SLV High & An LGBTQ+ Flag – Episode 2

Yesterday I posted a letter that I sent to the principal of my daughter’s high school, and the superintendent of her school district, after the San Lorenzo Valley High School flew an LGBTQ+ pride flag immediately underneath the American flag.  In that letter I expressed my deep concern for the school’s action, and I tried to articulate why flying this flag is profoundly inappropriate.  Today the saga continues.  In response to my letter, I received an answer that did not effectively address the issues I raised.  For appropriateness sake, I will not post the email that was sent to me, but I will post my response.  What follows below is my second email, delivered today to the high school principal and the district superintendent.  

Note: Before you read on, if you live in Santa Cruz County it’s very important that you know this is a county-wide effort orchestrated by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.  Schools all over the county are flying the LGBTQ+ pride flag, and thereby deeply offending the consciences and religious convictions of, I trust, many children and families in our community.  It is possible for us to respect, and love, LGBTQ+ individuals as fellow human beings created in the image of God, without taking the unnecessary and wholly inappropriate step of displaying these flags on public school campuses.  If you live in Santa Cruz County, I highly encourage you to express your objection to the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and the various County Supervisor offices. 

My email sent on May 18th

Ms. SUPERINTENDENT, 

Thank you for your response.  I’m grateful for the consideration.  That said, I don’t see that you’ve addressed the concerns I raised in my email.  The issue is not simply that the LGBTQ+ pride flag replaced the California state flag.  Rather, as I tried to articulate, it is inappropriate for a public school to display the LGBTQ+ pride flag in the first place.  The flag is unnecessary and profoundly, even aggressively, offensive to students and families associated with SLVHS.  

I’m unclear here as to why it matters for SLVUSD that the Santa Cruz County Office of Education is involved in this effort.  Isn’t the SLVUSD an independent school district, and thus free to choose whether or not it will participate in this “event”?  It seems to me that responsibility for the decision to fly this flag lies with SLVHS and SLVUSD.  If I’m wrong in that understanding, I’m happy to be corrected.  

This is not an issue that I can let rest with the response I’ve received thus far.  I intend to forward my letter on to the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, as well as to the five County Supervisor offices.  Additionally, I’d like to address this issue with the SLVUSD Board of Trustees on June 9th.  May I ask for your help with how I should manage placing my name on the agenda for that evening?  

Thank you for your time.  Please understand the seriousness of this matter for myself, my daughter, and, I believe, other families across Santa Cruz County. 

Respectfully, 

P.J. Davis 

SLV High & An LGBTQ+ Flag

Today my daughter’s high school – San Lorenzo Valley High School in Felton, California – decided to fly an LGBTQ+ pride flag immediately underneath the American flag (where, previously, the California state flag would appear). Below is the email I sent to the principal and district superintendent in response (with names redacted):

Mr. PRINCIPAL and Ms. SUPERINTENDENT

I was profoundly disturbed to hear today about the LGBTQ+ pride flag flying in front of SLV High School, immediately underneath the American flag.  While I am out of town on business and thus was not there to see it in person, my daughter NAME – a tenth grader at SLVHS – and my wife both told me of the flag’s presence.  I think such a display highly inappropriate for several reasons, including the following: 

1. A question of allegiance – Per district policy, it is our national flag and the flag of California that warrant display at any district school facility.  Such a policy is entirely appropriate since these flags represent the political unions under, and in which, we live as citizens of this country and residents of this state.  Both the United States and the State of California have a rightful claim on my allegiance, and rightly demand my appropriate submission to their authority.  This is not the case with the LGBTQ+ movement.  The LGBTQ+ pride flag is not commensurate in meaning, stature, or consequence with either the U.S. flag or the flag of the State of California.  Rather, the LGBTQ+ pride flag makes a political, social, and even religious statement that many, myself included, find profoundly offensive.  It demands recognition and condonation of what many, myself included, find deeply immoral.  The LGBTQ+ movement has no right to demand the allegiance of anyone in our society, and thus its flag does not belong in a public space.  Whereas, particularly in a public school setting, the national flag and the flag of California proclaim an inherent unity, the LGBTQ+ pride flag is inherently divisive.  

