Materialists and humanists love math. (Personal note here. My wife is a wonderful math teacher at The Best Christian School in Pensacola, Florida. So don’t take this where I don’t.) They do not love it as an expression Trinitarian order in the universe of course. They are enamored with the subject because they believe it gives them an objective basis for science. Science is knowledge and knowledge rocks the world in their “worldview.”
Now, somewhere in the 19th century (maybe earlier) the word science took on mystical powers. The word science now works ex opere operato, giving mathematic viability to dubious conclusions.
Note how Engels, of Communist Manifesto fame, describes his social theory:
“The Manifesto has had a history of its own. Greeted with enthusiasm, at the time of its appearance, by the not at all numerous vanguard of scientific socialism (as is proved by the translations mentioned in the first place…)” 1890 Forward to the German edition of the Communist Manifesto – Engels (e.d the rest of the sentence is overly long and difficult – much like the manifesto itself.)
Scientific Socialism? Huh?
The Albert & Vera Weisbord Archives contain what amounts to a definition of scientific socialism, sort of:
“In the works of Karl Marx and of Frederick Engels the interests of the working class found their best expression. In their life activities they symbolize the best of German philosophy, French politics, and British economics, synthesizing all three elements to bring forth ‘Scientific Socialism.'”
You see socialism by itself has no power in the material world. But a science of socialism can recreate life as we know it. We can reengineer it. Interesting that the term social engineering was coined (at least as far as I can tell) in the same century that brought us Marx and Engels. Social engineering has a math ring to it and sounds much more “scientific” than say, “screwing up the God pleasing order of things.”
What does the Bible say about knowledge? Plenty it turns out. Knowledge is not an end in and of itself. Just knowing stuff does not make you wise any more than adding the word ‘scientific’ to your pet theory makes it divisible by pi. The end of knowledge ought to be the glory of God. Knowledge for its own sake or to prove man’s inviolability is foolishness.
One of the more interesting things I have come across in my Bible reading of late has to do with a conversation Jesus had with the lawyers of His day. In Luke 11 Jesus ends with some strong words to the scribes:
Luke 11:45One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” ESV
Hoarding and twisting knowledge prevents people from entering into the sanctuary of their God. That is what Engel’s science (and the accompanying liberalism of 19th century Christianity) does; it keeps people away from the rest of God. It has them doing “new math” in their head, figuring ways count up their own righteousness.
Real knowledge does not puff up. Real knowledge humbles and points the possessor of that knowledge to the Creator of all things. Including pi.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
EXTRA EXTRA As I was finishing this up I read Frank Turk’s blog. He is answering some blog-o-questions about Karl Barth, a theologian who came on the scene after the theology of liberalism and the philosophy of Marx worked itself out into two world wars. Check it out and send him your love for Valentine’s Day.