What Stage Do You Play?
My third-grade granddaughter has a dramatic side. She lives in the real world more nowadays, but when she was small she always had a play going, usually playing the starring role herself. Her stage was wherever she happened to be. Grandma would say, "I don't want to play now, Honey, I have to do my school work."
"That's all right, Grandma," she would say. "You can just be the Grandma working at her table."
It would infuriate her smaller brother. "I'm not playing!" he would insist. It never fazed her. She would go on with her play, calling him, "Husband," or whatever, depending on the role in which she had cast him. If he changed what he was doing, she would simply recast him and continue with her play. She was very good at it. Sometimes her usually gentle brother would fly into a rage. The play would often end with a quarrel and tears.
Such things are usual and expected in small children, though perhaps not to that extreme. If it continues until adulthood, such people may need institutions.
There was nothing wrong with her play. It was well thought out and provided her immense satisfaction. The trouble was the stage. It didn't fit the play, and required nimble work on her part.
To quote a former U.S. President, "Facts are stubborn things." My granddaughter was living in a dream world and her brother (the Fact) resented being misinterpreted to fit the dream, and refused to conform. He had his own life to live, his own story to tell, and refused to be twisted into hers.
Does this little tale of children say anything about theology? I think it does.
The Bible says that the world was created by God. The very heavens declare His glory, and even the ants and the birds of the air teach wisdom. The world is the stage, and it was created by God for His own Drama. God's Drama is about redemption, faith, and glory. It stars Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and is the only drama that fits the stage.
The problem is ours. We try to make the reality fit our own play. We refuse to accept the truth that the stage belongs to God, for the Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof (Ps. 24:1; 1Cor. 10:26). Theology is very often guilty here. When theology loses touch with the stage (the world of God's creation), it loses touch with reality and become irrelevant. [The word "Dunce" is derived from the Schoolman, philosopher/theolgian Duns Scotus.]
Good philosophy--and good theology--does not try to twist the facts or ignore the facts. When either does, it loses touch with reality and becomes irrelevant. Communism refused to accept the fact that men are selfish and seek their own way. "Every way of man is right in his own eyes," is the way the wise man put it (Prov. 21:2). They ignored this stubborn fact, and their play came crashing down on their imaginary stage. If you do not play on God's stage, then your play will end in tears and tragedy.
"Look at my hands," Jesus told Thomas. "Believe the miracles," He told the Pharisees. "Christ is risen!" the Apostles told the world: "Deal with it. Adjust your philosophy about the evil of matter and the Otherness of God to deal with the fact of the Resurrection." "They have received the Holy Spirit even as we have," Peter told the Jews, forcing them to deal with the fact of the Gentiles being brought into the church. Neither Christ nor the Apostles would have dreamed of ignoring Scripture, but they lived in the real world of factuality.
Cornelius Van Til said it clearly. "A brute fact is a mute fact," but there are no brute facts because the facts speak clearly, according to Romans 1. Facts are no more silent than my grandson was when his sister tried to put him in her play.
The reality is clear to those whose eyes can see: there are no brute facts, no facts that have no story to tell. This does not mean that every fact, independently, tells the story of creation and redemption, but every fact has its part to play in the drama. To be known, facts have to be seen in the context of other facts, and the context as well as the facts are created by God to tell His story.
For modern science to ignore the basic facts of history--the ancient Biblical records of creation, the fall, the flood, Abraham, Sinai, and the life and miracles of Jesus Christ--is to fly in the face of reason and to become more and more irrelevant. As science becomes more and more irrelevant it will waste more and more precious resources on such things as the search for the origin of the universe, beings from outer space, proving that men and women are the same, and legitimatizing the wickedness of things like abortion, incest, and sodomy. The line between science and sorcery will become rubbed out. Science will have lost common sense.
God's facts are much more stubborn than even a little boy who does not wish to be in his sister's play.
Pastor C. W. Powell
Trinity Covenant RCUS
Colorado Springs, CO.