Saturday, November 25, 2006

Our God of Reason

Samantha Stevens is an amazing friend and heroine of mine. As our relationship initially began to unfold, I discovered quite quickly that she had a love for and a soulful longing towards logic and reason. Our correspondence was laden with numbered lists with which she would show me a beauty or truth, and she always managed to show me a rational, logical answer or sequence with which I could attack my problems. I admire her, and I admire her syllogistic mentality. Although insignificant in comparison with the Bewitched One, I have a yearning towards logic and reason, as well. A year in a philosophy course showed me that I, too, have a drive to prove and reason with many, if not all, of the components of the world around me. While I cannot justly represent myself without informing readers of an entirely irrational, emotional flare that resides within me, I do have an insatiable appetite for reason.

As I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants, I came across a beautiful scripture that gave me further insight into the Lord Jesus Christ and my relationship with Him. In section 45, verse 10, Christ says unto us, "Wherefore, come ye unto [mine everlasting covenant], and with him that cometh I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning." (Emphasis added.) I was slightly alarmed to see this particular choice of words within the scriptures. There are many powerful qualities that I attribute to my Savior, but I would not frequently label Him as "one who reasons." This is not to say that I believed the contrary, that the Lord is one of no reason, but I was never before quite consciously aware or mindful of this attribute of God.

The Lord's capacity to reason with those who come unto His covenant is a truth that enables all of the spirits upon the earth to have a firm hope in Christ. The Savior, Jesus Christ, uses reasoning in multiple ways, two of which I will identify here. Primarily, I firmly believe that a testimony of the Gospel and an understanding of the purpose of the commandments are to be reached through multiple means, one of which may be reason and logic, and one of which must be the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit will strongly testify of truth by an interaction with the spirit within, man can logically come to conclusions that lead him towards the Gospel simply because God is a God of reason, and He has given us the divine capacity for intellect and logic so that we, too, may find Him and His Gospel here in morality through the implementation of these capabilities.

The second example of the "strong reasoning" of the Lord is one felt internally, with less outward appearance, proof, or justification. It is something with which I am only beginning to come to terms, and thus I do not proclaim any particular wisdom in this area. I would love comments, as well, to enlarge my understanding of this new concept. I believe that the Lord takes us where we are, each one of us as individuals, and reasons with us to find the personal path for repentance and entrance into God's Kingdom. As it says in Isaiah, chapter 1, verse 18, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." (Emphasis added.) God invites us to His work and to His narrow way, and then He reasons with us. He will show us a way that works for us because He is a God of reason, and He is a God of the individual, as well as the God of all mankind. He can take me, Sully Littrell, and work with the broken, twisted material that I am. Through reasoning, among other divinely instituted means, I can come to God. And through reasoning, and other tender mercies from the heavens above, God will, in a sense, forge a specific path for each one of His children and for me. He is reasonable; He evaluates who we are, the many and multifaceted paths before us, and the growth that we can make if His path is our chosen course. He already knows how I, Sully, can return, but He will reason with me to get me there in a manner that is logical to both parties.

My soul asks, “Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I want to be with You. I want to partake of the fruit of the tree of eternal life, but I am so far from you. How will I ever make it? How can I tame my heart and bolster my body to find the strength to come unto you?”

God replies, “Come, let us reason together. I’ll place a stepping stone in front of you. It will be in a place that both of us reason is acceptable, allowing you to define your strides and allowing me to uphold eternal law. You’re going to have to stretch to reach it, and once you’re there you may not feel or sense the progress, but you’ll have progressed. After many, many stepping stones, you will be reunited with me.”

Thank goodness that God is a God of reason. He will reason us through mists of darkness if we will only listen to His voice.

Too preachy? Absolutely. I am so preachy that I make myself want to vomit, so I absolutely pity and thank any who may be sitting through this. :) It is Sunday, however, and thus the overly-pious tone is slightly more appropriate. Also, Samantha commented on –L-’s blog that she loves preachy blogs. Thus, having begun with her, I shall conclude with her, as well. This one’s to you! Enjoy!


-L- said...

I tend to be self-conscious about being preachy... but really I'm only preaching to myself. In that light, your blog is your own space to establish what you think about stuff, so I'm glad you are taking it on with no regrets! ;-)

I studied philosophy in college and minored in logic. That is to say, I'm a big fan of reason. But one thing I learned about reason over the years is that it is both ignored when it should be necessary and clung to when it should be discarded. There are some times when a course of action won't make perfect sense--when it seems unreasonable--but when it is right all the same. Putting too fine a definition on when those times are and how to recognize them would be, ahem, unreasonable.

Samantha said...

Thank you. I did enjoy it. Also, I loved the proof that you read your scriptures yesterday (and this counts because "scriptures" is plural, so--two or more...). I'm also really, really glad that you tolerate my lines of logic as I search for and share truth--and that you remind me there's an emotional/intuitive component that comes when we listen to the Spirit...and you get to see me do that often.

Sully said...

I was informed that it is very self-confident, but also possibly appropriate, to leave comments on one's own blog and expect people to return to read them. I am banking on that expectation. :)

-L-, I entirely agree with you. There are certainly portions of the Gospel and of all truth that are entirely illogical and yet still true. God works in mysterious ways. Though I may not understand them always, I believe that He always has a rationale. Thanks.