2. A question of official bias and inappropriate condonation – As I note above, the LGBTQ+ pride flag communicates a political and social message that lies beyond the pale of what is appropriate for a public school.  Flying such a flag effectively demands, albeit implicitly, that those associated with the school condone the truth claims asserted by LGBTQ+ advocates.  And yet, those truth claims run directly contrary to the deeply held religious convictions of many in our society, including at least some of the students in our schools.  Since when did it become appropriate for a public school to blatantly prefer the socio-political message of one party in profoundly moral questions of sexuality and gender?  

3. A violation of conscience – Especially in the context of a public institution (like a school), when someone walks into a building displaying a flag, that person comes – literally and figuratively – under the authority, or the message, of what that flag represents.  This is even more the case when the person in a question is a “member” of the institution whose building they enter.  Consider a student walking onto the SLV campus and passing underneath the LGBTQ+ pride flag.  The implicit message communicated to them is that by attending SLVHS they must submit themselves to the demands and truth claims asserted in the message conveyed by the flag itself.  And yet, again, you have students who daily attend SLVHS and believe – as a matter of deep, sincere, conviction – that homosexuality is wrong, that there is such a thing as a biological man and biological woman, and that gender is not a transitory, self-determined reality.  By flying the flag as happened today, SLVHS implicitly tells those students that their convictions – even religious convictions – are false, their perspective bigoted, and their opinion not welcome.  The situation worsens when passing under this flag in order to access their campus becomes, in effect, a daily violation of conscience for such students.  

In short, I’m amazed that SLVHS and SLVUSD have taken such an unthinking and insensitive position as to publicly display a flag other than our national and state flags.  This action seems to me wholly unnecessary, and therefore aggressively offensive to those who cannot condone the LGBTQ+ philosophy and agenda.  I respectfully request that SLVHS no longer fly any flag, of any group, movement, or organization, other than the U.S. flag and the flag of the State of California. 

Finally, you will soon receive a letter from my daughter NAME.  I’d like you to know that she wrote the letter of her own accord, without my prompting, and without reading what I’ve written here.

I await your response, and I am ready to address this issue publicly at the next Board of Trustees meeting on June 9th.  

Respectfully, 

P.J. Davis 

300 vs. 30?

Mark 14:3-11 is stunning.  I never noticed quite how stunning.  In verses 3-9 we encounter a fantastic act of worshipful devotion, one that Jesus says will never be forgotten wherever the Gospel goes the world over.  I refer here to the unnamed woman (she’s unnamed in Mark…per John 12 it’s Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus) who breaks a “flask” of incredibly expensive “pure nard” and uses it to anoint Jesus’ head.  Mark’s narrative puts the value of this “ointment” at 300 denarii.  Realize – and this will become especially important in a moment – that a denarius was a silver Roman coin worth about one day’s wage (1).  Needless to say, this woman spends a small fortune in her profound act honoring the Messiah. 

Next to his female counterpart, Judas’ actions in verses 10-11 make one’s stomach turn.  Whereas Mark’s account of the woman, Mary, is relatively detailed and beautiful, the narrative about Judas’ is short, terse, and sparse.  There’s no need to belabor the explanation.  The facts are brutally obvious.  Judas betrays Jesus…for money.  The unnamed woman spends extravagantly to love and honor Jesus Christ.  The named disciple sells Jesus “down the river” in hopes of obtaining a price.  You can’t escape the utter wickedness of this moment. 

Now, here’s something to ponder, maybe in a “gut-busting sort of way.”  If we jump over to Matthew 26:15, we learn that the Jewish leaders set Jesus’ price at “thirty pieces of silver.”  Matthew isn’t specific, but I think it’s reasonable to suppose these pieces of silver were denarii, so that Judas received a total of thirty denarii.  Compare then the two amounts of money: 300 denarii for the woman who worships, and 30 denarii for Judas who betrays.  If we take the woman’s amount as the “standard,” then Judas betrays his Lord for one-tenth of the total.  Judas betrays his Lord for a tithe.  A tithe!  Under the Law of Moses, the law Jesus fulfilled, the law Judas would have at least given lip service to, the tithe was God’s portion of all that he gave to his people (Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:22).  Judas “owed” (as it were) a tithe to his God.  Instead, he betrayed his God for a tithe.  Judas took to himself what rightly belonged to God.  Do you see the wickedness and high-handed rebellion in this moment?  Judas exchanged the glory of God for his own glory (Romans 1:23), and the result was his death (Matthew 27:5)!

