Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Isaiah 29:Truth in a modern world

This chapter is one of the chapters of Isaiah quoted by Nephi (2 Nephi 27).  The Nephite record contains significant corrections our biblical record, with the former revealing significant prophecies about the Book of Mormon, especially concerning the sealed portion, which contains “a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.”  These things have not been revealed to the world as of yet because of “wickedness and abominations”. 

The most interesting part of this chapter to me is nearly identical to the Nephite record, however I will quote from 2nd Nephi, due to a subtle difference in the rendering:

26  n: Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.

To trust in those who are learned to interpret and declare doctrine to us is nor more or less than trusting in the arm of flesh.  It is true we are directed to obtain learning and knowledge, but:  “to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”  (2 Nephi 9:29)  We are also instructed to teach by the spirit, for “if it be by some other way it is not of God”. (D&C 50:17-20

In the world we see an intense war against the word of God.   On one of the fronts the war is fought on intellectual and scientific grounds.  I’ve seen the Book of Mormon itself attacked on this front with some pretty significant attacks developing lately.  One that comes to mind claims that the genetic record does not indicate Israelite heritage among native Americans.   These are very sophisticated and convincing arguments to the “wise and prudent”. 

Certain segments of the Christian world are fighting back.  One notable effort is the push to put so-called intelligent design on school curriculum.  In the end, however, I believe this particular effort will fail because the religionists are fighting the battle on the scientist’s terms.   Despite the claims, there simply aren’t solid scientific arguments to support the existence of God or the truthfulness of scripture, and I don’t think God ever intended his word to be verified through scientific method.   Instead, the word must be verified by the standard of faith.  When people pay the price through study, prayer, and faithful obedience, then they become privileged to understand the truth.  This method of learning truth is very non-scientific and seems foolish and untenable to those who hold only to the scientific method.  

In chapter 28, Isaiah explained how knowledge would be taught through children and with “stammering lips”.   Similarly, the prophet Alma says this:

Alma 37:6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

Faith and the revelations of the spirit seem like a small and simple thing to those who use science to discount religion.  One day, the world will be convinced by the objective proof they desire, but only to their condemnation.  When Christ shows up in clouds of great glory, the time of grace will have passed for the skeptics, while those who learned by faith will experience a joyful reunion with their Lord. 

Let us press on, then, convinced by the power of the Holy Ghost that what we believe is true.  Let us work to convince others as well, not by sophisticated argument, but by pure testimony and love unfeigned.  In the end, all the wisdom of the world, which threatens like dark clouds on the horizon, will come to nothing and the truth will be left standing alone, like the sun in a clear summer sky.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Hey Eric,
I was trying to do some reasearch on my own reading of Isaiah when I ended up on your blog. Your insights are very interesting, I agree about not trying to prove God's existence the scientific way. It was just not meant to be that way. If that is what God wanted, then he would have not put 1 Corinthians 1:18 in there which says that the way of the cross is foolishness to those who are on the way to perdition.
If the way of the cross made sense scientifically, it would NOT be considered foolish. So the two just don't mix.
Anyway, It's nice to see someone this close to where I am (Whidbey Island) who is reading the Bible and is just a little ahead of me.
I'm courious if you used to work for technology company that makes barcode stuff in Everett.. I used to work down there in the late 90s. You look familiar.
anyway, here's my sparsely populated blog: (it means "my pulpit" in romanian).
btw. I'm reading the Bible in Romanian, because it is the closest to the Greek from the languages that know (although that doesn't help much with the OT).
I'll keep an eye on your blog.