Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reason Submitted Unto God

Matthew Poole's Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:5:

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Casting down imaginations; logismos, reasonings; and every high thing, every height of reasoning, that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. The great troublers of this church of Corinth were the heathen philosophers, and such as had sucked in their principles; with whose notions, which were conclusions drawn from reasons not sanctified and subdued to the will of God, diverse doctrines of faith would not agree.

St. Paul tells them, that the Gospel, (which was the great weapon of his warfare [2 Cor. 10:4],) through the power of God, was mighty to pull down the strong holds which unbelief had in the carnal understanding of men, to overthrow their reasonings, the heights of them, which exalted themselves against the doctrine of faith; and to bring pas noema, every thought, or counsel, into a captivity to the obedience of Christ: so as whatsoever was revealed by the Apostles from the Spirit of God, men readily agreed and yielded obedience to; whatever their thoughts or reasonings about it were, they gave credit to it; not because it appeared rational them, but upon the Divine authority of the revelation; submitting their reason to that, and believing it the most rational thing in the world, that they should believe what God affirmed, and do what God commanded; and this blessed effect the Gospel had in all those who heartily embraced it: for indeed to give an assent to a proposition, merely upon a sensible or rational demonstration, is no faith, that is, no Divine faith.

Truly to believe, in a Divine sense, is to assent to a proposition upon the credit of the revelation, though we cannot make it out by our reason: and this it is to have our thoughts brought into a captivity to the obedience of Christ.

That whereas reason, as it is since the Fall subjected in man, riseth up in arms against several Divine propositions, and saith, How can these things be? how can one be three, and three one? how could the Divine and human nature unite in one person? how can the dead rise? etc.: the believer audit verbum Dei et tacet, readeth these things, and others of the life nature, plainly asserted in Holy Writ, and chides down his reason; resolving to give credit to these things merely because God hath said them, who cannot lie.

Thus our noema, thoughts, counsels, reasonings, deliberations, conclusions, all the product of our understanding, is brought into a captivity to the obedience of Christ; and reason itself, which is the governess and mistress of the soul of man, is made a captive to revelation. And in this appeared the mighty power of the weapons of the apostle's warfare.

[Excerpted from Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Bible, Volume III: Matthew-Revelation (Hendrickson), p. 628. Capitalization added and text reformatted for blog use.]