It’s easy to read Mark 14:3-11, see this devastating comparison, and turn away mostly unscathed by the encounter.  But, isn’t that missing the point?  Shouldn’t the stark contrast between Judas and this woman raise questions in our minds?  Who am I?  What’s my response to Jesus Christ?  The questions get very practical, very quickly, including as we think about money: Do I spend extravagantly (whatever that means) in honor of Jesus Christ?  Or, do I “sell” my Lord in a ruthless exchange of glory that seeks for myself what rightly belongs to him?  How will my actions be remembered in future days when generations yet to come tell the story of the Gospel spreading the world over?  How will yours?

 

Note: Scripture quotations come from the English Standard Version (ESV). 

(1) See “Denarius” and James Swanson, A Dictionary of Biblical Languages: Greek New Testament, #1324. 

God Does Not Fail…

When things fail on earth, nothing fails in heaven! 

In Psalm 80 (a psalm of Asaph) the writer opens with this statement: “Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above [or “upon,” per the ESV] the cherubim, shine forth!” (NASB).  Depending on when in Israel’s history the writer of this psalm composed his work, it was a poignant song indeed.  Recall that in a sense Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, literally sat enthroned above the cherubim as he dwelt with his people.  The Ark of the Covenant – the visible symbol of God’s presence with Israel – had as its top a single carved piece of piece of acacia wood, overlaid with gold (Exodus 25:10-22).  Per God’s command, the crafters of the Ark carved the top into an ornamental “mercy seat,” with two cherubim on either end.  The figures of the cherubim faced inward, toward the mercy seat, with their wings spread to cover the seat itself (imagine the exquisite craftsmanship!).  God said this of the mercy seat: “There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel” (Exodus 25:22, NASB).  Yahweh was present with his people as he sat symbolically enthroned upon, or above, the cherubim whose wings covered the mercy seat of God himself. 

Now, in the sad course of Israel’s history, by circa 586 B.C. (if not before) with Nebuchadnezzar’s burning of Jerusalem and its temple, the Ark of the Covenant ceased to exist on earth.  No, it’s not tucked away in some U.S. Government warehouse, despite what Harrison Ford might lead you to believe.  Did God, did Yahweh, cease to be the God who sits enthroned above the cherubim in the day of the Ark’s destruction?  Such a failure would suggest a failure in God himself.  It would suggest that Yahweh is not, and never was, the all-powerful, sovereign God of the universe that the Hebrew Scriptures declare him to be.  Of course, the answer to this question is, “No”, praise God! 

The failure on earth – because of sin – of Israel and its Ark changed nothing in the heavens.  Israel’s descent into defeat and chaos because of rebellion against God only pointed all the more to the reality, power, mercy, grace, and judgment of Yahweh who sits enthroned above the cherubim.  We know this because, as Hebrews says, the things of Israel’s earthly worship – tabernacle, temple, Ark, etc. – were only “copies,” only earthly shadows, of a heavenly reality (Hebrews 9:23-24).  Thus, the Ark of the Covenant depicted as a tangible symbol what is spiritually true; God sits enthroned above the cherubim.  Ezekiel saw and testified to this reality.  He described seeing living creatures, cherubim, over whose heads “there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal…And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne…and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance…Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD” (Ezekiel 1:22b, 26, 28; ESV).  The copy may perish, the earthly shadow may disappear, but the heavenly truth of God and his power stands inviolable.  It is not changed – God’s glory is not affected – one iota by “success” or “failure” on earth. 

