- Through Christ, the Triune God has already revealed Himself unmistakably in every aspect of creation so that humanity is without excuse.
- Against Christ, humanity has taken knowledge into its own hands and so barred the door against all claims from above.
- In view of Christ, God has handed humanity over to its chosen futility, locking the door from His side too.
- In Christ, God has entered this prison and manifested His eternal glory in time and space, even in human flesh.
- As Christ, humanity now has a perfect mind with which to comprehend God (and everything else) – one that is not only human but also in God.
- Out of Christ, His Spirit has been poured to incorporate us into the Man who knows.
This is what has already happened.
Here’s what happens when we forget 1:
- That the universe is basically mute (when actually it’s preaching day and night)
- That humanity is not really deaf – they’re listening hard but the sermon’s too quiet
- That we, therefore, have to piece together proofs to amplify the sermon
- That ‘evidence’ for God exists only in some limited aspects of the creation (e.g. fine-tuning)
- That there are certain obvious pointers to “God” but ‘Jesus’ and ‘Trinity’ are actually pretty obscure
- Therefore, that evangelism is a three-part process from creation to God to Jesus. (It’s the very opposite!)
Here’s what happens when we forget 2:
- That humanity (or at least some humans) are actually truth seekers
- That the mind is somehow less fallen than the rest of the person (rather than the centre of our enmity)
- That fallen humanity is genuinely questing after the capital-T Truth when it makes its enquiries
- That the way forward is to agree to their own systems of truth verification
- Therefore that we need to find ‘evidence’ to submit to their systems
Here’s what happens when we forget 3:
- Perhaps if our faulty grasping after knowledge was the problem, our true grasping after knowledge will be the solution. (Instead we should realize that the grasping was the problem!)
- If we now reason properly we can reverse the fall. (But no, God has confirmed our decision and locked the door from His side).
- Maybe God is pleased by our efforts to ascend to knowledge (rather than thwarting them – catching the ‘wise’ in their craftiness)
- Maybe God will aid our efforts to shepherd an unbeliever up the mountain. (In His grace, He might aid the unbeliever but not our efforts)
Here’s what happens when we forget 4:
- Christ is the cherry on the epistemological cake.
- We can (or even should) reason from creation to Christ (rather than Christ to creation).
- Christ is one relevation among many (rather than the one Lens through which all must be seen)
Here’s what happens when we forget 5:
- There remains within Adamic humanity a capacity for knowing God (rather than realizing that this capacity lies in Christ alone).
- That the quality of our conversion, or ongoing knowledge of God, finally depends on our own reasoned response to God. (At base it relies on Christ’s reasoned response to God).
- Christians are rational individuals raised to a higher intellectual plain (rather than fools united to a Person who is Wisdom).
- Once we have come to Christ we can know God autonomously. (No, only in Him by the Spirit can we go on knowing God)
Here’s what happens when we forget 6:
- Maybe we need Jesus to bring us to God, but it’s up to us to get to Jesus. (No, it’s the sovereign work of the Spirit through the gospel word).
- Maybe there are ways and means to get to Jesus apart from the Spirit-empowered word. (No. While the whole universe screams ‘Jesus is Lord’, the Spirit unblinds our eyes to these things only as He shows us Christ in the word).
So then, these six events have already happened. Acting like they haven’t happened or they need bolstering by our own efforts betrays the gospel that we proclaim.
The only thing that needs to happen now and the only thing that can happen now to remedy our situation is for the Spirit to sweep the unbeliever up into the Son’s knowledge of the Father.
And, lest we divorce the Spirit from the word, the only means by which the Spirit does that is the gospel word.
So get proclaiming.