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Can we trust that the inner voice in our head is God?
Posted by Gregory Koukl on December 28, 2015 at 03:00 AM in :Greg Koukl, Miscellaneous, Video | Permalink
Some thoughts on this. Greg says that if God wants us to know something, he communicates. However, there are some scriptures that indicate that God speaks to people, but not always directly:
6 he said, “Listen to my words:
“When there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
7 But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
8 With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?”
So God speaks to the prophets, but not always so directly. I believe this is to grant mercy to the hearer, because encountering God in scripture is never a pleasant experience. I think that this scripture shows, however, that God, simply out of mercy, communicates with us indirectly. I'm sure what Paul experienced was fairly rough. Maybe God had tried to communicate with Paul beforehand in a more subtle manner, but Paul did not listen. The only recourse was a full on communication. I do think that God tries to communicate with us, and get our attention.
However, as Greg says, God could not fail at something like that. The issue is if our fragile minds can handle such an event!
December 28, 2015 at 05:56 AM
Interesting suggestion, Jberr. But the Numbers 12 passage seems to indicate that God speaks indirectly to prophets not to spare them from any discomfort, but because his relationship with them is not as intimate as it was with Moses.
December 28, 2015 at 06:00 AM
I believe the way God speaks to us personally is through love. He is Love and when we choose love over hatred in any situation we are doing what he would have us to do. I use Proverbs 3:5-6 mostly; “Trust in the LORD (Love) with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him (Love), And he (Love) shall direct thy paths.”
Another way people arrive at this is asking WWJD? But if we ask "what would Love do" instead, we don't have to figure anything out, just act or react in Love and know that God has spoken in the matter.
December 29, 2015 at 02:58 AM
Conscience, Man's brutally repeatable moral experience, and Christ:
Scripture affirms several instruments within the Orchestra that is the revelation of God (and hence His Face, His Voice, His Will, and so on). Nature and conscience are – while both fragmented or flawed – still instruments. Reason, his Church, his prophets, are – again all fragmented or flawed – still instruments. The instantiation of His immutable love within time and physicality there in *Christ* is of course not an instrument but in fact is the Orchestra’s entire composed sonnet (in such an analogy). Scripture emerges as well. And a whole array of other instruments constitute His Voice.
Yet Nature in isolation can never play for us the full score. Yet conscience in isolation can never play for us the entire sonnet. Even Scripture can be used in error and being found in isolation of course increases the risk of such.
Conscience is similar to Nature in that such is (though fragmented via Privation’s pains) built into the world. Mankind’s brutally repeatable moral experience amid Being’s three constitutional vertices just does comprise the entire moral paradigm amid that which sums to corridors within “Self / Other / Us”. Relational interfaces amid love’s reciprocity find’s the Imago Dei comprising our entire moral reality. As C.S. Lewis notes, we too often take some part of that whole, say, the *Self* and magnify it to madness in making it a god --- or so too with the *Other* -- or so too with the collective *Us*. All such attempts of conscience are in part right – for all three vertices of Being are good, valuable, worthy – but all such attempts of conscience fail in that they land on something mutable and contingent. Whereas, the immutable love of the Necessary Being – Genesis’s singular Us – there in the Triune God is the *only* stopping point which successfully coheres – ontologically amalgamates – said vertices in and by a singularity.
Christianity is unique in that arena as the Triune God obtains.
The golden thread here is that we can in fact, truly, actually, be mistaken about ought / ought-not in this or that moral question (and so on) just as we can in fact, truly, actually be correct about said contours in moral questions.
In short: Irreducible Moral Contours exist.
That is unique to Theism in general as (everybody knows) Non-Theism houses no paradigmatic (irreducible, metaphysical) corridors capable of doing the necessary work. The moral paradigm takes on even more lucidity as we leave general Theism behind and discover the Triune God.
Conscience has a guide too: It is all those other instruments – the Orchestra per se – though – we can go one step farther:
Christ is the guide of conscience – and when all else fails – or if we are not sure – Christ sums to the transposition of the divine into the contingent and hence – when in doubt – tend to the sick, feed the poor, love the enemy, deal out grace to the prostitute and the crooked tax-man, throw parties, forgive, pray, be insultingly sure of one’s status as the Father’s beloved , and, should one set out to worship and then recall that there is some sort of unresolved issue with another human being, stop, turn around, go reconcile, love the unlovable even as he rejects your love, turn back around, go back to worship, and, worship.
Like reason, like logic, like the playing of any instrument, the repeated employment of conscience will yield fruit, growth, improvement, fewer mistakes, greater width and depth and height. The Orchestra begins, eventually, over time, to echo Christ.