Why is this truth worth a moment to meditate on?  Well, isn’t it helpful, isn’t it comforting, isn’t it bracing to know, beyond the reach of doubt, that when things fail on earth (including when we fail), nothing fails in heaven?  Isn’t it a rock in times of trouble, a light in dark places, to know that God sits enthroned above the cherubim, come what may?  If your citizenship is in heaven by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, then the world can go to “hell in a handbasket,” but you need not be shaken.  You can live with grace, mercy, confidence, hope, joy, and love, secure in the knowledge that he who sits above the cherubim, he who occupies the mercy seat, has, and will, shine forth! 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” – Psalm 46:1-3 (ESV)

The Military and Transgender Service

Recently, the Biden administration rescinded a presidential executive order that banned the service of so-called “transgender” individuals in the U.S. military (Note: I use “so called” here not to be derisive of precious people created in God’s image, but because I don’t believe “transgender” is a term that in any sense describes reality).  Both this move and likely future efforts to secure transgender military service in law are profoundly bad for the military, and for the national security of the United States.  Affirming transgender service in the U.S. military will have a slow-but-steady corrosive affect that, over time, will weaken our armed forces.  I make this rather strong prediction for three reasons briefly discussed below: reality, radical self-autonomy, and morality.

To begin, the U.S. military is a fundamentally realistic organization (or set of organizations).  The armed forces depend on realism.  They depend on a firm grasp of what is true and not what is fanciful.  Without this commitment to realism, military professionals cannot make accurate assessments, for instance, of an enemy’s strength; or of wise military strategy; or of the necessity for the use of force in a given situation.  The art of war depends on an iron-clad commitment to what is real.  Transgenderism, on the other hand, asserts a flawed perspective on reality.  It demands the fanciful supposition that a man can become a woman, or a woman become a man.  Transgenderism pushes against the biologically given realities of male and female.  It attempts to separate the concepts of gender and biological sex and suggests that we can view both as malleable.  Transgenderism even goes so far as to deny the very concept of gender as a meaningful descriptor of human beings.  At the very core of human identity, transgenderism demands unreality.  To allow transgender service in the military is to introduce unreality into the military’s most important asset, its people.  Over time, the effect of doing so will be to compromise the military’s grasp on reality.  Imagine the danger to this country when that happens.

Second, organizationally and culturally the military depends on a team ethic; on a shared sense of conviction and duty regarding the task at hand and the right way to accomplish that task.  The services spend incredible amounts of time, effort, and money training military members to think and operate as a team.  There is no room – or at least there shouldn’t be – in the armed forces for radical self-autonomy (hence the reason the Army’s “Army of One” slogan was so profoundly dismal).  Enter then transgender ideology, which is all about radical self-autonomy.  Transgenderism asserts the right of every individual to determine for himself or herself their true gender state, no matter how unreal that determination becomes.  Even more, transgenderism asserts the right of gender fluidity, such that one can change gender as one pleases, presumably moment-by-moment if it suits one’s fancy.  Such radical self-autonomy stands completely at odds with the military’s collective ethos.  While the effects of official capitulation to radical self-autonomy in the ranks will not be felt all at once, given time transgenderism’s impact on the military’s team ethic will prove disastrous.

Finally, the military needs a strong moral foundation.  It needs a consistent, steady, and unwavering grasp on right and wrong.  We ask our military members to function daily in a terrain fraught with serious moral hazard, including the deadly serious question of using lethal force on a large scale.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t suppose that the U.S. military has ever had an unassailable grasp on morality.  It is, after all, made up of morally flawed human beings.  But, say what you will of the U.S. military’s moral steadiness or lack thereof in the past, we should be deeply concerned for anything that chips away at the moral foundation of our armed services.  Transgenderism is a “chipping” influence.  The transgender ideology is morally wrong.  For a man to live as a woman is sin (and vice versa).  It is contrary to God’s design in creation (Genesis 1:27); contrary to God’s purpose and plan as revealed in his law (Deuteronomy 22:5); contrary to the truth (Acts 5:3; Romans 1:24-25); and contrary to the Gospel proper (Ephesians 5:1-11, Galatians 5:16-25).  Transgenderism is a corrosive influence on morality.  As it grows within the ranks of the armed forces, it will undercut the moral clarity so essential to making right decisions in matters of the greatest consequence.

