Paradoxology Part 4: The Consequences of Rejecting Reason

Last time, we saw that it is not reason that destroys a paradox; it is when we put reason in God’s place by allowing it to overrule God’s promises. And so paradox is not protected by rejecting reason, but by embracing it rightly. In the example of the theology of the cross, we should not claim to be utterly unable to discern good from evil with our reason, but rather admit to not knowing how God redeems evil into good in most day-to-day cases. This is why our reason must be tempered by virtue with the humility to say “I don’t know” and by God with the faith to say “God has told me what I need.”

But why is approaching this paradox rightly a big deal? As we observed last time, even the Lutherans who stray too far into a rejection of reason do not really confess what they sometimes seem to say: that evil is really good—that the goods of sickness and death will follow us into heaven or that we shouldn’t thank God for His earthly gifts to us because we cannot know that they are good. What is more, heresy typically has its root in a preacher wanting something which orthodoxy will not allow; who would want to teach such things? But as we noted in part 2 with respect to predestination, erring in one point often leads to errors in many others.

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