Blind unbelief

“Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain.”

From the hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way“, lyrics by William Cowper, 1774.

When singing this hymn at church on Sunday morning, I was struck by the phrase “blind unbelief.” It is not Christians who have blind faith, but unbelievers who have blind unbelief. I may not see everything, but what I see I see clearly. On the other hand, those who do not see God’s majesty in creation or in Christ are lost in their blindness.

Grace and Peace

3 thoughts on “Blind unbelief

  1. Martin Lack

    Kevin, now I am really going to get contoversial, or is it just honest?

    Those that have not known me very long might be tempted to assume that my faith has just been knocked by an unpleasant divorce but, the truth of the matter is that my faith in God may never have got that much further than an intellectual acceptance of a theological argument.

    The writer of Hebrews warned that …without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists…” (11:6); and in his letter to the Romans, St Paul says “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (1:20).

    So, intellectually, I am happy to point out to people that creation may need a Creator (although Stephen Hawking would disagree); and that if we have a problem of conceiving infinity (or what might lie outside the Universe), why should we expect to be able to grasp the concept of eternity (or what might lie outside space and time)?

    However, despite all this, when I look up at the night sky, I tend to be overwhelmed by a feeling of my own insignificance rather than awe; and when I look at nature I see a continuous and very unpleasant fight for survival (and am not won over by simplistic arguments about the Fall of man corrupting the whole of nature).

    Please tell me where I am being blind.


  2. Sapphire

    Hello Martin,
    You’re not being blind. Simplistic arguments about the Fall of man corrupting the whole of nature is not what it’s about.
    Stephen Hawking doesn’t see the need for a creator but what drove him to study physics and keep studying even when his body was wrecked by disease was his own sense of awe at the way the universe works. Carl Sagan was an atheist but he realised that you and I are made of the same stuff as the stars and the universe itself.
    Human beings need to feel that they are part of something bigger than ourselves as individuals, families, communities, nations or even fellow travellers to the grave. Religions, including Christianity try, by means of stories, to convey what and where that other, bigger, existence might be.
    Trying to prove whether there was an Adam and Eve or a Fall or even a Christ are basically fruitless – a product of ‘modern’ thinking that started about the time of the Protestant Reformation.
    I don’t think Kevin would agree with me but I found God a whole lot more awesome when released from the straitjacket of biblical inerrancy.


  3. Martin Lack

    Dear Sapphire, thank you for your kind words. Your mention of Carl Sagan reminded me of another favourite verse of mine: “…for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14)… I might not go as far as you, but may be closer to your position than I am to Kevin’s: Although I think every part of the Bible is genuinely inspired and relevant to us humans today (i.e. 2 Tim 3:16), I refuse to bend the Laws of Physics to prevent what the Bible appears to say conflicting with with what science reveals to be the rational Universe in which we find ourselves (N.B. I am most certainly not suggesting Kevin does this). Thus, although I am fairly settled in my position with regard to the age of the Earth etc., I remain unsettled about the fact that one creature’s survival is always contingent upon the death of many others (and do not see how it could have ever been any other way). Seen in this light, Gen 1-2 might look very much like a fairy tale; but I prefer to see it as a morality tale…!


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