not readily accepted by all. There are other things that do not have to be taken either. The theory of evolution is generally assumed to be proven, even though an honest critical scientist will admit that there are grave weaknesses in the theory. If you are not sure about something, ask a friend for help in making sense of your confusion. Don't give in until it works. Be willing to break the rules and throw out ideas that can not be supported. Reduce your faith to the foundation and build it slowly and carefully back up. The process might sound daunting. But it can be an adventure and a lot of fun in the process.
1 Cor 15:15-19 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. (NAS)
Lord Jesus - give many the courage and spirit of adventure to remove the unneeded pieces from their faith that may indeed weigh them down. Give friends around them patience and insight to help them, and in the process guide all who are involved. Amen.
Grace & Peace,