Let me end with two last thoughts.  First, none of what I’ve said above supposes that anyone, Christians in particular, should adopt a hostile attitude toward those caught in the lie of transgenderism.  Such persons need not hostility, but the clarifying, truth-telling, sin-destroying love of Christ.  Of course, it’s also essential to remember that speaking the truth, as I’ve endeavored to do here, does not constitute “hostility,” no matter what thin-skinned postmodern culture might say.  Second, what is a Christian military professional to do in a day when the commander-in-chief publicly supports transgender service?  Well, perhaps the time will come when the best answer is, “Resign.”  I shudder for that day.  I shudder for the day when followers of Jesus will no longer understand themselves free to serve in the ranks of our armed forces.  But unless, or until, that day arrives, let me suggest a “Naaman-like” approach to “saluting smartly and pressing on.”  Give some time to reading and praying over 2 Kings 5 and hopefully you’ll catch my drift.

God’s Perspective When the Clouds Appear Dark

If you are a Christian in the United States – a true Christian, a committed Christian, a Christian who knows and believes the Bible – it’s temptingly easy to enter 2021 filled with a sense of foreboding.  The cultural, social, political, legal, and even economic clouds on the horizon can appear dark for those who name the name of Christ…and maybe they are dark.  Rod Dreher’s recent book, Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents, is one example of such foreboding (Note: In saying this, I do not mean to unduly criticize Dreher’s work.  There is much to appreciate in the book, though I personally cannot go with him in every part).  This dark horizon brings with it other temptations – to cynicism, despair, compromise, a “bunker mentality,” viewing the world as merely “us vs. them,” etc.  Over-and-against both the reality of 2021, and the temptations that come with it, stands, praise God, the Bible.  In particular (for today), Psalm 73 stands over-and-against the apparent dark clouds of the moment.

In Psalm 73, the Psalmist begins with confession.  He confesses nearly being overwhelmed with envious desire because of the seeming ascendancy of evil; desire probably fueled by cynicism, hopelessness, and bitterness: “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.  For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  For twelve verses the Psalmist describes and reflects on the arrogant wickedness of evil people and their apparently trouble-free life.  They are those who have no pangs until death; those whose bodies are fat and sleek (i.e. well-fed and without need); those who are not in trouble as others areand are not stricken like the rest of mankind.  The Psalmist hears when such persons scoff and speak with malice.  He’s listening as they loftily…threaten oppression.  The tragedy is all the worse when the apparent prosperity of the wicked – their seeming power and success – dupes some the Psalmist otherwise thought to be God’s people.  He mourns when his [God’s] people turn back to them [the wicked] and find no fault in them [the wicked]The Psalmist is left wondering why he even bothers to live consistent with God’s character and commands (vs. 13-15).  Is it really worth it?  Such is the Psalmist’s belabored view on life…that is, until verses 16-17.

In verses 16-17, the Psalmist’s viewpoint radically changes.  In verses 16-17, light dawns, the clouds clear, and he once again sees clearly.  What causes this change?  It’s quite simple really… “But when I thought how to understand this [the prosperity of the wicked], it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their [the wicked people’s] end.”  When the Psalmist came into the sanctuary of God – when he went to the place of worship and Word – true reality became clear.  In a moment he clearly understood that evil would not triumph; that God would judge; that justice would reign; that the Lord would have his victory.  In a moment, the Psalmist comes to a place of confession; even to a realization of how skewed his thinking and feeling had become: “When my soul was embittered [at the wicked and their “success”], when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.” In a moment, he moves from bitterness to satisfying, peace-bringing, confidence-grounding worship (vs. 23-27).  The end for the Psalmist is his desire to stay in the sanctuary: “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge...  Why?  Because rather than angst and complain about the wicked, the Psalmist wants to live a life of praise: “…that I may tell of all your works.” 

