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Daily Luther: How to Make a Blind Man the Judge of Color

April 25th, 2012
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“If it were proper to employ our human reason in this matter, I venture to say I would be able to speculate and rationalize with more skill than the Jews or the Turks. But I thank my God that He gave me grace to have no desire to dispute concerning this article, whether it be true or consistent; but because I find it well grounded and taught in the Scriptures, I believe God more than my own reason and thoughts, and care nothing for the objection that it is unreasonable to teach the existence of but one essence in which there are three distinct Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The question here is not whether this doctrine is true, but whether it is found in the Word of God. If it is found there, then be assured that it is true, for God’s Word is truth. Since the Holy Scriptures have this article of faith, as we have just now seen, and since our fathers so earnestly contended for its preservation and have handed it down to us in its purity, we should not attempt to investigate with our reason how Father, Son, and Holy Ghost can be one God. We poor human beings cannot even comprehend, though we have the help of ever so many wise men of this world, how it happens that we laugh, or can see a high hill many miles away, or how sleep overpowers us so that the body seems dead and is yet alive. If we are thus unable to understand matters pertaining to our own life and daily experiences, why, then, prompted by the devil, should we venture with our own reason to comprehend God in His majesty and divine essence! If we must speculate, let us begin with our own selves and find out what becomes of our eyes, ears, and other senses when we sleep. Speculation in this direction might at least be indulged in without harm.” (St. L. XIII:664 ff.)

Furthermore: “No, God be praised, we [Christians] clearly perceive such doctrine to be beyond the reason of man. No acute Jewish intellects are needed to demonstrate that to us; with full knowledge we consent to such assertion. Upon the strength of our own experience we confess that wherever the light of reason is not supplemented by that of the Holy Spirit, it will be impossible to apprehend, believe, and maintain this article of faith. What a proud, conceited, Jewish thing is reason that it dares to sit in judgment concerning the Deity, though it has never beheld the Divine Being; yes, is unable to behold Him. Reason does not know what it is talking about, for ‘God dwells in an unapproachable light’ (1 Tim. 6:16) and must come to us, though as light concealed in a lantern; and again, ‘no man hath seen God at any time, the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him’ (John 1:18); and long ago Moses said: ‘There shall no man see Me and live’ (Ex. 33:20) …. What uncouth louts are we to prize our poor, blind reason more highly than the testimony of Seripture! The Scriptures are God’s testimony concerning Himself; reason can know nothing of Deity itself, and yet it ventures to judge what is beyond its ken. That, surely, means to make a blind man the judge of color.” (St. L. X: 1007, 1018.)

Francis Pieper, vol. 1, Christian Dogmatics, electronic ed., 402-03 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

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