The Influence Of The Bible Upon The Human Intellect -- By: J. K. Rankin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 056:223 (Jul 1899)
Article: The Influence Of The Bible Upon The Human Intellect
Author: J. K. Rankin

The Influence Of The Bible Upon The Human Intellect

Pres. J. K. Rankin

“The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.”—Psalm 119:30.

If God would communicate with man, it must be through some capacity in which man is like God. Vinet says, “It is not by the intellect that two beings touch.” But it is by the intellect that two beings study each other, come to what we call an understanding before they do touch. The possibility of finding God in Nature is on the supposition that God is there thinking. And when the astronomer Kepler speaks of himself as thinking over God’s thoughts after him, this is what he means. The movement of the celestial bodies in elliptic orbits was a thought of God. The epicycles of Ptolemy were not God’s thought, but were a man’s imagination, which Kepler corrected.

The prophet Isaiah asks, “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him?” We might answer this question in the words of another sacred writer, “When he prepared the heavens, I was there;

when he set a compass on the face of the deep”; or, coming down to the New Testament, we might say, “All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” This was the creative fellowship of the Godhead.

Indeed, only to a thinking being could another thinking being reveal himself; and only in a thinking being could a thinking being become incarnate. To thinking beings, a world without a thinking God would be a world of despair. And when we hear the voice, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” we know it comes accompanied by that other voice, “What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is he?” The Creator knocks at the heart of a being whom he has domed with an intelligence that is godlike; a being capable of understanding his visitor, and why he stands there knocking. And whether in Nature or Revelation, he addresses that being through the intellect: in Nature, in sign-language—as though he were a deaf-mute, as he so often is; in Revelation, in the persuasive words: “Come now, let us reason together.” The Great Teacher said this in Palestine, “Consider the lilies of the field.” It was an invitation to reason with him, as really as when he agonized in Gethsemane and on Calvary. And the seven words of the Cross were love’s last argument. “He reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.” “As he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled.” In creation or the Scriptures, it is one thinking being addressing another. This is what they both mean, God commu...

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