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The Secular Holy Trinity

September 17, 2011

He'd always had a layman's interest in science, and he'd been an advocate of the space program since the time he was a kid himself; he always had believed that logic, reason, and science - the secular equivalent of Christianity's Holy Trinity - would one day solve all of mankind's problems and all the mysteries of existence, including the source and meaning of life.

This quote is from The Servants of Twilight, by Dean Koontz. I've always liked his books - could never quite figure out whether he was a so-called Christian writer, since he never seems to show up on the "Christian" lists, but his books so often have at least undertones of faith - if not outright words of it.
So - I decided to finally look him up. Found this piece in the National Catholic Register - Chatting With Koontz About Faith.
It includes the following segment -

While his novels are often filled with darkness (Faith & Family magazine warns: “Disturbing scenes include violence, gore and frightening portrayals of great evil; some sexuality.”), he is animated by his Catholic faith — a faith which has become more evident in his books in recent years.

Sounds kind of like Ted Dekker in some respects - but not so outright Christian as to be included as a Christian writer. For those that care to argue about whether Catholics are Christians or not - I leave that to you to discuss and disagree about. I tend to be more in the line of what C. S. Lewis writes - that it's what at the core that's more important.

Anyway - getting back to the book - and the idea of the secular holy trinity.

To me - this was fascinating.

The character in the book was not a Christian - he was trying to protect his client and her child from a religious cult that was trying to kill them - and was all of a sudden having to deal with religious things while trying to keep all 3 of them from getting wiped off the face of the earth.

This secular holy trinity concept is something that a lot of people seem to have.
It's also something that many Christians seem to fear -
as if learning too much about science - using too much reason and too much logic -
would somehow take the mystery out of God -
put Him in a box -
and cause us to lose our faith.


From Acts 17:1-4 -

Ac 17:1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.

And Romans 1:18-20 -

Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

And this is just scratching the surface.

There are so many indications that logic, reason and yes even science - can lead us to God, not away from Him.

Want a little more evidence?

How about this little excerpt from C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters?

Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defence against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see. There have been sad cases among the modern physicists. If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology; don’t let him get away from that invaluable ‘real life’. But the best of all is to let him read no science but to give him a grand general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is ‘the results of modern investigation’. Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!

For those not familiar with the book - this comes from a letter that Screwtape - a "manager" in Satan's organization is writing to his nephew who has just been assign the task from bring his first human "patient" over to the side of the devil.

Think that's far fetched and can't possible be true?

Remember the previous verses.

And think about this one -

Isa 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,”

says the LORD.

“Though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

they shall be like wool.

Isa 1:19 If you are willing and obedient,

you will eat the best from the land;

Isa 1:20 but if you resist and rebel,

you will be devoured by the sword.”

For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Imagine that!
God is asking His people to come and reason with Him!

It's like God isn't telling us to be afraid of science - logic - reasoning.
That's Satan telling us to be afraid of them.

In the Zondervan Dictionary of Bible Themes, they talk about something called 50/50 reason. Here's what it means by that term -

The human capacity to think logically and intelligently, thereby discovering truth or persuading others. But human reason is limited and cannot arrive at a true and full knowledge of God without divine assistance and revelation.

I think the key here is what we do with our logic / reasoning / knowledge of science.

If we try to put God in a box - to limit Him to what we understand and what we think is possible - we're in trouble. We make Him way too small - and who can have any hope when the object of that hope is no better than we are?

But - if we realize that it's us in the little box - and we're involved with a God who is so much bigger than the box that we're capable of understanding - that's a whole different story.
In fact - the more we learn - the more we reason - the more we realize that as our "box" grows - our view of God's capabilities grows exponentially.
The more we learn from science - the more amazing this world that God created is!
The more we reason with God about what we learn - the smaller we get and the bigger He gets.

It seems completely backwards - learn more - reason more - use more logic -
get smaller - realize there's even more to learn - even more that we can't begin to understand.
But - it's true. It all depends on who we put in the box.

We need to realize that we are in the box -

Satan wants us to stay in it - not look outside - not learn - not reason - not use logic.

God wants us to lift up the lid - look outside - learn - reason - use logic -
realize just how awesome He must be - and then spend forever with Him.

So if the lid's still on your box - open it up.
Think outside the box -
look outside the box -
learn about the God who created all of us.

To borrow another line from Screwtape to his nephew -

To decide what the best use of it is, you must ask what use the Enemy wants to make of it, and then do the opposite.

Again - the context here is that is an agent of Satan - saying that the Enemy (God in his case) has a purpose for things - and the task of Satan's minions is to try to get the opposite to happen.

So - don't fall into the trap that science, logic and reason are bad things.

The ability to learn - to use logic and reason - these are gifts from God. What we do with them - that's up to us. If we use them for the wrong purpose - clearly that's not good - and Satan wins.
If we don't use them at all - maybe it's not so clear - but Satan still wins - we remain ignorant - and maybe most importantly, we have turned down God's invitation from Isaiah to come together and reason with Him.

So if the lid's still on your box - open it up.
Think outside the box -
look outside the box -
reason with the God who created all of us.

It's an open invitation from God to all of us -

Isa 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,”

accept it!