“………but we who have not yet attained it cannot know this in the same way, and cannot even begin to know it at all except by continuing to obey and finding the first reward of our obedience in our increasing power to desire the ultimate reward. Just in proportion as the desire grows, our fear lest it should be a mercenary desire will die away and finally be recognized as an absurdity. But probably this will not, for most of us, happen in a day; poetry replaces grammar, gospel replaces law, longing transforms obedience, as gradually as the tide lifts a grounded ship.” (C.S. Lewis)
December 31, 2015 at 04:28 AM
I do have a problem with the nature of infallibility, much along the lines scbrownlhrm noted in his metaphor of the instrument among the orchestra.
Jonah had his rationale for traveling west to Tarshish when given the eastward task in Nineveh. Jeroboam I probably figured his religious reforms did much to solidify a political entity in the north to offset the rigorous Jerusalem liturgy of the southern kingdom.
This post's concept of linking "voice of God" with "deep conscience" is thoughtful, but I would like to see a connection between "voice of God," "the inner conscience," and the diligent believer engaged in Scriptural study.
I don't know if I shall be back online anymore today, so I wish all posters a wonderful 2016.
December 31, 2015 at 06:21 AM
Part Two: seamlessly connecting the flawed conscience, God, and study:
It seems the connection between God, the conscience, and the many instruments of the Orchestra find us within the concept of the Mind or Person of Man perceiving, say, ought or ought not (not “a” ought, but the simple fact of ought itsef) and of, say, love and of, say, truth (not “a” truth, but that anything at all is “true”), and so on. Now, where Non-Theism reduces all such contours to eliminative fictions (and so on), the Christian finds that whether or not such are flawed or correct, one is encountering all the essence of something paradigmatically irreducible and, therefore, one is spying some contour of the Divine. Another way to see this is in, say, a tree. There is nothing about the tree that is immutable or irreducible. However, (to borrow from Feser) the following takes us to the immutable contour of the irreducible – and therefore to spying this or that contour of the Divine:
“To be a tree or to be a stone is merely to participate in “treeness” or “stoneness.” But to be at all -– which is the characteristic effect of an act of creation out of nothing –- is to participate in Being Itself. Now the principle of proportionate causality tells us that whatever is in an effect must be in some way in its cause. And only that which just is Being Itself can, in this case, be a cause proportionate to the effect, since the effect is not merely to be a tree or to be a stone, but to be at all.”
In the same way when we dive into  conscience and our  brutally repeatable moral experience and  the many instruments laced into the created order we come necessarily to an encounter with something which is metaphysically irreducible and if and when we stumble upon something like *that* well then we have come upon some immutable contour of the Divine.
The Imago Dei -- though fragmented within the pains of Man’s Privation – finds Man’s entire moral experience housed within the Image of the Triune God. Conscience reveals and reduces to just one, singular moral Archetype – ever in all of history. That is to say, all moral experiences and all moral motions, and therein all nuance within *conscience*, find that, in fact, (to repeat from earlier) Mankind’s brutally repeatable moral experience amid Being’s three constitutional vertices just does comprise the entire moral paradigm amid that which sums to corridors within “Self / Other / Us”. Relational interfaces amid love’s reciprocity find’s the Imago Dei comprising our entire moral reality.
Madness: C.S. Lewis notes that Man’s entire history (of moral conscience) takes some one slice or one part of that whole, like, say, the *Self*, and rips it out, and in isolation magnifies it to madness in making it a god --- and so too with the *Other* -- and so too with the collective *Us*.
All such attempts of conscience are in part right – in part good, for being itself being necessarily triune finds that all three vertices of Being are good, valuable, worthy – and yet all such attempts of conscience fail in that they land on something mutable and contingent.
Whereas, the immutable love of the Necessary Being – Genesis’s singular Us – there in the Triune God is the *only* stopping point which successfully coheres – ontologically amalgamates – said vertices in and by a singularity.
Contra-madness: The many instruments of the Orchestra help avoid what C.S. Lewis just adeptly unpacked as that pesky history of “isolation leading to madness” vis-à-vis “parts/wholes”. Clearly, part of that Orchestra is Scripture, and the Body of Christ, and Pastors and Teachers, and Reason, and study, and clumsy attempts at application leading to a bit of embarrassment which then leads to more attempts, and less error, and growth, and….. and…. and…. the instruments begin to converge into an Orchestra – the Orchestra then beginning to, over time, echo Christ.
“The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary color......”(C.S. Lewis)
December 31, 2015 at 09:37 AM
I'm with Greg on this one.
If God speaks to you, there will be no mistaking it.
You can ignore it, or argue with it, but you won't wonder if it was God giving you a message.
Goat Head 5 |
January 02, 2016 at 08:39 AM
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