"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Golden Key

George MacDonald wrote a children’s story called “The Golden Key.” The children in the story are sent on a reverse quest, they are first given the golden key, and then must find what it unlocks. MacDonald used this as a metaphor for Christ. We see bumper stickers that declare “Jesus is the Answer” which begs “What is the question?” That is the paradox of the Christian spiritual journey. While philosophers ask their questions and then seek the answer, Christians have an answer and seek the questions.

I used to be a little embarrassed by this fact. It seemed faith was not rational, not the product of reasoned inquiry, but a logical fallacy in search of justification. One may read with Enlightened condescension a definition of faith as “belief seeking understanding.” Then how did I figure it out?! What foolishness. What foolishness to us Greeks.

Our search lacks perspective. Humanistic philosophy looks at the ground, illuminated by light and asks how each thing here on earth provides its own light and knowledge. To the elect, God lifts their vision to the Sun, no, God provides the Sun. We see all things physical by an apriori (before the fact) reality: the Sun. This is why God must seek us, and not the other way around. We have no means of sight. We must first be given the light, the Sun, the answer, the key: Christ. Then our journey begins and illuminates all other things along the way.
But we are proud. We tell God we want to find Him ourselves. To one who wants to find the way themselves, to credit their own insight and powers for finding God, God tells us:
I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;
a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; …
who say, "Keep to Yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for You." These are a smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.
Behold, it is written before me: "I will not keep silent…”
Isaiah 65:2-6

We, who did not seek God, but were sought by Him now have light.
We have a key. Happy journey in looking for the doors it unlocks.


M. Jay Bennett said...


This is an excellent post! Very insightful. A delight to read. Thanks for writing it.

In a way I suppose Christianity is "Platonic," although I think Plato's metaphysic and epistemology are by definition older than time.

Aaron said...

Once when a Buddhist teacher said that he could not believe that Christ suffered the death of the cross because no king allows his son such indignity, "Judson responded, 'Therefore you are not a disciple of Christ. A true disciple inquires not whether a fact is agreeable to his own reason, but whether it is in the book. His pride has yielded to the divine testimony. Teacher, your pride is still unbroken. Break down your pride, and yield to the word of God."

Aaron said...

Not to undermine this at all. I was thinking that there are times when the scope of this does not fit. For example I have heard some very touching personal stories of people who became convinced they were sinful and set out looking for an answer.