Now, here’s the parallel to Christians in 2021.  It would be easy, at least in America, to begin thinking, feeling, and conversing amongst ourselves like the Psalmist in his belabored and embittered outlook.  Psalm 73:4-12 seems to be a fair description of the world we perceive at the outset of this year and, perhaps, of the world as it actually is (especially if we live in certain portions of this country).  But, if we go where the Psalmist says he went in his thinking and meditation, we’ll find ourselves embittered, pricked in heart, brutish and ignorant, like a beast before God.  What is the solution?  As it was for the Psalmist, so for us it is quite simple: “…I went into the sanctuary of God.”  It was this move into the sanctuary that brought the Psalmist clarity and peace, thereby loosening his tongue again for praise rather than complaining.  This begs the question, “Where is the sanctuary of God?”  Well, I presume that for this writer, when he thought of God’s sanctuary he thought of the Temple (or maybe the Tabernacle).  The Temple was the place of God’s dwelling with his people.  It was where God’s people gathered together, in worship, grounded in God’s Word.  This was the Psalmist’s refuge, his sheltering place, his place of clarity and freedom.  What is the equivalent for God’s New Covenant people in 2021?  Where is the place of God’s presence?  Where is it that God’s people gather together in worship grounded in God’s Word?  The answer seems clear.  It’s the church…the true church…rightly-ordered and oriented churches for whom Scripture is precious, comforting, authoritative, and determinative.  By this I mean primarily local churches of multiple believers, but I certainly would not exclude here the “mini-church” of a family gathered around God’s Word in their home.  Jesus said, “…where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).  God dwells with his people gathered together as Jesus’ church.  Jesus’ church is the place of Christian togetherness, in worship, grounded in God’s Word.

So then, here’s the promise of Psalm 73: As Jesus’ people come to his sanctuary, his church, for worship, we will not fail to find’s God’s perspective on the dark clouds, the brooding horizon, of 2021.  That perspective will be for us freedom and relief.  It will be our vindication and joy.  It will be the catalyst that turns us from life-sucking complaint to life-giving praise.  In 2021, let us come into the sanctuary of the living God!

Endurance When It’s Hot

Yesterday I had the chance to preach from God’s Word regarding weariness and endurance.  Today I read this in Jeremiah 16:5-8 (NASB), and I’m reminded once again about enduring in the Lord’s strength:

“Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.  For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD.  For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.’”

We hear in verse 8 (the bolded portion) the language and imagery of Psalm 1 (not to mention Ezekiel 47:1-12 or Revelation 22:1-2).  It’s been a hot year, this 2020, but God’s waters run deep, and clear, and cool.  No one need fear whose tap root lies in Christ.

A Word for the Moment from Bavinck

This passage from Herman Bavinck’s, The Wonderful Works of God (Westminster Seminary Press, pgs. 6-7), is worth reading and reflecting on…and maybe especially so in 2020.  I particularly like paragraph three:

“The conclusion, therefore, is that of Augustine, who said that the heart of man was created for God and that it cannot find rest until it rests in his Father’s heart.  Hence all men are really seeking after God, as Augustine also declared, but they do not all seek Him in the right way, nor at the right place.  They seek Him down below, and He is up above.  They seek Him on the earth, and He is in heaven.  They seek Him afar, and He is nearby.  They seek Him in money, in property, in fame, in power, and in passion; and He is to be found in the high and holy places, and with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isa. 57:15).  But they do seek Him, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him (Acts 17:27).  They seek Him and at the same time they flee Him.  They have no interest in a knowledge of His ways, and yet they cannot do without Him.  They feel themselves attracted to God and at the same time repelled by Him.

In this, as Pascal so profoundly pointed out, consists the greatness and the miserableness of man.  He longs for truth and is false by nature.  He yearns for rest and throws himself from one diversion upon another.  He pants for a permanent and eternal bliss and seizes on the pleasures of a moment.  He seeks for God and loses himself in the creature.  He is born a son of the house and he feeds on the husks of the swine in a strange land.  He forsakes the fountain of living waters and hews out broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jer. 2:13).  He is as a hungry man who dreams that he is eating, and when he awakes finds that his soul is empty; and he like a thirsty man who dreams that he is drinking, and when he awakes finds that he is faint and that his soul has appetite (Isa. 29:8).

Science cannot explain this contradiction in man.  It reckons only with his greatness and not with his misery, or only with his misery and not with his greatness.  It exalts him too high, or it depresses him too far, for science does not know of his Divine origin, nor of his profound fall.  But the Scriptures know of both, and they shed their light over man and over mankind; and the contradictions are reconciled, the mists are cleared, and the hidden things are revealed.  Man is an enigma whose solution can be found only in God.”