Why would Bacon do that to me?

Knowledge is Power.

Or so they tell me.

“We intend at the end (like honest and faithful guardians) to hand men their fortunes when their understanding is freed from tutelage and comes of age, from which an improvement of the human condition must follow, and greater power over nature.  For by the Fall man declined from the state of innocence and from his kingdom over the creatures.  Both things can be repaired even in this life to some extent, the former by religion and faith, the latter by the arts and sciences.”

–Francis Bacon, The New Organon

In his New Organon, Francis Bacon simultaneously opened the door for all the wonders of modern science and all the horrors of modern scientism.

To paraphrase and vastly over-simplify CS Lewis in The Abolition of Man, let us hope that Man’s conquest of Nature does not become Nature’s conquest of Man.

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Doxastic Voluntarism

To what extent can we choose what we believe?

That is one of Harry Potter’s largest struggles in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Harry can’t just choose to believe that Dumbledore was good; he wants the truth!

How does head knowledge become heart knowledge?  Is head knowledge enough?  Does true belief include an emotional component?

How do we change what we believe, our perspective?  Can we choose what we want to believe and then habituate ourselves into that belief?

I believe; help my unbelief!

Pigs’ Legs

“But stay tuned. To use the immortal words of Wodehouse, this whole farce is picking up speed like one of the Gadarene swine rounding into the straight.” – Doug Wilson

This quote reminds me of Plato. He was really close, yet infinitely far away. The pigs were not merely “picking up speed”, they were getting legs. Obviously Wodehouse is giving us a picture, a type, a shadow, of what is the substance of this blog. We must not return to such quaint prose and idiomatic nonsense when the truth is nearby, on our hands and foreheads and other places too! We must, in the immortal words of someone who is to remain anonymous for security reasons, get legs.

Questions from Ezekiel

A couple of questions that came up while discussing Ezekiel:

  1. How does one reconcile Ezekiel 18 (“The Soul That Sins Shall Die”) with Job?  Ezekiel 18 makes it clear that the righteous shall live while the wicked shall die.  Job, on the other hand, is dished out a whole lot of suffering which is apparently not a result of any sin on his part.  Is this a false dichotomy?  Is the Ezekiel passage referring to some larger picture, a “final justification” if you will, while Job refers to temporal suffering?
  2. Granting for the moment John Piper’s slogan that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him,” is any emotion other than joy ever appropriate?  Is this another category error?  Are “emotions” in some way different than our satisfaction in God?

Food for thought.

Shakespeare Sonnet #54

O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumèd tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer’s breath their maskèd buds discloses;
But for their virtue only is their show
They live unwooed and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, by verse distils your truth.

This sonnet struck me because of the analogies it makes. Beauty is in the petals, Truth in the scent. We who are born of imperishable seed and united to the Heavenly Vine have the Truth in us. Indeed, through Christ, we are the Rose of Sharon, the bud on Aaron’s staff. If we abide in Him we will blossom, and when we die in Him, we will be most sweetly remembered by the scent we leave behind. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15 (ESV)