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Review Essay, Keeping the Balance

Summary If we reflect for a moment on the ground that has been covered, the thoughts run together something like this: When we looked at the witness to the resurrection, we discovered “evidence that demands a verdict”. When we enquired about God, we found that, if He exists as Christianity believes Him to—if He is personal—we must approach Him personally in order to learn about Him. This requires a certain “disposition of the heart”. The historical person of Jesus provides us with “the point of approach”. When we approach Jesus, we find that, “As one who forgives, he identifies the fundamental religious condition as one of spiritual alienation”. This is “the root cause of any intellectual perplexity” on our part. “As one who acts, he brings our actions to judgment” and reveals the “inner fragmentation” of our lives. It became apparent that “we are incapable of understanding religious faith, certainty or claims to knowledge if we disregard the question of our personal, spiritual disposition”. We cannot arrive at faith and certainty by merely pursuing an intellectual exercise. From an intellectual point of view, we found there was no need to dismiss the possibility of religious knowledge. We concluded, however, that certainty was ultimately the gift of the Holy Spirit, though we are willing to give grounds for our belief. “Ask me why I believe what I do”, Williams writes, “and I point to the record of Jesus; ask me why I am certain in my belief, and I must bring in the self-testimony of the Spirit of God”. We discovered, however, that God wasn’t intending to limit religious knowledge to just a few. But by becoming one of us in order to identify himself with humanity, He was “inevitably …confined by that incarnation to a particular space and time”. However, every step was taken, including the creation of translatable scriptures and a missionary community, to make sure that “knowledge of God [was] not limited to that particular space and time in which he became incarnate in Jesus Christ”.

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Category: In Depth, Spring 2006

About the Author: W. Simpson, PhD (University of St. Andrews, Scotland), is a physicist and writer with an interest in theology, currently engaged in scientific research in the middle-east.

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