God Pleasing Development of Our Intellect
Author: Paul A. Bartz
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
While human reason has been crippled by sin, God expects us to use the minds He has given us. Just as the hands of a Christian can be turned to fruitful service for the Lord, so too, can the Christian’s intellect. We must only remember that just as even the hands of the regenerate can still fall prey to sin and its effects, so can the mind. The forgiving grace of God in Christ Jesus is, then, a daily need for the Christian.
1. Our discussion of God’s will toward the use of our reason must begin with Matthew 22:37. Here we have the summary of all of God’s commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The word used here for mind means “intellect” or “full and thorough mind.” What is the only way we can understand such love? How is this our motivation to such love?
2. In Philippians 2:5 the word sometimes translated “attitude” is actually “mind.” We are here instructed to have an attitude of Christ-like humility and service that involves our whole intellect. Does the world usually consider humility part of our intellectual development? Does God?
How does this relate to Hebrews 8:10-13? What are some of the other elements of the development of our intellect listed in Hebrews?
3. Just as regeneration renews the mind and reason so that it can serve God, so also, sin destroys the mind and reason. What example of this is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:3? While Adam and Eve’s obedience was simple and pure, they were not without understanding.
Read Genesis 3:1-7. How did the serpent use reason to appeal to Eve? What evidence is there that her sin really began when her reason dared to consider the rationale provided by the devil?
The Bible makes clear that if we get into the habit of accepting the devil’s reasoning, we can become blind to God’s reasoning. What do 2 Corinthians 3:14 and 4:4 say about this?
Read 1 Peter 1:13. Again the word used here for “mind” means the entire intellect. In view of the passages we have just looked at, why are Peter’s directions so important?
4. We have seen that we should not think of faith as being against reason. Like our intellect, our hands can be used to serve God or to sin. Just as faith that does not involve hands and mouth is a dead faith, so faith that does not involve our reason is also dead. Indeed, God expects us who are regenerated in Christ to use our reason.
This means that Christian education must be more than simply agreeing to the “right” points. Christian educators and parents must teach young people to use their reason under Christ. Otherwise the world, the devil and human flesh will teach them the use of their reason after sinful and destructive patterns!
A God-pleasing use of the intellect does not come automatically to the Christian. It requires learning at the feet of Christ in His Word to use our reason in a God-pleasing way. The only source for truly Christian training of our reason is the Bible.
5. Children think differently than do teenagers or adults. As we mature, we make more use of our reason, as life demands of us. If a child has been taught the story of creation and Adam and Eve in the primary grades, he has learned what the Bible says. However, as the child grows he begins to use his reason in a more complex way. If he is not trained in the Biblical and God-pleasing way of reasoning, the world, the devil and his own flesh will teach him another way of reasoning. In the end, as experience shows, a first grade understanding of creation will have great difficulty standing up to 8th or 12th grade reasoning. This is especially true if the more mature intellect is not Godly.
This is the truth St. Paul is recognizing in 1 Corinthians 13:11. Is Paul telling us that we should discard what we learned as children? How can what we learn in childhood be of help as we learn to think as an adult?
The child’s education on creation is not even completed after years of studying in Sunday school. The Church’s mission of teaching the basics about creation is only begun when a person has a good understanding that the Bible’s teaching on creation has a firm basis in the observable world—the sciences.
6. The use of reason to compare the physical world with what God says is commanded in Scripture. Read Deuteronomy 13:1-5. With what were people to compare truth claims to prove them?
The term “empirical science” refers to nothing more than systematic learning by experience. What are the empirical aspects of God’s command here? Compare this passage with Deuteronomy 18:22. Does it appear that God endorses a “leap of faith” type of religion?
By these examples we see that God demands the use of our reason to evaluate the physical world in light of His Holy Word. All our thinking and understanding must be ruled by the Word of God. This is the underlying basis of creationism, and the rationale from which creationists begin their work, ultimately to give glory to Jesus Christ! This must also be the goal of Christian education.
7. Is it likely that many church members do little in putting their hands, feet and other gifts to work for Christ because they have never learned how to put their reason to work with Him? What kinds of programs can your congregation adopt to solve this problem?
Close this Bible study with a prayerful reading of Psalm 119:33-40.
Copyright © 1991 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Paul A. Bartz Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839 Foley, MN 56329 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com