When asked (in Matthew 22:36-38) which is the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ He was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, but with a twist—Jesus added the word “mind.”
There’s a reason for this. When Deuteronomy was written, the concept of mind was included in heart and soul. By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, those meanings had diverged. Wanting to be sure that we understood our need to love God with our intellect, Jesus inserted the extra word. (And while Matthew omitted “with all your strength,” Mark and Luke made sure to include it.)
When I became a believer over 40 years ago, I was won by love, not debate. And in the years that have followed, my faith has been supported largely by experience. I experience God’s love, I hear His voice, I feel His presence, and I know He is real just as I know Pete, my husband, is real.
However, experience can be misleading. I’ve always felt a lack—a need for a more intellectual basis for my faith. One shouldn’t have to turn off one’s brain to believe in God, and while I would never claim to be a genius, God did grant me some degree of intelligence that I’m sure He intends for me to use.
Lately, Pete and I have discovered an author who presents the evidence and logic I’ve been wanting. His name is John C. Lennox and he’s a professor of mathematics at Oxford University in England. Maybe you’ve already read his books. I wish I’d discovered him years ago!
Lennox, with his logical, mathematical oriented thinking, presents a breath of fresh air amid all the emotional ranting on a variety of faith-related topics. Not afraid of controversy, he tackles the age of the earth, creation, and evolution in God’s Undertaker, then takes on the New Atheists in a rebuttal to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion called Gunning for God. That’s the book I just finished reading. (Pete is reading God’s Undertaker, and we’ll switch when he’s done.)
Lennox has debated Dawkins and his associates numerous times, and Gunning for God is in many ways a summary of Lennox’s arguments. He doesn’t pull any punches, but he treats his opponents with respect—an attitude that we don’t see reciprocated in their writings. In fact, wherever possible, he quotes from atheists and agnostics to prove his points! With courteous logic, he refutes every assertion, demonstrating the illogical absurdity of their reasoning.
As Lennox points out early in the book, our faith in God was never meant to be blind faith. Rather, it’s faith based on evidence, much in the same way that my faith in Pete’s love for me is based on his loving words and actions over the 37 years that I’ve known him. Lennox finds evidence for God in both the creation and in our distinctively human understanding of morality. After reading his explanations, I have to conclude that if we don’t see any evidence for God, perhaps we aren’t looking.
He goes on to explain why science and morality must be based on a belief in a supreme being—a personal, ethical, creator God.
I’ve shied away from philosophy books because, to be honest, I get frustrated trying to follow the authors’ reasoning, especially when I don’t agree with their initial premise. It seems like a lot of self-important hot air. But Lennox’s writing is so straightforward, I was eager to read each chapter. Now I’m eager to read God’s Undertaker!
I highly recommend Gunning for God to unbelievers who are willing to suspend judgment until they’ve looked at the facts. If you’re already a Christian, you’ll find that Lennox will build your faith as you love God with all your mind.